Only a Matter of Time
By Wendy Wippel
Breaking Bible news: Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and host of the radio broadcast Bible Answer Man, has– as of April 7, 2017 (Palm Sunday), left the building. Meaning the evangelical Bible-believing church itself.
Hank, was born in the Netherlands, and for much of his ministry was associated with the ministry of Dr. James Kennedy, a Presbyterian pastor in Florida. He had a long career in apologetics (I am all for that) and created materials to aid in effective evangelism. He worked with Walter Martin in the 80’s to expose cults and heretical teaching.
He gained his fame, however, from the role from which we all know him best. As the anchor for the apologetics radio program called, “Bible Answer Man”.
And in that role—with cadres of staffers to make sure every on-air question had a answer in the wings—he earned his reputation as a Bible Rock Star.
If you were paying attention, however, not so much. He stumbled here and there.
Hank once said that the Bible’s accounts of the leviathan and the behemoth were only meant to be metaphors,
“Leviathan and Behemoth are not dinosaurs but personifications that illustrate a metaphysical reality. As such, the mythology of the dragon underscores the reality of the Devil.”
Hank once said that the story of a literal serpent in the Garden talking to a literal Eve was metaphorical as well:
“Eve was not deceived by a talking snake. Rather, Moses used the symbol of a snake to communicate the wiles of the Evil One who deceived Eve through mind-to-mind communication.”
I am not quite sure what Bible verse the Bible Answer Man got telepathy out of, but I am dang skippy sure from another verse, II Corinthians 11:3, that Paul, at least, thought the serpent was real.
Hank Hanegraaff has said that it would be very wrong if God punished people when all they were doing is acting on the free will that He gave them.
Hank couldn’t decide if he was old earth or young earth.
But he actually had bigger problems then these.
Hannegraff condemned Christians who believe that God gave Israel to the Jews as racists involved in ethnic cleansing.
He said that dividing people by race into two different spiritual categories (meaning Gentile and Jew—which isn’t exactly race, is it?)–would never ever be something that the God of the Bible would do.
But he has bigger problems than that.
He is firmly, staunchly, ignored what the Scripture says, and is set on being a preterist. Meaning, that everything that the Bible prophecies say has to happen, has, in fact already happened. And it all happened by 70 AD.
I am simplifying, but that’s about it. So basically, none if it concerns the future at all.
And if any “Bible Answer Man” can actually read the prophetic scriptures (2/3 of the Bible) and think that EVERY PROMISE GOD MADE TO ISRAEL HAS ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED? Well, I only have one thing to say.
You’ve probably heard, but Hank joined the Greek Orthodox Church, (essentially an older version of the Catholic church), big on guilt and rituals and veneration of saints, with little value placed on personal knowledge of God’s Word.
Hank said what persuaded him to make the change was the joy that the Greek Orthodox congregation in North Carolina claimed to have in their faith. The joy of the Lord is our strength. God said that. So if Hank has really found that in the Greek orthodox Church, bully for him.
I do know that a personal friend’s father who is a Presbyterian minister once told me that when the rapture happened he would get to heaven before me. I looked at him, perplexed.
He explained: the Bible says that the dead in Christ rise first.
And I myself grew up in the Presbyterian church. (Read that as the church we never went to.) I will say that I could not describe my occasional visits there as joy filled.
But joy doesn’t come from community. It comes from Christ. And even Job saw that coming.
He shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy for he will render unto man his righteousness. Job 33:26
The joy of the Christian is the joy of his salvation.
I don’t presume to judge Hank. I don’t know him.
But I do know that I spend every Sunday morning at a church that worships the Lord in song in a way that it brings me into His presence in tears on a weekly basis. Because I am brought face to face with the magnitude of what Jesus did for me on the cross. And His love for me. And how very, very little I deserve it.
And I know that the Bible says this:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 1 John 2:19
Pray for Hank. He needs it as least as much of the rest of us. It’s not about rote prayers, or rigid doctrine. It’s about a relationship with the living God.