Costi Hinn: Defining Deception

Costi Hinn is pastor of Mission Bible Church in Tustin, California. He’s also the author of “Defining Deception: Freeing the Church from the Mystical-Miracle Movement,” the topic of this episode. Costi was saved out of the Word of Faith circuit and now seeks to lead others out of this dangerous and heretical movement.


Outline of the Discussion
  • Costi begins by telling his story. He grew up in the Word of Faith movement as the nephew of Benny Hinn. They lived a luxurious life built on the donations of people supporting their ministries. He “sowed a seed of faith” by working with “Uncle Benny” before going to college; flying around the world on a private jet and staying at hotels that cost as much as $25,000 per night. They questioned what they did, knowing it stretched the limits, but justified it by twisting the Bible and slapping their bad theology on the methods of what they did.
  • When he want to college, he wanted to play baseball, and ended up at a Baptist college (Dallas Baptist University). His professors were very patient with him, and gave him a lot of Bible teaching.
  • Costi was drawn slowly to Biblical Christianity through study of the Bible, first with his (now) wife and then with his church.
  • Costi co-wrote a book with Anthony Wood that addresses the “Mystical-Miracle Movement.” It shows how the New Apostolic Reformation and Word of Faith movement are both rooted in heretical doctrine. It’s academically researched, but written in every-day language.
  • The book also delineates the differences between: Pentecostal, Charismatic/ Charismatic Renewal, Third Wave, New Apostolic Reformation, and others. It uses original source materials; how those movements describe themselves.
  • Costi includes a chapter on the history of the Mystical-Miracle Movement, beginning about a century ago with Charles Parham. He really formed the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation as we know them today. He rejected Methodism and broke off from the Methodist church. He’s the considered the Father of the Apostolic Faith, or the Father of Pentecost.
  • Parham was one of the main historical figures that taught that tongues is an evidence of salvation.
  • More than anything, Parham paved the way for divergent teaching on: the gifts, tongues, and healing. That’s what gives credence to the prosperity teachers today.
  • Bethel Redding’s healing rooms are a mirror of Parham’s healing home.
  • Parham taught William Seymour, another “General” in the Word of Faith lineage.
  • Kenneth Hagin plagiarized E.W. Kenyon. Kenneth Copeland learned from Hagin.
  • Smith Wigglesworth is the most misunderstood of the heroes in the Word of Faith history. He’s considered a “General” when it comes to healing, the Third Wave, and the NAR. He is the guy everyone wants to be. He was a risk taker and was wild. Todd Bentley found his inspiration for violence in Wigglesworth.
  • Aimee Semple McPherson was big in Los Angeles. She was a leading lady, famous for flamboyance and theatrics. She taught that tongues were essential and healing was guaranteed. She was a founder of the Foursquare Church, which taught four fundamental teachings: (1) Jesus is Savior, (2) Jesus is baptizer (implying that He baptizes people with the Holy Spirit, evidenced with tongues), (3) Jesus is healer (implying that because of the cross, all can receive healing now), and (4) Jesus as coming King
  • The teaching on healing is inconsistent, as the logical conclusion would preclude these teachers from ever needing eyeglasses or ever getting sick themselves. Costi was rocked to her core when his mother got a tumor on her pituitary gland. She was healed by doctors, not faith in healing or their Word of Faith theology.
  • The guaranty of healing refers to our future in Heaven, not during this life.
  • Nothing being taught now is new. It all goes back at least 100 years. It’s a new face on old heresy.
  • Costi’s position now on tongues is that, Biblically it was always known human languages. There is nothing Biblical about ecstatic utterances. He also believes that this gift has ceased, as reflected in 1 Corinthians 13:8.
  • The most dangerous thing, in Costi’s view, is their Christology.
Scriptures Referenced
  • 1 Corinthians 12:30
  • James 1:2
  • 2 Timothy
  • 1 Corinthians 13:8
Additional Resources
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