No one knows exactly what salary evangelist Benny Hinn pays himself annually from his ministry’s funds, but a decade ago he stated it was more than $500,000.

Since then sources say Hinn has apparently quadrupled his take to somewhere around $2 million per annum.

bennyhinn_narrowweb__300×3870.jpgEstimates have placed the annual gross contributions made to Benny Hinn’s ministry at about $200 million.

How is it that this oily preacher manages to haul in so much cash?

Has everyone forgotten the televangelist scandals of the 1980s, which landed PTL Club founder Jim Bakker in prison and his wife Tammy Faye in divorce court?

Now incredibly even Bakker is back in business, plying his trade again by using virtually the same pitch.

Perhaps given such a startling reversal, it’s not hard to understand the continuing success of Benny Hinn, the peripatetic “prophet,” who hops around on a Gulfstream jet, stays overnight in presidential hotel suites and maintains a fleet of luxury cars.

After all, Hinn’s multi-million dollar so-called California “parsonage” has parking for ten.

Maybe a borrowed donkey and night sleeping under the stars was good enough for Jesus, but doesn’t this 21st Century “Man of God” deserve more consideration?

Meanwhile, Iowa senator and Baptist Charles Grassley doen’t seem much impressed by Hinn’s supposed spiritual authority. Grassley is currently investigating the minister’s finances and wants some detailed disclosure.

But Pastor Benny apparently thinks that opening up his books may be “sinful” or even “satanic.”

The evangelist envoked the Constitutional doctrine of church and state, hoping to hide behind what has been called the “wall of separation,” for his salvation.

But does making money in the “name of God,” mean special treatment when it comes to the tax code?

In a recent visit to Brisbane Pastor Benny drew audiences in the thousands. One night Hinn cooked up quite a convenient revelation. “This is a prophecy,” he said. “You are about to see the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. You are going to see prosperity like you never dreamed of. Money is being transferred from sinners to the righteous.”

“Are you righteous?” Hinn asked the crowd.

Of course those assembled answered in the affirmative, anxious to get their slice of the heavenly kingdom.

But to get what they want from God, according to Benny, believers first need to put up some earnest money.

He explained, “The Jews were taught by God how to give. When they brought their gifts to the Lord, it was only the best…God deserves the best. You give God the best and you’ll get the best from him. Are you here for God’s blessing? What are you going to give the Lord tonight?”

By “the Lord,” what Hinn really means for practical purposes, is himself.

So “sowing the seed” with “God,” literally means giving your money to Benny Hinn.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald Hinn hauled in about $800,000, through just three performances.

Benny Hinn would make the fictional “Elmer Gantry” blush.

After all, in the end Gantry appears to have a conscience, but Benny Hinn does not.

Preying upon people that are sick and suffering by telling them that they must pay to receive God’s blessings, sounds more like blackmail than preaching the Gospel.

CultNews receives regular emails from Benny Hinn supporters, who say that criticiszing him is tantamount to “coming against God.”

This self-proclaimed prophet is supposedly an “annointed” hero, and not a huckster.

CultNews has also been told that it’s a plan of the “devil,” to raise questions about Benny Hinn, which could incur God’s holy wrath.

But Jesus answered questions and advised his followers to “love” their “enemies.”

And critically evaluating leaders is certainly well-within the parameters of the New Testament. In Galatians Paul quite harshly criticized and then condemned corrupt leaders.

And as recorded in Acts Peter didn’t automatically rebuke Paul’s critique of his teachings. Instead, Peter slept on it and subsequently realized that Paul was right.

So should Pastor Benny receive any more consideration than Jesus or the apostles?

Charles Grassley certainly doesn’t seem to think so. And it probably didn’t take a “prophecy” to prompt the Iowa senator’s concern about Pastor Hinn’s finances.

Kenneth Hagin, the man often referred to as the “father” of the so-called “Word-Faith” movement (WFM), died yesterday at 86 reports KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Hagin moved to Tulsa from Texas in 1966 and eventually created a religious empire based upon controversial teachings many Christians call “heresy.”

