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Bennie Hinn in Nigerië

Written by Prof Johan Malan.

Die volgende is ‘n verkorte weergawe van die artikel, Pastor Hinn in Nigerian money row, wat deur Sola Odunfa vir die BBC Focus on Africa Magazine geskryf is:

“In late April, scores of giant billboards and thousands of wall posters all over Lagos proclaimed the first of three days of divine miracles and healing for at least six million Nigerians – but at the end of the third day there was more bickering over money than praise to God for mercy received.

The vehicle of the expected wonders of the Holy Spirit was the United States-based evangelist Benny Hinn, who flew into Nigeria in a Gulfstream private jet with a large retinue that included his bodyguards. He was received at the Lagos airport in a motorcade of Hummer Jeeps and other expensive cars.

The deaf would hear, the blind would see, the lame would jump and walk, barren women would conceive, the jobless would gain employment, and the enemy – both seen and unseen – would be vanquished. Mention any problem – physical, spiritual, economic – Hinn had come with the instant solution. But things did not go well.

About 300 000 people attended the event each night – a modest congregation by Nigerian crusade standards. It is estimated that about one million worshippers attend the monthly Holy Ghost Congress service organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the same venue.

Whatever disappointment he felt on the first and second days of the miracle crusade, Hinn kept to himself – but he opened up with anger on the final day: “Four million dollars down the drain,” he shouted into the microphone from the huge rostrum. He said that he had been assured by the local organising committee that at least six million people would attend the crusade, but the total turnout was only about one million.

As a result, he realised that all the mega public address equipment he had flown in from the US was not needed. He also complained about some claimed expenditures… He then announced publicly that he would not provide any more funds, and that the local organisers should pay all outstanding bills from the collections they made on the first two days. Hinn’s complaints instantly overshadowed the spiritual content of the event…

Big spenders

The Pentecostal faith in Nigeria is a veritable goldmine, judging by the opulence of most of its pastors. In an economic environment in which the majority of Nigeria’s 130 million population has been impoverished by unemployment and the lack of basic social infrastructure, the church has become the last refuge for many people.

The favoured churches are the new-generation Pentecostal assemblies that are owned and managed solely by fast-talking American-style pastors. Rich and powerful Nigerians run after the pastors for spiritual protection from imaginary enemies who, they are convinced, are lurking around the corner to pull them down. These are the big spenders in the churches. The attraction lies in the often-quoted biblical injunction that “givers never lack” and the fact that most pastors don’t ask the donors how they make the money they give.

A cashier at a five-star hotel was arrested for stealing nearly 40 million naira (about US$ 400 000) from his employer. His colleagues were shocked because there was nothing to suggest that he was living above his means. He had no car and he lived in a rented flat in a non-fashionable part of Lagos. The man confessed that he gave all the money to his Pentecostal church.

In another case a bank clerk stole 40 million naira from his employer and gave 10 million to his church as “seed money” in the belief that the seed would germinate and yield several fold as promised by his pastor.”

Beoordeling

Daar is oorvloedige getuienis dat die voorspoedsevangelie en die ingesteldheid op tekens en wonders wat deur die koninkryksteologie in die hand gewerk is, verwoestende gevolge in die geestelike lewe van miljoene mense het. Die verwagting word in hulle harte gevestig dat materiële seëninge – baie geld, ‘n hoogs betalende werk, ‘n duur motor, kitsgenesing en verlossing van alle teëspoed – die belangrikste voordele van die Christendom is. Elke probleem en struikelblok kan na bewering deur die geloof oorwin word, omdat ons nóú die voordele van God se koninkryk moet geniet. Selfs geestelike seëninge soos die salwing van die Heilige Gees word na die fisiese vlak afgetrek en met ondervindings soos val in die Gees, gille, die maak van diere-geluide en ander snaakse ondervindings gelykgestel.

Ons moet beslis weet dat daar in die laaste dae valse profete en valse christusse sal wees (mense wat hulleself as spesiale “gesalfdes” van die Here voordoen) en wat hulle gehore op ‘n listige manier sal mislei. Jesus het gesê dat hulle in sy Naam sal kom en baie mense sal mislei (Matt. 24:4-5). Hy het weer hierdie waarskuwing herhaal: “En baie valse profete sal opstaan en baie mense mislei” (Matt. 24:11). Watter metodes sal hulle gebruik? “Hulle sal groot tekens en wonders doen” (Matt. 24:24). Hierdie wonderwerke sal op genesing, voorspoed en onmiddellike rykdom ingestel wees.

Wat sê die Bybel van materiële rykdom sonder bekering van sonde en wêreldgesindheid, en sonder ‘n oorgawe aan die Here om nederig voor Hom te leef in afwagting op ons ewige loon in die hemel? Dit beskryf só ‘n lewenswyse as uiterste dwaasheid en ‘n ernstige vorm van selfmisleiding. Die Here Jesus vra die volgende baie belangrike vraag: “Wat sal dit die mens baat as hy die hele wêreld win en aan sy siel skade ly?” (Mark. 8:36). Ons moet hoër, geestelike waardes in die lewe hê as ons só ‘n situasie wil vermy: “Pas op en wees op julle hoede vir die hebsug, want iemand se lewe bestaan nie uit die oorvloed van sy besittings nie” (Luk. 12:15).

Paulus rig ‘n sterk waarskuwing aan Timótheus oor mense wat dink dat die godsaligheid winsgewend is: “Want ons het niks in die wêreld ingebring nie; dit is duidelik dat ons ook niks daaruit kan wegdra nie. Maar as ons voedsel en klere het, moet ons daarmee vergenoeg wees. Maar die wat ryk wil word, val in versoeking en strikke en baie dwase en skadelike begeerlikhede wat die mense laat wegsink in verderf en ondergang. Want die geldgierigheid is ‘n wortel van alle euwels; en omdat sommige dit begeer, het hulle afgedwaal van die geloof en hulleself met baie smarte deurboor. Maar jy, man van God, vlug van hierdie dinge weg, en jaag ná die geregtigheid” (1 Tim. 6:7-11).

Die meeste van die vroeë Christene het hierdie waarskuwings teen materialisme en wêreldgesindheid tot hulle eie nadeel en ondergang geïgnoreer. Dieselfde geld ook vir ons, want die eindtydse kerk, Laodicea, word om dieselfde rede deur Christus verwerp: “Ek sal jou uit my mond spuug. Want jy sê: Ek is ryk en het verryk geword en het aan niks gebrek nie; en jy weet nie dat jy is wat ellendig en beklaenswaardig en arm en blind en naak is nie” (Op. 3:16-17). Selfregverdiging, selfverryking en selfagting op grond van die mens se prestasies in die wêreld sal nie standhou wanneer dit aan die vuurproef van God se oordeel onderwerp word nie (1 Kor. 3:13), want hierdie dinge is sekere tekens van geestelike bankrotskap.

DL Moody 32