All hail Benny!

Praise the Lord! A controversial faith healer has proved to be the answer to motor-ists’ prayers – by getting Midland motor-way repairs postponed.

The repairs were planned for the M42 near the NEC tomorrow and Saturday night and were set to cause huge disruption.

That was before Highways Agency officials became aware that US televangelist Benny Hinn was sweeping into the city.

Up to 22,000 people from churches in Birmingham and across the country are expected to flock to two rallies at the NEC.

Now the agency has postponed the carriageway repairs, which would have seen sections of the motor-way being closed, to ensure easy access for people attending the rallies.

Benny Hinn

Evangelist Benny Hinn is controversial for his frequently aberrant – and at times heretical – theology, his unorthodox practices, and his false claims. Nevertheless, large numbers of people who indentify themselves as Christians follow – and, often, appear to worship – this preacher.

And many drivers, who are already fuming at being stuck in queues because of repairs on the nearby M6 – will see that as something of a miracle.

Hinn, aged 51, has claimed that healing miracles sometimes happen at his rallies. However, some mainstream churches are uncomfortable with Hinn.

Some reports claim he collects millions of pounds each year in donations and accuse him of living an extravagant lifestyle.

Those attending the Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade are believed to have registered free, but worshippers are encouraged to “sow God’s seed” with credit card details and commit themselves to £50-£250 a month towards Hinn’s ministry.

Publicity material says the crowd can expect “powerful teaching of the Word of God by Pastor Benny Hinn on the Holy Spirit and Divine Healing.

“Your life will never be the same again. Come and join us – it will be a life-changing experience.”

No-one was available for comment from organisers Ambassadors Ministries.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “The Highways Agency, in partnership with the NEC Group, has rescheduled weekend overnight closures on the M42 to accommodate traffic during a major two-night event at the NEC. No closures will be implemented between junctions 3a and 6 tomorrow and on Saturday, when a large volume of traffic is expected.”

A man died of a heart attack and several other people suffered fractures in 2002 when up to 2,000 people tried to gatecrash a meeting being staged by Hinn at Manchester’s MEN Arena.

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