Halloween: An Opportunity for Christians to Be the Light House in the Midst of the Storm


Since Halloween is coming up, my nephew asked me to go to a haunted house. I said, “No,” because I looked on the haunted house’s web site, it looked demonic, and it had a cannibal scene. I want to know if it is ok for followers of Christ to visit haunted houses, or attend costume parties, but dressed in non-scary costumes?

I think we can learn a lot on how the early Christians responded to Halloween. October 31, the eve of prior to All Saint’s Day, was actually by early Christians designated as a spiritually edifying holiday. By the way, we get the word “holiday” from holy day. This was a holy day on which to proclaim the supremacy of the Gospel over the superstition of ghost. All Hallows Eve (All Saint’s Eve), from which the word Halloween is derived, was actually an attempt on the part of Christianity to over overwhelm the tradition of ghouls and ghosts with the truth of the Gospel.

Certainly, Halloween, as you allude to in the prologue to your question, is once again predominately pagan, but there is a silver lining. I think the trick is to treat Halloween as a strategic opportunity rather than a time of oppression. To recognize that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).* If you look at spiritual warfare in general, you realize that the emphasis is on the power of God to protect rather than the power of Satan to pillage.

I think we can involve ourselves in those things which are right, good, and morally beneficial to society. We also can have fun in the process. The real issue is understanding what the early church did. How they responded. It is a great lesson for us today. It is not just a matter of cursing the darkness, it is as I like to say about building a lighthouse in the midst of the gathering storm.

If someone has children, can we do something like my grandmother did, she used to give us activities to do, but they were fun activities at the church, is that fine?

Yes. You can have fun with it, but there is something more foundational that I am trying to communicate, and that is make sure your kids know what is really going on. In other words, this is a wonderful teaching opportunity. Rather than just saying, “No,” I taught my kids what Halloween represented, the origins of Halloween, and what the early Christian church did respecting this holiday. They did not try to de-paganize it, they really in a sense setup a rival celebration. Focus on those things that are good and honorable, as opposed to those things that are about ghouls, ghost and hobgoblins, which are superstition.

Once I explained that to my kinds and they understood what was going on, I was not that worried about my kids and certainly did not want to tell them they could not have fun. What I wanted them to do was to be knowledgeable so that they could communicate with their own peers what was really going on. That is why I actually write the entry “How Should Christians Respond to Halloween?” in the Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition, updated and revised.

Halloween is rooted in the ancient Celtic feast of Samhain (sha-ween). The druids believed that on the eve of Samhain the veil between the present world and the world beyond was pierced, releasing demons, witches, and hobgoblins to harass the living. In order to make themselves immune, people disguised themselves as witches, devils, and ghouls. They were trying to ward off evil spirits by carving grotesque faces on gourds and illuminating them with candles; and placating the spirits with a variety of treats. That is kind of the backdrop to it. You can curse the darkness or you can build a lighthouse in the midst of the gathering storm. That’s precisely what the early Christians did.

Now we think of the word Halloween we do not realize that it is derived from All Hallows Eve. There was a method to the “madness” of the early church. They were building a lighthouse in the midst of the gathering storm.

—Hank Hanegraaff

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8).

For further related study, see also our Trusted Resources for Reformation and All Saint’s Day.

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted.

This blog adapted from the October 20, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.


Unbelief, Alzheimer’s, and Eternity


How do I witness to a person with Alzheimer’s? She is in her 80s, attended church with her relatives, but remains an unbeliever. Does she need to confess her faith or recite the sinner’s prayer to be saved?

I would say threat her with love, dignity and respect. Care for her in all ways. Testify to her by your life and love. It may be that she cannot remember or recognize your words, but she can sense, feel, and experience your love. As far as a relationship to the Lord is concerned, remember that anyone who desires a relationship with the Lord, the Lord knows about that, He knows the intents of the heart, and He will never cast that person away (Heb.11:6).

Remember Christianity is not a magical religion where you have to have exactly the right incantation and then you’re saved. That’s not the Christian worldview at all. We are saved by God’s grace through faith on account of Jesus Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9), and we recognize that always it is Jesus Christ that knows the heart (cf. 1 Cor. 4:5; Luke 9:46-48; John 2:23-25). We look on the exterior, God knows the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). We cannot factor every single converging condition in a person’s life, but God can do that, and so we leave that person in the hands of an infinitely just and infinitely merciful God, knowing that He will not reject anyone that wanted a relationship with Him.

