“Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff Joins the Orthodox Church

You probably already have heard this news, but we have some of Hank’s own words on it. Welcome home, Hank! We here at JTO have been fans for awhile, and hope to speak to you personally about your journey!

Known to millions as the “Bible Answer Man,” 77-year-old Hank Hanegraaff and his wife were received into the Orthodox Church this year on the great feast of Palm Sunday, at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, NC.

Mr. Hanegraaff can be seen kneeling with a lit candle under a priest’s epitrachelion in the picture to the right. His wife’s hands can be seen as well. The picture originates from the Facebook page of the parish, but has been removed after an influx of comments, including negative remarks from those who appreciated Hanegraaff’s work as a Protestant.

The Bible Answer Man addressed his conversion to the Orthodox faith on his program yesterday, in response to a caller who had seen remarks claiming that, in becoming Orthodox, Mr. Hanegraaff had left the Christian faith. He responded:

I am now a member of an Orthodox Church, but nothing has changed in my faith. I have been attending an Orthodox church for a long time—for over two years, really, as a result of what happened when I went to China, many years ago. I saw Chinese Christians who were deeply in love with the Lord, and I learned that while they may not have had as much intellectual acumen or knowledge as I did, they had life. And so I learned that while truth matters, life matters more, and I remember flying back from China after spending time with just common people who had a deep, intense love for the Lord, and wondering, “Was I even a Christian?”

I was comparing my ability to communicate truth with their deep and abiding love for the Lord Jesus Christ… One man, by the way, said to me, truth matters but life matters more. In other words, it is not just knowing about Jesus Christ, it is experiencing the Resurrected Christ. As a result of that I started studying what was communicated by the progeny of Watchman Nee with respect to theosis and that drove me back to the early Christian Church.

And I suppose over that period of time I have fallen ever more in love with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s sort of like my wife—I have never been more in love with my wife than I am today, and I’ve never been more in love with my Lord Jesus Christ than I am today. I’ve been impacted by the whole idea of knowing Jesus Christ, experiencing Jesus Christ, and partaking of the graces of Jesus Christ through the Eucharist or the Lord’s Table. And that has become so central in my life, but as far as the statement that you mentioned, that I’ve left the Christian faith—nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact I believe what I have always believed, as codified in the Nicene Creed, and as championed by mere Christianity.

After reciting the entire Nicene Creed, he concluded,

“In other words, I am as deeply committed to championing mere Christianity and the essentials of the historic Christian faith, as I have ever been.”

Hank Hanegraaff has served as the president and chairman of the board of the North Carolina-based Christian Research Institute (CRI) since 1989, when he also took over previous-president’s radio talk-show “The Bible Answer Man.” The show includes answering questions about matters of Christian doctrine and history and Biblical interpretation, and denominational particularities. He has been an outspoken critic of non-Christian religions, new religious movements and cults, and heresies within conservative Christianity. He is also the author of over twenty books. His The Complete Bible Answer Book—Collector’s Edition is a compendium of the most common, and the most difficult, questions regarding Christianity, culture, and cults that Hank has received over the past three decades.

It has been noted that Hank has been speaking about the Orthodox Church more on his show lately, referring to it as “fantastic,” and “the early Church.” In 2016, Hank interviewed Fr. Themistoclos (Adamopoulos), a Greek Orthodox priest, to discuss his journey from Marxist rock star to Orthodox monk. Fr. Themi works tirelessly with the poor and suffering in Sierra Leone, where people are still suffering from the effects of a recent Ebola epidemic. The interview can be listened to here.

In March, Mr. Hanegraaff answered a caller’s question about the Orthodox teaching of theosis, ably explaining the doctrine of man’s sanctification on both a Biblical and Patristic basis.

“We become Christ-bearers since His Body and Blood are distributed throughout our limbs, as Cyril of Jerusalem said… The whole idea being that we become by grace what God is by nature… We become, as Peter put it, partakers in the divine nature,”

the Bible Answer Man explained. 

Source

 

“Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff Joins the Orthodox Church

Comments

  1. A beautiful testimony.

  2. Jim Polyzoidis says:

    Blessings to you brother Hank

  3. Richard Mohr says:

    There are other people out there that are interested in Eastern Orthodoxy but are reluctant to make the move. Careers might be derailed and friends lost as a result. I wonder how many friends St. Paul lost when they found out that he had become a Christian and was now a catechumen.

    Every think about that? St. Paul once was a convert that was taught by the Church.

  4. Fr. John says:

    YES! St. Paul WAS a convert that was taught by the Church! How easy it is to forget that!

  5. Michael Bauman says:

    My are prayers are with him. He will face an unwarranted and in many ways a blasphemous attack by those who hate and fear, out of ignorance, the Church. He may also face the “rock star convert” treatment within the Church. May the Lord protect and guide him.

  6. Well, the Bott Network won’t carry his program anymore. I bet there are some people in the planning stages for a conference in response to his decision to leave the Protestant world, just as there have been conferences about inerrancy, fringe group strangeness, and the like. Nothing unites people like identifying an enemy and then inviting dynamic speakers to prove some point.

  7. Dr. James I Hicks, D. D. says:

    Many people do not know the beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some people think it is the same as the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholics are wrong, The Eastern Orthodox Church is right to the Word of God. Hold on to the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

  8. Claudia Golliday says:

    So very sorry to hear this. I really had grown so much from his ministry. I have been a listener since Walter Martin passed away. No better what Truth Matters. Claudia. St. Louis Mo

  9. Allen Thomsen says:

    As we travel down this road of life, we choose things for different reasons. Choosing things for popularity will serve just fine in a world under the influence of fallacy and ignorance… But when we search out real truth with real faith, we soon find that we’d best get on to choosing things for better reasons like truth, faith, and salvation.
    I enjoy many shows on Bott. However, I will continue listening to the bible answer man on equip.org or one place.com. He’s still broadcasting folks. And he still speaks the truth!

  10. Well done Hank.As a Catholic,I am not here to fight over who is right or wrong just glad he made this move.

  11. Brian Arbuckle says:

    Has Hank any where spoken about how he has dealt with the Orthodox doctrine of the “ever virgin” Mary? It seems to me that had to be a major hurdle for him as it would be for anyone who reads the Scripture.

  12. Brian, considering that he has clearly read the Scripture more than you, and I have, too, I might be willing to say you should read it more closely, more contextually, and with historical witness. Papias specifically names the parentage of the ‘brothers and sisters of Jesus’ in the first century AD. And throughout history, it wasn’t until the advent of modernism that the Ever Virginity of Mary was even questioned by so-called ‘churches’ at large. If you need a little help, you can read what the Protestant reformers themselves said – and I’m pretty sure they read the Bible. Look here.

  13. Brian Arbuckle says:

    That’s good advice, Father. Let me assure you that I am a student of Scripture. Be assured that I believe everything the Scriptures teach about Mary and her ever virginity.

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