A Divided Dividing Line: James White and the Hankamess

August 2, 2018

Mark 3:25 “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

I. Introduction: The Good, the Bad, and the UglyImage result for good the bad and the ugly

This will be my last substantive post about the Hankamess and it will be a long one. (I will open comments but they will still be moderated.)

For those who may not want to wade through everything, the post is divided into three main sections. Section two takes a romp through James White’s criticisms of Orthodoxy noting what I think he gets right (The Good). Section three (The Bad) provides analysis and replies to his criticisms of Orthodoxy and sometimes even of Hank. Section four (the Ugly) discusses the role James White and other well-known apologists played in Hank’s rise to power.

II. The Good
III. The Bad
IV. The Ugly

After this, I am moving on with my life, as I did nearly thirty years ago. For about the last year, I have chronicled the Hankamess resulting from Hank Hanegraaff’s reception into the Orthodox Church. I have also tried to sketch for readers the main points along the Hankamess timeline leading up to that reception, from 1989 forward. For many good and interesting reasons, I haven’t been able to present all the information, respond to every argument or tell everyone’s story who has been involved in it. I have also made Image result for gandalf little fellow in a wide worldsome mistakes along the way. There are things I could have done better. As to my standing in this whole drama though, honestly, I have always been a very small person, a hobbit of sorts, in a much bigger drama. I have only tried to tell the truth and do what is right regardless of the consequences to me.

In the main, things went as I expected them to, though at one point, God threw me a curve ball I did not expect. Hank has behaved in the way I said he would, shrugging off any calls for the slightest repentance or an apology. He immediately began working his way into the power structures of the Church, presenting himself as a “teacher” to financially benefit his Protestant private business. I know many did not believe me when I laid out this narrative in the beginning, but over a year later, it is frankly now indisputable. I told you so.Image result for garak meme

I did not expect Hank to fall to his knees and offer an apology. It wasn’t that this was impossible, but given thirty years of consistent lying and graft I judged it to be improbable. There remains a hope, but in the main I hold it as a fool’s hope. (He still has my cellphone number and the contact information for many other people.) His repentance for public wrongs would not only benefit his salvation, but his many victims as well, some who unlike me, still suffer serious consequences stretching into eternity. They are part of the reason why I have done what I have. “Many of these trees were my friends.”

I’ve Got A Little List

That said, Hank didn’t get to his Benny Hinn lifestyle all by himself. He had help and lots of it. And he had help from people who not only should have known better but I believe did know better. They were, for a very long time in a position to do what was right. The majority of them self-designate as apologists and make their livelihood based on claims of expertise to evaluate arguments and evidence and discern truth from error. It’s their job to point out fakes and sound the alarm. They are well known and some pride themselves on defending the “purity of the Gospel.” But instead of doing the very least that was morally required, they chose rather to ingratiate themselves with Hanegraaff for their own personal profit. And they did so all the while their brothers and sisters in Christ were losing their jobs, losing their homes, dying of cancer or having a crisis of faith to the point of denying Christ Himself. In what follows, I name names and bring out the role they played in the past. What they did in the past was wrong and their attempt to profit from that deception now, is also wrong.

Now, after Hank’s reception into the Orthodox Church they have broken out in a few different directions. Some continue to ingratiate themselves with Hank to promote their products. Others have tried to occupy a no man’s land between where their theological commitments are and where their financial interests lie. They’re Protestant and critique Catholic and Orthodox beliefs and practices, except when its Hank. Others by contrast have positioned themselves as the de facto and true “Bible Answer Man” decrying Hank’s lapse into heresy, offering critiques of Orthodoxy along the way. Chief among these is James White, famed Reformed Baptist apologist and debater.

Over the course of the last year or so, James White (and some of his ministerial associates at “Alpha and Omega Ministries”) has offered a series of videos criticizing Orthodoxy and Hank Hanegraaff. Here I place them in temporal order (One, Two, Three, Four Five, and Six. )In the interests of time and labor, I don’t index remarks by White (and others), but the video links provided are I believe sufficient.

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The Authentic Hankadox Life

April 4, 2018

I. “Authentic”

Between work and school, I have been too busy to write much. But Spring Break has afforded me some time to peck at the keyboard. As the Hankamess winds down for me, this story has taken a few new twists and turns that I think are worth informing my readers about. If all goes well, I should be done writing about the Hankamess very soon.

Before we get started though, readers need to keep one thought before their minds. Despite the fact that Hank has been the de facto head of CRI and pretty much the singularAnnual Archon Lenten Retreat host of the BAM show for nearly thirty years, Hank’s background isn’t in apologetics, philosophy, history, the sciences or Biblical languages. He has no real competence beyond the lay level in any of those fields, at best. What is salient here though is that his real skill and background is in marketing. Hank knows how to diversify and promote products, which is what he was in part originally hired to do at CRI. Hank is quite adept at the art of schmoozing to boot.