We can’t sort it all out here, but in the greatest size with people from every tongue, and language, and people and nation, we will see that the Judge of heaven and earth does right. We will then say, “Oh my goodness! He was able to take into consideration every single converging factor, His justice is absolutely pure, and pristine.” You will glory in His righteousness in that day.

—Hank Hanegraaff

The heart is deceitful above all things,

and desperately sick;

who can understand it?

“I the Lord search the heart

and test the mind,

to give every man according to his ways,

according to the fruit of his deeds”

Jeremiah 17:9-11 (ESV)

For further related study, please access the following: Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease (Video)

Blog adapted from How can I witness to a person with Alzheimer’s disease?


Life, the Afterlife, and the Life After the Afterlife

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-resurrection-and-lifeFrom the moment we are born, our bodies begin sowing the seeds of biological destruction. Yet, death is hardly the end. The cycle of life and death is forever broken through resurrection.  Four days after Lazarus died, Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23).* You might recall what Martha said. She said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24). Then Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25).” In saying this, Jesus pointed to himself as the very one who would overcome death and the grave, and as such insure that all who put their trust in Him will experience resurrection at the last day.

The Old Testament prophet Daniel likened resurrection at the end of time to the glory of the stars. The infamous words, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:2-3). The resurrection envisioned is unambiguous. Daniel speaks not only of the disembodied state that follows death, but of the bodily resurrection following Christ’s second appearing.

Jesus gave certainty to the resurrection, a resurrection that will occur at the consummation of history, when He said, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice  and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:28-29). All who place their trust in Jesus can be absolutely certain that they will experience resurrection. Jesus’ promise that He will lay down His life and take it up again in three days is absolute guarantee (John 2:19; 10:18; Matt. 16:21; Luke 9:22; 24:1-53). His fulfillment of the promise is proof positive that there will not only be life after life, but life after life after life.

All of this is not merely academic to me, in the early morning hours of today (October 17, 2016) my son-in-law passed away. Only forty-seven years of age. But I have absolute certainty, as does the entirety of my family, that we will see him again. Death is not the end. All will be resurrected. We know that he is now absent from the body, he is present with the Lord, and when Jesus appears a second time, he will appear with Jesus.

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4 writes, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God” (v. 5). Think about that last statement “each will receive his praise from God.” When a human being praises you is one thing, when God praises you it is the apex of all experiences. I also think of 1 Thessalonians 4 where P aul says, “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (vv. 13-14). This is the great and glorious hope of resurrection. It is what animated the early church. People who were once cowards became lions in the faith. Why? They saw their Lord having risen from the dead in His post-resurrection appearances, and they knew that they too would rise immortal, imperishable and incorruptible. They counted not their lives worthy even unto death.

—Hank Hanegraaff

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984) unless noted

This blog adapted from the October 17, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.


Making Sense of the Tormenting Locust in Revelation 9

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-rev-9-6-locust“During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them (Rev. 9:6)”1

After the fifth trumpet blows there is five months were these locust creatures are tormenting people and the people cannot die (Rev. 9:1-12). Can these people die like if somebody shot them? Is it just because of the locusts? What happens to believers can they die? 

What’s really important when you get to apocalyptic language is that you learn to read apocalyptic language in the sense in which it is intended; otherwise you end up with all kinds of nonsense. This is a way of speaking and it’s very familiar to people who read through the Old Testament. It’s a familiar way of talking about how horrible judgment is going to be when apostate Israel is judged. This judgment is going to be horrendous.

The way of talking about how horrible is to say that death would be preferable to life in this kind of condition. Again, you have this kind of language used by Jeremiah, who prophesied, “Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the Lord Almighty” (Jer. 8:3). So it’s familiar language

What is so important when you get to the Book of Revelation is this: Once you go down the path of trying to take apocalyptic judgment language and read literal meanings into it you are going to end up like Tim LaHaye or Hal Lindsey. For example, Lindsey thinks Revelation14:20 tells us that “so many people will be slaughtered in the conflict that blood will stand to the horses’ bridles for a total distance of 200 miles northward and southward of Jerusalem.”2 There isn’t that much blood on the face of the earth. Now a lot people realize the force of that but they want to take this literally. LaHaye’s solution is to say, “Hailstones weighing ‘a talent [ca. 100 pounds]’ will fall from heaven (Rev. 16:21) which, with the blood of this massive army, will create a river of blood that reaches up to the horses’ bridles.”3 You know this again is failing to recognize that this is a judgment metaphor.

