He is known for his trademark white suits, and his animated, dramatic faith healings.
Benny Hinn is a rising star among television evangelists, and he's looking to make a big splash in Dallas-Fort Worth. In fact, he's promised to build a $30 million spiritual theme park in Las Colinas. But is he for real? He takes his ministry across the country and around the world, and thousands upon thousands flock to see him. But he's also attracting a growing army of critics, who challenge his somewhat unorthodox theology, his lavish lifestyle, and his claims of miraculous healings.
One of those claims centers around a 1976 hospital visit to Sault Ste. Marie, in which the Pastor says his preaching triggered a mass healing of many patients.
G. Richard Fisher is a Baptist minister and a co-author of the book, "The Confusing World of Benny Hinn". Pastor Fisher says they called the hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, but the hospital says while he held a service in the chapel, it was uneventful. No patients left that day, says the hospital. FOX 4 made several requests to interview Pastor Hinn personally, but we were not granted a personal interview. We did speak with Jeff Pittman, the executive producer of Hinn's TV show, about the Sault Ste. Marie claim. Mr. Pittman they were repeating a story that they had heard that they didn't actually have proof of. Pittman says, in retrospect, that was a mistake. Ole Anthony was once a supporter of Pastor Hinn, but now he's one of his critics. Anthony says that Hinn promised to wait 6 months before proclaiming successful healings, 6 months being long enough to verify healings with doctors. But Anthony says the pastor never followed through.
Anthony today is president of the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation, a watchdog group that once spearheaded efforts to expose former Dallas-based televangelist Robert Tilton. Now the foundation is focusing its efforts on Benny Hinn.
Claims and counterclaims aside, Hinn has legal troubles too. Most recently a court battle has been waged between Hinn's ministry and its former director of security, a man Hinn's own lawyers, in court documents, asserted could destroy the ministry with what he knows. Both sides have sued each other. Hinn's attorneys have concluded, again in court documents, that the adverse publicity alone would likely cause the ministry to lose as much as 90 percent of its support."
But Hinn's followers have proven loyal. They continue to love and support the animated faith healer who slays in the spirit, with a nudge to the forehead, a wave of his jacket, or a mighty breath that blows them all down.
Fisher compares the dramatics of a Hinn service to professional wrestling. "A lot of psychological manipulation, crowd control, expectancy. People come to his meetings. They see him again and again. They know what to expect, and what they're supposed to do," Fisher says.
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