Did Hank Hanegraaff Convert to Greek Orthodoxy on Palm Sunday, April 9th 2017?

I came across this picture, ostensibly of the Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff. He was someone, I’m sure like many, who I listened to and even relied upon some 22 years ago as I was struggling with doubts and had new theological and biblical questions I needed answered (even though I was raised in the church)—this was all before I attended Bible College or Seminary. Anyway, this picture (there were actually 2) was posted on St. Nektarios’ Greek Orthodox Church’s Facebook page. After I “grabbed” this particular picture I went back to take a look later and the picture (and another one of Hank) had been taken down. It is a rather shocking picture, at least for me, because I really had no inkling that Hank had ever considered becoming Orthodox; that is until recently (like within the last couple of weeks) when I was alerted to how Hank answered a question about theosis on his BAM broadcast. He almost sounded defensive of Orthodoxy in the clip I listened to of him, and now that would make sense if in fact the picture I have of him is indeed legitimate. I shared it on Facebook, and some folks have voiced skepticism about the picture being authentic. But I found it by simply browsing St. Nektarios’ Facebook page, and there are no signs of it being foul play. If it was foul play why would they bury it on an obscure Facebook page that is not even in the public eye? I see no evidence of the picture being fake thus far, and I am currently waiting to hear back about my inquiry to the Christian Research Institute (CRI) as to the veracity of the picture and whether there is reality to this picture or not. But I thought I would share the picture; I think if Hank has in fact converted to Orthodoxy, along with his wife, that it could have some serious blow back on his Bible Answer Man broadcast (which is a kind of staple of popular evangelical apologetics), and the Christian Research Institute in general. This might explain, if in fact Hank has converted, why they would want to keep it as hush-hush as possible.

I don’t have any insider’s knowledge, or secret source giving me the inside scoop on this. But the picture itself, if authentic (and I see no evidence as to why it wouldn’t be), speaks for itself. Here’s the blurb that was posted above the catalog of pictures I found this picture of Hank in on St. Nektarios’ Facebook page:

On Palm Sunday, we commemorate the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem. At this morning’s services we blessed the palms during Matins, witnessed the Chrismation of four new members to the Orthodox Church during Liturgy, and concluded services with the traditional Palm Sunday procession.

Addendum: A guy named Fr. Thomas Soroka, an Eastern Orthodox Priest, is also announcing that Hank Hanaegraaff, his wife Kathy, and two sons have indeed been Chrismated into the Eastern Orthodox tradition. He wrote this on his Facebook wall:

Many years to Hank Hanegraff (aka “The Bible Answer Man”) and his wife Kathy, newly Chrismated Orthodox Christians as of this morning in Charlotte​, NC.

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38 thoughts on “Did Hank Hanegraaff Convert to Greek Orthodoxy on Palm Sunday, April 9th 2017?

  1. Yes, I assume the hush-hush has to do with how he handles the necessary adjustments to his ministry. In lieu of just handing it over to someone else, he has to figure-out how to transition BAM/CRI to a ministry that is EO-affirming, which is tricky given decades of archived material.

    By the way, I’ve wanted to visit this church since it opened not long ago. It’s now the largest Orthodox church, at least in terms of space, here in Charlotte. It’s beautiful, based on their nifty virtual tour, but it’s a decent drive from the Speedway area where I live.

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  2. Woo hoo! Welcome home, Hank! My husband, daughter, and I converted to Orthodoxy ten years ago after being lifelong evangelical Protestants.

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  3. Similar to the author of this article, Hank Hanegraaff was for me an influential Christian apologetic author and radio host whom I used to listen to often, especially in the 90’s. I didn’t always agree with him, his arguments or the facts he utilized; however I appreciated the discussion.

    Hank Hanegraaff was Chrismated on Palm Sunday 2017, joining a lot of other influential Protestant teachers whom have, in the search for truth, found home with Orthodox Christianity. Others include the “Jews for Jesus” movement co-founder, James Bernstein, who is now an Orthodox Presbyter; the Campus Crusade for Christ leaders, including Peter Gullquist who became an Orthodox Presbyter (recently deceased), whom together with 1998 others people and leaders from 17 different churches were Chrismated in one day in 1987; former Thomas Nelson Publishing 8 year COO and President, until the company was sold, Michael Hyatt, whom today is an Orthodox Deacon; a long list of others.

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  4. As a Catholic, I am thankful that Hank Hanegraaff and his family have found apostolic Christianity, valid Holy Orders, and a valid Eucharist. As always, I pray for Christian unity among our various faith traditions (John 17:20-21).

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  5. Pingback: The “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff is now Eastern Orthodox | Douglas Beaumont

  6. Hi Peter.
    Actually… it wasn’t in one day. Many of us who were Chrismated into the Orthodox Church in 1987 were brought in a couple of weeks later. It’s all in the “Becoming Orthodox” book and the “Coming Home” book.
    I had the pleasure of having Fr. Peter Gillquist, Fr. Jack Sparks, Fr. Jon Braun and a number of other leaders of the Evangelical Orthodox Church stay in my home in Gary, Indiana as our journey to Orthodoxy unfolded.

