‘Bible Answer Man’ Booted From Bott Radio Network After Hank Hanegraaff Joins Orthodox Church

Most of us knew this sort of thing was coming. They cite concerns over ‘biblical accuracy’ without offering so much as one single example of any Biblical inaccuracy from Hank. 

The “Bible Answer Man” radio show program with Hank Hanegraaff has been booted from Bott Radio Network over concerns regarding ‘biblical accuracy’, following Hanegraaff’s conversion into the Eastern Orthodox Church.

“We want to make sure that our listeners know that the programming that we have on Bott Radio Network is thoroughly biblical,” said BRN President Richard P. Bott II, a member of Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kansas, according to Baptist Press.

BRN had reportedly been broadcasting the “Bible Answer Man” since the 1980s, even before Hanegraaff joined the show in 1989.

The Christian Post confirmed last week that Hanegraaff, who is also the president and chairman of the Christian Research Institute, was chrismated on Palm Sunday at Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Some, such as Rod Dreher, an Orthodox Christian and author of the New York Times best-selling book The Benedict Option, told CP last week that the news of Hanegraaff joining the Orthodox Church is “astounding.”

“Many evangelicals seek the early church; well here it is, in Orthodoxy,” Dreher said.

“I am sure some will be scandalized by Hanegraaff’s conversion but I hope at least some will wonder how someone as knowledgeable about the Bible as Hank could convert to Orthodoxy, and go to a Divine Liturgy to taste and see what it’s like.”

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Comments

  1. If knowing the details of the Bible is all that is necessary, then all Protestants would be Lutherans, wouldn’t they? But – they aren’t.

    Why did Calvin’s people disagree with Luther’s people about communion? How could those two groups read the same words and interpret them so differently? Luther said that the Lord said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood” and for him that was enough. The others denied the literal meaning of the words of Jesus, even though all the ancient churches had taught this for 1500 years. That’s extraordinary, isn’t it?

    For that matter, how can there be Pentecostals and Dispensationalists that claim the same Bible? There must be something wrong with the method of interpretation they use if they can’t agree as to what certain critical passages mean.

    Face it – it’s really an issue of independence. If authority is placed in the Bible, instead of the Church, and you are free to interpret Scripture as your conscience allows, you will assume that you have the correct interpretation and you have become your own authority, haven’t you? How Western. How American.

    Is there Scriptural support for this position? What if the Galatians had told Paul after they received his letter that they were free to come to their own conclusions? What would he have said? Well, I recall that he called them “stupid” or “foolish,” depending on which English version you prefer.

    Comments?

  2. Fr. John says:

    This is probably not the forum for such a discussion, other than to say it is probably obvious to most readers of JTO that the protestant adherence to Scripture is a moving target, easily excused under the umbrella of protestantism, but to say there is A CHURCH, not one among thousands, or that there is A TRUE FAITH – well, that’s heresy to most heterodox Christians.

  3. You are right, Father. My reaction had to do with the Bott Network deciding that they couldn’t carry Hank Hanegraaff anymore because of concern about “biblical accuracy.”

    There is the problem of how one knows that what one believes is really true. I just now did an internet search for “biblical accuracy,” thinking that maybe this was a new technical term or a variation of the word “inerrancy” or something else. See, when I entered Fuller Seminary in 1976, inerrancy was a very big deal for some people that were critical of Fuller. I was chrismated in 1992. The period in between is a story for another time and place.

    I didn’t see anything new until I did a search for “Biblical accuracy or inerrancy.” I found a blog, Strands of Thought, responding to more and more conservative Protestant Christian scholars concluding that the Bible isn’t completely accurate and/or inerrant. Perhaps this is a new problem in the Protestant world and Hank Hanegraaff’s situation is aggravated by that. Or maybe it just has to do with the Bott Network wanting programs featuring only trustworthy Protestants.

    Protestants feel the need to be loyal to the umbrella that you mentioned, even when they disparage each other. To give up the umbrella would cast a lot into doubt.

  4. Catholic lurker says:

    I am a Catholic and really was glad to see Bible Man join a sacramental church.

  5. Fr. John says:

    Thanks for writing, Catholic lurker. Lurk away!

  6. Marty Shrader says:

    I am so sorry to see what happened to Hank. I listened to him (on BRN) nearly everyday on my way home from work. I am charismatic and loved his q&a and gentle, thoughtful, and biblical answers. The shame in this is that the world is on fire and somebody just threw one of the firemen off the truck. God help us!

  7. cassandra41 says:

    “Biblical accuracy” was never the problem. Biblical interpretation is. The program can no longer depend upon the man to present Scripture in the “approved” Protestant interpretation (whatever that is!) and therefore he cannot be permitted to speak no matter how good he may be. Sad, really, when many “Christian” groups are willing to accept the most egregious faith statements from non-Christians but will not even hear anything from a non-Protestant Church.