The WFM teaches that Christians can essentially claim anything in the name of Jesus. This includes health and material wealth. It has often been called the “health” and “wealth” gospel and more derisively the “name it, claim it” or “blab it, grab it” doctrine.

Hagin’s Rhema Bible Training Center USA founded in 1974 reportedly produced 23,000 alumni and is often cited as the wellspring of the WFM.

Notorious and flamboyant TV preachers Robert Tilton and Benny Hinn are perhaps the two most visible promoters of the WFM. Though Hagin’s devoted disciple televangelist Kenneth Copeland may be his most readily identified theological proponent.

The Word-Faith doctrines have historically caused friction between its adherents and conservative or traditional Christians. Hagin was also a focus of controversy within Pentecostalism, which largely rejected his teachings.

Two critical books written about Kenneth Hagin denounced him as both a heretic and plagiarist; these books are A Different Gospel by D.R. McConnell and Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraff

Another book, The Walking Wounded by Jeremy Reynalds, points out the causalities of the WFM.

Nevertheless Hagin delivered a popular message, telling many what they wanted to hear. That message was essentially you can have anything you want through faith, with an odd mix of proscribed and supposedly biblical incantations.

By the time of his death Hagin’s religious empire reportedly comprised training centers in 14 nations, with churches in more than a hundred countries. His legacy also includes the Rhema Prayer and Healing Center in Tulsa and two regular radio shows. A church Hagin founded in Tulsa now has 8,000 members.

Despite repeated allegations of willful plagiarism Hagin was a prolific and popular author who reputedly produced more than 65 million books through his Faith Library Publications. He also launched the monthly Word of Faith Magazine, which currently claims 400,000 readers.

Kenneth Hagin Jr., Executive Vice President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries runs the Tulsa mega-church started by Hagin Sr. and seems to be the shepherd of his father’s legacy.

Jan Crouch and her husband Paul built a religious empire called Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) based in Costa Mesa California.

TBN is the largest Christian television network in the world and broadcasts from more than 5,000 stations. Its revenue in 2001 alone totaled $160 million.

Controversy has often surrounded the Crouch family and its kingdom.

Their authoritarian control of TBN, which is run something like a family business, charges of plagiarism and the earthly compensation the couple receive, are examples of persistent criticism.

Perhaps more troubling are allegations amongst conservative Christians that TBN promotes a “Prosperity Gospel,” and what some call the “Word of Faith” message.

One of the most popular preachers on TBN is Benny Hinn; a flamboyant faith healer often derided as a “fraud” through numerous television and press investigations reports D Magazine in Dallas.

Hinn claims numerous “miracles” have occurred at his revivals staged around the world. People that attend routinely say they have been “delivered” from cancer and Hinn supposedly has even helped to raise the dead.

However, none of these purported “miracles” have ever been proven objectively and conclusively.

Hinn may now have the opportunity to not only disprove his critics, but also to assist his long-time friends and sponsors at TBN.

Jan Crouch has been stricken with cancer.

The blond grandmother known for her tearful testimonies and heavy mascara almost as much as Tammy Faye Bakker was diagnosed with colon cancer in May.

But rather than relying upon a miracle the televangelist chose to undergo surgery.

Despite that surgery, at the end of May Crouch’s doctors found that the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system.

Will Benny Hinn now help to heal Crouch through divine intervention and demonstrate to skeptics that he is not a “fraud”?

Or will Paul Crouch become a widower while waiting for Hinn to facilitate such a “miracle”?

Stay tuned.

In India police are cracking down on “God men,” reports The Telegraph.

Authorities in Calcutta are warning residents to beware of the gurus and swamis who say they have “supernatural powers” and can effect mystical or magical cures.

One police commissioner said, “We will do everything to guard Calcuttans from the clutches of such swindlers.” He added that they frequently prey upon the sick who are in a “vulnerable state.”

Will this crack down eventually include more established Indian gurus such as Sai Baba, who supposedly possesses “supernatural powers”?

Probably not.

But at least in India some attention is being paid to this issue.

In sharp contrast within the United States “God men” like Brooklyn born Frank Jones, who calls himself “Adi Da,” most often operate with impunity.

