Televangelist Benny Hinn, we are told, multiplies his world fans by day and night, making millions of money, to boot, from his crusades; but, contrastingly, he doesn’t garner much warmth or friendship among fellow ministers, pastors and priests –– barring, perhaps, in Barbados.
And only one Bajan man of the cloth has dared to challenge publicly the coming of this controversial religious figure to our land –– the outspoken Pastor Vincent Wood. As far as the good reverend is concerned, the very concept and reason for bringing Mr Hinn here are an insult –– to our intelligence, we would presume.
“Is he coming to preach better than us? Pray more sincere than us?” asks Pastor Wood.
For a $300,000 tab he had better!
Surely these are questions the National Alliance Of Churches And Christian Organizations (NACCO), Evangelist Hinn’s prospective host, must answer.
It is a compelling paradox that NACCO, established as a platform for churches to come together as one on national issues and as a partnership in prayer and state guidance, would have as its headliner at its very first major public event –– the National Miracle Healing Service And National Blessing –– a most contentious personage, who is himself a Lone Ranger of sorts, having been heavily criticised in his homeland the United States for misinterpreting and misquoting The Bible; for proffering false prophesies (even that Jesus would turn up at gathering or two of his); and on account of his alleged visits from angels, and his supposedly successful communication with the dead.
Notwithstanding, NACCA, cognizant of the fact, like most others of us, that Barbados could do with a miracle, seems confident that Hinn is the man. And, the NACCO team would summon 3,000 Christian souls from among us at $100 each to meet the costs of putting up here the multimillionaire American preacher who lives in a US$8 million waterfront mansion in Orange County, owns a US$36 million private jet, and receives approximately US$110 million in donations a year!
For those who would be crying accountability in respect of these funds, NACCO’s chief Reverend Ferdinand Nicholls has promised Reverend Wood and the other quieter critics there will be an audited statement after the Hinn event. But the question is what benefit will the show be to attending Barbadians? Will it be worth the money raised in these very hard times in this island?
Can Barbados be truly guaranteed a blessing via the American celebrity televangelist for all this effort?
The faith healer Pastor Benny Hinn claims he can make the crippled walk, cure the very sick and rid the terminally ill of their cancer. Yet his claims of miraculous healing are treated with scepticism by fellow healers. Why is this? Is it just disagreement over the Hinn methodology, or fear of competition? Maybe both?
Reverend Hinn’s spiritual powers aside, the more burning question here for Barbadians is what does all the ostentation surrounding the Gospel by the mouth of Hinn say to our humble hearts? And what does the keeping up with the Joneses attitude that we might hobnob with one of the world’s wealthiest evangelists –– if not the wealthiest –– say about us as a people and the religious elect who would lead us?
It is not only an insult to our senses; it is even more an assault on our psyches.
That NACCA can believe we need such a holy man as Pastor Hinn, at great cost, to remove our fears and hopelessness, and that his $300,000 bill for coming ought to be met, and gratefully so, seem to put show, pomp and circumstance for a celebrity before love, charity and grace for the church.
Still, there is little doubt the funds wouldn’t be raised. Lesser doubt thousands wouldn’t turn up: children, teens, adults and the elderly, with raised hands, rocking and weeping, chanting and crying, even speaking in tongues. Too may come the healings –– and the gospel of the almighty dollar.
We are reminded of Jesus’ caution to his disciples:
And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
–– Matthew 9:24