Interestingly enough, by the way, if you read first century extrabiblical literature, you will find it is a common judgment metaphor, such that when we say, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” that is just as common today as the judgment metaphor as the blood to the horses’ bridle was in the first century. For example, 1 Enoch 100:3 states, “The horse shall walk through the blood of sinners up to his chest; and the chariot shall sink down up to its top.”

Here is the point: This is going to be horrible time of judgment when people will want death but death will elude them. In other words, life is so traumatically painful, and judgment so severe that the idea of death seems more palatable than continuing in this existence.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Was Revelation Written Before or After the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Does it Mean to Interpret the Bible Literally? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Who are the 144,000 of Revelation? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Who are the two witnesses of Revelation? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Who is the Antichrist? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What is the Meaning of 666? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the Mark of the Beast a Microchip? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Who or What is the Great Prostitute of Revelation 17? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Who Wrote Revelation? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Apocalypse When? Why Most End-time Teaching Is Dead Wrong. (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Perils of Newspaper Eschatology (Elliot Miller)


  1. All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted.
  2. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970), 165-166.
  3. Tim LaHaye, ed. Time LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000), 1040.

* Blog adapted from “What are the locusts in Revelation and why can’t those who are bitten by them die?


The Good Side of Church Discipline

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-1-cor-5-punishmentI am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat (1 Cor. 5:11, NIV).*

Should the same kind of punishment be applied to unmarried cohabitating couples in the church as described in 1 Corinthians 5?

I think we make a mockery of the church, if the church does not include discipline, if the church simply winks at sin. I don’t think we would think much of a physician, if you had cancer and he winked at you and said, “You’ll be just fine.” Obviously, if he is a legitimate doctor, he is going to do something. Either send you to a specialist, or if he’s a specialist himself, he’s going to tend to the problem because he cares about you. That’s the same thing that a shepherd or a pastor does. He cares about his flock, and if members of the flock are living in willful sin, diametrically opposed to the precepts and the principles of Scripture, to do nothing is simply to abdicate your responsibility as a shepherd.

The least thing that a pastor can do or a church can do is to speak to the couple with gentleness and with respect, to reprove them so that they might turn from sin.

If they say in the end, “You know what, we want to do it our own way, we really don’t care what the Bible says, we don’t care what you do;” well yes, they should be excommunicated. Because they should ultimately learn that Satan’s principles do not help them but hurt them, and by being pushed out into a world run by Satan’s principles, they learn a lesson, and they can by God’s grace repent of their sin, and as a result of this, this promotes spiritual purity not only in their life but in the lives of the congregation.

Is 1 Corinthians 5 then saying that we shouldn’t even eat with people who are living in sin though profess to be Christians?

Particularly in 1 Corinthians 5 what you have here is a way someone can be brought back to their senses. That’s what Paul is talking about. He says, “hand this man over to Satan” (1 Cor. 5:5). The implication is to expel from the church and Christian fellowship. When that happens they are pushed out into the world run by Satan’s principles, and that becomes a means of teaching the person a lesson and bringing about repentance. It is also a means of promoting spiritual purity within the body of Christ.

This is not to say that we can’t hang out with people who are prostitutes and sinners, to use the biblical idea. Jesus did that very thing (Matt. 9:10-13; Luke 5:29-32; 7:36-50). We recognize that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We have the opportunity with gentleness and respect to proclaim the Gospel, but by the same token, just as someone who has not searched their heart and repented of their sin, just as that person shouldn’t take Communion (1 Cor. 11:27-33), in the same way there should be church authority and discipline. If there’s not that discipline in the context of the church, then people can do whatever they want, and Paul gives an example of horrendous sexual immorality, and says that without accountability it is going to leaven the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6-8).

1 Corinthians 5 is not specifically dealing with one-on-one relationships and friendships but specifically talking about the church and a church figure in authority?

Well it can involve one-on-one individual relations. In other words, what you are saying to that person is that there are consequences to your behavior and if you bring that behavior within a particular context, even within the home, it can be a leavening force. There is church discipline within the body of Christ, but there is also church discipline within the home. For example, you do not want to have wanton sexual immorality being displayed in front of children and so forth because it has a very negative effect,

By the same token, our whole goal is to reach as opposed to repel and also to recognize that we ourselves are sinners. It is not about having a self-righteous attitude; rather, to bring about repentance and restoration for the person. That is the real goal, to bring about restoration. Church discipline is about that.

