The Sunday Mail
SOMETIMES you come across a message that hits some home truths that are difficult to grapple with but they remain truths nonetheless.
Just last week, I had a discussion with a friend who was mourning about how his church leaders were milking him dry financially through endless building project funds, birthday seed for the prophet’s wife which is coming up soon, and all sorts of appreciation seeds.
I asked him: what is in it for you?
Be careful of all these so-called appreciation seeds because this is how these prosperity preachers fund their lavish lifestyles.
Many of the poor in Zimbabwe and other African countries are robbed in the name of Jesus Christ by charlatans who package faith in Jesus Christ and sell promises of untold wealth.
I hope Pastor Costi Hinn’s messages will help not only my friend but many others in his predicament.
In a televised interview was aired on HLN network recently, Pr Costi said: “If you take the Bible and what Jesus taught and the promises of heaven and the riches of heaven and the wonderful glories of heaven and make them a now thing, then you have a model for your best life now and that’s not the heartbeat of Christianity.
“As pastors we have a responsibility to stand up against that and say ‘no.’ For years, I helped spread what I believed was the ‘good news’ to both prosperous and poverty-stricken listeners around the world.
“After each event, my uncle, Benny Hinn and I would board a Gulfstream jet and fly to lavish locations, from Monte Carlo to luxury hotels in Dubai. We were chauffeured in Bentleys and slept in US$25 000-a-night resorts.”
Pr Costi thought he was living the dream life. In retrospect he looks back and sees a nightmare.
“(When I saw what I had become) I was disgusted,” said Pr Costi. “The Gospel then became real, the real Gospel, not just the good news, the bad news too. It’s bad news because I was greedy, I was ambitious for all the wrong things, exploiting the poor, squeezing every last dollar out of people so we could live the way they couldn’t. Using Jesus to do that.”
Pr Costi’s journey away from the prosperity gospel led him away from his family, which he compares to “a royal family combined with the mafia”.
As he became more vocally opposed to his uncle’s legacy he received phone calls from family members telling him not to speak against the family. But the more Pr Costi grappled with a new Gospel message, the more compelled he felt to speak out.
“Our job as preachers and pastors is to give the whole story,” said Pr Costi. “(In my life) I realised the Gospel is first bad news, but then is good news.
“I was disgusted with my former self, but Jesus died to forgive my sins. He loves me just the way I am, in all my mess and greed and if I commit to a change he’ll meet me right where I am and he did.
And he changed my heart. And I did not have a taste for it anymore. I did not want that life.”
Pastor Costi Hinn is on the pastoral staff of a California church that belongs to Independent Fundamental Churches of America. He is nephew to the renowned televangelist Pastor Benny Hinn, who until recently was a strong proponent of the prosperity gospel but has since admitted that there is an error in the prosperity gospel