Hank Hanegraaff, “The Bible Answer Man” on Christian radio, several years ago made the decision to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. Many evangelicals were puzzled by his decision, and several stations and networks dropped his program, including the Bott Radio Network.
His son, Dave Hanegraaff, attempts to set the record straight.
“Growing up as the son of the Bible Answer Man wasn’t always easy,” he said. “Imagine the stereotypical experience of a preacher’s kid — on steroids. Sure, truth matters, I would think to myself, but where is the life?”
He found that his father was asking the same question.
“His discoveries resulted in his decision to join the Eastern Orthodox Church, leading many to proclaim that he had left the Christian faith,” he said. “Some of his closest friends and confidants concluded that they could no longer associate with him, despite his declarations that `God has his people everywhere’ and an earnest desire to promote unity within Christendom by making good on the maxim of his ministry, `In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty and in all things charity’.”
Hanegraaff recalls the day one of his father’s closest associates told him they no longer could work together.
“My father had a real encounter with Christ that was and continues to be truly transformational as his union with God grows more bountiful and unbreakable,” he said. “My father knew the Bible better than most anyone I could imagine, and has been praised for his biblical discernment and ability to recite passages from memory at a moment’s notice.
“Yet his discovery that life matters more has led him to grow closer and closer to Christ. I couldn’t believe that someone had to create distance with my father because he had graduated from giving truth the pole position in his life to understanding that the purpose of life itself is about growing closer to Christ. Truth matters, it really matters. But life matters more.”
What does it mean for life to matter more? It is difficult to explain, the younger Hanegraaff says, “but you know it when you see it — better yet, when you experience it. Or, as our Lord explained it, ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’ (John 13:35). I had seen my father transition from a defense attorney to a disciple — more concerned with winning people to Christ than winning arguments about Christ. In his own words, he had discovered the ‘unexpected beauty of an authentic Christian life.'”
Hanegraaff’s radio show continues to be popular with his on-line show having exploded in popularity around the world. While many criticized his conversion, others defended it saying Eastern Orthodox Christians are on the front lines of persecution in many places around the world and American Evangelicals have little room to criticize while living in the relative comfort and security of American culture.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice