What Happened When Greg Locke Apologized to Benny Hinn?

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Stephen Strang

What happens when someone is changed by the power of the Holy Spirit? It’s an amazing transformation. Old ways of thinking change and there’s a desire to make things right.

I saw this up close recently in the life of Pastor Greg Locke of Mount Juliet, Tennessee, who has exploded on the scene recently with his deliverance ministry when I brokered a meeting with Benny Hinn. One thing led to another and it ended up being a videotaped interview between the two men that has gone viral.

Here’s the behind-the-scenes:

Over the years I’ve been a connector within the Spirit-led community. Sometimes it’s just on a friendship level, such as telling people they should get to know a certain ministry because they have a lot in common. Sometimes it’s a mentoring role for younger leaders helping them to connect. Often it’s been confronting serious issues by going to someone in the spirit of Matthew 18. Mostly it’s private, but there are times when it’s been public.

This was different. Years ago, Greg had been so critical of Benny Hinn that he wanted to apologize face to face. He asked one of my staff if I could help set up a meeting. I was glad to. I’ve been friends with Benny since 1978. I’d never met Greg, but I was well aware of the success of his documentary, “Come Out in Jesus Name.” It tells the story of how Greg and his ministry started ministering deliverance by the power of the Holy Spirit after believing the gifts of the Spirit died with the apostles.

Over the years, Benny Hinn has flowed in the gifts including healings, miracles and other signs and wonders. He has also been controversial both in and out of charismatic circles. But he often made cessationists angry including Greg who wrote a self-published book 20 years ago called “Blinded By Benny.”

Over the course of my career, I’ve met people on all sides of varying theological viewpoints, and for the longest time Benny Hinn and Greg Locke couldn’t have been more different from one another. Locke was a hardcore cessationist who vehemently believed that the gifts of the Spirit had died with the apostles, while Hinn has been in-tune with the gifts so much that it has caused him to be controversial for much of his ministry’s history.

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So, I knew that getting the two together was bound to be interesting. In my Strang Report podcast I tell more of how all this came together–how Benny agreed to meet with him even though he hadn’t heard of Greg’s ministry. How the two hit it off and Benny even invited him to film an interview about ministry and the Holy Spirit went viral. Even though I assumed the meeting was private and never intended to report on it, I decided to add my own commentary which you can watch.

Some people left negative comments of Greg or Benny or both, while others have praised the two for clearing the air. For me, what was special watching these two chat was how Greg Locke was open to share his account of how he went from cessationist to deliverance minister.

“In those days I literally had no affinity whatsoever for anybody in healing ministry, deliverance ministry,” Locke said. “I thought all gifts, miracles, tongues, signs, wonders, ceased. I was a Baptist amongst Baptists. I was an absolute cessationist. I was taught that the apostles had power; when they died the power died with them. So, when I would see you on TV, I would immediately have this bitterness that would well up in me toward anybody that was on, you know, TBN or CBN, or 700 Club,” Locke shared with Hinn.

Greg Locke’s transformation started when he and his wife began exploring the power of the Holy Spirit as described in the Bible. As they embraced the supernatural gifts, their church witnessed spiritual growth, healing and deliverance. One significant moment was when Greg prayed for his wife’s healing, leading to a miraculous recovery from a severe spinal condition.

“She had fallen asleep…and the Holy Spirit spoke to me as clear as I’m speaking to you right now,” Locke said. “And said, ‘I want you to lay your hands on your wife’s back and command healing.'”

Three days later, x-rays confirmed that her spine was completely straight.

“It was in that moment I realized I had missed out on 30 years of setting people free because I was bound by the law. I was bound by religion,” Locke said.

Over the years I have seen this happen and I’ve heard other leaders talk about this. In fact, in the early days of the charismatic movement, a lot of people in the mainline church were receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and a lot of these people had been like Greg. When they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit their theology just instantly changed. I go into more depth about the person of the Holy Spirit in my newest book, “Spirit-Led Living in an Upside-Down World.”

Another significant moment that Locke recounted with Hinn was when God allowed his greatest embarrassment to become the catalyst to launch his deliverance ministry. Locke was about to baptize a 9-year-old girl when she manifested a demon and he had no idea what to do about it. The experience completely broke him and his wife as they saw the need for deliverance ministry.

“It was the turning point we needed,” Locke said. “It was the moment of embarrassment that I needed to say, ‘You know what? Maybe I’ve been theologically having God in a box, and it’s time that I remove the denominational lens from my eyes.'”

The conversation between these two was full of power and forgiveness. I also had the chance to interview Locke recently and discuss his hit movie “Come Out in Jesus Name” and other deliverance-related topics. You can watch that video here and watch the rest of this special commentary piece here.

A few days later Greg told the story to his congregation at a Sunday evening deliverance service. It was so powerful I commented on that too which you can watch here.

I believe deliverance is a ministry that has been ignored too long. Satan wants to keep Christians bound so they cannot operate in the power the Holy Spirit gives us. Sometimes it’s what the Bible calls strongholds such as offenses, bitterness, anger or addictive behaviors. These must be pulled down. Other times there is obsession that must be cast out.

I deal with this and tell a little of my own experiences in my new book “Spirit-Led Living in an Upside-Down World.” My media company has published books and even The Spiritual-Warfare Bible which is the Modern English Version with commentary on spiritual warfare. We have other books coming out soon including one by Greg Locke this fall. I’m using my platform (even this article and my podcasts) to focus attention on this important subject. If you agree, share this with others. And subscribe to my video podcast to follow the interviews I’ll do in the future. 

If you haven’t signed up for my Strang Report newsletter or gotten your copy of “Spirit-Led Living in an Upside-Down World,” you can go to SteveStrangBooks.com.

Pre-order Greg Locke’s newest book here.

Order Benny Hinn’s “The Mysteries of the Anointing” here.

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Stephen Strang is the bestselling author of God and Donald Trump. The founder and CEO of Charisma Media, Strang was voted by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. He has interviewed four U.S. presidents and has been featured on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CBN, Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, theDailyCaller.com and in many Christian outlets.

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