Apologetics

Talking The Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Expanded with Hank Hanegraaff and Jack Countryman.

Hank Hanegraaff invited Jack Countryman on the February 9, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast to discuss Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated. The following are some of the highlights from the conversation:

Hank HaCBAB_Revisednegraaff: I want to talk for at least a few minutes with the publisher of the Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated. The reason I want to do this is because he is really the primal force behind this book. If it were not for my publisher Jack Countryman, this book would not exist today. From the very beginning, many, many years ago, he told me to take the questions that I answer on the broadcast, to chisel my answer until just the gym emergence, and to put that in a book, and it took him a number of years before I was convinced to do it. The book has come out now in three different editions. There was an initial edition, then a second volume, then the Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition and now there’s the complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated. And quite frankly, when Jack started talking about this project, I didn’t know how we could improve on the last one. And it wasn’t until I actually saw it in the studio that I realize that quite frankly this is the most beautiful book that I have ever seen. It is beautiful in its presentation. Of course I love the content, but the presentation is exquisite. It’s bigger than the last Bible Answer Book. It’s etched in silver. It’s, it’s, well its leather bound. It’s just an absolutely exquisite book, and I thought I’d have the publisher my good friend Jack Countryman on to talk about his vision for this book and to thank him for making a reality. Jack, good to have you on the broadcast.

Jack Countryman: Well, Hank it’s just great to be with you today and talk about our favorite subject the Complete Bible Answer Book.

Hank: You have been in this business the business of gift books and you’re the one who talked me into making this a gift book as opposed to what we would call a regular trade book. Talk about the difference between the two and why you thought this was perfectly suited for what is called the gift book category.

Jack: Well, as we discussed so many times, you chisel and really bring about the nuts and bolts of really the subject you’re dealing with, and I just felt like, from my experience with someone who has a beautiful book that they put in their hands, and they say, “My, this is just wonderful,” that first of all, they want to read it themselves, and secondly they want to give it to someone as a gift. And as we talked about putting this book together, I just couldn’t help but feel like this is the perfect subject. I mean after all you’ve done with this book one-hundred-and-ninety-five subjects. Can you imagine? This book is as important as a companion piece to the Bible. Then you added the twenty-five acronyms. So we have six-hundred pages here of just a material that is so valuable to our Christian walk to our Christian belief to our Christian understanding, and I just am thrilled that we’ve been able to do it and bring it out and we’re proud of this particular edition as you are.

Hank: Hard to believe when we started this project, Jack, many years ago that the book now would stand over half a million copies?

Jack: Well, it is a miracle but it also proves that people want to know the truth and truth matters. And people want to know what is the Bible has to say and you have been working for thirty years now? And telling people about the answers that the Bible has and that is just a wonderful experience and we’re hopeful to continue to build the numbers, so that the next time we talk, maybe will be talking about a million books.

Hank: Jack, you have sold so many millions of books in your lifetime. You’re in your eighties, very, very accomplished. A couple years ago I was privileged to attend your lifetime appreciation award. You were appreciated for how many books you have now put in the hands of people with Christian content?

Jack: Well’ we have published over eight-hundred titles, and we have now eighty-two million books in print. The first book that I published, God’s Promises for Your Every Need is now approaching twenty million. So God has really just blessed us beyond all measure.

Hank: Jack, your passion for Christian books. You probably could give many, many examples of people whose lives have been transformed by reading a book.

Jack: Well Hank you remember when we were in China together? And Elijah came to us and I was introduced to him and you told him that I was the publisher of God’s Promises for Your Every Need, and his eyes light up and he said, “I have that book! I’ve had that book for seventeen years and it’s all worn and tattered.” And I said to him, “You’ll have a new one in the morning.” I just couldn’t believe that we were over in China in Shanghai and the man had read the book that I published in 1982.

Hank: And I think that’s a great example of the fact that people in America read the book in English and often times fail to recognize that these books are translated into many different languages and they literally touch people around the globe.

Jack: Yes, in fact God Promises is now in twenty-nine different languages.

Hank: Well Jack you have been a great friend to me for many years and I wanted to have you on the broadcast to publicly thank you for not only urging me to do this book—because without you, as I a mention at the opening of the show, the book wouldn’t be a reality—but I appreciate the fact that you and the rest of the staff at Thomas Nelson have put your genius to work in terms of the presentation itself, because it’s not just the cover, leather bound, and etched in silver, but it’s the complementary colors inside, the way the titles are laid out, I mean it’s just a masterpiece.