Imagine that you are excommunicated from a body of Christ and because of that you can’t partake of the Eucharist. If you can’t partake of the Eucharist, you can’t partake of the grace that is dispensed to the soul of the believer. For those who really care about Christ that’s a big deal. If you don’t care about Christ, then the things of Christ are not a big deal at all.

Church discipline ought to be something very significant, but in many cases it isn’t in the modern day church because if someone doesn’t like a particular church discipline at one place, they’ll just go to another place, so discipline is thrown to the wind.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Blog adapted from “Should the same punishment for immorality be applied today as in 1 Corinthians 5?” and the March 18, 2015 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984) unless noted.


Discussing Homosexuality with Gentleness, Respect, and Clarity


Give us if you will a state of the union. From your perspective, where are we?

We are on the deep end. When the culture shifts to a different viewpoint, those holding a traditional viewpoint are now required to explain and even defend their refusal to shift with the culture. Peter said, “Always be prepared to give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV), and that word “answer” to my thinking is a key word in this discussion. We are making our apologia our defense.

That is what the book Speaking of Homosexuality: Discussing the Issues with Kindness & Clarity is about because more than ever, the church is required to make a defense for our claim that God indeed defined what He created as existing between a man and a woman exclusively. Because we believe that marriage has a specific definition, which our culture has now varied from, we’re called on to defend that position.

Here’s where it gets dicey, though. We are being called on to defend something we know but largely have not examined because we never thought we would have to defend it. It seems so self-evident. Our very anatomy testifies to the normalness of a heterosexual union and the abnormalness of a male mating with a male or a female with a female. What we seem to know intuitively and by observation we are still being challenged to defend. Sometimes I think defending the obvious can be tough because the thing is so self-evident we wonder why we have to defend it, and for that reason I think many people haven’t bothered to think it through.

Let’s start with your own life story. You were a gay-activist., yourself?

I was. I was like many people. I realized early in life that I was attracted to the same sex. I acted on those attractions at a young age, and then heard the Gospel and responded. I was born again in 1971 under the ministry of Pastor Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, during what we often call the Jesus Movement. I served the Lord very fervently for years, while silently wrestling with homosexual temptations.

I reached a point of giving myself permission when I was in my early 20s to give into those temptations, and then I had a dilemma. I did not want to abandon Christianity. I also didn’t want to abandon homosexual practices, and I heard about a church where I would be given permission, sanction if you will, to express both parts of myself—my spiritual life and my homosexuality. I thought for years, when I say thought, I debated on college campuses and I promoted the idea that homosexuality and Christianity were compatible until 1984, when the conviction of the Holy Spirit combined with the knowledge that I had with sound teaching in my earlier years just became too much for me, and I had to admit I had been kidding myself.

You say that you knew what you believed, but at first you didn’t know how to state it. Then you knew how to state it, but you didn’t know how to defend it. And then you came to the place where you knew how to defend it, but you didn’t do it with the right attitude. I think a lot of people can relate.

I think so. Yes. So often we know what we believe, but we’ve never known how to explain it. Often times, as I point out in the introduction to my book, when I first tried to explain my beliefs, I sputtered through it because the subject can be so emotional that when you try to finesse it too much you make a fool out of yourself. I’ll give you a good example; it’s the one I gave in the introduction to the book. When I repented of homosexuality in January of 1984, I needed to tell my gay friends about the decision I had made. I sat down with some of them and I started trying to explain. Now I made one of many mistakes that I have made over the years. The first one I made was trying so hard to put it nicely that I got too vague, too hypersensitive, and I lost all verity. I said vague things like, “I’ve had kind of a spiritual awakening” and “I’m not sure that this is right anymore” and “I’m seeking God’s will;” rather than simply saying, “I repented of homosexuality because I have come to believe it is a sin.”

What I have found, when people sense you are trying too hard to finesse your words, you come across as phony, you come across as apologetic and not really convinced of what you’re saying. I bring this up because I think many believers today are so concerned about not giving offense, that they are actually dancing pirouettes, when they should be speaking plainly, always respectfully, and with gentleness, but with clarity. I find many people who are either non-Christian or pro-gay appreciate it much more when we are honest and direct and respectful with them; rather than trying to finesse our words so much that we wind up saying virtually nothing.

