Fairly recently Tim Ellsworth commented on a news report on a recent Benny Hinn crusade. Watching or hearing about Benny Hinn both angers and saddens me- because of the impact on souls. While much could be said about Hinn, one of the most alarming things in the news story is the comment of a local pastor who was supportive of the Hinn crusade. The final paragraph of the story reads:
“As pastor of a cozy 100-member church in Denver, McHendry harbors no envy for his astonishingly successful counterpart on stage. Sure, he chuckled, "When he lines up the wheelchairs and they're all shiny, and now the people can walk - c'mon, Benny. But I think that showmanship is necessary to reach some people for God.”
First, whatever was meant by the writer, “cozy” is not a complimentary description of a church in my mind. More significantly, however, I was stunned by the statement that “showmanship is necessary to reach some people for God.” While many evangelical pastors would not support Benny Hinn, many do subscribe to the idea that showmanship is necessary to reach some people for God. We may prefer more acceptable gimmicks than ‘healings’, but it is evident that we think gimmicks are the way. We expose by our actions that we fail to believe that the gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). Our infatuation with gimmicks makes us sound like Paul’s opponents in Corinth to whom Paul says, “I know people are asking for signs and wisdom, but we refuse. We simply preach Christ crucified, the wisdom and power of God.” (cf. 1 Cor 1:18-25). Paul says he has nothing to do with crafty techniques or watering down the gospel, but rather “by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Cor 4:2).
If we seriously desire the salvation of souls, let us be clear: showmanship is not necessary for reaching people for God. What is necessary is clear manifestation of truth, i.e. the gospel.