My Thoughts on Hank Hanegraaff and Orthodox Conversion

Hank Hanegraaff

There has been much talk over the last couple of weeks about Hank Hannegraaff (known as the Bible Answer Man) converting to the Greek Orthodox Church on Palm Sunday.

There have been some pretty negative reactions to it. Jeff Maples posted an article called Why We Can’t Assume Hank Hanegraaff is Saved and We Should Evangelize Him. In addition, the Bible Answer Man show has been dropped by a network over this change.

What do I think of this conversion? To be honest, I see it as not that big of a deal. It is a part of a trend I have seen among evangelicals (e.g. Francis Beckwith, Holly Ordway) of seeking out liturgical traditions such as Roman Catholicism.

I will admit that I once thought of evangelicalism as being the only correct form of Christianity with very limited Christian presence in other traditions. This was more a reflection of my own background. I grew up in the Anglican Church and for much of my life it was empty liturgy. When I made a personal faith commitment and moved over to the Pentecostal Church, I wrote off people in mainline denominations. Since then, I have encountered many people within the Roman Catholic, Anglican and many other traditions who have a vibrant faith in Jesus. I don’t necessarily agree with all of their beliefs (I no longer hold to the Pentecostal distinctives either) but I can welcome them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

People need to get some perspective on this event. Hanegraaff did not convert to Mormonism or Islam. The Orthodox Church, along with Roman Catholics and Protestants, are all accepted parts of the Christian faith. They hold to the Nicene Creed which is a good definition of Christianity. An Orthodox Christian is a Christian.

In addition, we need to look at who Hanegraaff is and what he says about his faith. There is no reason to believe that he has abandoned any basic tenets of Christianity. He still believes in the Trinity and the incarnation.

You might not fully agree with the Orthodox Church but that doesn’t make Hank Hanegraaff a heretic or an apostate. My prayer is that God will continue to use him and that he will be a blessing within his new community.


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8 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Hank Hanegraaff and Orthodox Conversion

  1. As someone who grew up in my mother’s Roman Catholic tradition, and in my teens was exposed to four years of teaching within my father’s Greek Orthodox tradition, and who came to a deeper personal faith in Christ through the witness and teaching of the para-church group (The Navigators), and who now serves as a pastor in a Baptist Church… I commend the grace and insight of your comments on this subject Stephen. It’s the best thing I’ve read among the long list of heart breaking comments by others on social media, by other bloggers, and by media pundits. As all Christian traditions recently celebrated the finished work of the cross and the glory of Christ’s Resurrection…May we look to the humility of Lord Jesus Christ to teach us afresh to live out the prophetic words of Micah 6:8 … and ti put down those stones before we cast them at one another.

  2. He’s no longer the Bible Answer Man. He’s the Eastern Orthodox Answer Man and should own up to the fact his message has changed. That’s basic integrity irregardless of the absolute truth if any particular position. You simply can’t be Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura while being a consistent Eastern Orthodox. He wants to convince evangelicals you can have all three simultaneously. That’s nonsense. Wake up and smell the coffee people.

    1. Orthodox Christians still believe in the Bible and there is no reason why he can’t continue to answer questions about the Bible.It would be the same if he had become a Wesleyan and held to the Wesleyan quadrilateral.

  3. The evangelical church is losing its grip on the gospel. Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins on the cross – period. If you add anything to that, as the Eastern Orthodox church does, you have believed a false gospel and are not a Christian.

  4. This view from Christian evangelicals is astounding to me. Please, please read something about the origins of Christian faith and its history from the time of Christ; by the way, this history starts centuries and centuries before evangelical Christianity in North America was a thought in someone’s head. Orthodox Christianity is the original, true Christian faith. This idea of evangelicals pondering whether Orthodoxy can or cannot be Christian or whether there is a potential abandonment of Christian tenets by a convert to Orthodoxy is absurd. I beg you to try to comprehend how other Christian faiths practice and what we actually believe. Orthodox are not natural proselytizers, and a convert is a cause of celebration and curiosity; we welcome everyone into the church to see how we practice Christianity.

    1. I hope that you are not seeing in my comments any criticism of Orthodox Christianity. My post is meant to respond to those who are critical of Hanegraff’s decision. I’m happy for him and consider him a brother in Christ.

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