—Joe Dallas

This blog adapted from the October 3, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.


Is Allah the Same as God the Father?


I have a friend who is Muslim. He was born in Iraq and speaks Arabic. He is very interested in Christianity. I am trying to explain the Trinity. I do not know much about Islam. I told Him that Allah is the same as God the Father. Is that right?

Well perhaps not. I think what is important to realize is that Muslims believe in what is called a Unitarian God. They believe that God is one. They believe that God is a singularity. Christians believe in one God revealed in three persons who are eternally distinct. We believe in a Triune God. They believe in a Unitarian God. That is a very significant distinction.

Muslims, in fact, think that Christians are polytheistic. They think that we believe in three Gods. Often times they get this idea from their own teachings that the three polytheistic1 Gods that we believe in are the Father, the Son, and the Mother—Mary (Sura 5:72-73). They have confusion with respect to the Trinity. What we have to explain to them is that Christians are not polytheistic at all. We are fiercely monotheistic.2 We believe only in one God.

Think about this. The Muslim God, by definition, has to be morally defective, because independent of the universe—a universe being out of the picture—you have a Muslim God who cannot manifest the attribute of love, since there is no object for his love. This is very, very different with the Trinitarian God. Even independent of the universe, a Trinitarian God can experience love within the Godhead. The Father loves the Son. The Son loves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son. There are love relationships within the Godhead.

This is a very important point: The Muslim God is morally defective. The Christian God is precisely as we would suppose Him to be—a God of infinite love. A God who in fact allows us as human beings to be brought into the relationships within the Trinity. Put it another way, we can experience life in the Trinity, and that is the apex of the Christian experience. This is not just some kind of theoretical idea. This has a real practical implication on how you live and how you can love, not just human beings but the one who created all things.

When a Muslims leans about the monotheism of the Christian faith and the true idea of a Trinitarian God, not being three different Gods, but on God revealed in three different persons, it helps them to understand how they can have a God of love, a God with whom they can identify. A Muslim cannot identify with the Muslim God. They cannot relate to the Muslim God. The Muslim is ineffable. He is unknowable. He is even capricious in the truest sense of the word. The Christian God is at once ineffable and also knowable in incarnation. This makes all the difference in the world.

Now there are many other things that Muslims misunderstand. When the Bible says that the Son is the only begotten of the Father (John 1:10), the Muslim says God begets not nor is He begotten (Surah 112:3). In fact, they believe to say that God begets is an unforgivable sin. Why is that? When they think about begotten, in their mind there is the idea of sexual procreation. But this is not the biblical understanding of begotten. Begotten does not have to do with sexual procreation, but it has to do with special relationship.

All of these things are wonderful to be able to communicate to Muslim friends. I was just talking to a friend of mind, who is working in the Middle East, and he was talking about all the Muslims who are coming to faith in Christ and one of the things that he does is to explain the very thing that I have just explained. Good for you for making friends with your Muslim neighbors. We are called to reach not repel, and always give an answer for the reason of the hope that lies within us with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15).

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

Is the Trinity Biblical? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the Allah of Islam the God of the Bible? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Allah Does Not Belong to Islam (Helen Louise Herndon)

Allah, the Trinity, and Divine Love (Jonah Haddad and Douglas Groothuis)

Facing the Islamic Challenge (David Wood)

Loving the Trinity (James White)


  1. Polytheism is the belief in many gods.
  2. Monotheism is the belief in one god.

This blog adapted from the September 29, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.


Life in a Brave New Gender Fluid World

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-gender-fluiditySeptember 27, 2016

I typically read a local newspaper and USA Today, but this morning they weren’t delivered. So I picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal and read it from cover to cover. In the health and wellness section, there is a very interesting article titled “With Insurers on Board, More Hospitals Offer Transgender Surgery.”

The article tells the story of Stacey Parsons, a 45-year old man, at least biologically, who “had genital surgery in August at Cleveland Clinic.” Stacey grew up as Scott Orms, a self-described gay man but still unhappy with his choice of sexual orientation. Then he saw a documentary on television, and it changed his life forever. As the result of what he saw on television, Scott decided to transition to Stacey. He began hormone therapy, had surgery to remove his testicles, began breast augmentation, and then began to date Mike Parsons. They were subsequently married in 2012.

