AMERICAN televangelist Benny Hinn kicked off his three-day miracle crusade by promising to heal sick bodies, oppressed lives and lost souls, in a three-hour rally on Friday at Queen’s Park Savannah.
“People of God expect your miracle tonight,” he proclaimed.
He promised to bring miracles to Trinidad, but made no reference to the controversy over his previous visit in which the Maha Sabha had discovered that a man who was supposedly healed by Hinn had died soon after.
Hinn simply said, quite cryptically, that last time he visited Trinidad he had not seen as much as he has since seen. He also claimed that when he had a ministry in Canada, one-third of his choir were Trinidadians.
For three hours Hinn built up the expectation of people for a miraculous healing. He sang songs about healing, quoted scriptural accounts of healing, and related his own deeds.
Relating many times in the Bible of Jesus Christ healing people, Hinn declared: “Why not now, why not here, why not tonight? He will do it again.” He told the 30,000-strong crowd that they could get their healing simply by believing and then doing some sort of act of affirmation. He softly said: “Healing is as easy as breathing.”
Relating a healing service he had done in Canada in the 1970s for native North Americans, he said: “For 30 years, He has not failed me, and He will not fail me tonight.” The crowd loudly clapped.
“I’m not a healer, I’m not God, simply I have made my life available.”
Rather than bring people up on stage to be healed, Hinn said they could receive it wherever they were in the audience.
As the choir and congregation sang the hymn “He touched me,” ill persons were invited to receive their healing by Hinn saying “Jesus will not force himself on anyone; all they have to do is call out.”
Local church personnel then selected the “healed” persons to hand over to a team of Hinn’s assistants who brought them up to the fence in front of the stage.
About five persons were eventually allowed on stage to be with Hinn.
These included a man who claimed to have been healed of a problem with a nerve in his leg who danced around the stage, with Hinn throwing his crutch into the crowd. Two women — one from Laventille Open Bible Church and one from Barbados — claimed to have been healed respectively of a problem with their leg and throat. A little girl aged about nine said she could walk properly having been healed of a dog-bite she had received earlier.
The crowd was really moved by the 11-year-old daughter of the Nigerian High Commissioner who is a pastor.
The child, Philomena, suffers from sickle-cell anaemia. During the service, she lay down on the stage with her limbs vibrating. Afterwards she got up and started to preach. She literally brought the house down, and promised to return for the second day of the crusade (yesterday).