Christians Are Jumping to 'Shameful Conclusions' About Bible Answer Man's Conversion to Orthodoxy, Says Daughter of CRI Founder
He called himself the "Bible Answer Man" but apparently he must have some new, slightly different answers or something:
The daughter of the Christian Research Institute's founder considers its president, "Bible Answer Man" Hank Hanegraaff, a brother in Christ despite theological objections from fellow Christians following his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy.
Hanegraaff, who has been leading CRI for more than 25 years and helped spread its reach to millions, was chrismated on Palm Sunday at Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He continues to face opposition from those who think he has left the Christian faith.
As CP reported last month, the apologist's syndicated radio broadcast "The Bible Answer Man" was removed from the Bott Radio Network amid questions over biblical accuracy.
Others, such as D. Trent Hyatt of Answers in Genesis, have responded with similar concerns. Following the news of Hanegraaf's conversion, Hyatt posted on the AiG website a portion of AiG's World Religions and Cults book about Orthodoxy.
While acknowledging that it was possible for a practicing member of an Eastern Orthodox Church to be a born-again believer "provided that they repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and Resurrection," Hyatt wrote that "many years of missionary work in Eastern Europe and Russia have led me to conclude that the gospel is not often proclaimed in the Orthodox Church."
Orthodox worship services "are ritualistic exercises that focus on the icons and the sacraments," he wrote, arguing that Eastern Orthodoxy places trust in sacraments for salvation and icons to sanctify them "rather than in the finished work of Christ on the Cross in our behalf."
Hanegraaff, who revealed on May 5 that he has a rare form of cancer called mantle cell lymphoma, has emphasized that "nothing has changed in my faith."
"People are posting this notion that somehow or other I've walked away from the faith and am no longer a Christian," he said on his radio show. "Look, my views have been codified in 20 books, and my views have not changed."
My brother who works for Google is also a convert to Greek Orthodoxy. The church my parents attended, when they attended at all, was Episcopal. My brother attended that church much more than I did as a kid. I think my mom went to church more often than she otherwise would have because he really wanted to go, whereas me and my other brother basically had very little interest in it. Sometimes we teased him about it, which I feel bad about now. He converted when he married a Greek-American woman, but he seems to be very much an enthusiastic convert. He is even a deacon in his church I think, although we don't talk much about it. It is a bit of a mystery to me why some people are so attracted to organized religion whereas I myself see the belief system at least as nonsense although I can at least in the abstract see the attractiveness of it as something for a community to organize around. And churches/temples and religious art and music can also be nice even if the underlying belief system is silly.
I guess this apostasy thing is like if a Red Sox fan decided to become a Yankees fan.