I have heard Hank Hanegraaff speak twice in person and think his Scripture memory is commendable. My earnest and urgent concern is over the Christian Research Institute's (CRI) trend towards Eastern Orthodoxy. Walter Martin (d. 1989) founded CRI in 1960. In Orthodoxy, salvation is based on rituals and there is no assurance at the time of death. In contrast, the simple gospel is faith in Jesus and repentance of sin. Paul says we can be sure, "since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).
Athanasius in his 39th Festal Letter (367 AD) contradicted Orthodoxy and supported Sola Scriptura:
These [OT & NT] are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ And He reproved the Jews, saying, ‘Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me.’
In 2004 Hank wrote The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? with Paul Maier, a Lutheran! Lutherans and the Orthodox do not agree on the gospel. Hank worked for James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion soon after his conversion. James Kennedy (d. 2007) would not have supported Hank's becoming Greek Orthodox. Furthermore, Ken Ham has some keen insights into Hank's biblical interpretation.
I have a great admiration for Walter Martin (Kingdom of the Cults) and used his work last year in my blog post on Roy Masters. Dr. Martin would not endorse switching to Eastern Orthodoxy.
In 1988 I went to Hollywood. Just around the corner from the famous Chinese theater is an Orthodox church where I visited. The church has a huge dome and who's pictured on that dome? Mary. We should not worship her (1 Jn. 5:21).
We named our son after Francis Schaeffer (d. 1984). I've heard Frank Schaeffer when he was Eastern Orthodox a couple of times. Frank went from Evangelical to Orthodox to Quasi-Atheist (Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in GOD). Where will Hank go next?
Two attractions to become Orthodox is their apparent unity and long heritage. There are 16 Eastern Orthodox churches not in communion with others (Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian etc.). Hank worked with James Kennedy in the 1980's. The wide range of churches involved with Evangelism Explosion is clear testimony to the essential unity of evangelicals. Born again believers who look to the Bible as their sole infallible authority have a long history. I would recommend The Torch of the Testimony by John Kennedy.
In 2015, Robert Morey published Is Eastern Orthodoxy Christian? Phil Johnson (Grace to You) has said, "This is a helpful and thought-provoking summary, showing how the beliefs and practices of Eastern Orthodoxy often depart from authentic biblical orthodoxy. Dr. Morey explodes the fiction that true apostolic Christianity was preserved in the icons and mysticism of the Eastern Church." According to one missionary to Russia, "This book is the most accurate and useful examination and refutation of Eastern Orthodoxy ever written."
Hard Questions for the Bible Answer Man by Jay Howard came out in 2009 and tackles a number of key topics:
• Was Hanegraaff really Walter Martin's handpicked-successor?
• Why does Hank make over $250,000 a year?
• Why did he fire so many key people after he took over in 1989?
• Why did CRI buy him a $66,000 Lexus sports car in 2004?
• Is his Personal Witness Training a plagiarism of Evangelism Explosion?
Who should replace Hank on the Bible Answer Man? Let us know what you think => email@example.com