Turning his back on fame and riches, Costi Hinn, nephew of televangelist and faith healer Benny Hinn, writes in Christianity Today of how he came to reject the Prosperity Gospel. Relating an anecdote about time spent on the Aegean Sea, Hinn confesses, “Little did I know that this coastline was part of the Aegean Sea—the same body of water the apostle Paul sailed while spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. There was just one problem: We weren’t preaching the same gospel as Paul.”
Later in the article, Hinn writes of an insightful moment when he “saw that [God] wanted me to live for him regardless of what I could get from him.”
That revelation stands in stark contrast to the teachings of the Prosperity Gospel. A scourge on the world, the Prosperity Gospel preys on the weak and vulnerable, enriches the charlatans mislabeled as preachers, and makes a mockery of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Famous “preachers” like T.D. Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, and Joel Osteen promote the heretical belief that God wants people to have their best life now. Contradicting the words of Jesus when he told his followers to take up their cross and follow him and to expect suffering and trials, the Prosperity Gospel spreads the lie of the devil that temporal, material blessings are God’s will for those who have enough faith and who give enough money to
God the bank accounts of the preachers.
Costi Hinn’s story reveals a gradual realization of the truth that the Prosperity Gospel is deceitful and an anti-gospel. Being born into a family enmeshed in the Prosperity Gospel, he writes:
Growing up in the Hinn family empire was like belonging to some hybrid of the royal family and the mafia. Our lifestyle was lavish, our loyalty was enforced, and our version of the gospel was big business. Though Jesus Christ was still a part of our gospel, he was more of a magic genie than the King of Kings. Rubbing him the right way—by giving money and having enough faith—would unlock your spiritual inheritance. God’s goal was not his glory but our gain. His grace was not to set us free from sin but to make us rich. The abundant life he offered wasn’t eternal, it was now. We lived the prosperity gospel.
Though surrounded by the trappings of riches, Hinn began to see cracks in the Prosperity Gospel’s façade early in his life. In a telling moment, Hinn’s father refused to “heal” a friend of Costi who was suffering from cancer. At that moment, he explains, “I didn’t question our ability to heal, but doubts began to stir about our motives. We only did healings in the crusades, where music created the atmosphere, money changed hands, and people approached us with the ‘right’ amount of faith.”
Doubts continued to creep in, but it was the girl who would eventually become his wife whom God really used to take a sledgehammer to the gilded cage of the Prosperity Gospel.
Since his future wife was unable to speak in tongues, Costi Hinn’s family was concerned and attempted several things to ignite the fire of the Holy Spirit inside of her. Nothing really worked. One day she pointed out 1 Corinthians 12:30 to Hinn. In the verse, the Apostle Paul asks the questions: “Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?”
That rattled Costi Hinn explains:
I was shaken to the core. There it was plain as day—not everybody has to speak in tongues. Soon, the domino effect began. Other longstanding beliefs were failing the biblical test. No longer did I believe that God’s purpose was to make me happy, healthy, and wealthy.
He concludes that paragraph with the quote already included above: “Instead, I saw that [God] wanted me to live for him regardless of what I could get from him.”
By God’s grace, Costi Hinn’s story will be used to rescue other souls trapped in the Prosperity Gospel and lead them to the light of the grace found in the true gospel of Jesus Christ.