And then there is the lucrative “faith healing” business, which supports apparent posers such as the popular Benny Hinn. Hinn lives lavishly off of the millions contributed by his faithful, that believe “cures” come from heaven during his crusades.

Does America need a crack down? There certainly seems to be plenty of gullibility on this side of the globe.

American showman P.T. Barnum once claimed that “people like to be humbugged.” And he was attributed incorrectly, as the originator of the old adage; “A sucker is born every minute.”

But despite such observations Westerners often suppose smugly that they are somehow less susceptible to spiritual hucksters, than say people in Calcutta.

However, the facts don’t support such an arrogant conclusion. There seem to be plenty of suckers ready to buy or believe almost anything in America.

Historically, many Indian gurus and swamis sensed this and moved to the United States. Swami Satchidananda, Yogi Bhajan and Bhagwhan Shree Rajneesh are three examples of such migrating “God men” who marketed their “supernatural powers” in the United States.

Books have been written about the “vulnerable state” of many Western spiritual seekers visiting India such as Karma Cola by Gita Mehta. And the more common category of largely domestic seekers is examined in The Faith Healers by James Randi.

Televangelist, faith healer and flamboyant entrepreneur Benny Hinn landed in Hong Kong this week to stage his traveling “miracle” show, reports the South China Morning Post (“Church leaders say the public should be sceptical of a visiting preacher’s powers,” February 10, 2003).

However, the high flying Hinn wasn’t all that well received.

The supposed healer’s lavish lifestyle, which includes luxury suites on the road and a multi-million dollar “parsonage” now under instruction, solicited harsh criticism.

One respected Chinese theologian called Hinn “The worst kind of charlatan, the kind of person who gives religion a bad name.” And added, “He preys on people…I consider him a person without any personal moral integrity.”

The American faith healer has not proven a single miracle through any meaningful scientific inquiry.

Instead, subjective claims are routinely made by his supporters and amount to little more than anecdotal stories offered without any objective evidence.

The Post observed that Hinn enthusiasts seem to be in a “hypnotic trance,” when they fall over in the supposed healer’s presence.

Some have said his crusades actually resemble a stage hypnotist’s act.

But despite his critics Benny Hinn continues to be one of the most successful religious entrepreneurs in the world. His ministry now pulls in an estimated $100 million annually.

And to his faithful fans he remains a “man of God” that has been “anointed.”

Well, whatever Hinn is he certainly seems to have “anointed” himself with the visible trappings of wealth.

The most popular televangelist and faith healer in the world today is probably Benny Hinn. He is often featured on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The itinerant preacher some call a “prophet” travels worldwide to stage his “crusades.” Thousands pack stadiums and amphitheaters hoping to be healed.

However, Hinn has failed to prove even a single “healing” objectively. And like the recent “clone” claimed by a “cult,” his claims of “miracles” also seem to lack meaningful proof through science. Instead, people apparently feel “healed,” therefore they are “healed.”

Again and again the media has scrutinized the minister and found him wanting, through either his apparent knowing manipulation of the faithful and/or just plain money grabbing.

The latest exposé about Hinn just was aired on Dateline NBC.

NBC reports that the Benny Hinn Ministry is now raking in more than $100 million dollars annually.

What is controversial about this cash flow is how Hinn uses it benefit personally

Benny Hinn is not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which includes the Billy Graham Crusade, nor is he legally obligated to disclose his finances publicly.

But Hinn has acknowledged that his yearly salary is somewhere between $500,000.00 and $1 million. And that doesn’t appear to include all compensation, such as travel expenses or other questionable perks.

Hinn’s travel expenses alone must be astronomical, given his penchant for luxurious presidential suites, which can easily run more than $1,000.00 a night. He also likes to fly to Europe on the Concorde, which is $8,000, a pop.

But perhaps the most outrageous of Hinn’s recently exposed perks is his so-called “parsonage,” which will cost $3.5 million dollar to build. The house has 7 bedrooms and 8 baths and includes 6,000 square feet, a view of the Pacific and room for ten cars in its underground garage. Benny likes BMWs.

And to think that Jesus was born in manger and rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. And the Apostles weren’t exactly high rollers either.

