National Review Online symposium - "Can Religious Freedom Be Saved?"
"We will render ungrudgingly to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but we will never under any circumstances render to Caesar what is God’s." - Chuck Colson
Monday, March 26, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
In the evangelical community, nobody is neutral on Hank Hanegraaff: you either think he's the greatest Christian writer since the Apostle Paul, or you think he's a heretic that's corrupting some essential evangelical doctrines. Either way, there's no middle ground.
With only a couple of exceptions, however, it's hard to find much that could be considered corrupt or heretical in Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century, Hank's 2009 update of his 1993 award-winning Christianity in Crisis.
Hank took no prisoners in addressing the genuinely heretical teachings of the Faith and Prosperity movements. In the first volume, Hank took on false teachers like Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland - people who were espousing false doctrines and enriching themselves in the process.
This second volume draws the clear path of "progress" from the founders and first generation of the Faith and Prosperity movements and the second and third generations of false teachers - people like T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer and the even-more-dangerous Joel Osteen and Rhonda Byrne.
One of the most useful features of this follow-up volume is in the "Case of Characters" chapter, a new feature that discusses the teachings and conduct (and mis-conduct) of the Faith and Prosperity movement teachers name by name. Hank is meticulous in footnoting and documenting the false teachings of these characters and quotes directly from their teachings, so he cannot be charged with mis-quoting or mis-representing their heresies.
Throughout the book Hank presents clear, easy-to-understand yet detailed information not only on the false doctrines being espoused by Hinn, Byrne, et al., but more importantly, he presents the true essential doctrines of the biblical Christian faith. Hank continues his heavy use of acronyms to present this information in an organized manner; while Hank's "acronym-mania" may be off-putting to some, in a volume of this nature, it's not only useful, it's almost essential for outlining a wealth of information.
You may disagree with Hank on other doctrines, as I do - for example, I think Hank leans dangerously towards the preterist position with regards to eschatology and End Times teaching - but he is 100% spot-on that the Faith and Prosperity movements are a cancer within the soul of essential Biblical Christianity. Like cancer, though, these false teachings can be treated and excised from the authentic church. Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century is an excellent theological chemotherapy to the cancerous false teachings of the Faith and Prosperity movements.
This book needs to be on your bookshelf right next to Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults as essential tools to fight against false teachings and cultic behaviors.