The Authors

img_86111-e1509129091566.jpgCosti Hinn and Anthony Wood are committed to exposing deceptions surrounding the modern “mystical-miracle” movement. Both have written and spoken extensively on the matter, describing it as, “Attempting to corrupt the evangelical church from the inside…”

Costi is the nephew of notorious “faith healer” Benny Hinn and grew up entrenched within the inner circle of greed and chicanery. Anthony founded a 2,000 person weekly ministry to college students and participated in conferences and television specials by infamous televangelists. These unique backgrounds inspire each man’s holy zeal for people to know the dangers involved with false teaching and false promises.

download.jpegHinn’s testimony and response to “The Prosperity Gospel” have recently been featured on CNN and Christianity Today. Wood’s posts on modern faith forgeries have been read by hundreds of thousands.

Ultimately, the book Defining Deception did not begin as a polemic piece but as a heartfelt plea for friends and family to be transformed by the truth of God’s Word. The work has now been reviewed and endorsed by some of today’s most respected pastors, theologians, and seminaries.

Hinn and Wood are humbled to share the story of how God rescued them675 out of the growing miracle-mystical movement and have a deep passion to help modern evangelicalism experience the life saving faith provided in the pure and simple teaching of Holy Scripture.

Costi is currently completing an M.Div from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Anthony is completing his doctorate from Grace Theological Seminary. Both men would enjoy hearing from you via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or every Sunday at Mission Bible Church in Orange County, CA.

23 thoughts on “The Authors

  1. So glad I found your web site. Very much look forward to reading your upcoming book release, Defining Deception,
    It truly saddens me that so many people are easily deceived by unBiblical teachings. These false ‘messages’ are not from the Holy Spirit but an evil spirit who is determined to draw people away from the truth of the Gospel of grace into a false man-made doctrines that do not lead to eternal life, to only confusion, disappointment, and heart ache.

  2. First, I want to thank you for your commitment to the Bible. It must be the basis for our theology. Second, my pilgrimage has been the opposite of Costi’s. I grew up the opposite, in a Baptist family, ordained a Baptist minister, graduated from a Baptist University having majored and minored in religious studies; graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY with a Master of Divinity, and much later in life received the Doctor of Ministry degree from a United Methodist seminary. I was raised in a fundamentalist, pre-trib rapture premillennial home. But, at 32 years old after 14 years an ordained Baptist I was convinced by the Bible that my views regarding the end-times, my dispensational views, my quasi-cessationist views were wrong. I became an evangelical that believed all the gifts were to continue until Jesus returned. From the study of the Bible I came to believe in diversity of experience related to being filled or baptized in the Spirit. (I spell out this position in my book, Baptized in the Spirit: God’s Presence Resting Upon You With Power. And, I relate the fruit of such experiences in my book, There Is More!:The Secret to Experiencing God’s Power to Change Your Life.) I saw from the Bible that Paul’s emphasis on the Holy Spirit was related to salvation, but Luke’s emphasis on the Holy Spirit was related to empowerment for ministry. These two views are not contradictory, but complementary. I discovered in church history that the gifts never truly ended as taught by cessationist. I noted that when one was baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit speech was often a sign; prophecy, proclaiming the gospel with boldness, praise, tongues. All of these or a combination of these could be an evidence of the baptism in the Spirit, but the most biblical sign was the increase in power to carry out the great commission. My challenge to both of you is to study the best, not the worst of the exegetical works on the subject. That being Dr. Jon Mark Ruthven’s, On the Cessation of the Charismata: The Protestant Polemic on Post-biblical Miracles. This is the gold standard. I have never read a response to Ruthven that refutes his exegesis of all relevant texts. Ruthven’s sequel is, What’s Wrong With Protestant Theology?: Tradition vs. Biblical Emphasis. Also, I wrote a response to Strange Fire, titled, The Essential Guide to the Power of the Holy Spirit: God’s Miraculous Gifts at Work Today. Another two works of very good exegesis related to the Third Wave Evangelical position which you believe is heretical are: Strangers to Fire: When Tradition Trumps Scripture, most of its contributing authors have earned doctorates from highly accredited institutions. The second, The Kingdom and the Power: Are Healing and the Spiritual Gifts Used by Jesus and the Early Church Meant for the Church Today?, edited by Dr. Gary Greig, and Kevin Springer with most all of the contributing authors self-identified as Evangelicals instead of Pentecostals.
    One more work must be mentioned, Dr. Craig Keener, professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, two volume work, Miracles: The Credibility of New Testament Accounts, deals with the arguments against miracles today and in the New Testament itself.
    I believe you might be Calvinists, so in light of that fact, I want to recommend a Calvinist charismatic to you, Dr. Sam Storms who wrote, Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your LIfe. All of these references were from the continuationist position. Ruthven from an Arminian position and Storms from a Calvinist position. Keener, though teaching at an Arminian school has a Baptist background. I really don’t know if he would define himself as a Calvinist or an Arminian.
    I have never been part of or identified myself as in the Word of Faith Camp. I do believe in modern day apostles, but not in anyone replacing the role of the 12 Apostles in the New Testament – I just recognize that the 12 are not the only ones mentioned in the N.T. as apostles. Having said that, I do not identify as part of the New Apostolic Reformation movement.
    I hope we can continue to dialogue and I do hope you will read the six books mentioned above, excluding my three. I do hope you would study them because they deal with exegesis of texts, not building up and tearing down straw persons.
    I also would appreciate it if Costi would email me so I can write him on a personal level rather than a blog or public place. I have things I would like to communicate at personal and private level.

