My teachings 'damaged a lot of people', says Benny Hinn

Benny Hinn has publicly renounced prosperity teaching

After turning his back on the prosperity gospel, Benny Hinn has admitted that his teachings "damaged a lot of people". 

In a sit-down interview with Encounter TV, the televangelist said that he didn't want to be "known as the prosperity teacher" and that there was "gimmickry" involved in such teachings that "needs to stop". 

Hinn surprised many in the Christian community when he told his followers during a recent live broadcast that the Holy Ghost was "fed up" with preachers promising blessings in exchange for donations, and that he was "correcting" his theology.

"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," he said.

"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 elaborated further on his change of views during his interview with Encounter TV host David Diga Hernandez, telling him that as his ministry became increasingly successful in the 90s, he became "distracted" and his teachings "got out of hand".

It became increasingly "troubling", he continued, to ask people to give "seed money" - financial donations to support the ministry or ministry projects, often invited by prosperity preachers with the promise of "health or wealth" being returned on them by God. 

READ MORE: 'I'm correcting my theology,' says Benny Hinn

"What was troubling is the mentioning of amounts connected to some blessing that should come back just because you gave," he continued.

"It just got out of hand; give a thousand to get whatever, a hundredfold. I, myself, said [those things] and my heart was saying different."

Increasingly convicted, he said he started to think about the many "wonderful Christians" who did as he asked and sowed their seed money, only to find that they didn't receive a hundredfold back. 

He admitted that such an experience could damage people for life. 

"What if that hundredfold never came back? What does that do to their faith? What does it do to his future and her future? And then, if it doesn't come, that life is damaged," he said. 

He went on to reveal that some people had implored him in the past to change his teaching because they had found that prosperity theology was "not working".

"I've had people come to me and say, 'please, don't say it again, it's not working in my life,'" he said.

"Sometimes you dismiss it, other times you just don't know what to say or do. But, it has damaged a lot of people."

Now aged 67, Hinn said he wants to ensure that his remaining years of ministry are focused on the message of salvation and "pointing people to the Lord I love".

"How long do I have on this earth? What am I going to do in the next twenty years? That is for me to decide," he said.

"I want to make sure that the next 15-20 years of my life, that my message is the cross. The real call on my life."

He continued: "I want to be known for that. I don't want to be known as the prosperity teacher.

"Prosperity is one thing in the Bible, there's a whole lot more in the Word of God than prosperity but it's become a major issue now because of the gimmickry involved in it. That needs to stop."