An evangelical radio personality known as “The Bible Answer Man” and president and chairman of the Christian Research Institute was formally received into the Eastern Orthodox Church Sunday.
The Christian Post confirmed that Hank Hannegraaf was chrismated on Palm Sunday at Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Many evangelicals seek the early church; well here it is, in Orthodoxy,” he continued.
“I am sure some will be scandalized by Hannegraaf’s conversion but I hope at least some will wonder how someone as knowledgeable about the Bible as Hank could convert to Orthodoxy, and go to a Divine Liturgy to taste and see what it’s like.”
Dreher humorously told CP that 11 years ago, he came to the “foreign country called Orthodoxy” and now cannot imagine being anywhere else.
“The richness of Orthodox theology and worship is incomparable,” Dreher said, and Orthodox life is “sedimenting love for Christ into my bones.”
Too many of our churches function as secular entertainment centers with religious morals slapped on top, when they should be functioning as the living breathing Body of Christ. Too many churches have succumbed to modernity, rejecting the wisdom of past ages, treating worship as a consumer activity, and allowing parishioners to function as unaccountable, atomized members. The sad truth is, when the world sees us, it often fails to see anything different from nonbelievers. Christians often talk about “reaching the culture” without realizing that, having no distinct Christian culture of their own, they have been co-opted by the secular culture they wish to evangelize. Without a substantial Christian culture, it’s no wonder that our children are forgetting what it means to be Christian, and no surprise that we are not bringing in new converts.
If today’s churches are to survive the new Dark Ages, they must stop “being normal.” We will need to commit ourselves more deeply to our faith, and we will need to do that in ways that seem odd to contemporary eyes. By rediscovering the past, recovering liturgical worship and asceticism, centering our lives on the church community, and tightening church discipline, we will, by God’s grace, again become the peculiar people we should always have been. The fruits of this focus on Christian formation will result not only in stronger Christians but in a new evangelism as the salt recovers its savor.
I am very happy that one of the country’s most respected Christian apologists has found a home in Orthodoxy. I rarely use Facebook, but I see that some of my FB friends are saying that Hank Hanegraaff has left Christianity. Oh? Eastern Orthodox Christians have direct apostolic link to the early church. We are the second-largest Christian church in the world. That doesn’t make our theology correct, of course, but the idea that a church that has been around for nearly 1,500 years before the Reformation isn’t really Christian — well, that takes an amazing degree of American parochialism.