  8. Richard Mohr says:

    To be fair, there already were people that believed Hank Hanegraaff had been wrong about some things. There are websites that go into this. The biggest critics of the heirs of the Reformation are other heirs of the Reformation. It might have been just a matter of time before some felt that he should go. His becoming Eastern Orthodox made the process quicker.

    Those of you that haven’t read “The Kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin, the original Bible Answer Man, might find it interesting. It’s a very detailed analysis of the history and doctrinal errors of the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others. If you know your Church History and Historical Theology, you will read things that sound familiar.

  9. Lisa Fries says:

    I always loved listening to the Bible Answer Man. I didn’t always agree with what Hank said, but was very touched by his manner with people who called in, even praying with them. One thing he always says, is that we are not to divide over the non-essentials. I will miss him very much on Bott radio.

  10. James C Hassinger says:

    Dr. Hanegraaff (my personal honorefic) was my primary source, nearly sole source on BRN of richest resources in apologetics materials. Occasionally I disagreed, but as he frequently quoted: “In essentials: unity; in non essentials: liberty; and in all things: charity.” BRN has to live with their decision, but I will deeply miss Hank, especially during my daily17:00 commute home. And, instead of listening to Hank on BRN, I will listen on-line. Not as convenient, but not sure I can live without daily dose of Hank.
    Finally, I have learned to affirm the Bible as the final source of truth, but humbly acknowledge I will never know it well enough to be dogmatic about much more than the ancient creed. I might disagree, but can never break fellowship over the “non-essentials.” And I suspect that all of us will learn a LOT and be delightfully surprised in His holy presence!

  11. Michael Bauman says:

    I pray for Hank and all those newly illumined during the Paschal season. May each one shine brightly in the Kingdom. Any person coming to the Church as an adult has had the experience, I am sure, of being somewhat disoriented and frequently challenged on the content and context of one’s former beliefs by the depth, breadth and wonder that is in the Church.

    St. Paul spoke of the trials that come after we are illumined. May God’s grace guide Hank and all newly illumined people into greater union with our Lord.

  12. Michael, yes, St. Paul did say that “All who wish to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12

  13. If anyone reads the Scripture objectively, he/she will eventually find the Orthodox Faith; after all, it’s the Undivided Catholic Church of the First Millennium that gave us the Canon of Sacred Scripture in the first place.

  14. Fr. John says:

    Sadly, John, NO ONE can read the Scriptures objectively. That’s why we need the Church.

  15. Marty Shrader says:

    Father, I agree we need the Church, but as a charismatic who believes in trying to read scripture objectively and following it wherever it goes, it has brought me very close to Orthodoxy. I am not saying I have reached the end of that journey yet, but will say by being objective I have concluded that the complete Orthodox Bible is the correct Canon (how can you not love Sirach and Tobit?) Also, Jesus is there in communion, baptism is essential for salvation, and Mary is the Mother of God. Still working on many other ‘Orthodox’ truths, but I trust God will lead me in the right direction. It has taken me over 35 years to reach these conclions, and I suppose the Church could have saved me a lot of time, but it is my story.

  16. Fr. John says:

    Marty, my only point was that complete objectivity in the reading of Scripture is not possible outside of the mind of the Church. We all read it with our own baggage, but the true context of it belongs where it began – the Church of the Living God, the pillar and foundation of the Truth. As you get closer to that mind of the Church you will, as many of us have, find it making more and more sense. 🙂

  17. Marty: Are you a catechumen yet? You already believe some of the most difficult things in converts’ journeys. When I understood that the Early Church believed what the Orthodox Church teaches about the Eucharist, I realized that I had to deal with my church’s teaching that it was only a memorial. If you agree with the Orthodox teaching and practice, you are on your way.

    Have you discussed your present questions with a priest? There are answers for everything. The more you know, the easier it is to understand more and to be content with what it is still difficult.

    Also, listen to Orthodox music on YouTube if you don’t already.

  18. Marty Shrader says:

    Thank you Father. I do agree with you. Being ‘individually’ objective does concern me, because I am well aware that we deceive ourselves and it seems from my own studies that the Holy Spirit within the context of the Church operates for the benefit of all, so individual interpretation although possible, still needs the benefit of the Church’s wisdom. My Protestant grandmother told me years ago to read the Bible, believe it and put it into practice. That was probably the beginning of my struggles with being Protestant, because I did what she told me and it began to cause me to question what had always been taught to me. And Richard, thank you too. Not a catechumen, but one who studies the scriptures, studies the Church Fathers, etc. I will keep on the journey. There are a couple Orthodox churches in my town, a Greek and a OCA and an Orthodox coffee house. Perhaps I will drop in. I do listen to some of the music on YouTube.

  19. Fr. John says:

    Let us know how it went, and how we can help.