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What the Water Gave Me

February 13, 2018

I. Prolegomena

I hadn’t planned on posting more than two more posts on the Hankamess to finish things off. I had planned on writing a post chronicling how Hank got to the position he did and who among various apologetic celebrities had helped him get there and then a last one once we had the separate website up with all of the relevant documents. But a recent gaffe by Hanegraaff is, I believe, so very instructive that I decided to write about it. It is instructive not because it makes clear that Hank is theologically incompetent and so unfit for the position he holds, but because it reveals something of his true character and gives people a quick glimpse into the real Hank.

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A Table in the Presence of My Enemies

January 7, 2018

A number of things have been going on in various places but none of them deserved a separate post. So I thought I’d put them up here for readers to peruse.

The first thing to note is that I wrote an article for Modern Reformation magazine about Hanegraaff’s conversion and the subsequent dust up, which has now been published.Image result for Modern Reformation While it is behind a paywall, you can subscribe to it to get the article here if you so wish. There is nothing in the article that I haven’t written here already or doesn’t come out in the interview I did with Paul Vendredi.  Given that I remember (and was there) when Modern Reformation was nothing more than four pages stapled together from a dot matrix printer, it is ironic that all I had to do to get an article published there was to convert to Orthodoxy and wait 25 years.  And just so that everything is on the up and up, no, I did not pick the title. I had supplied a different title, “On Your Way Out the Door.” Nothing I wrote there is critical of the Orthodox church or its teaching per se.

For readers of MR you can find most of my previous posts on Hanegraaff here. For those interested, myself and other former employees, in cooperation with the Martin family are working to make all of the relevant documentation available on a separate site. So please feel free to check back here for updates should this matter interest you. In the meantime you can look through the articles linked above or some of those in the secular press about Hank’s misdeeds and scandals from years past here.

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Upon This Para-Rock

December 8, 2017

In the early 1990’s when my employment with CRI was terminated, I was a member of the Reformed Episcopal church. One of my other church members was Jerry Kistler, who also had been fired from CRI for similar reasons as I was though sometime earlier. Jerry remained Reformed and so obviously we have our theological differences, but I have never known Jerry to be anything less than an honest standup guy. Given our commonImage result for Jesus statue pointing smiling experiences with “para-church” organizations we used to joke that there was a little known variant reading in the Latino-Syrio-Aramaic of Matthew 16:18 where Jesus is reported to have uttered,

“Upon this para-rock, I will build my para-church.”

Comical though it is, it is a good summation of the attitude widely expressed in at least popular Protestant circles. Para-church organizations are said to work alongside of the church, helping it carry out its mission. Para-church Image result for pile of sandorganizations can do things that the local pastor simply can’t do. They can pool resources and information to “equip” the local pastor to do his job more effectively. That is of course the sell. I learned by experience that this simply was not the case.

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How Not to Answer A Question-Hankadox Style

November 9, 2017

A Lordship Preface

Some time ago, John MacArthur, a somewhat popular evangelical preacher took a swipe at Hank Hanegraaff. I say swipe because in all fairness, that is what it was. MacArthur really doesn’t even try to be charitable. For example he designates the priestly cloth that is placed over the recipient’s head during the chrismation rite as a “rag” and derides it as infused with divine grace. That is of course a rather cheap shot. One has to wonder what Mr. MacArthur makes of Acts 19:12 after all.

MacArthur then goes on to cite the Confession of Dositheus, Decree 13, which I have referenced previously concerning Hank’s seeming inability to articulate a non-Protestant view of justification and disavow the Reformation teaching. The Decree is fairly clear inImage result for John MacArthur its denial of Sola Fide, so MacArthur is quite right to cite it on that score. I have no doubt though that MacArthur would be at great pains to explain what the view of justification expressed in it.  MacArthur goes on to say that the Orthodox, like Rome do not have the gospel and that they teach a false gospel. Perhaps he thought this would have significant shock value, but frankly that Protestants think so really isn’t news. Anyone shocked by it either hasn’t been paying attention or is completely ignorant of the Reformation.

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Matt 18: My Meeting With Hank Hanegraaff

November 2, 2017


Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I have had a meeting and some phone conversations with Hank Hanegraaff. I want to take some space here to disclose these events and the conversations that took place. For the record, California law prohibits me from recording conversations with others without their knowledge and consent. Image result for matthew 18Consequently, I can only offer here my own account of the events and statements that were made.  After each encounter, I wrote down what occurred during the conversation and reviewed the notes I took during the conversations when that was possible.

For those who may be new to the ongoing fracas cataloged here, you will find below what I have written so far and some other helpful links.

The Babel Answer Man

A Hankadox Intermezzo

A Response to Cindee Martin Morgan

Footsies with Frederica

Why Hanegraaff’s Conversion is not Really a Big Deal (But It Should Be)

Audit’s Lesson was ‘Painful’ for Evangelist

Hanegraaff Wasn’t Handpicked

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