Saturday, February 16, 2008

Where are the Nail Prints?

In the Middle Ages there was a popular story about the fourth century saint, Martin of Tours in which Satan appeared to him but not as we often picture the devil.  No tails, pitchfork, flames or smoke. Rather he appeared clothed in splendid robes, wearing a crown and surrounded by a glorious light.  He announced, with a voice like music, that he was Christ, Himself.  Martin gazed upon him in dazzled silence.   "Martin," said the Evil One. "Why don't you believe? Can't you see that I am Christ?"

Martin replied.  "Where are the nail prints? Where is the scar from the spear" There were none. As soon as he asked that question, the apparition vanished.

That is a question we must ask of every messenger who claims to come from God.

Where are the nail prints?

Hinn-Benny I was reminded of this as I watched an expose on Benny Hinn last night on television.  Hinn is presently under investigation by the US Senate Finance Committee because of concerns that have come to light over his alleged extravagant misuse of donors funds.  This is not the first time that Hinn's credibility has been called into question.  But like a Teflon pan, however, nothing seems to stick to him permanently and his supporters continue to flock to him like the angel of light he portrays himself to be.  I, however, want to yell out whenever I see his image on the television, "Where are the nail prints??"

When the apostle Paul needed to defend his ministry against his critics in Corinth who questioned whether his ministry was really from the Lord, how did he answer?  Did he point to his conversion stats, the number of churches he planted, his baptism figures, or donation records?  Did he strut around in expensive, tailor-made white suits with gold embroidered lettering on his breast?

No, these are Paul's credentials that prove that he is a servant of Christ: far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.  (2 Cor. 11:23-28)

How I wish we could pull our eyes off of those whose lives and ministries are marked with success, riches and glory and look to those whose lives and service are marked by suffering, sacrifice, and shame.  This is a temptation for believers wherever we live.  I have seen persecuted believers seduced by the musical voices of those who promise much and deliver little (see Jude 12 and 2 Peter 2:17-19).  Oh, that we as God's people would look away from the dazzling light, the fancy clothes, and the crowns, close our ears to the musical voice and look, instead, for the nail prints.


Anonymous said...

I was of the same mind about our good friend benny. But I had to go with a bible school group to one of his meetings. I was not thrilled but I went. I can honestly say that I have never seen a more real christian, there was nothing flashy about the way the meeting went only that every time some one was healed by prayer or laying on of hands, Mr. Hinn always made sure that God got the glory. not once did see or hear him promote himself, but he gave all glory to God. Anyways, I think that those who have never meet him can be a little doubtful as to his motives, but if you have the chance to go some time you will find that God is glorified in those meeting and that is why people get healed.
-A friend
P.s. Don't be quick to cast your opinions against others.

Glenn Penner said...

I love it when people assume that if anyone who disagrees with them, the critic must not have done their homework. Sorry, John, you really don't know me well enough to make that assumption. If there is one thing I work hard at not being, it is being quick to judgment. I am a researcher, first and foremost. I try hard not to jump to conclusions and I am more concerned about critiquing ideas than actual individuals. Hinn is only one (albeit one of the most prominent) representative of a far greater problem in western Christianity, in my opinion.

On another note, there are plenty of people who, including former Hinn staff, who would say that the last place you should go to meet God for healing is to a Benny Hinn meeting.

But even assuming that things look good at the meeting, it is not what goes on in the meetings that is of concern; it is what goes on behind the scenes. Integrity is who you are when the cameras are gone. This, you seem to not want to take seriously and which was the theme of my blog. Satan himself appears as a angel from heaven. Does it surprise you that someone like Hinn would put on a good show and use all of the correct words? But of course, he would. The most dangerous heresy is that which appears more true that the truth itself.

Sorry, John, not convinced by your argument... I don't need to try drugs to know that they are dangerous.

P said...

Dear GP,
I would agree with you on the fact that one does not have to try drug in order to know that they are bad :D . Though I find this example emotional, but not applicable to our topic. But once again I am not an advocate for our friend Benny, I have been to simple one of his meetings. I would like to address some of you statements politely as possible. One, I didn't assume, nor does my comment leave that impression. my statement was based on what I read. Two based on you reply to my comment I see that you have the opinion of others who share your views, but no statements of any kind that show the other side of the picture (of which you will find just as many if not more, including staff), which causes your post to be unbalanced. This is why I defend Benny H. not due to some great love I have for him. I find your article quick, emotional (zeal without knowledge) and unbalanced, you express the opinions of others without any real person knowledge of the man or of his relationship with God. I could write an article on the other side of the scale based on your "standards" making Mr.B look like our Lord and savior himself. My intent in my comment is one to say that I feel you post is unfair and lacks any kind of brotherly love. and I apologize if my comments are strong, I am guilty of judging others. But, I will say this one last thing, in the meeting I felt the spirit of God, I didn't hear Mr. Hinn use any "flashy Christianese" and until you balance your post or go for yourself and then report what you find at these mtg. I will have to say... "Sorry, GP, not convinced by your argument" though I have enjoyed talking with you.

Anonymous said...

Dear GP,
I wanted to ask you to forgive me, in my own words I didn't handle myself in a spirit of Brotherly love. So would you please forgive my the harsh way that I handled myself and the spirit of Pride that displayed, in my comment?

Glenn Penner said...

Certainly. No offense was taken.