    1. Thank you Randy for this response and perspective. I just finished the book, and the issue of cessationism or continuationism is not the central topic of this book from my reading.

      I’m curious as to why you do not identify as a part of the Word of Faith or the NAR?

    2. Thank you for this response, Randy. I have been struggling with this issue for several years now, and am grateful to have found your testimony here. Similarly with you, I have found myself caught between the 3rd wave/charismatic/NAR(you name it) movement, and Southern Baptist-esque Reformed theology. My testimony is below, I would love your feedback to my dilemma.

      When I was saved at 14, it was actually through the preaching of a super Reformed but also charismatic preacher (one hand on Tim Challies, John Piper and MacArthur, another on Kris Valloton, Bethel, and so on). I was convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, cried out in repentance, and when the preacher breathed on me, I was “slain in the spirit”. In the following three years, I grew in knowledge of the Word an intimacy with the Lord. My biggest journey with the Lord however kicked off when I fell in love with Reformed theology at 15 – this is when I became Calvinist by simply reading the Word, and then came across great Calvinistic men of God – Piper, Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Storms, MacArthur, Todd Friel, Lloyd-Jones, and most profoundly, Paul Washer. I loved these men of God and was ravenous for knowledge of the Lord and having a broken heart for the Gospel. As might be expected, I became quite quasi-cessasionist during this time, learning about the NAR/new charismatic movement, and coming to hate it (due to Todd Friel’s Wretched Radio ministry).In fact, it was actually during this phase two/three years ago that I discovered Costi Hinn’s testimony.
      During that cessasionist phase, the Lord was truly on my life, sanctifying me, using me for the kingdom, opening my eyes to the Word. Ironically, it was the more cessasionist-leaning, yet powerfully prophetic voices of Paul Washer and Leonard Ravenhill that led me to charismatic faith again…

      A little over a year ago in 2016, through personal suffering and watching sermons from countless men such as the ones listed above (mostly Washer and Tim Conway from I’ll Be Honest ministries), I experienced a profound season of my life where the discipline of the Lord (Hebrews 12) was in my life. I was 200 percent certain of this during that season, and those words of Hebrews popped out of my Bible to me for months of tears and sanctification. Unbeknownst to me at the time, during that season (Nov 2016), the charismatic Bob Sorge prophetically declared that the land and the people were under a Hebrews 12 discipline period of the Lord.

