The Heart of the Hanegraaff Hubbub: Dethroning the God of Your Personal Experiences

Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley weighs in on the recent controversy that arose when the announcement came that the president of evangelical apologetics ministry Christian Research Institute (CRI), founded by the late Dr. Walter Martin, had been chrismated into the apostate Greek Orthodox Church.  Lesley writes:

Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man. If you hadn’t heard of him before, you probably have by now. President of the Christian Research Institute, author of over twenty books, and host of the popular Bible Answer Man radio call in show, Hanegraaff has been highly regarded in the field of apologetics for years.

Until recently, that is, when he publicly announced that he had been chrismated into the Greek Orthodox church he had been attending for about two years.

Why? Because the Greek Orthodox church holds many beliefs which conflict with Scripture in much the same way, and on some of the same issues, the Roman Catholic church’s beliefs conflict with Scripture.

Much ink and airtime has been dedicated to specific, unbiblical Greek Orthodox doctrines, and you can learn about those in the Additional Resources section at the end of this article, but I’d like to take a look at a statement Hank made during an interview about his decision to join Greek Orthodoxy:

His journey to Orthodoxy began with a trip to China, when “I saw Chinese Christians who were deeply in love with the Lord, and I learned that while they may not have had as much intellectual acumen or knowledge as I did, they had life,” he said.

On the flight back, Hanegraaff wondered if he was even a Christian. “I was comparing my ability to communicate truth with their deep and abiding love for the Lord Jesus Christ.”¹

There are two telling points in these remarks that I think we, as Christian women, would do well to examine and learn from:

Your feelings and experiences aren’t the biblical basis for decision-making.
Just taking Hank’s own words at face value, his feelings about salvation and what the Christian life “should” be like, and his experience with the Chinese Christians – not Scripture – were, at the very least, his first step away from a doctrinally sound church.

The Bible – which is what this whole Christianity thing we’re doing is based on – makes very clear that we can’t trust our feelings. We can’t trust that they’re real, rational, or biblically appropriate. And our experiences are notoriously unreliable as well. How many times have you acted, spoken, or made an assumption based on what you thought was happening right in front of you, only to find out later that your assessment of the situation was wrong, you had misunderstood, or you had jumped to the wrong conclusion?

That’s why God tells us that His written word – not our feelings and experiences – is the standard by which we live our lives and the basis for every decision we make. Our hearts and minds are sinful and fallible. God’s word is not. It can be trusted. It proves true every time it’s tried. God’s word is sufficient, and it – not our feelings and experiences – is our authority.

Most of us have heard the scenario of the woman who cheats on her husband and then says things like, “I think God is calling me to divorce my husband so I can be with my lover. I just feel like God would want me to be happy.” And most of us could point her to Scriptures that clearly refute her feelings- that God is not calling her to get divorced because He intended marriage to be for life, and that adultery is sin that needs to be repented of, despite how “happy” it makes her.

If we would give Scripture the preeminence over feelings in that kind of situation, why would we not give Scripture the preeminence over feelings when it comes to something as important as what we believe about God and the kind of worship He finds acceptable? One woman’s adultery is paltry in comparison to the nature of God and the doctrine and practices of Christ’s church. Yet, so often, we bow the knee to the god of what we think and feel and prefer rather than what the God of the Bible commands.  Continue reading

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10 Responses to The Heart of the Hanegraaff Hubbub: Dethroning the God of Your Personal Experiences

  1. Bobby April 28, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Feelings and experiences are not Biblical; if you’ve ever noticed in modern churches, especially with their “Universal Music Only” and preachings, they push feelings and experiences in both the music and the “preaching”.

    This is the perfect example of why we cannot trust such.

    (Yet this week, I was ejected from social media because I said Biblical truth when a few activists formally filed complaints because I did not speak their spin and went to Biblical truth. I have no understanding what happened, but it seems that is the cause.)

  2. Manny1962 April 28, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    If you speak of Jesus or scripture you will be singled out and banned. The world hates God, and if you stand up for His word, you will be too. Remember, those within our own families will turn against us for proclaiming His truth. I see it all the time. We are living in the last days, time is quickly running out. Geopolitically and economically the world is primed and ready to receive it’s false messiah, and this mad rush to ecumenism will group all religions together at the behest of the false prophet from Rome, who will compel the world to worship the beast. Maranatha!

  3. Manny1962 April 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    As for Mr. Hanegraaff, you can write down his name on the long list of teachers that have capitulated and are apostate. Sign of the times, it was foretold to happen, many will fall by the wayside.

    • rascott247 April 28, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

      Too late Manny. Humble Hank is a name I wrote off long ( and I mean long) ago.

      • Manny1962 April 29, 2017 at 8:44 am #

        Hey RS! How are you? Never listened Humble Hank, it’s amazing the following these people have. He unmasked himself and showed his true colors, I’d like to know what his defenders are saying…….

        • rascott247 April 30, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

          Manny I was never a listener of HH either but I am (have become) familiar with what he has written and said. The first time I ever heard of HH was in the 1990’s, he was on PBS News where he was railing against Israel and Christians who support Israel. He has said much on this topic and he has derided people who believe in a coming earthly Kingdom following the rapture and tribulation as “benighted” and “racist” while he endorses “Anti-Zionist” books and contributes to “Christ at the Check Point” conferences where Jesus Christ is said to be “Palestinian” not Jewish. HH has the same contempt for Christians like me as he does for anti-Christian cultists. He’s an angry man.

          • Manny1962 April 30, 2017 at 8:17 pm #

            Hey, wow I did not know that about HH! I had heard his name mentioned now and then, but I never really knew what he was about. No wonder he fits into the Orthodox system.

  4. Doug Evans April 29, 2017 at 8:59 am #

    This is another example of what I believe is the Holy Spirit needing an issue broadcast and using His bloggers to do it for him. I was reading one of Amy’s facebook posts (the one about Mr. Furtick) and the dependence of the Church of Holy Karaoke on feelings and emotions hit me like a sledgehammer. My post will be out by monday on this subject

    • Amy Spreeman May 1, 2017 at 10:24 am #

      Be sure to alert me when you post it, Doug!

  5. Q May 2, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

    Hank has had many red flags before this recent revelation that involved how he got control of CRI, doctrine, money, the firing of employees…so nothing really new here except this one will cost him and be hard to cover up it seems.

    There’s been a couple of articles lately about needing to question your salvation even suggesting if you aren’t going to church you may not be saved. While I would never want to encourage someone of their salvation that is in continuous sin I also would not want to bring doubt or discouragement to a young or weak believer and I certainly would not want to do that by misinterpreting scripture.

    In this article Michele has a link to an article about examining yourself against scripture and in it refers to 2 Corinthians 13:5 –

    ” Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”

    This verse, as here, is often misused to teach a self examination for assurance of salvation which could cause fear, discouragement and doubt. This verse is connected to verse 3 “since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me…examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” They themselves were proof of his apostleship, it was him that led them to the Savior. In other words If they want to see his credentials they should look at themselves.

    It’s like a boy saying,to his dad, how do I know you are my dad? and the dad replies, go look in the mirror.

    Paul isn’t telling the Corinthians to do self examination as proof of their salvation, he asking them to find in their salvation proof of his apostleship and that Christ was speaking in him.

    Also 1 John isn’t about questioning your salvation, it’s about fighting heresy, exhortation and to give assurance to believers that you Now posses eternal life. 1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”

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