Way back in the day, Walter Martin’s Christian Research Institute (CRI) was at the forefront of evangelical apologetics. While Martin’s standard reference, “Kingdom of the Cults,” didn’t include Roman Catholicism as a cult, Martin made it quite clear in several other other published works and interviews that he considered Catholicism an apostate church and that no one could be saved by following its standard theology of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Refer to Martin’s “The Roman Catholic Church in History” (1960).
Martin died in 1989 and was succeeded as president of CRI by Hank Hanegraaff. Hanegraaff’s tenure has been marked by several controversies but perhaps most disturbing was his acceptance of Roman Catholicism as a Christian denomination. Hanegraaff and CRI associates, Elliot Miller and Ken Samples, took a decidedly ecumenical approach to Catholicism even though they acknowledged there were still many areas of disagreement between evangelicalism and Rome (e.g., how is a person justified?). CRI’s influence has declined since Hanegraaff took over and relatively few evangelicals are even aware of it at this point.
In the article below we learn that Hanegraff has recently converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, which is basically Roman Catholicism without the pope. Eastern Orthodoxy also teaches that salvation is by sacramental grace and merit. Hanegraaff admits in the article that he has been surreptitiously attending a Greek Orthodox church for over two years.
Why would someone who at one time claimed to have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone be attracted to the weak and beggerly elements of a works-religion? I don’t believe that anyone who genuinely accepts Christ as Savior and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit would ever choose to return to the chains and slavery of Egypt. But the unsaved are often attracted to religious pomp, ceremony, ritual, and formalism and that is what Hanegraff has chosen. We should not be alarmed by this. There are many in the pulpits and pews of evangelical churches every Sunday who have never genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
“What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” – 2 Peter 2:22
Hanegraaff needs to be forthright with his audience and change the name of his radio show from “Bible Answer Man” to “Greek Orthodox Answer Man.”
‘Bible Answer Man’ Hank Hanegraaff Chrismated Into Eastern Orthodoxy