    And I also listened to Hank Hanegraaff for decades and went to hear him in person back in the ’80s. I alway felt he would eventually convert to Orthodoxy, just based on his knowledge of the Scriptures and Church history.

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  7. Mitch, I realize that. But his Chrismation is a definitive and climaxing move, if only penultimate in his walk within the Orthodox faith.

    I too listened to Hank constantly back in the day (for years and years); heard him in person; and almost worked for CRI at one point (when still in CA).

    I’m aware of the Evangelical Orthodox Church/movement, and know who the “players” are. That represents an interesting religious phenomenon in itself.

    There are many of us, myself included, who have a deep understanding of the Scriptures, church history, and historical theology; there’s obviously more to it than that (in re to converting to Orthodoxy).

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  8. Yeah, it will be seriously tricky, Kevin. One thing he should be though is open about it. The church itself looks amazing. I actually called it this morning just to make sure it was a real church and that the picture I had wasn’t a hoax or something. 🙂

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  10. I’m thrilled for Hank and his family. Many Evangelicals and Protestants have made this journey. It takes some effort to get passed very rooted assumptions about pre-reformation Christianity, western theology shared by Roman Catholics and Protestants and a new vocabulary rooted in the language of the NT rather than Latin or vernacular. But it’s utterly worth it as others many, many Evangelicals are finding after much inquiry. Our own parish is full of converts from a variety of Evangelical backgrounds. A fine brief book on the history of the Protestant Reformers is Rock and Sand by former ardent Calvinist cleric, Fr. Josiah Trenham who studied under Sproul and Gerstner, if memory serves. As happy as I am for the new converts, I am even more so that there is plenty of room for more.

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  11. I’m surprised you posted this given the obvious desire to keep this private and the fact that you acknowledge Hank may suffer professional blowback.

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  12. BJK, a public person who is trusted by many doesn’t have a right to simply throw off biblical orthodoxy privately. He speaks publicly; he cannot “convert” privately.

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  13. BJK,

    My post is more probing, not dogmatic. This isn’t something you keep private anyway; it’s actually a big deal. And if you listened to his BAM broadcast yesterday April 10th, 2017 he’s not “keeping it private” anyway. Not interested in your opinion though, whoever you are.

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  14. Steve, it’s possible to relish in Patristic theology without “converting” to Orthodoxy. One of my teachers Thomas F Torrance does that well, and all within and from the Reformed tradition. That’s what Evangelical Calvinism is about.

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  15. Cheryl,

    Things are a bit more nuance than that as far as “biblical orthodoxy,” but I do agree that this isn’t something you keep private. BJK, is a troll I think.

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  16. Bobby – didn’t know he’d announced it (and doesn’t look like you did either when you wrote this). So my comment stands. Not trying to troll. Just thought you might want to think about that kind of thing when making a public announcement.

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  17. My whole post was a question. I don’t take advice from anonymous commenters. And I didn’t cross any moral line. Don’t comment here anymore please. Your comment makes no sense, maybe I think blowback is actually a good and healthy thing in this situation. Not the kind that writes Hank off as a heretic, but constructive blowback. Either way, this is not a private matter at all; even if Hank wanted to keep it that way. People have a right to know where he’s coming from theologically when he lifts himself up as the Bible Answer Man.

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  18. What baloney and just like the RCs, “welcome home”. Sorry this isn’t home. It’s not biblical orthodoxy. He’s a fool to convert and how telling he could only convince 2 of his 20 kids or whatever it is now. He loves all the bells and whistles and clearly is now on the opposing side of sola scriptura. Will he convince CRI to go EO? From synergism to EO, how he’s shamed his Calvinist father which he apparently learned little from. Tragic. The EO is OBSESSED with images; seemingly haters of the 2nd commandment.

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  19. This reminds me of the frustration and confusion so many of my Evangelical friends and family demonstrated when I embraced Orthodoxy 30 years ago.
    So unnecessary and often mean-spirited. The man attended an Orthodox parish for two years… became a catechumen… and knew exactly what he was doing. He probably didn’t put any pressure on anyone in his family to join with him – that’s not Orthodox and his priest would have discouraged it.
    Just rejoice in his joy.

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  20. Pingback: Did Hank Hanegraaff Convert to Greek Orthodoxy on Palm Sunday, April 9th 2017? | Cbmilne33's Blog

  21. Bobby Grow: What are you talking about? I’m making BJK look wise? How so? I wasn’t referencing anything he said. I was commenting on Hank’s conversion. You’re missing something.

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  22. M, for one thing I don’t appreciate anonymous comments or commenters; so there’s that. But then you only reinforced the reason BJK gave for me not posting on this. You are unable to offer a constructive comment. Instead you offer me rubbish, caricature, and nonsense stuff without demonstrating an ounce of understanding of what you’re talking about. The fact that you give me a link that says that Greek Orthodox aren’t Christians is asinine. That link doesn’t help in the slightest and presumes I don’t already have a view on Orthodoxy, or have no understanding of it theologically myself.

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