On Hank Hanegraaff and his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy

Rob Bowman writes a very level-headed analysis of Hank Hanegraaff’s (President of CRI and host of the Bible Answer Man Radio Program, that was for years hosted by Walter Martin, before his sudden death in 1989. see CRI website here.)  conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy, and also about the great need for Evangelical Protestants to become better informed about Eastern Orthodoxy, church history, apologetics, and the weaknesses and problems with their own church tradition.  What Bowman writes about Sola Scriptura and church history is excellent.  The only thing I would say is that he should call the view of Hanegraaff’s eschatology as “Partial-Preterism”.  (similar to Kenneth Gentry, R. C. Sproul, and Gary DeMar’s view.)


Dr. James White spent the first 45 minutes of his Dividing Line program on April 10, 2017, talking about Hanegraff and Eastern Orthodoxy and points out how the eastern worldview and mystery emphasis of EO is a big part of why so many westerners don’t understand it.

Douglas Wilson has a good summary of some of the problems with Eastern Orthodoxy:

The Letter of Epiphanius of Salamis, Cyprus, to John, preserved by Jerome.  (that Doug Wilson mentioned)

The book Doug Wilson mentioned, “Through Western Eyes” by Robert Letham.   I pulled this off my shelf again, and I am reading this more now and finding it very helpful.  Rob Bowman also lists some good resources; another one I have is the Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism, which I also have and have read maybe half of that book a while back.  (skipped around all over these 2 books)   By Hanegraaff’s conversion, I am motivated to get these books out again from my book shelf, to go back and re-read what I read, and read parts that I did not read before.

Jason Engwer also had a good article on the situation at Triablogue that generated a lot of comments!  (written the day before Hank Hanegraaf converted to EO.)

I am very disappointed in Hank and his turn, because it means that he has accepted the arguments against both Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide of both EO and of Roman Catholicism also, and both of their claims of having early church history on their side.

(Except for the RC claim that THEY are the early church and their claims of the Papacy.  At least Eastern Orthodoxy is very clear (and correct) that the Papal claims are neither Biblical nor based on the earliest of church history.

I am also sad, because years ago, I was very encouraged by Hank’s stand against the Word of Faith / Prosperity / “Name it-Claim It” heretical teachings and calling out the heretics and their greed by name.  (Hank’s first book on that:  Christianity in Crisis, and related media efforts.)  I don’t have his newer book on the subject. (Christianity in Crisis for the 21st Century).   see my other articles on the Word of Faith heresies. (I have since obtained this book after I wrote this article.)

Also, Hank’s book on the Resurrection was very good, IMO; and I benefitted from his book on “The Face that Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution”, although it does not answer or deal with many other issues that the whole Evolution vs. Creationism brings up.  It is a fairly good introduction to the main philosophical and ethical problems with Darwinian Evolution.  I used to listen to the Bible Answer Man Radio program regularly when in the 1980s Dr. Walter Martin was the host, and for several years after others like Craig Hawkins, Paul Carden, Rob Bowman and Ron Rhodes were the hosts, and then when Hank was the host up until around 1998-2000.  I get the CRI Journal and have benefitted from that also; but I am concerned now about what will happen to this major counter -cult and Evangelical apologetics ministry.  I wonder if it will be Evangelical – Protestant anymore.

Addendum:  For research more into church history and the development of doctrine, see:

A massive compilation of articles at Triablogue by Jason Engwer on church history and doctrine from a Protestant Evangelical Perspective.

Addendum 2: (Thursday, April 13, 2017)

I also appreciated Hank’s book on the “Counterfeit Revival”.  Listening to Hank again today from the April 11, 2017  broadcast, describe Rodney Howard Brown, a nutty goof-ball heretic who calls himself “the Holy Ghost Bartender”, I was reminded of that again.

see also here for an article on “the Counterfeit Revival”.

But, Hank did not explain the contradiction between Eastern Orthodox views of Justification vs. Protestant doctrine of “Justification by Faith alone”.  I remember Hank explaining why he did not sign the ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) in 1994-1995, he explained it in terms of holding to the Protestant doctrine of Sola Fide, Justification by Faith Alone.   I was a regular listener back then.  I wish I could find that. It appears to me that the broadcast archives only go back to 2009.   Hank will need to devote a lot more programs to the issues of the key differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelical Protestantism.  He said he took 15 years to study Eschatology before coming to a conclusion on that; but only 2 years to investigate Eastern Orthodoxy – I think that shows that he will probably be studying church history more and historical theology more, and we will have to see later how he can explain and justify the tensions and contradictions.  Getting a good handle on church history and historical theology takes much longer than getting a handle on Eschatology.

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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