After helping the Tkach WCG accept apostasy, Hank Hanegraaff become Eastern Orthodox


Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales


Mike Gendron had the following titled “The Consequences of Departing from the Faith” as his lead article in one of his newsletters, regarding Hank Hanegraaff who called himself the Bible Answer Man:

Hank Hanegraaff, known as the Bible Answer Man, was chrismated into the Orthodox Church last month. According to Orthodox teachings, Chrismation is the mystery by which a person is granted the gift of the Holy Spirit through the anointing of Holy Chrism. How could a man who spent so many years helping Christians identify various counterfeits now make the most foolish decision to join a counterfeit form of Christianity? Like its former protagonist, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox also teach a false and fatal gospel of salvation by sacraments and works. They are both to be accursed for teaching a gospel contrary to the Gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-9).

How could the Bible Answer Man disregard the Bible when making a decision that has eternal consequences? Hanegraaff said, “I’ve been impacted by Eastern Orthodox people who have a very keen sense of Church history and have absolute fidelity to the essentials of the historic Christian faith.” It is hard to believe that someone who claims to know the Bible so well can say the Orthodox religion has “absolute fidelity to the essentials of the historic Christian faith.” Does Hanegraaff not know that the primary essential of the Christian faith is the non-negotiable Gospel of Christ? (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

The Orthodox people do not believe or proclaim the one-time, all-sufficient, unrepeatable sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ for the finished work of redemption. Instead, their priests continue to offer what they believe is the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ everyday on an altar. This Eucharistic sin-offering not only blasphemes Christ, but also rejects His victory cry, “It is finished” (John 19:30). By continuing their sacerdotal priesthood, the Orthodox also reject Jesus as the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). In the Orthodox Church forgiveness of sin and salvation can only come through its priests and its sacraments.

One of the immediate consequences for Hanegraaff’s conversion to the Orthodox Church was having his radio program booted from the Bott Radio Network. We applaud the network’s decision to discontinue the Bible Answer Man program after carrying it since the 1980’s. Hanegraaff’s perplexing decision to join an apostate church that long ago departed from the faith of the apostles, may have eternal consequences also. The Orthodox religion holds its people captive through an utter dependence on a superfluous priesthood for salvation, along with the idolatrous worship of icons, necromantic prayers and worship for the dead. … Hanegraaff has submitted to a much more corrupt religion (Gal. 2:5).

Throughout the New Testament, we are warned that there will be false converts, false teachers, and apostates in the church. We cannot judge anyone’s heart, but we must be fruit inspectors (Mat. 7:15-20). Only God knows if Hanegraaff is a true or a false convert. However, it is inconceivable that a true Christian would exchange a relationship with the One Mediator for a religion that offers ungodly mediators. Hanegraaff’s departure is not unprecedented. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

We need to remember that the last days will be marked by widespread deception and growing apostasy. “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Paul exhorts the church to be on the alert. He wrote: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30). Only time will tell how many undiscerning people will follow Hanegraaff on the wide road to destruction.

We are living in a church age where many people are choosing to follow persuasive personalities rather than the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. These undiscerning people need to be warned that there are eternal consequences for those who follow the teachings of men without testing them with the supreme authority of God’s Word. The only way false teachers can succeed is when professing Christians put up with them (2 Cor. 11:4). May God give us the courage and boldness to contend earnestly for the faith that was signed, sealed, and delivered 2000 years ago (Jude 3).

How could “The Bible Answer Man” drift further away from the Bible?

To me that is an easy answer, I never believed that he truly believed the Bible. I reported some news of his transformation to Eastern Orthodoxy in the past when I first heard of it (see CRI’s Hank Hanegraaff, who advised WCG to apostatize, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy).

As far as the Eastern Orthodox go, though they have some good points, they are NOT a Bible-based church, but often rely on traditions and councils of men that differ from original Christianity. They actually sometimes have referred to themselves as the “Church of the Seven Councils”–and those councils were not intent upon heeding scripture. For documented details, check out the article: Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God. As far as the additional apocryphal books that the Eastern Orthodox accept, check out the article The Old Testament Canon or the free online book: Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete?

The Eastern Orthodox, while claiming to be the original catholic church, do not hold to many important beliefs of early Christians. For documented details, check out the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

As readers of this page may recall, Hank Hanegraaff, himself, assisted in causing a major falling away from the truth (see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).

Here is an older report related to Hank Hanegraaff and the apostate leadership of the changed Worldwide Church of God (which now calls itself Grace Communion International):

WCG leaders aired doctrinal views on CRI’s radio program

By Dixon Cartwright

The pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God described to an international radio-talk-show audience Jan. 4, 5 and 12, 1996, the transformation of the WCG from a legalistic sect whose members were plagued by cognitive dissonance into a fledgling Protestant denomination coming out of a cave and seeking acceptance by the world of mainstream churches. Joseph Tkach Jr., WCG pastor general, and Greg Albrecht, editor in chief of the WCG’s Plain Truth magazine, appeared on The Bible Answer Man radio talk show with host Hank Hanegraaff on segments originating in a studio in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The Bible Answer Man is sponsored by Mr. Hanegraaff’s Christian Research Institute (CRI), which was founded by the late Walter Martin, who wrote Kingdom of the Cults, a book dedicated to exposing what he termed non-Christian sects, including the Worldwide Church of God. …

Mr. Hanegraaff noted that WCG leaders had contacted him “probably two or three years ago” and “we have spent quite a bit of time together over the last few years.”