  20. Marty! Go to preachersinstitute.com, find the May 16 2017 update of “Preachers Institute,” an Orthodox homiletics resource, and read, “When Abba Pachomios Received the Gift of Tongues.”

    Sometimes we have struggles because we read something that contradicts what others have taught us. Other times we have struggles because we read something that contradicts our own desires. We tend to believe what we have been taught by people that we trust. We also tend to believe what reinforces our personal pleasures, intellectual and otherwise. The process that you are experiencing is pretty common. Just remember what I told students that I took to church when I was teaching in China. You don’t have to know everything in order to make the right decision.

  21. Answers in Genesis writes in one of their publications about Eastern Orthodoxy:

    “It is all too easy to trust in those sacraments to save one and on the icons to sanctify one rather than in the finished work of Christ on the Cross in our behalf,”…

    This illustrates the blind spot created by our own prejudices. This is no more or less true than to say of Evangelicalism:

    “It is all too easy to trust in that trip down the aisle or that one-time ‘sinner’s prayer,’ or that systematic Bible study, or service in the programs and outreach of the church to sanctify one rather than in the finished work of Christ on the Cross on our behalf.”

    It’s a completely false dichotomy. The difference is I find the Mysteries, Icons (Liturgy and Saints) of the Orthodox Church point me far more consistently and effectively to Christ and His work on my behalf than did all the teachings, programs and activities of the Evangelical churches to which I belonged for decades before I became Orthodox (as good as some of these were)!

    May there be many more blessed like Hank to come all the way home to the ancient Church–maybe even some from Answers in Genesis! 🙂

  22. Roger Allen says:

    I am a Priest of the Anglican Church in North America. I have listened to Hank for years. Although he never actually said it, I could tell in the theological direction he was going that one day he would convert to Orthodoxy. I am so happy for Hank that has found Orthodoxy to be his home. Bott Radio Network demonstrated that they are both bigots and extremely illiterate with reference to Church History and the patristic understanding of the biblical text. That is the chief problem with Protestantism. They can make up any interpretation of scripture they want. The firing was most likely because Hank has for a long time now exposed the silly rapture teaching introduced by John Darby in the 1830s into the lexicon of evangelical thinking. This heretical belief has become so much a part of evangelical orthodoxy that if you dare to question it you are immediately castigated and in Hank’s case fired. Hank is one of the finest biblical scholars I have ever encountered. He is also a true scholar of Church History. Bott Radio and Dick Bott II would do well to listen to Hank and perhaps learn a bit about the history of the Church and the myriad of false teachings they endorse. I posted all this on facebook when it happened and said I would never listen to Bott again. That still stands. God bless you Hank and keep up the good work!!!

  23. Fr. John says:

    Fr. Roger, thanks for those kind words. We’re always available to you.

  24. First time visiting this website. I find the dialogue rich and refreshing. I think Roger Allen’s synopsis on Bott Radio hits the bull’s eye–very disappointing network.
    Thanks

  25. cassandra41 says:

    Sola Scriptura has done more damage to Christianity than any heresy; indeed, it IS a heresy. This is the Protestant rejection of the CONCEPT of a “Church” though Christ Himself declares the existence of His Church. Conveniently forgotten is the fact that THE CHURCH WROTE THE NEW TESTAMENT and not the other way around. It was the Fathers of the Church in council through the guidance of the Holy Spirit who chose what books would appear in the “New Testament.” You can tell the heresy of the matter today when many “Christians” are starting to proclaim that the “Gnostic Gospels” are more accurate and closer to the reality of Christ than those Gospels chosen by the Church to appear in the New Testament.

    Then, too, the Protestant understanding is that every man has the right to “interpret” Scripture as he sees fit. If this were said about a science text, it would be revealed for the nonsense it is! The Church through The Holy Spirit directing the Fathers, has defined the meaning of Scripture for the Faithful. Without that guidance, the Bible can be made to stand for anything, even things diametric to the obvious meaning of the passages involved.

    The word “devil” in Greek means “divider.” This “division” began in the Church with the Great Schism when the Western Church fell away from Her Eastern Brethren. Anyone who believes that the West was right in its choice, need only look at what happened afterward beginning with the politicization and militarization of the Church in the West and culminating with the Protestant Reformation. For those who wrongly believe that the Protestants were merely trying to get back to the ORIGINAL Church and that they represented a correction in the course of the falling away, one need only see what has happened SINCE the Reformation. How many Protestant sects ARE there? Is this not a clear indication that “the Divider” has been busily at work? There are divisions within divisions within divisions in Protestantism, a fact that has led to our present condition of mega-telachurches that have more to do with mammon and power than Christ. It is this pollution of Christianity that is leading young people thirsty for God to follow Islam where at least God is taken seriously and the tenets are not optional!

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