CRI’s Hank Hanegraaff, who advised WCG to apostatize, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy


Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales


A name from the past was in the news:

Known as the “Bible Answer Man,” Hank Hanegraaff’s daily radio show aims to “equip Christians to pursue sound doctrine to discern truth and error.”

Faithful listeners of the long-running, daily call-in show have presumed that to mean the evangelical Protestant interpretation of the Scriptures and the church, which is why more than a few sat up when they heard Hanegraaff confirm to a caller Monday a rumor that he had gone through a formal rite, known as chrismation (“the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit”), to become a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church on Palm Sunday, April 9.

Hanegraaff, president of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based countercult group Christian Research Institute, began his show Tuesday anticipating the questions about his conversion, noting a friend had emailed him expressing “concern that I had walked away from the faith.” …

An Eastern Orthodox blogger, John Sanidopoulos, said he was “astounded” to hear the news of Hanegraaff’s membership in his church, adding it was “something I had always hoped for him, but never really expected.”

But Jeff Maples, who blogs for a Christian apologetics site Pulpit and Pen, echoed some of the unfavorable buzz on the Web, writing Hanegraaff “has left the biblical Christian faith for Greek Orthodox tradition.”

“The Orthodox Church is a false expression of Christianity, much like the Roman Catholic Church, that is highly driven by graven images and denies the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, and instead, trusts in meritorious works and a sacramental system for salvation,” Bridges wrote. …

The Eastern Orthodox Bible has an additional 17 books written during the time period between the Old and New Testaments that Protestants call the Apocrypha, believing they are not inspired and, therefore, have no authority.

This is not only an anti-biblical move by Hank Hanegraff, it could also be considered an ecumenical move. We will see more ecumenical moves in the future (cf. Revelation 13:4; 17:-10). As far as the Eastern Orthodox go, they are NOT a Bible-based church, but often rely on traditions and councils of men that differ from original Christianity. 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 books that the Eastern Orthodox accept, check out the article The Old Testament Canon.

Hank Hanegraaff, himself, assisted in causing a major falling away from the truth (see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings). Here are two report related to Hank Hanegraaff and the apostate leadership of the changed Worldwide Church of God:

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)

By Dixon Cartwright

Two leaders of the Worldwide Church of God, including the pastor general, took to the air Feb. 7 and 10, 1997, to answer calls from listeners to an international radio talk show.

Pastor General Joseph Tkach Jr. and Plain Truth magazine editor Greg Albrecht appeared on The Bible Answer Man with the answer man himself, Hank Hanegraaff, who also directs the Christian Research Institute in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. …

The same two leaders appeared on The Bible Answer Man several times…

The Worldwide Church of God, after Mr. Armstrong’s death, in 1986, was led by the senior Mr. Tkach until his death, in 1995.

He, beginning in 1993 and 1994, began going public with sweeping fundamental changes in the official doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God, including basic teachings such as the law of God, the Old and New Covenant and the nature of God, resulting in tens of thousands of WCG members leaving the fellowship to regather with others in several break- away groups—or, in many cases, to quit attending church altogether or join traditional Protestant denominations. At the beginning of the radio pro- gram Joseph Tkach Jr. wondered out loud why God chose him to lead the WCG out of the kingdom of the cults. “I wonder why did He put His finger on me to be the one in this position at this time,” he mused. “But that’s not for me to question.” Concerning the people who have held onto the traditional doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God, Mr. Tkach said their blindness is more than just a veil. “It’s more like a welder’s mask,” he explained to Mr. Hanegraaff. (Cartwright D. The Journal: News of the Churches of God, #174, print date June 30, 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.  WCG is now named Grace Communion International and is basically 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 two examples, in the booklets  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.

As far as J. Tkach’s current theology, the latest letter he sent out this month, starts off with:

As I write to you, I’ve been reflecting on and preparing my heart for the Easter season.

His letter then cites what Tkach calls a “Trinitarian theologian.” Neither Easter nor the Greco-Roman Trinity stand the test of scripture.

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.

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?
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 most Protestants 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]
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 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?
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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