'I'm correcting my theology,' says Benny Hinn

Benny Hinn said he will never ask anyone again to give ,000

He's dismissed by many mainstream Christian leaders as a false prosperity gospel preacher and after years of criticism, including from his own nephew, Benny Hinn may be starting to agree with them. 

During a Facebook Live broadcast on Monday night, he told his audience that prosperity teaching has "gone a little crazy" and that he is "done" with telling people that they should give $1,000 to his ministry. 

He was met by applause when he said that the "Holy Ghost is just fed up with it" and that the Gospel is "not for sale". 

"I'm sorry to say that prosperity has gone a little crazy and I'm correcting my own theology and you need to all know it. Because when I read the Bible now, I don't see the Bible in the same eyes I saw 20 years ago," he said.

"I think it's an offence to the Lord, it's an offence to say give $1,000. I think it's an offence to the Holy Spirit to place a price on the Gospel. I'm done with it. I will never again ask you to give $1,000 or whatever amount, because I think the Holy Ghost is just fed up with it." 

He went on to say that such teaching "hurts the Gospel" and that he was even going to "rebuke" other pastors who teach people that they will be blessed if they give large sums of money.

"I think it hurts the Gospel, so I'm making this statement for the first time in my life and frankly, I don't care what people think about me anymore," he continued.

"When they invite me to telethons I think they will not like me anymore. Because when you look at the word of God ... if I hear one more time, break the back of debt with $1,000, I'm gonna rebuke them.

"I think that's buying the Gospel. That's buying the blessing. That's grieving the Holy Spirit. ... If you are not giving because you love Jesus, don't bother giving.

"I think giving has become such a gimmick; it's making me sick to my stomach."

In a Facebook live last year, Hinn said that his interpretation of the Bible was changing with age.

"We get attacked for preaching prosperity, well it's in the Bible," he said. 

"But I think some have gone to the extreme with it sadly, and it's not God's word what is taught, and I think I'm as guilty as others. Sometimes you go a little farther than you really need to go and then God brings you back to normality and reality."

He continued: "When I was younger I was influenced by the preachers who taught whatever they taught. But as I've lived longer, I'm thinking, 'Wait a minute, you know this doesn't fit totally with the Bible and it doesn't fit with the reality.' So what is prosperity? No lack. I've said this before."

He went on, "Did Elijah the prophet have a car? No. Did not even have a bicycle. He had no lack ... Did Jesus drive a car or live in a mansion? No. He had no lack. How about the apostles? None lacked among them. Today, the idea is abundance and palatial homes and cars and bank accounts. The focus is wrong ... It's so wrong."

Hinn's thinking has possibly been influenced by his nephew Costi Hinn, who has publicly criticised his teaching. 

Earlier this year, Costi published the book God, Greed and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies, in which he says that his family peddled the false promise of wealth and success in exchange for money. 

"Giving to God was the secret to unlocking your dreams," he writes in the book.

"It was the secret to job promotions. It was access to our divine bank account. My uncle often told the story of how he got out of debt using this system of belief. His father-in-law had told him that in order to be debt free, he needed to pay God. Benny explained that once he started emptying his bank account and giving money away to ministry, money started showing up from everywhere!"