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Hank Hanegraaf Joins Greek Orthodox Church
Known as the “Bible Answer Man,” Hank Hanegraaff’s daily radio show aims to “equip Christians to pursue sound doctrine to discern truth and error.” Hanegraaf, his wife, and two of their twelve children were chrismated on Palm Sunday at a Greek Orthodox church in Charlotte, NC, near where CRI now is located.
The Bible is full of evidence that the Protestant view of the Church and scripture itself is not according to scripture. Someone deeply involved in Bible knowledge and willing to do the right thing, even at personal cost, could will come to this conclusion, and make a pretty scary change. I myself -- though no Bible scholar at all -- eventually recognized that the concept of "invisible church" is not scriptural, nor is is "sola scriptura" teaching itself. The church, the scripture says, is the "pillar and foundation of the truth." Not a book, and especially not a book wrested from the hands of its authors (the church) and interpreted by these who disagree with it.
“BIBLE ANSWER MAN” BECOMES EASTERN ORTHODOX
Hank Hanegraaf, long-time president of the Christian Research Institute and host of “The Bible Answer Man” radio show, has entered the Greek Orthodox Church. Hank Hanegraaf is an Evangelical apologetics group established in 1960 by Walter Martin, who died in 1989. Martin had been the original “Bible Answer Man,” but Hanegraaf has filled role for nearly three decades now.
Bowman says, “Hanegraaff’s conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy should not be viewed as a mere isolated occurrence. There has been a definite trend for the past few decades of a growing number of American evangelical Protestants converting to either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.”
What will happen with “The Bible Answer Man”? Is it possible for an Evangelical ministry to be headed by a Greek Orthodox?
The organization never has shown much sympathy for liturgical churches. My guess is that Hanegraaf will depart soon. He’s 66 or 67, so he may have timed his conversion with an expected retirement from CRI anyway.
As for his part, Bowman concludes his report with a rallying of the Evangelical troops. While speaking well of Hanegraaf, he says that Evangelical distinctives remain true and that Orthodox (and Catholic) distinctives don’t–or at least such is the implication. He concludes by saying that the fallout from Hanegraaf’s change of allegiance is likely to affect Evangelicalism for years go come.
Faithful listeners of the long-running, daily call-in show have presumed that to mean the evangelical Protestant interpretation of the Scriptures and the church, which is why more than a few sat up when they heard Hanegraaff confirm to a caller Monday a rumor that he had gone through a formal rite, known as chrismation (“the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit”), to become a member of the Greek Orthodox Church on Palm Sunday, April 9.
He said he and his wife, Kathy, and two of their 12 children have “found a church community that has greatly benefited from the work of the Christian Research Institute.” Hanegraaff observed that he and his wife have been “more in synch spiritually” over the past 10 years than at any other time in their marriage.
“I have been typically more skewed towards truth, and, quite frankly, Kathy more skewed towards life,” he said. “But today we are on precisely the same page, in life and in truth, and we’re loving it.”
“This is a very wonderful time in our life and ministry, and so daily we thank God that he has saved us by grace alone through an active faith in our dear Lord Jesus Christ who has done all that we might experience life now, and experience life in the age to come.”
The Christian Research Institute was founded in 1960 by renowned countercult expert Walter Martin, focusing on non-Christian religions, cults and heresies within Protestant Christianity. Hanegraaff became president of CRI after Martin died in 1989.
A Greek Orthodox blogger, John Sanidopoulos, said he was “astounded” to hear the news of Hanegraaff’s membership in his church, adding it was “something I had always hoped for him, but never really expected.”
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