      This past year, now at college, I found myself meeting a charismatic student who encouraged me to prophecy. At the moment, I didn’t even know for sure theologically, what the gift of prophecy was. But without having hands laid on me or experiencing any second filling, I suddenly told the student that he had a John the Baptist/Elijah calling on his life. As I said this to him, I was filled with such bold conviction and sureness. This “word of knowledge” was inspired suddenly by a brief memory of a Ravenhill sermon I had watched once a year before. The student told me that 25 percent of all the people who have prayed for him have told him this. As a cessasionist, I was totally puzzled at what had just happened. At the time unbeknownst to me, there is a whole movement of charismatics who are intent on ushering in a generation of John the Baptists and Elijahs, as I’m sure you’re familiar with. During this season, I also received glossolalia, and have had countless other prophetic words of knowledge since, all of which pointed out secret sin in the lives of fellow believers (similar to Spurgeon) or encouraged boldness to share the Gospel. Eventually, through studying exegesis, church history, and ironically, the testimonies of the Puritans, Spurgeon, Huss/Luther, Wesley and Martin Lloyd-Jones (for angelic tongues), I became fully convinced of the truth of of continuationism. I was eventually called to be a John the Baptist/Daniel prophet by “The Call” (Lou Engle’s ministry), and have been relatively involved in prophetic charismatic ministry since.

      And so, I now have a huge love for traditional Protestant Reformed Christianity which has had such an indelible, sanctifying, Christ-honoring impact on my life, and I also find myself in communion with charismatics who have blessed me tremendously and helped me to grow in the Spirit. But they have also troubled me quite often with what I deem to be Word of Faith Christological heresies or NAR influence.
      A few months ago, I actually attended a Ken Fish deliverance seminar because I found that he was friends with John Wimber and had studied/done student ministry at the same university I attend, many years ago. I have been researching as much about the overall newer charismatic community as much as I can, and have even come across your own writings in my journey over this past year – this is how I recognized your name in your blog comment, and was delighted to see your response.

      God has added so much blessing to my testimony through both cessasionist and charismatic influences/experiences/teachings, many of which intertwined and worked together in my own life. As a continuationist, I have no problem with this. But my main dilemma is this: I see so much intermingling of false teachers, false healings, and false doctrine, with Holy Spirit movements within the charismatic movement today. It is very difficult for me to discern whether the anointing is pure or not. An example of this is Todd White, who on the surface seems okay, but is a self-proclaimed disciple of Kenneth Copeland, the godfather of the prosperity gospel, as well as a teacher of the kenotic heresy. Bill Johnson has also taught kenotic heresy (perhaps innocuously, with benefit of the doubt), and has brought in some demonic signs and wonders in Bethel Church; yet he accredits John Wimber to setting much of the foundations of his early ministry – and I personally do not think that John Wimber was a false teacher.

      I am very confused about all this. I am familiar with the Kundalini spirit from Hindu cults, as well as other manifestations in Hinduism/Jainism that very much resemble much of what I see today in charismatic movement. Gold dust and angel feathers raises my eyebrows. Todd Bentley indulging in sexual impropriety yet being “restored” to apostleship by Rick Joyner raises my eyebrows. People barking like animals like never before seen in church history raises my eyebrows, and also brings into my mind the exact same manifestation from Kundalini cults. How do I discern between signs and wonders from the Spirit, and false signs and wonders from false spirits?

      I would greatly appreciate any response to this testimony and the questions that I have. Thank you.

      1. You ask the Lord Jesus Christ for discernment. Search the Scriptures when something doesn’t sound right. The Lord Jesus Christ will give you discernment.