The money to fuel Hinn’s expenses and perks comes from contributions to his tax-exempt ministry.

For some time I have maintained an archive about Benny Hinn within my website. The response has been interesting.

Some visitors are happy to have access to the information.

One emailed, “Mr. Hinn should know that good works have value in the eyes of God, but not the fortune he has accumulated by preying on naive people.”

Another said, “I suspected Benny Hinn when he appeared on talk TV shows, and also because he is such a showman. I personally attended one of his crusades. I saw children that looked like they were dying, but couldn’t get to him. Benny Hinn is not giving hope to people, but destroying any hope that many had to start with. It’s my opinion that people who use God to gain power, money, fame, fortune and have no interest in the souls of the people they minister to, will have to answer to the Savior one day.”

But perhaps the most telling response is from Hinn’s fans that are not so happy with me.

One wrote, “I would be very careful about messing with God’s Anointed! Benny Hinn is anointed. God does love you. Please listen to God.”

Many of those who attend Benny Hinn crusades seem to think the faith healer and God are virtually synonymous.

And what about the money?

Another Hinn fan said, “It takes money to be on TV and to do crusades. By giving ‘into good soil’ we, are blessed. God Blesses His people and Benny Hinn is a man of God. Why is everyone hung up on money? The streets in heaven are paved with gold.”

But some of the faithful can get downright nasty. One angry Hinn groupie wrote, “Have you ever attended a Benny Hinn crusade or any other man of God? If you had, you would be ashamed of yourself and immediately destroy this website. However, I know you Satan. I know the deception you so cleverly weave around men.”

One of Hinn’s true believers put it more succinctly, “God rules not Satan you stupid idiot.”

Benny Hinn is probably the most popular Pentecostal healer in the world; despite the fact that no healing connected to his crusades has ever been objectively proven.

But now there are some well-documented casualties.

A man had a heart attack and other medical emergencies occurred directly linked to a recent Hinn crusade, reports the BBC.

It seems that crowd control is one “miracle” beyond the scope of the preacher’s calling. Thousands of people were turned away form a Hinn event in England due to confusion over tickets and guest passes and the result was chaos.

Isn’t there something in the bible, which states that God, is not the source of “confusion”?

Hinn has developed a “cult-following” of fans that pack stadiums around the world for his tours. They say he is a “man of God” and “anointed” to do “God’s work.” And criticism of the evangelist is likely to be perceived by his faithful as the “work of the devil.”

However, Benny Hinn has frequently been criticized in media reports for faking healing and living lavishly off the cash flow provided by his ministry.

Apparently the devil is working overtime.

Interestingly, Hinn styles his hair in an extravagant comb-over to conceal a receding hairline. Why can’t the famous healer, supposedly connected to remissions of cancer and other “miracles,” take care of something as insignificant as baldness? Doesn’t “The Lord” work that way?

And Indian publication “The Week” ran an article about “Fake Healing,” which reports the exploits of one supposed healer named Alex Orbito.

Orbito is a so-called “psychic surgeon.” This means he can somehow penetrate the body and literally pull out illness, such as cancer, tumors or whatever. However, it seems Orbito and his entourage became rather “testy” if not hostile when pressed for objective proof of the healer’s work.

No meaningful evidence was forthcoming and Orbito appears to be little more than a con man exploiting the frailties of others. But his stage show, complete with “blood” after psychic incisions, offers more visually than many American healers.

Benny Hinn is an itinerant Pentecostal healer from the United States who gathers thousands to witness his healing crusades at various venues around the globe. Hinn’s organization draws millions of dollars in contributions annually, which affords the pastor a very comfortable lifestyle.

Interestingly Hinn has an extravagant comb over hairstyle, which is an obvious effort to conceal his receding hairline. Why can’t the preacher heal himself? It would seem a simple task from a man who claims he has witnessed cancer remissions and limbs grow through his crusades. Can’t he grow some hair on his own head?

Perhaps the Lord does work mysteriously. Hinn like Orbito, can’t produce objective proof of his healing either. A good book to read about this burgeoning business is “The Faith Healers” by James Randi, a noted skeptic.