Pastors claim crusade 'hoodwinked' locals

Figi Times/January 1, 2006

Locals were hoodwinked into believing that they were healed at Benny Hinn's miracle crusade at the weekend, say two local Baptist pastors.

Pastor Ryan Gray of the Victory Baptist Church in Tamavua said he believed people were deceived during the crusade and were merely caught up in the tempo of the event.

"I believe that a lot of the people were just caught up in the music and the atmosphere of the crusade and momentarily forgot about their sickness or injury that they had," said Mr Gray.

"Now I'm not saying that people who went on stage were lying about being healed but I believe that they were deceived into thinking that was the case," he said.

"The atmosphere at the crusade on Friday when I went was like euphoria. There was so much excitement and emotions were really high."

Mr Gray said he had been waiting at the National Stadium from 11am on Friday and had seen an Indian man walking around with crutches.

He said the man didn't seem to need his crutches at all before the crusade even though reports surfaced afterwards that his left leg had been paralysed for the last 15 years.

"This man featured in the other two newspapers but the funny thing was that he didn't seem to be paralysed because his legs looked like they could support him," said Mr Gray.

"He was the first person onstage to claim his healing when Mr Hinn called for those who were healed to come on stage," said Mr Gray.

Pastor Navi Bola, of the Liberty Baptist Church in Ba, said people had called to tell him that although they had been 'healed' at the crusade, their sicknesses seemed to have returned on Monday.

"From Monday morning, I had received calls from three people saying that sicknesses they had before the crusade had returned and wasn't any better," said Mr Bola.

"These people followed what Mr Hinn said and put their hands on the parts of their bodies that were in pain but they didn't feel any healing."

"What needs to be done is for people who were healed to be verified because one of the members of the organising committee said on radio that the crusade was focused on salvation and not entirely on healing," said Mr Bola.

"That is different from what was being said before the crusade because it was all about healing."

Mr Bola said the atmosphere at the crusade was such that people seemed to be under hypnosis and were therefore led to believe that they were healed.

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