Hank Hanegraaff

Irony of ironies, Christian Research Institute president and host of the radio broadcast The Bible Answer Man Hank Hanegraaff has abandoned the Evangelical church and joined a Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, N.C.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the theology of the Orthodox branch of Christianity, they practice the veneration of Mary, prayers to dead saints, and the rejection of sola scriptura (the belief that the scriptures alone are our authority in spiritual matters, not scripture and church tradition) and sola fide (salvation by faith alone).  As you might imagine, this isn’t going over too well with the Evangelical world that comprises the vast majority of the BAM listening audience.  After all, the CRI founder – the late Dr. Walter Martin – was a devout Evangelical and founded CRI as an Evangelical Christian apologetics ministry.

When I wrote my book Defending the Faith: Word of Faith Apologetics I pointed out that much of the criticism of the WoF comes from an organization that refuses to brand Catholicism heresy.  Now I think I can see why.  Mr. Hanegraaff has apparently always been a closet admirer of the rituals and tradition (Dr. James White calls it the “bells and smells”) of the Catholic and Orthodox churches.   

I always knew that there was something wrong about Hank Hanegraaff.  After reading his venomous attack on the WoF movement in Christianity in Crisis, and recognizing the numerous cases of distortions, straw man arguments, ad hominem attacks, and guilt-by-association tactics, I could see that he was driven by something more than an honest quest for the truth or a pure desire to defend the faith.  There was obviously a marketing strategy at work in being so outrageous and over-the-top.  Controversy sells, and in the case of Christianity in Crisis it sold extremely well.  In 1994 Hanegraaff’s haul from the sales of the book was reported to be $500,000.

When I learned about his recent conversion to Orthodoxy, I began to look around for information to shed some light on the matter and found out that the answer man isn’t and never has been the man that most of his listeners would have imagined.  His background was business and fundraising rather than apologetics, and he assumed control of CRI under dubious circumstances that still have people talking some 28 years later.

As a result of the controversial takeover of CRI and the subsequent shenanigans that Mr. Hanegraaff pulled as the new president, a group of about 35 former staff members at CRI called the Group for Accountability at CRI was formed in an effort to have him removed.  Many people dismissed their claims as gossip, jealousy, or some kind of spiritual attack.  Whether Hank Hanegraaff manages to remain the president of CRI and the host of BAM or not, there can no longer be any doubt that his ethics and integrity are questionable at best, and that should call into question everything that he has written over the past quarter century.

Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodox Church

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