On fire to help

Mr. Albrecht commented that he was “a longtime listener of the program, so it’s great to be on the show with you.” Mr. Tkach said he and other WCG leaders—he named specifically Mr. Albrecht, church-administration director Mike Feazell, treasurer Bernie Schnippert (who died in 2014) and computer-information-systems manager David Smith—“all have a fire in our belly to help others realize the pain of legalism and to escape it.”

Mr. Tkach said he hopes the experiences of the Worldwide Church of God will promote a “ripple effect throughout the entire Saturday-Sabbath-keeping community” so Sabbatarians can “realize the Sabbath in its proper perspective.”

Although Mr. Tkach and Mr. Albrecht couched their phrases in diplomatic terms when it came to describing the WCG of old and its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, Mr. Hanegraaff was more to the point in saying that Mr. Armstrong espoused “false doctrine.”

Mr. Albrecht noted that he could not “stand in judgment” of Mr. Arm- strong “in terms of the basis of his sal- vation,” but Mr. Hanegraaff noted that the WCG has “judged his [Mr. Armstrong’s] writings, and that is why you’ve changed them.”

Mr. Tkach responded, “You said that very well.”

The talk-show host asked Mr. Tkach to confirm that he personally, as well as the Worldwide Church of God, repudiates many of the former WCG teachings espoused by Mr. Armstrong: “You are comfortable in saying that Herbert W. Armstrong did deny essentials of the historic Christian faith; the Trinity would be a good example?”

“Absolutely,” replied Mr. Tkach. “I have no reservations in saying that some of the things that Mr. Armstrong taught were in major error.”

Of course, the statement that the WCG has repudiated its own core doctrines— and by extension the doctrines of the other Sabbatarian groups with origins in the Worldwide Church of God—is no surprise to readers of this newspaper. But it is instructive to hear some of the testimonials of their newfound faith from the lips of two of the principal apologists of the new teachings. (Cartwright D. The Journal: News of the Churches of God, #173, print date May 31, 2015)

I remember some of the false information that WCG leaders were giving at the time and recall a little bit from the falsely named ‘Bible Answer Man.’ WCG leaders kept telling the membership that the changes were not planned, but more information points to a plot to introduce heretical doctrines. The changed WCG basically became just another Protestant sect. Real Church of God groups, like the Continuing Church of God are NOT Protestant, as our histories and doctrines greatly differ (see details, for three examples, in the free online books Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism and Where is the True Christian Church Today? and Continuing History of the Church of God).

Hank Hanegraaff also wrote the Forward to J. Tkach, Jr.’s absurd Transformed book:

Foreword to Transformed by Truth, by Hank Hanegraaf

Foreword to Transformed by Truth, by Joseph Tkach

The Worldwide Church of God has embarked upon a course virtually uncharted in church history—a course that has taken them from the kingdom of the cults to the kingdom of Christ. In Transformed by Truth, Joseph Tkach, leader of the Worldwide Church of God, candidly describes the movement’s transformation from the perspective of his own personal awakening. During their pilgrimage from cultism to the cross, I have come to know Joseph as both a friend and as a brother in Christ. I have observed firsthand his courage, his integrity, and his absolute commitment to Scripture as the final court of arbitration.

The above related to the Bible is fantasy. It is false.

Joseph Tkach now endorses things like Easter, the Trinity, and Christmas–none of which came from the Bible. The Eastern Orthodox do as well, plus have many doctrines that are in conflict with an “absolute commitment to Scripture as the final court of arbitration”–for details, check out the article Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God.

Hank Hanegraaff’s assessment of J. Tkach’s theology, as well as his own, were and remain flawed.

They are practicing a version of Mithraism (see also Do You Practice Mithraism?).

Neither of those men are following the biblical faith, which was the faith of the original faithful followers of Jesus, which is the faith still practiced in the Continuing Church of God.

As far as the old Worldwide Church of God goes, after Hank Hanegraaf’s ‘assistance’ it went further away from “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). It also sold its properties in Pasadena, changed its name to Grace Communion International (GCI), and has now relocated its main office to Charlotte, NC (see GCI purchased new facility in Charlotte, NC) and GCI’s J. Tkach reported on its move).

Both Hank Hanegraaf and GCI have gotten further and further away from the original Christian faith.

Some items of related interest may include:

Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eastern Orthodox 40+ Similar Beliefs to the CCOG.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, PassoverWhat Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & CelibacyEarly Heresies and HereticsDoctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, MeatsTithes, Crosses, Destiny, and moreSaturday or Sunday?The GodheadApostolic Laying on of Hands SuccessionChurch in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession ListHoly Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs. Here is a link to that book in the Spanish language: Creencias de la iglesia Católica original.
Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete? Are there lost gospels? What about the Apocrypha? Is the Septuagint better than the Masoretic text? What about the Textus Receptus vs. Nestle Alland? Was the New Testament written in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? Which translations are based upon the best ancient text? Did the true Church of God have the canon from the beginning? Here are links to related sermons: Let’s Talk About the Bible, The Books of the Old Testament, The Septuagint and its Apocrypha, Masoretic Text of the Old Testament, and Lost Books of the Bible, and Let’s Talk About the New Testament, The New Testament Canon From the Beginning, English Versions of the Bible and How Did We Get Them?, What was the Original Language of the New Testament?, Original Order of the Books of the Bible, and Who Gave the World the Bible? Who Had the Chain of Custody?
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History, The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character, The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon, Eucharist, Passover, and Easter, and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view? A related sermon is available: Truth about the Holy Spirit: What THEY do not want you to know!
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A related sermon is available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it? Here is a link to a related sermon: Unitarianism? How is God One?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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