Well, thereafter, as the article continues, the Cleveland Clinic performed a vaginoplasty, creating a vagina by using parts of his penis. Next came feminization surgeries and finally a wonderful new life as a female named Stacey.

“To change somebody’s life in a few hours is really rewarding,” says Rachel Bluebond-Langner, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. I guess we can thank God for the new openness to transgenderism and for Obamacare that now makes it all possible for as little as $50,000 to $125,000. If you want that kind of surgery, it’s now available.

The Wall Street Journal does mention,

Research on the surgeries is mixed. Critics point to a 2011 study published in the online journal PLOS One by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden that followed more than 300 transgender people after surgery and found they had a higher rate of psychiatric care, suicide and mortality than a control group. But a number of other studies have shown that transgender people undergoing various surgeries report greater quality of life and satisfaction years later. Doctors say with more academic institutions tracking the procedures, higher quality studies in the future should produce more evidence-based outcomes.

So they admit there is at least the possibility that you might want to kill yourself, but that this is not conclusive.

This is a new world in which we live. A world in which biology is no longer associated with your gender; rather, I should say, is no longer associated with your biology, it’s associated with whatever feeling you happen to have. In New York City it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity. The New York City Commission on Human Rights is committed to “ensuring that transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers are treated with dignity, respect” and part of that means that an individual has the right, I’m reading right from their Gender Identity Card statement, “use the locker room most consistent with their gender identity and/or expression without being required to show ‘proof’ of gender.” “Courtesy 101,” according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights, “If you don’t know what pronouns to use, ask. Be polite and respectful; if you use the wrong pronoun, apologize and move on…Respect the terminology a transgender person uses to describe their identity.” It could be “Bi-Gendered,” or “Crossdresser.” It could be “Drag King” or “Drag Queen.” So, if the person is a “Drag Queen,” you want to make sure that you say, “Drag Queen.” If it is “Bi-Gender,” you want to make sure you say, “Bi-Gender.” Other identities include: “Butch,” “Two-Spirit,” “Third Sex,” “Gender Fluid,” in other words you switch back and forth from one gender to another depending on the time of the month or day of the week, “Gender Gifted,” “Gender Blender,” and many others. I think there are some fifty-six or so genders now.

We live in an age of gender fluidity and according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights, “If you believe you have been discriminated against,” well there is something like a 911 number to call, instead of 911 it is 311. It’s the New York City Commission on Human Rights, you call them. And you say you have been discriminated against. If you are a man, who feels that you are a woman, and you go to the woman’s locker room, you start to shower there, and someone says, “What are you doing here?” and discriminates against you, you have a hotline number to call.

It is a brave new world, and it is not a joke. Quite frankly, sometimes when you read these things, you this cannot be serious. It is in the Wall-Street Journal in the Health and Wellness section, it has to be a joke. But, it is not a joke. It is dead serious. The culture has changed dramatically. It has changed with vast rapidity, such that today, again as I mentioned earlier on, biology no longer determines your gender, your gender is determined by how you feel at any given moment.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Blog adapted from the September 27, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.


Tithing: The Training Wheels of Giving

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-tithingIs tithing necessary for salvation? If I fail to tithe will bad things happen to me?

I think tithing, as Randy Alcorn has well said, is the training wheels of giving. If you look at the progression from the Old Testament to the New, what you see is that Moses communicated to the children of Israel that they were to tithe so that they would learn to revere the Lord their God always. The prophet writes,

Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.  Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always (Deut. 14:22-23). *

That is a universal principle. Reverencing the name of God is timeless, it’s as crucial today as it was when Moses first talked about it.

Now, Jesus reaffirmed the practice of tithing in Matthew 23:23, which is an easy passage to remember. He says,

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

What Jesus made clear there is that tithing was not for outward appearances but was an outward expression of an inward reality. The inward reality is this: That we recognize as believers that we are not owners, we are stewards, and, therefore, we hold what we have with an open hand so that God can take out and put in as He sees fit, but we never give out of legalistic prescriptions. Like saying, “If you do not give you are going to hell.”

We give because we love the Lord. Why do we get baptized? We are not saved by getting baptized, but we get baptized in obedience to the command of God (Matt. 28:19-20), and what we are doing is visibly identifying with the body of Christ and with the mission of the Christian church to make disciples of all nations.

