Hinn, Benny (b.1952)(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
By the beginning of the twenty-first century, Benny Hinn had overcome a number of critics to emerge as the major exemplar of the Pentecostal healing tradition. Hinn was born in Jaffa, Israel, the son of the former mayor of the city. He was raised in an Eastern Orthodox environment.
At the age of eleven, Hinn had a vision of Jesus. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to Toronto, Canada. The initial vision did not seem to change the normal trajectory of his life, but a second vision in 1972 led to his personal conversion to Christianity, and he entertained the option of entering the ministry. He soon joined a charismatic group that met in a local Anglican church. In 1973 he attended services conducted by Pentecostal healer Kathryn Kuhlman (1907–1976). This visit to her church in Pittsburgh catalyzed his decision to become a minister. The following year he was healed of a stuttering dysfunction that had been an obstacle to his preaching, and he soon was regularly delivering sermons around Toronto.
Although not closely associated with Kuhlman, Hinn discovered that healings were spontaneously occurring at the services he led. As his reputation as a healer spread, he was invited to speak across the continent, and he began to appear on a weekly television show. Following Kuhlman’s death in 1976, he began to identify himself as carrying on a similar ministry. As was true of Kuhlman, he rarely laid his hands on people to pray for healing. Rather, in his services he waits for people to experience healing and then invites them forward to testify to their healing and receive a confirming blessing from him. Often in this encounter, the healed will be filled with the Holy Spirit, manifest by their falling backward as if pushed. This experience is termed slaying in the Spirit.
In 1983 Hinn relocated to Orlando, Florida, and became the pastor of the Orlando Christian Center (now the World Christian Center). During the next two decades he was attacked on a number of fronts. Like Kuhlman, he was charged with claiming many healings that never occurred. His orthodoxy was questioned by some counter-cult spokespersons. Others charged him with living an extravagant lifestyle inappropriate to his calling. In response, Hinn made several changes in his theology and specifically repudiated some ideas that others had read into his writings, although some conservative critics have not been satisfied.
Today, Hinn continues to lead what has become a global endeavor. Benny Hinn Ministries has opened offices in fifteen countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
In 2004 he announced the formation of the World Healing Fellowship, a denomination-like association of ministers and congregations. A short time before, Hinn had moved his headquarters from Florida to suburban Dallas, Texas. This Is Your Day!, Hinn’s television show, airs daily on cable across North America and in some 60 other countries. Hinn resides in Orange County, Florida, where his television show is taped.