October 7, 2006

Bible-Answer-Man Turns Traitor

The following news release just came through the E-List from Midwest Christian Outreach, headed up by apologist Don Veinot.  He reports that Hank Hanegraaff, the radio Bible-Answer-Man has taken the side of an abusive shepherding group, the Local Church, against Harvest House Publishers and authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon in a lawsuit initiated by the "church".  

The most shocking thing about this report is that the founder of CRI, the organization that Hanegraaff heads up, is Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults.  Ankerberg happened to be one of Martin's closest associates in the defense of the faith.  Martin joined co-defendant John Weldon on the platform of The Ankerberg Show frequently to debate cultists and other aberrational teachers.  The three men were quite a team.  In fact, Ankerberg emceed Martin's memorial service after he passed away.  This was the same service in which Hanegraaff reportedly made his move to take over CRI (Christian Research Institute) by manipulating Martin's widow to announce to the mourners that he was Martin's appointed successor when indeed he wasn't.  (See the report on that on Martin's daughter and son-in-law's website at: http://www.waltermartin.org/cri.html and scroll down to read: Hanegraaff Wasn't 'Handpicked')

Another irony to this story is the fact that Hank Hanegraaff, not living up to his stolen "Bible-Answer-Man" title, sees nothing wrong with a Christian taking another Christian into civil court (he must have cut 1 Corinthians 6 out of his Bible).  Hanegraaff has filed a lawsuit against journalism professor William Alnor (yes, he is related to me) for wording he didn't like in an article Bill wrote about Hanegraaff's less-than-forthright fund-raising methods.  And it just so happens that this same "church" that is suing Ankerberg and Weldon also sued another apologetics ministry, SCP (Spiritual Counterfeits Project) back in the 70s and drove that ministry into bankruptcy.  Bill Alnor is SCP's current Access Director -- could there be a connection?

Hanegraaff certainly bites the hand that used to feed him.  Harvest House Publishers was the first book publishing house to publish Hanegraaff's books (at least the books had Hanegraaff as the author, though there is evidence that others in his employ wrote more of it than he did).  But he changed publishers for a more lucrative deal elsewhere.  It makes you wonder what sort of filthy lucre he received from the "Local Church" to be lured into striking this deal with the devil.  Yet Hanegraaff and the "Local Church" are two peas in a pod.  They both use the court system to intimidate and financially devour other Christians.  They deserve each other and they will answer to God.  

To the "Local Church" I would say: your lampstand has been removed.  To Hanegraaff: What does it profit you to gain all the world's golf courses and country clubs and forfeit your soul? 


CRI and The Local Church

There is a most bewildering turn of events. As some of you may be aware, a group who calls themselves The Local Church (founded by Witness Lee) has been attempting to sue Harvest House Publishers and authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon for including them in their Encyclopedia of Cults and False Religions. The Texas Court of Appeals ruled against The Local Church on January 5, 2006. Of the number of points which the court made was point 9 page 4 of the decision which reads in part:

"…although church was listed as a cult, introduction specifically stated that the list of cult characteristics was not exhaustive and that ‘not all groups have every characteristic in equal measure,’ and introductions prefatory language of ‘[t]hose cult leaders or gurus’ was restrictive and focused only upon those who committed such acts, not on all leaders or gurus."

The contention of The Local Church is that the behaviors and acts which were listed in the introduction would be understood by the average reader to apply in equal measure to all groups discussed in the book. The Local Church took this position in spite of the authors stating that "not all groups have every characteristic in equal measure" and as the court pointed out, this didn’t apply to all leaders and gurus. Why is this important now? The Local Church has filed petition with the Texas Supreme Court to hear the case and reverse the Appellate Courts decision.

Hank Hanegraaff, as President and Chairman of the Board of CRI has come to the aid of The Local Church and filed a friend of the Court brief (Amicus Curiae) on behalf of The Local Church requesting that the Texas Supreme Court review the case. Hank writes

:"The Texas Court of Appeals ruled, ‘Therefore, we conclude that being labeled a "cult" is not actionable because the truth or falsity of the statement depends on one’s religious beliefs, an ecclesiastical matter which cannot and should not be tried in a court of law."

Hank then goes on to argue that the Supreme Court should hear the case. He also is clear that he and by extension, CRI, view The Local Church as theologically in agreement with the essential doctrines of the Christian Faith. This raises two questions:

1) Is it now CRI’s position that the courts should be the ones to determine correct theology? If so is CRI going to close their doors in deference to the courts determining sound biblical teaching?

2) If Hank and CRI believe that The Local Church is a theologically sound Christian group in the essentials of the Christian faith, as he indicates, why would he appeal to a court of unbelievers asking them to clear the way for believers to sue other believers before a court of unbelievers in clear violation of 1 Corinthians Chapter 6?

I did attempt to call Hank but was denied the opportunity to speak with him. I was put through the voice mail of CRI V.P., Paul Young, and I left a message but up to this point have not heard back from him.

Thu, 5 Oct 2006 Midwest Christian Outreach - L.L. (Don) Veinot, Jr.


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