Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hank Hanegraaff and Confusions


Hank Hanegraaff and Confusions

By Julio Severo
Was Hank Hanegraaff, a prominent apologist against the Prosperity Gospel, raised in a Calvinist or Arminian home? Was he brought to Christ in a Calvinist or Arminian church?
Hank Hanegraaff being received in the Greek Orthodox Church
Is Hanegraaff’s background of waging wars against the Prosperity Gospel Calvinist or Arminian?
Brazilian Calvinist theologian Franklin Ferreira thinks that the answer is Arminian. He said in his Facebook page,
“Hanegraaff was a prominent popular apologist and wrote one of the best books against the prosperity ‘gospel,’ ‘Christianity in Crisis,’ published in Brazil by CPAD (which launched other four of his books). He was Arminian, and in spite of critical of the Reformed view (there are audios and texts by Hanegraaff published by the website Society of Evangelical Arminians), he joined forces with Calvinists to fight the heresy of the prosperity message.”
Even though CPAD is a Pentecostal and Arminian publishing house, a book published by them is no proof that the author is Arminian. If so, John MacArthur, a strident cessationist Calvinist theologian, would be an Arminian. MacArthur has several books published by CPAD.
Yes, the Society of Evangelical Arminians mentioned Hanegraaff as an “Arminian author” in recent years.
So was Hanegraaff raised in an Arminian home? Was he brought to Christ in an Arminian church? Was the main influence in his life, before his apologetic ministry, Arminian?
In the website of the Christian Research Institute (CRI), its own director, Hanegraaff, affirmed that he is not an Arminian. CRI defends Calvinism in several of its articles.
The Theopedia website says that “Hanegraaff was born in the Netherlands and raised in the United States in the Christian Reformed Church.”
Theopedia explains that “The Christian Reformed Church… has roots in the Dutch Reformed churches in the Netherlands, but find their true Reformed roots in John Calvin from the Reformation.”
Rev. D. James Kennedy, of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, said decades ago,
“Hank was brought to Christ through the ministry of this church, of which he then became a member. I employed him some time later at Evangelism Explosion International in the Development Department. It was here that he learned his basic knowledge of the Scriptures. Here that he learned to evangelize. Here that he learned Mnemonics, the science of memory. It was from here and from me that he learned most of the things needed to get the position that he now holds.”
With this strong Presbyterian background, Hanegraaff became the president of the Christian Research Institute.
With this strong Presbyterian background, Hanegraaff became an apologist against the Prosperity Gospel.
The surprise is not that he began to call charismatics “heretics.” Eventually, he called even his former pastor D. James Kennedy a “heretic” too. As quoted by the Walter Martin Ministries Blog, Kennedy said,
“In conclusion, much of what Hank has learned he learned at this church and through my other ministries. I have tried in every way to be helpful to him. I have also endeavored to be gracious in spite of the many letters I have received accusing him of plagiarizing my book. In spite of all this, for some reason, totally unbeknownst to me, he has started attacking me on his public radio program. And as I just recently heard, has now had the temerity to call me a heretic. I have been called all manner of names by the enemies of the Cross, but one name I have never been called before is heretic. Given my 42 years of ministry, almost 50 books that I have published, the thousands of radio and television programs which have been broadcast here and around the world, it is almost laughable to think that we must wait until this late date to have it discovered by no less a scholar than Hank Hanegraaff that I am a heretic.”
This is the problem of Calvinism and its environment, especially of the cessationist variety: baseless wars and accusations of “heresy,” which ultimately hits everyone.
Franklin Ferreira said that Hanegraaff allied himself, apparently as an outsider, to Calvinists to fight the “heresy” of the Prosperity Gospel. Actually, he was not an outsider. He was inside the Calvinist camp!
The Calvinist camp has not been hit by the Prosperity Gospel. In fact, the major problems affecting Presbyterian churches are abortion and sodomy advocacy. No one of these problems, including theological liberalism, are caused by the Prosperity Gospel. All of them are caused by the Social Gospel, which is similar to the Theology of Integral Mission, which is the Protestant version of Liberation Theology.
So instead of fighting internal problems that directly affect them, many Calvinists prefer directing their attacks to external problems not affecting them.
Hanegraaff began by demonizing ministers of the Prosperity Gospel and eventually demonized his own former Presbyterian minister… Confusion leading to confusion.
Not only Calvinist churches in Europe, U.S. and Brazil are suffering from socialist theological influences, but the whole Brazilian society is also suffering from socialist influences.
If Calvinist or Reformed eyes cannot see the reality, through Bible or supernatural vision, which many of them reject in their cessationist unbelief, God will use a “stone” (a non-Christian mind) to see and cry out. This is what is happening.
This week, Rodrigo Constantino, a Brazilian conservative secular and non-Protestant writer, published an article titled “Democracy and the Prosperity Gospel,” written by Claudir Franciatto, who said,
“While the large part of the Brazilian society that is not evangelical restricts itself to call ministers, bishops and apostles of neo-Pentecostal (charismatic) churches ‘thieves’… [those ministers, bishops and apostles] are bringing to Brazil — secretly and imperceptibly — certain ‘Anglo-Saxon spirit’ of courage, pioneerism and positive individual attitude, which shaped a nation like the United States. This spirit was and is very necessary.”
Claudir added,
“Neo-Pentecostal ministers do not stimulate members to pray and remain sitting on their pews, but to act — within and outside the church.”
Yet, evangelicals cannot accept this “Anglo-Saxon spirit” of courage, pioneerism and positive individual attitude, because Hanegraaff, Ferreira and other theologians influenced by a cessationist Calvinism think and preach that the Prosperity Gospel is “heresy.”
If it is easy for Ferreira to call the Prosperity Gospel a “heresy,” can he call the Social Gospel or the Theology of Integral Mission a heresy?
Can he call cessationism a heresy? Theological liberalism (with its aftermath of abortion and sodomy advocacy) thrives on unbelief of a living and supernatural God working today.
Based on the Society of Evangelical Arminians, Ferreira said that Hanegraaff is an Arminian. Hanegraaff denied it. This is confusion.
Actually, when the Society of Evangelical Arminians said in recent years that Hanegraaff was an Arminian, he was already in the process of conversion to the Greek Orthodox Church. In fact, Christianity Today said that his move to the Greek Orthodox Church took a decade. So it is no wonder that in 2011 he denied that he was a Calvinist.
Hanegraaff was raised and trained in Reformed and Presbyterian environments to attack the Prosperity Gospel and other charismatic issues not affecting this environment. This is confusion.
After years calling charismatic ministers “heretics,” he eventually called his old Presbyterian minister a heretic too! This is confusion.
Jill Martin Rische, daughter of Walter Martin, who founded the Christian Research Institute in 1960, said about Hanegraaff,
“Shortly after my father, Walter Martin, died in 1989 his ministry was taken over by a man who we later discovered had a disturbing habit of ‘borrowing’ other people’s work and claiming it for his own.”
This is confusion.
When he became the president of the Christian Research Institute and wrote “Christianity in Crisis,” which attacks the Prosperity Gospel, Hank Hanegraaff had come directly not from an Arminian or Pentecostal church. He came directly from a Presbyterian church.
Now, he is in the Greek Orthodox Church.
Be it as may it, Hanegraaff did not leave cessationist Calvinism and its influences now. He did it years ago. He did not begin to attend the Greek Orthodox Church now. According to Christianity Today, he did it many years ago. The only new thing is the formal announcement that now he is an Orthodox Christian.
More confusion?
Portuguese version of this article: Hank Hanegraaff e confusões
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