“Bible Answer Man” Joins Greek Orthodox Church

by Steve Ray on April 10, 2017

Karl Keating posted on Facebook:

“BIBLE ANSWER MAN” BECOMES EASTERN ORTHODOX

Hank Hanegraaf, long-time president of the Christian Research Institute and host of “The Bible Answer Man” radio show, has entered the Greek Orthodox Church, according to one-time associate Rob Bowman.

IMG_9151CRI is an Evangelical apologetics group established in 1960 by Walter Martin, who died in 1989. Martin had been the original “Bible Answer Man,” but Hanegraaf has filled role for nearly three decades now.

Bowman used to work at CRI. Since 2008 he has headed the small Institute for Religious Research, which seems to focus on refuting Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a group that Bowman wrote four books against.

Bowman reports that Hanegraaf, his wife, and two of their twelve children were chrismated on Palm Sunday at a Greek Orthodox church in Charlotte, NC, near where CRI now is located.

Bowman says, “Hanegraaff’s conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy should not be viewed as a mere isolated occurrence. There has been a definite trend for the past few decades of a growing number of American evangelical Protestants converting to either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.”

What will happen with “The Bible Answer Man”? Is it possible for an Evangelical ministry to be headed by a Greek Orthodox?

Almost certainly there will be outrage from certain quarters. Not a few supporters of CRI think Catholics and Orthodox are Christians only by sufferance. Such people won’t take kindly to Hanegraaf’s “betrayal of the gospel,” which is probably how they will look at his conversion. Many other fans of CRI will be disappointed, even if Hanegraaf positions himself in what one might call low-church Orthodoxy (an analogue to low-church Anglicanism).

I don’t see how Hanegraaf can remain with CRI for long. The organization never has shown much sympathy for liturgical churches. My guess is that Hanegraaf will depart soon. He’s 66 or 67, so he may have timed his conversion with an expected retirement from CRI anyway.

As for his part, Bowman concludes his report with a rallying of the Evangelical troops. While speaking well of Hanegraaf, he says that Evangelical distinctives remain true and that Orthodox (and Catholic) distinctives don’t–or at least such is the implication. He concludes by saying that the fallout from Hanegraaf’s change of allegiance is likely to affect Evangelicalism for years go come.

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