Ultimately, tithing is something we do so that we can learn to trust the Lord rather than the arm of flesh. I think it is important that we learn to tithe, but not from the perspective of being forced into it. We do it because we are trying to learn how to revere the Lord and trust Him more than we trust ourselves.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further study, please access the following:

Is the tithe for today? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What is the Biblical View of Wealth? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Does the Bible Teach about Debt? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Tithing: Is it in the New Testament? (Revisited) (Elliot Miller)

Short-Term Recession of the Long Winter? Rethinking the Theology of Money (William F. High)

Adapted from “Is tithing necessary today?

All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted.


Why Second Chances Are Impossible in the Afterlife


Can a person die and have a second chance for salvation? If somebody dies and they either never had the chance or were unwilling in their lifetime to accept God’s love and forgiveness, could after they die God still accept them into the kingdom of heaven?

There is no one who desires a relationship with God who will ever be turned away. But that does not mean that the Bible in any way teaches postmortem evangelism or salvation. It does not. It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27).

Here is the situation. In this life we have the light of creation, we have the light of conscious, in other words the knowledge of God written upon the tablet of our consciousness, and if we respond to the light we have been given, then we will receive the light of Christ. Paul makes that clear in Romans 1-3.

The problem is as Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).* It is not that men do not have enough light; instead, it is they love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. It is not the absence of knowledge that damns us, it is the despising of knowledge that damns.

Those that do not have a relationship with God in eternity are those who do not want a relationship with God in time. That those who live a life apart from Christ now are not going to want to be dragged into His presence in eternity. In other words, this is what they want now, and God ratifies their choices. There is no gospel of the second chance in the Scripture at all, and again there’s a reason for it—the reason that I just explained. Those that live apart from Christ here will wish to do that in eternity as well. They’re hearts are hardened against the Savior and His message.

God does not impose Himself on them in eternity; rather, what He does is continue to sustain them in existence, albeit apart from His loving goodness and grace.

The biblical idea is always that God makes salvation available to all. He woos us all through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have to respond to that wooing, or we can reject the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Those who respond to the wooing of the Holy Spirit have everlasting life, those who reject it have precisely what they want. That is why I’m fond of quoting C.S. Lewis at this point, wherein he makes it clear that:

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce [New York: Harper Collins, 1946], 75).

If you do not want a relationship with God in time, God will not force Himself on you in eternity. Think about it this way: If God did force people to enter into heaven against their will, heaven would not be heaven, heaven would be hell. The righteous would inherit a counterfeit heaven, and the unrighteous would be incarcerated in heaven against their will, which would be a torment worse than hell.

Now there is one other thing I would add this to the equation: The biblical text in Acts 17, where Paul is at the Areopagus, and he sees a monument to an unknown God, and he begins to preach. In that sermon, he makes this incredible statement. He says,

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26-27).

In saying that, Paul is making abundantly clear that God puts all of us in unique circumstances so that we can respond to His goodness and to His grace. There will be none in eternity that says, “You know God if only…” No, people get what they want. If they want a relationship with God, God did all that could be done to facilitate that. He suffered more than any man. He suffered more than the cumulative sufferings of all human kind so that we can be reconciled to Him for time and for eternity.

The one God revealed in three persons who are eternally distinct has given us every opportunity to know to love and to receive Him or to reject Him.

It is very clear in Scripture that this our opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior of our life (Matt. 4:17; 10:5; Mark 1:14; Rom. 13:11-12; Eph. 5:12-14). This is the opportunity to say Jesus is Lord not Caesar or the world is Lord. If we don’t take that opportunity in this life, we are not going to want to take that opportunity in the life to come either. What we want now is indicative of what we want for all eternity.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Is Jesus the Only Savior? The Answer to Religious Pluralism (Ronald H. Nash)

Is Belief in Jesus Necessary? The Answer to Religious Inclusivism (Ronald H. Nash)

Is There Salvation After Death? The Answer to Postmortem Evangelism (Ronald H. Nash)

Universalism Isn’t for Everyone(Doug Geivett)

What about Hell? The Doctrine of Hell (Douglas Groothuis)

The Dark Side of Eternity: Hell as Eternal Conscious Punishment (Robert A. Peterson)

C.S. Lewis on Hell (Louis Markos)

What Happens to a Person who has Never Heard of Jesus? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How were People who lived Before the Time of Christ Saved? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Why Should I Believe in Hell? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here (Hank Hanegraaff)

Blog adapted from “Is there a chance for salvation after death?” and the June 4, 2013 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted.