Record crowd expected for rally by controversial evangelist

Over a million people are expected to attend a prayer rally here this weekend to be addressed by American evangelist and faith healer Benny Hinn, but the Catholic church is opposed to the event.

Hinn will address “The Festival of Blessings – Pray for India” rally Feb 13-15 at the Bandra Kurla Complex, the organisers said.

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.

“India today is facing the problem of communalism, religious fanaticism, extremism and violence. This prayer rally will be a platform where we convey the right message on religion and its values,” said Gul Kriplani, an organiser.

“In addition we will also pray for the sick and needy,” said Kriplani, chairman of the Indian Merchants Chamber, who has been overseeing the year-long preparations for the rally.

But the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Ivan Dias, has issued a statement asking Catholics to stay away from the rally.

“Benny Hinn, despite his popularity on TV shows, is not accepted even by many of his own colleagues… It will be wise to strongly discourage your parishioners from attending his programme,” Dias said in a statement.

Dias also referred to Hinn’s “false prophecies, his alleged vision of angels and contact with the dead, his emphasis on the prosperity of the Gospel and exaggerated physical healings”.

Hinn, referred to as the “rock star” of evangelism, is the founder of the World Outreach Centre at Orlando, Florida. His daily TV programme reaches tens of millions of people.

Born in Israel to a Greek father and an Armenian mother, Hinn claims God has been appearing to him since he was 11.

Known for his controversial views, Hinn once remarked: “It’s this crazy idea that preachers should be poor – that’s not in the Bible.”

The rally is expected to attract people from across the country and abroad, said pastor Shekhar Kalyanpur, another organiser.

“We have made arrangements for around 500,000 people to visit the rally on a daily basis,” he said.

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
IANS, India
Feb. 8, 2004
Vira Bhayani

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday February 9, 2004.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at