I joined the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers and the second book I requested to read and review was Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraaff.
It is a discussion of (really an expose of) the Faith movement, the many preachers and authors who belong, and why what they preach and teach isn’t biblical. Here is a comment from his equip.org website: “Hanegraaff is deeply committed to equipping Christians to be so familiar with truth that when counterfeits loom on the horizon they recognize them instantaneously.” He has three goals stated in the introduction: 1. bring the truth to current people who have joined the Faith movement, 2. Clarify the position of the Faith movement for committed Christians, 3. show outside observers how the Faith movement is not biblical.
The book has extensive notes and quotes in the back and these make some of the most interesting reading. It is one thing to see what Hanegraaff describes as the beliefs of the Faith movement, and at times I don’t agree with his interpretation based on a single comment, but the collection of quotes from the cast of characters provide a very good picture of what these people believe, or at least preach.
He identifies belief such as denying the deity of Christ, struggling with death and disease due to a lack of faith, and affirming that we are equal to God and Christ. One that keeps coming up is that God can’t act until we pray or command Him to do something. This is so contrary to the sovereignty of God that it is ludicrous. The positive spin is that this Faith movement puts the individual in charge of their own fate so they can’t sit down and claim victim status any more. The insidious side is that much of what happens in this world is not under our control so then the blame for an illness or setback or death is placed on the “lack of faith” of the individual.
After reviewing the cast of characters and providing an overview of what they believe, Hanegraaff takes each major point and shows how the major Faith movement preachers present their point of view and then contrasts that with the Bible to show how their teaching is unbiblical. He ends with a section reaffirming the way to equip ourselves to be able to discern the truth and a section stating what the Bible teaches are the true foundations of Christianity.
There is some repetition of stories and quotes, but there are enough of them that they seem to provide a good picture of each person’s belief-system. The author also deals with different aspects of some of the issues in different places, so the repetition provides a reminder of the text while he builds a different point. A very good book with a very timely point, drawing people back to true faith.
The Christian Research Institute is based in Charlotte.
What I like is Hanegraff doesn’t just argue that these preachers and teachers are wrong because he says they are or because he dislikes them. Rahter, he uses Scripture again and again to righly points out the right meaning of Scripture. He presents their message. Then presents Scripture proofs as to show how their interpretation cannot be the correct one. As an online pastor I encourage everyone to read this book.
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