    3. Hi Randy,
      I am praying for wisdom and understanding in my own life regarding many of these issues. You mentioned you were convinced by the Bible that your views regarding the end-times, dispensational views, and quasi-cessationist views were all wrong. Would you please share a few texts from the Bible that lead you to change your views. It would help a lot. Thanks!
      Erik

    4. Hello Randy, Appreciate the book references but It will take some time to get through those 6 books plus your 3. However for now, would you please provide some specific references from the Bible that you say convinced you that your former views were all wrong? I would hope you’d agree that the Bible would be the best place to start. Again, please help by providing the scripture references that helped you. Thanks.

    5. Hi Randy,
      I’ll try again. You’ve made it clear that studying the Bible has given you a better understanding of things pertaining to the Holy Spirit. Through your study, does the Holy Spirit spoken of in the Bible match what you see in the videos below? Please share your thoughts so we can all better understand what you actually do believe about how the Holy Spirit works. Rolland Baker is someone you team up with in your ministry. I’m sure many hope to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

      http://www.piratechristian.com/museum-of-idolatry/2017/1/the-rolland-baker-spectacle-of-false-teaching-forced-laughter-and-blasphemy

  3. Thank you for exposing this non-biblical deceptive movement for what it is. I truly believe that many well meaning Christians are stuck in these places thinking that these pastors and teachers have secret knowledge. They want “more” of God and ignore what God has already given us. They are also fooled into thinking there is “more,” that if only they did x, y, or z, they would also “operate in the gifts,” or be able to conjure a spirit. They invent man-made laws and doctrines they think God has to run by. It is so absurd, yet the ones caught up in this movement cannot see it. I thankfully had the wool pulled away. First it was by reading the Word of God. It kept noticing that people were saying something opposite. The services were always about money, being wealthy, prosperity, and a supernatural power that no one in the congregation had. The pastors always claimed wild, crazy, and unbelievable encounters with angels, devils, and God…yet it didn’t line up with the Bible and scripture was frequently an after-thought to whatever “word” was from the Lord (or so we were told). I saw relatives become homeless because of this insidious evil doctrine. I saw others not get health treatments they needed. Both myself and many others were lied to by false prophecies and false prophets. Meanwhile the pastors drive Aston Martin’s and Porches in their “blessed life” now. They think they can control God’s power. That man is an ‘enforcer’ to what God has done. This is not anything taught in the Bible. No one can command a healing, or conjure God. Bethel students are told they can learn to prophecy and practice it, as one practices witchcraft. It is nothing but evil. The God of the Bible is not the same one that they serve. I’m 100% convinced of this now, though I used to think they were the ones on the “in crowd” and everyone else was dead, powerless, and possibly not Christian. They think they can “speak things into existence,” by taking verses vastly out of context. I want to tell them’ no you are not God, none of us are!” We can believe for things, but we are NOT God. These men and these false teachers tell people they can control God’s power. The power they want is not to live a holy life, etc, it is for personal gain and a name in their own ministry. For wealth, for want… It is gross. Once I repented for believing this false teaching, I could truly see it for what it was.

    It is nothing but lies meant to keep people deceived and in bondage. The bondage is that you are always thinking there is something more, it distracts you from the day to day “boring” Christian life we are called to. It makes you think you are elite when in reality you are poor. It also made me realize what Christ preached when He said in the last days many will say “Lord Lord did we not prophesy in Your name?”

