Ulf Ekman about Benny Hinns Saturday sermon: – it was in some ways, a heretical view of Jesus that were presented
Healing evangelist Benny Hinn just left Sweden and Word of Lifes yearly conference, hosted by Pastor Ulf Ekman. A big part of christianity here in Sweden raised their eyebrows when Word of Life church announced they would call the flamboyant millionaire and so called healing evangelist. Pastor Ulf Ekman seemed to have missed years of strange doctrines and false prophecies flowing out of the mouth of Benny Hinn. While the largest christian newspaper in Sweden (Dagen.se) questioned Benny Hinns visit before, during and after his coming to Sweden, their smaller competitor varldenidag.se tried their best to defend pastor Hinn. As many of the employees at Världen idag are members of Word of Life Church, and Ulf Ekman himself chairman of the board, this was in many ways expected. Only after Ulf Ekman strongly came against Benny Hinns teaching, the Word of Life newspaper released some of the more critical voices against Hinn. They have yet to mention the strange Paula White – Benny Hinn relationship that started to unfold around the world on the same day Hinn came to Word of Life.
Somewhat pressured by the massive criticism from both Dagen.se and a majority of the christian blog-community Ulf Ekman promised in advance that he would correct any strange teachings by Benny Hinn.
To the surprise of many, Ulf Ekman came through with that promise in a blogpost (also quoted in the newspaper Dagen). Ulf Ekman did not spare his words when describing Benny Hinns sermon held on Saturday, 24th of July.
”… it is my duty to comment Saturday evening’s strange teaching. I must say I was shocked by the content of Benny Hinns teaching. We have known each other since 1986, although it’s been a while since we met last. There is no doubt that the Lord has used him as an evangelist all over the world for many years. …I appreciate him a lot and really like him as a healing evangelist. Having said this, and it is important that it must be said, I must say that I have never in all the meetings I have had with him, heard all this, what he said and taught us yesterday. His preaching… went far beyond what I mean is classic Christian faith and sound doctrine. It was not just some Gnostic elements, it unfortunately had far too much of pure gnosticism.
I write this only after talking to him privately last night and because these are very serious questions. Too many believers do not care about either theology or its roots… The same Holy Spirit who does miracles, also provides sound and genuine nourishment – miracles alone can not confirm all of our teachings.
Saturday night began with Benny talking about the Holy Spirit as person, not just as a force. But very quickly… became extremely speculative about pre-adam races and past sin. It was also unnecessarily complicated when he spoke of the Trinity from ”the human trinity” standpoint. Our body is not just an outer shell… without an essential and integral part of our identity and personality. We do not downplay the body’s role, on the contrary. We are not a spirit, in contrast to our body. We are spirit, soul and body, or spirit and flesh, and man’s so-called trinity is kept together in one unit – our personality, and we can not separate it into various isolated compartments. Therefore, the resurrection of the body so important, because the body is at least as important as the soul,as Benny mentioned, but mostly in passing.
A heretical view of Jesus presented
When it finally came to Jesus in the sermon, it was in some ways, a heretical view of Jesus that were presented. The son was not the Son of eternity, the Father is not Father of eternity, and then it sounded like there was a time when the Son did not exist. I asked him about this directly after the meeting and he denied that this is what he meant, but he felt that the Son was eternal as the Word and called Son only after coming to earth. It was also strange when he speculated that ”if Jesus had sinned, his body would not have decayed anyway.” This is important to reject, for in that case the body of Jesus was not an actual body, making the incarnation incomplete and illusory.
Dualist and heretics like Marcion argued that it just seemed as if the body of Jesus was real. Seemingly real, but not, because God does not really mix with matter that is evil. But the Christian faith says that Jesus body was a true human body. If Jesus didn’t truly have a human body, he was not truly a man. Is he not truly a man, he can not identify with us and be our representative – and then we can not be saved.
Then he argued that Jesus’ blood did not come from Mary, but directly from God. So it is not. In Mary and through Mary the whole human nature of Jesus was shaped and that includes all elements of his physical body, even his blood. Blood is a part of his physical body and his true human nature. This is pure and holy and is now before the throne in heaven and speaks about grace… Jesus is present throughout and is in unity with his human nature, without confusion, two natures in one person.
It would have been much better if Benny had avoided his deep thinking and not gotten in over his head and instead simply talk about Jesus in a powerful way as he can do and and as an evangelist should do. When doing so it is important that its the biblical Jesus that is presented…
It seems that it all comes down to a settlement against the various Gnostic elements in the Christian faith right now. I honestly thought that it was not what we would hear from Benny Hinn this evening. It was an unpleasant surprise that there would be so much of this teaching present. As it was – it must actually be rejected. Ultimately this is about our salvation…
This is a Jesus that can not save, but instead leads us into myths and speculations. When I talked to Benny about this he listened seriously and openly and I hope he received what I said. It would be so unfortunate if he continues to teach these speculations instead of simpy being the healing evangelist that he is. The Sunday morning meeting was different, with a central Christian doctrine concerning the commitment to Jesus and in the evening he stood strong in the unique office that he has. I am happy for this and pleased to be his friend.” (end quote)
Ulf Ekman himself has made a strange theological journey the last 8-10 years. Many followers, former followers and critiques of the Swedish word of faith movement has noticed a change from being a clear evangelical voice to becoming a spokesperson for an ecumenical movement under the pope or at least aligning central doktrines to the Roman Catholic Church. Ulf Ekman been quoted giving Pope Leo XIII credit for initiating the pentecostal movement, adopting the teaching of Mary as an eternal virgin, calling the monastic movement prophetic and making a number of strange simular comments.
The Word of Life staff also helped develope the website for the Östanbäck monastery. An organisation working activly to unite all of christianity under the Roman Catholic pope. Ulf and Birgitta Ekman also gave a large donation some time ago to help fund a new building on the Östanbäck property outside of Uppsala, Sweden.
Over and out
MyTwoCents/ Daniel – Aletheia christian blog and thinktank of Sweden