“Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff’s Embrace of Eastern Orthodoxy Leaves Some Southern Baptists With More Questions Than Answers

Hank Hanegraaff

“Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff has answered evangelicals’ questions about Scripture and Christianity for nearly three decades in his nationally syndicated broadcast, but his recent decision to join the Orthodox church has left some Southern Baptists with more questions than answers.

Among those assessing Hanegraaff’s decision are leaders of the Bott Radio Network, which has broadcast the “Bible Answer Man” since the 1980s — in fact, since before Hanegraaff joined the show in 1989.

“We want to make sure that our listeners know that the programming that we have on Bott Radio Network is thoroughly biblical,” said BRN President Richard P. Bott II, a member of Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kan.

In a weekend email announcement, Bott said that beginning today (April 17) BRN would be removing the Bible Answer Man from its programming to accommodate a new late-afternoon lineup, featuring pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas; David Barton, founder of Wallbuilders; pastor Chip Ingram of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, Calif.; Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee chairman Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla.; and pastor Charles Stanley of First Baptist Church in Atlanta.

“We live in strategic times,” Bott told Baptist Press, adding that BRN is excited to offer a new lineup that he hopes will ultimately foster revival in this nation. BRN is striving to provide solid, biblical programs to encourage and challenge listeners, he said.

Hanegraaff, 67, and his wife Kathy became members of St. Niktarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, April 9, where they had attended services more than two years.

The following day, he confirmed online reports about his conversion to Orthodoxy during his radio broadcast, while also claiming that his teachings remain unchanged and faithful to Scripture.

“I am as deeply committed to championing ‘mere Christianity’ and the essentials of the historic Christian faith as I have ever been,” Hanegraaff said during his April 10 broadcast.

“People are posting this notion that somehow or other I’ve walked away from the faith and am no longer a Christian,” he added during his April 11 broadcast. “Look, my views have been codified in 20 books, and my views have not changed.”

Despite his claims, news of Hanegraaff’s conversion “has raised a number of eyebrows, concerns and questions in the evangelical world,” said R. Philip Roberts, director for international theological education with the Global Ministries Foundation in Tennessee, who also teaches adjunctively at Truett-McConnell College in Georgia.

“Of course, the roots of Eastern Orthodox theology go back centuries — even to the ancient creeds, councils and church theologians,” Roberts said. “The problem is what has happened since then in terms of revisions and interpretations in Eastern Orthodox thinking by eastern mystical thinkers” involving “the biblical doctrines of God, Adam, humankind, sin and salvation.”

Orthodox Christians, nevertheless, have made much of their aura of antiquity.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Ben Hawkins