    May God open people’s eyes before it is too late for them. 😦

  4. if you aren’t an adherent to the prosperity gospel, why not post this book for free on the internet

    you are profiting just like the rest of them

      1. Hello Anthony, I could also have this book for free? Are you serious? Is it for real?

  5. i came out of the Catholic church after 29yrs, convincing factor that caused me to leave the church
    was the Catholic charismatic movement, for the first time I experienced the lord on a personal level, and had a deeper thirst for his presence, I began to seek out churches that practiced these beliefs, I left the catholic church and was saved, I personally witnessed miracles for my son and wife, I actually believed this was the status quo, later I realized it was not, God did move on our behalf, the miracles we received were by prayer and fasting and not from the pastor, Eventually our pastor went to prison for money laundering, I read the book and agree with almost all of it
    we do not attend church, we do a lot of online study, After reading your book, I could feel my personal relationship
    with the Lord in question, He is sovereign, He has allowed us free will, we are servants who choose to follow
    a slave has no free will. A love and obedience coming from free will is what he desires, God sets my path every day
    everyone I meet is known by Him, Saving Grace Construction was chosen by Him, {very strong prompting]
    My business operates under His banner, He sends the clients, and abundantly provides according to my faith
    I am 60 yrs old, If you put God back on the throne you run a possibility of alienating followers by feeling too
    unworthy to react when prompted to. The Lord showed me along time ago, a lot of followers keep their highly polished sword in the sheath only for them to look at.

    Brian L

  6. Hey Tony, Shawn here! I serve at Ignite high school, where Chris Kirish used to be the pastor, but as you probably know is now the pastor overseeing all the ministries! I also used to attend Generate back in its hayday! I just want to say thank you for writing this book! I am currently preparing to go on the world race, and I am ordering this book to take with me for the next 11 months as i do missions work around the world!

  7. I have finished your book and I am reeling and in tears, I do not know any more if I am saved or not. So much I believed it is as though I have been stripped of my very soul and there is nothing left. We would leave churches because of wrong teaching or would be thrown out because we commented on wrong teaching, only to, it would appear, reel from one wrong ‘un to another for the last 40+ years. Now we are churchless and in deep need. But here in Cyprus there is nobody to provide the need and no Bible believing church whose main language is English. There is an NAR church in Limassol and another pseudo one in NIcosia which looks as though it is on its last legs but all the English speaking fellowships we have gone to seem to have as their pastor somebody who never made it in the UK so they will make it here after all to whom are they accountable and so heresy abounds, not least in the Greek Orthodox church – but let’s not go there, as far as the Orthodox church is concerned WE are the heretics! I am sorry to sound so miserable but you need to know what you have written is doing to people who only want to serve the Lord and do whatever it is God puts in our hands to do. I have said nothing to my husband as to what I think about your book as I don’t want to influence how he reads it. Just one thing I would like, at this point to pick up and that is 1 Corinthians 14:4 where Paul tells us that speaking in a tongue edifies oneself. If, as you claim, speaking in tongues is not for today why did Paul say that doing it edifies (builds up) oneself? YOu see you have even struck me dumb with regard to this. Are you sure you have the right of this if I speak in a language nobody can understand it is not by Holy Spirit but by another spirit? Another point how come God chose to heal me on the floor of the sanctuary in Attwell Drive at a Catch the Fire conference. I was not even looking for healing but two ladies came to me as I lay on the floor and one very quietly said in my ear: “Spirit of doubt leave her” and I screamed – something I had never done before I am English after all and when I get up off the floor I knew I had been healed of 55 years of chronic clinical depression which I had suffered from since I was nine years old – at this time I had been a Christian for 23 years. I have experienced 11 years free of this dread disease – the longest time in my life. I never considered it was anybody else but God Who healed me but reading your book you now have me so bothered. I truly do think there ought to be a warning on it. I can no longer even trust my own mind as I read God’s word for fear I am wrong. YOu have a lot to answer for. I am not saying what you have written is ungodly BUT . . . . . perhaps I am suffering from PTSD!

  8. Hi Julia, I am so sorry that you feel the way you do. I read of your experiences and I believe that you did experience them. It is especially sad to hear that you are doubting your salvation. As you may already know, the Bible says that we are saved by relying fully on Jesus Christ alone and in what He accomplished on the cross. We must not put our faith and hope in any experience or in any book, only God’s word. I will pray that the Lord settles your heart and that the Holy Spirit would lead you into His truth. Take care.

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