I watched part of another Benny Hinn healing service today to see if there was anything new, different, or unusual.
In the past I have studied and looked for patterns in his healing methods and found that he has only solidified his methods all the more with old age.
He still bosses people around on stage. He orders helpers to come quickly and run over to help him on a regular basis. He also regularly orders his audience to lift their hands and pray in the spirit (IE: pray in tongues).
Slaying in the Spirit is still the center of his show. Kathryn Kuhlman (his mentor and idol he never met) slayed people with an upturned hand under their chins. Benny Hinn uses several methods depending upon the individual in front of him. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which people go down easily and which don’t, so Benny pushes people down, blows on them, waves his hands and uses other methods to get people down according to his perception of how easily they will go down. If he senses they will be tough, he pushes them down. If they are already swaying and look like they are ready to go down, a wave of his hand or the wind of his breath will do. Sometimes he starts with a wave of his hand and if it doesn’t work, he will progress through several techniques until the right one puts them on the floor. If nothing works, he tells them or else implies that they are grieving the Holy Spirit or else altogether not Christian. Once the people are down, he goes back to the ones who went down easily for a second, third, fourth, or fifth time.
In most cases, people spend more time on the ground than they do giving their testimonies. Benny still likes his stage littered with bodies on the floor.
He still keeps a high level of worship throughout the demonstrations of his slaying. In the middle of testimonies, Benny often commands his audience to sing songs (leading them with his out of tune voice) or barks out orders to pray in the Spirit (pray in tongues). I suspect he does this from time to time if he feels like there is a lull in the drama taking place on the stage. It keeps the people’s expectations and emotions high (at a fever pitch) throughout the service. I don’t think he realizes that expectation is the most important ingredient to produce the placebo effect.
He still tells people that the sign of healing is a feeling they have. In this video, Benny focused only on the feeling of a heat inside. If you feel a heat in your body when you listen to Benny and worship, you are being healed. In past videos, he told them there were several ways one can tell God is healing, which include feeling the Holy Spirit and other feelings. Historically speaking, Pentecostals have almost always enjoyed digging for emotions and feelings. Many Pentecostal evangelists and pastors measure spirituality on the basis of how animated and emotional people get. Benny takes this to a new level in his meetings.
Relief of pain is still the number one sign of healing. When I first started studying testimonies of healing in his and other healing crusades, I was looking for what types of medical issues were brought forward. I was looking to see if they followed the realm of relief in which placebos are most effective.
Placebos work best with pain, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and Parkinson’s Disease, but are effective in other areas as well. It turns out that somewhere around 90 to 95% of all the healing I have seen from Benny Hinn and Kathryn Kuhlman (close to 200 examples and counting) fall within the category of types of problems a placebo is equally effective.
More than anything, placebos help people in pain. The video I watched today included 16 healing testimonies. The word pain was mentioned in 67% of the testimonies with another 13% that were probably pain related but the word pain was not brought up, thus bringing the number up to 80%. This follows all my other studies where healing was pain related 60-80% of the time.
I can’t emphasize enough that a feeling of heat or a lack of pain means nothing and does not equal a cure. The lack of pain is usually the temporary lack of a symptom and not the cure itself.
He still tells people they will lose their healing if they don’t come forward to testify. In this video, he emphasized this more than in the past. In the past videos I have seen, he told his audiences they had to come forward to solidify their healing and make sure healing did not go away; but for some reason, in this video he emphasized this far more, repeating several times, “You must come forward if you want the healing to stay.”
He still promotes experience over Bible.
Even though Benny Hinn is getting older and can still bring in a large audience, he seems to be getting more confident in experience over the Bible itself.
For example, Jesus never told anyone they had to tell others about healing in order to solidify healing. In fact, sometimes Jesus told people to tell no one except the priests who served as doctors who verified healing. On the other hand, Benny tells his audience that they have to testify up front to keep their healing. If they don’t go up front to testify, they will lose their healing.
Losing healing is not in the Bible. In John 5, Jesus healed a man and told a man that something worse would happen if he continued to sin. Whatever “something worse” was, was not explained. It could be eternity apart from God. Even if Jesus was implying that the man could lose his healing and worse, it would be due to sin and had nothing to do with telling others about his healing.
I am convinced that popular healers know that many people lose their healing because so many healers write books on how to keep their healing. Neither Jesus nor the Bible ever taught us how to “keep healing,” because when God heals, it lasts. Losing healing within hours or a day or two is a sign that one was never healed in the first place, but rather that person was convinced of healing based on a lack of pain or a feeling experienced. None of Jesus’ healing miracles were temporary. No one was ever recorded coming to Jesus and telling him their healing went away.
Temporary healing is a sure sign of a placebo type of effect created by profound expectation and trust in the one healing. Expectation and trust are key ingredients that produce placebo effects, and that is why Benny stresses constant worship and upkeep of expectation throughout his performances. Such worship and corporate praying in tongues keeps up the level of expectation and flows into emotional experiences such as overwhelming heat or the presence of God.
Jesus never had to force the crowds around him to keep their expectations and emotions high. He never told his followers to keep on praying in the spirit or led them in songs in order to keep the healing going.
Jesus was not limited in the scope of his healing to the types of healing that can react to placebos or that can be easily manipulated into looking like a real healing for those who see healing.
Everyone who went to Jesus was healed. No one was ever turned away and told they did not have enough faith. The only people who were refused healing were unbelievers and haters of Jesus. Jesus also told his disciples who were healers in training that they lacked faith. So if there is any lack of faith out there, let the healers take responsibility.
What Benny says and does is not consistent with what the Bible says but is built on his experience messing with the placebo effect. The teachings he gives are based on experience and not on the Bible. The Bible says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”
CAN GOD USE THE PLACEBO EFFECT?
I believe He can and does. Although those who study the placebo effect are still looking for ways to make them last, I believe that in some cases a placebo can jump start lasting healing.
IS EVERY HEALING THE RESULT OF A PLACEBO EFFECT?
I believe that many healers have had real experiences seeing real healing from God. However, in an attempt to reach out to more people, they often times unknowingly stumble upon the placebo effect and manufacture what looks like healing but is only temporary relief of a symptom (usually pain).
CAN HEALING DEMONSTRATIONS ON STAGE HURT PEOPLE?
I have arthritis. If I get a Cordizon shot, I can bend and stretch and do all kinds of things I dare not do when the pain is there. The Cordizon shot shields the pain, but my arthritis is still there. As long as that shot lasts, I can do all kinds of things I cannot do when the pain is there.
When healers have people walk, run, stretch, and jump around on stage, the healers assume the people are healed. But most of those people are only temporarily without pain, so they can stretch and do things they were unable to do before. Inside their bodies, the arthritis is still there, the cancers are still growing, and the backs are still deteriorating. As they jump up and down on stage, many are doing their bodies more harm, but because there is no pain, people think that such demonstrations are okay.
William Nolan who was a Christian doctor shadowed Kathryn Kuhlman and looked into 23 of the people healed from one crusade and found that none of those people had healing that lasted. One lady who had cancer of the spine was asked to run around without her brace on the stage. The next day her back collapsed and she died 4 months later.