Hank “The Bible Answer Man” Hannegraff explains his conversion to Orthodox Christianity, and how Watchman Nee, a Chinese evangelist, led him to understand theosis.
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Sarah H. says
Not sure how “real” this conversion is…
Fr. John says
Sarah, you responded so fast, there is no way you even watched the video. It’s easy to cast aspersions on the genuineness of someone’s conversion – that’s a common old canard for new converts and we almost all hear it, but even I’m surprised that you didn’t even bother watching the video. Moreso, what would indicate to you that it is not genuine? What evidence do you base that opinion on?
Jon Kennedy says
I think you need “led,” not “lead,” in the subtitle.
For a few years, I had been learning of Orthodoxy (without even realizing it) from a protestant group that was teaching things taught by the early eastern fathers. I really liked what they talked about, and I was drawn to it. But this group also threw in a lot of things with the early fathers that I didn’t like, some postmodern relativism, political correctness, etc. But they inspired me to search out Orthodoxy and I visited an Orthodox Church in October 2016. I loved it, sensed real worship, and was pretty much blown away and very at the same time cautious because my Protestant “alarm bells” were going full gong in my head.
In the meantime, I was trying to make sense of this Protestant group, and I just couldn’t accept all the things they were espousing — things that were new and novel. I ignorantly wrapped Orthodoxy in with this group (very ignorantly indeed) and decided to shelve all this “eastern Christian stuff”.
About six months later I was still searching and I heard that Hank Hannegraff had converted to Orthodoxy. A light bulb went off for me, and I realized that all I liked that this Protestant group was teaching was really the eastern fathers, and all that I was turning away from and frustrated with was rationalism, intellectualism, scholasticism, and the generally winding road of Protestantism. Hank gave me reason to think again about Orthodoxy. And now I’ve been a catechumen for over a year, and as each month goes by, I’m more and more glad I found Orthodoxy and that I was, by God’s grace, able to drop my old suspicions (I had been pretty heavily indoctrinated against any kind of “Catholicism”). Today I just can’t help but be amazed continually at how much more full the gospel and our relationship with God is in the Orthodox faith. I am very imperfect, but glad to be on this journey. Thanks Hank! And thanks Fr John!
Richard Mohr says
One could ask what Sarah means by “conversion.” We converts to Orthodoxy usually take a while to make up our minds because it is so different from what our church experience has been.
If someone comes to my church, St. Barnabas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Costa Mesa, California, they have the opportunity to ask us adults why we left where we were. At one time at St B we had four men with Master of Divinity degrees from three or four Protestant seminaries. I’m a Fuller grad.
Perhaps because Mr. Hannegraff doesn’t use language that comes from revivalism, his conversion story lacks the drama sometimes found in the Protestant world.
I ask non-Orthodox reading this: if you learn that what the early Church believed and practiced is not the same as what you believe and practice at your church (especially in regards to the Eucharist), why do you continue going to the church where you have gone? If you knew that the Church Fathers would be alarmed at what they would see if they visited your church, what would you do?
Mark Feliciano says
Thank you Fr. John, that was wonderful to watch. I was an avid Watchman Nee reader and it also was very instrumental in my realization of what I later came to know as theosis.
Sarah…. nothing this man said in this video is in any way unorthodox…. it is actualy a realy good story, it very resonates with me, tbh….. hence I don’t know on what basis you would be justified in doubting the “realness” or the “quality” of his conversion. It is realy a pitty if you don’t understand the genuine facts the man says in the video…… Blessings
Fr. John says
Good catch. Thanks.
Kevin Bullard says
Oh, it’s 100% for real. Hank is definitely down with the Cause.
Ignatius Braam says
I have no doubt Hank’s a brother! What is very admirable is his poise and kindness in his presentations with Christians of all stripes. He makes a good ambassador for Orthodoxy. May more seekers find the True Faith thru him. God grant him many years!
Karl Beyleveld says
Hank lost millions when he converted to Orthodoxy. Pretty sure his conversion genuine.
What concerns me is he talks about being Chrismated only, and not Baptized.
Was he baptized?
Fr. John says
Apparently he was Chrismated, but that is not his decision. That’s the decision of the bishop.