Christianity in Crisis
By Hank Hanegraaff
: Harvest House
Reviewed by Dr. Richard Mayhue
4.2 (Fall 1993) : 232-233
Hank Hanegraaff has done the Christian community a great service by compiling his detailed and thoroughly documented analysis of the "faith movement." Hanegraaff, president of the California-based Christian Research Institute and successor to Walter Martin, has crafted a powerful biblical polemic against a growing segment of American Christendom. Along with John MacArthur's Charismatic Chaos (Zondervan, 1992) and Michael Horton'sThe Agony of Deceit (Moody, 1990), he provides necessary background material for a pastor to answer the questions of his congregation and refute the errors of false teachers of the "faith movement."
The author cuts to the heart of the issue by writing, "If cultic and occultic systems like the New Age movement pose the greatest threat to the body of Christ from without, the deadly cancer represented by these quotes poses one of the greatest threats to Christianity from within. The true Christ and the true faith of the Bible are being replaced rapidly with diseased substitutes offered by a group of teachers who belong to what has been labeled the `Faith movement'" (11). He concludes, "We must shift from perceiving God as a means to an end to recognizing that He is the end. We must shift from a theology based on temporary perspectives to one based on eternal perspectives" (12).
Hanegraaff deals with such widely known people as Paul Yonggi Cho, Morris Cerullo, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, Kenneth Hagin, E. W. Kenyon, Katherine Kuhlman, Marilyn Hickey, Fredrick K. C. Price, Robert Tilton, and Benny Hinn, perhaps the most visible and controversial of them all. The author's documentation is most impressive. He has forty pages of footnotes to validate his observations and conclusions (379-418). Most of these are either from conversations on "Praise the Lord" on TBN or from someone's writings.
He also provides a seventeen-page bibliography to direct the reader to the literature that validates his claims. In addition, he includes extensive Scripture and subject indexes that make this volume tremendously usable to the pastor. Pastors can safely commend this volume to their people as a biblical analysis of what is wrong with "health and wealth" theology.
Two other special features of note are (1) the Epilogue`in which the author gives a brief ministry background for most of the leaders in this movement –and (2) Appendix A, "Are ‘God's Anointed' beyond Criticism?"–in which he strongly calls for biblical accountability within the body. Hanegraaff's work is worthy of high recommendation for every pastor's library as one of the most comprehensive evaluations of the in's and out's and who's who of the modern "Faith movement."