Jack: Well you know Hank, you’ve often said that you want to equip Christians to mine Bible for all of its wealth, and I appreciate the opportunity that you given us to serve you in this fashion, because you are making a difference in the kingdom and the material that you have in your book is so essential for people to get, to learn, to become aware of what is going on in the world, in the cults, in abortion, in Mormonism, in the gay life, and doctrine. All the different things, the acronyms that you placed in the book are just so essential that I really want to urge people to get this book in their hands and it will change your life, and bring to light the path that God really wants for each and every one of us to take.

Hank: Jack, before you go, I want you to talk for a moment about your age. And the reason I want you to do that is because you are the youngest person I have ever seen in their eighties and you believe that every single moment is precious, and every time I see you, you’re excited about life, you recognize that what you do now counts for all eternity, I want you to share that passion with our audience.

Jack: Well, I’m eighty-six, and I believe that retirement is not in the Bible, it’s never a part of life, and my ambition has always been—I’m an little athlete—and my motto has always been “Lord, don’t put me on the bench. Keep me on the playing field. Keep me out where the action is. Let me be a part of what you’re doing, and if you’ll do that, I will serve you faithfully.” And that is my passion; that is my belief; that is my life.

Hank:  And every single breath is significant. I remember my dad telling me that Jack when he was struggling with a fibrosis in the lungs, it encroached upon his ability to assimilate oxygen and as he was dying, I asked him, “Dad don’t you just want to get out of the misery go home and be with the Lord?” And he said, “No son, every single moment God gives me is precious.” And as I’ve shared with you privately he was able to pray for every one of his children and every one of his grandchildren and every one of his great-grandchildren before he went home to be with the Lord. So, even his last breath was significant. So, what you’re doing is encouraging all of us to run the race to finish the race to complete the race that the Lord our God is given us, so that when we stand before Him, He can say, “Well done.”

Jack: Amen, amen my brother.

Hank: Well Jack you have been a great friend to me as I said, and I really appreciate the work that you’ve done of this book. Give Laura the rest of the team my regards and tell them how deeply grateful I am. I know people—this is been one of the greatest months we’ve had and we’re just into it a few days, people are getting this book and their passing it on to other people, it’s been a wonderful resource to equip people.

Jack: Well we’re just so privileged to be a part of it and be able to bring it into the marketplace and we are as pleased with the beauty of the book as you. You know this book has six-hundred pages of absolute gold. So, I want to encourage everyone to get the book, to read it and make it be a part of their life.

Hank: Jack Countryman, he is the founder of the book division, the gift book division at Thomas Nelson, a great friend of mine for many, many years. Appreciate having you on the show Jack.

Jack: Well, thank you Hank. It’s been my privilege.

See a special video with Hank on The Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated:

The Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated is available for your gift to the ongoing work of the Christian Research Institute, the Bible Answer Man broadcast, our outreaches around the world. Get your copy for your gift, all this month. To order, click here. You can also call our resource center at 1-888-700-0274, or send your gift to PO Box 8500, Charlotte, NC 28271.

Apologetics

What role do angels play in our lives and how do we discern angels from demons?

Bible-Heb. 1.14_blog

What role do angels play in our lives and how do we discern angels from demons?

Let’s look at the opposite side of the coin for just a moment. We fight against the world (1 John 2:15), the flesh (Gal. 5:16-24), and the Devil (Eph. 6:10-20; 1 Pet. 5:8; Jas. 4:7), don’t we? But even in fighting the world, the flesh, and the Devil, we are called to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the wiles of the evil one. It’s never our prerogative to try to figure out where is the temptation coming from: Is this the world, the flesh, or the Devil? It is very hard to delineate between those categories. What we do is we put on the full armor of God so that we can withstand the wiles of the evil one. If we put on the full armor of God, we are going to survive spiritual warfare. If we do not we are going to be a guaranteed casualty.

I think the same thing is true with angels. Angels are ministering spirits but we don’t know precisely how God uses them in our life. We know in principle from texts like Hebrews 1:14, but we do not know what role angels play with regard to any specific circumstance.

I don’t deny the presence of angels and demons. We cannot deny this on the basis of biblical theology. The reality is this: angels are real and demons are real. Just as demons can be used to lead us into deception, so angels can be used by God in a ministering capacity. I’m simply saying that taking any given specific circumstance in our lives, it’s very difficult to directly apply an angel to the process, and say, “This was done by a ministering angel,” just as it is very difficult for you to say, “The temptation came from a particular demon.” What we know is that we are going to be tempted in general by the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Which one is the instrument at any given moment is something we cannot be absolutely certain about.

—Hank Hanegraaff

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

Can Christians be demonized? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Does Satan Have Access to Our Minds? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is Satan Always the Cause of Sickness? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Armor (Hank Hanegraaff)

Spiritual Warfare—God’s Way (Elliot Miller)

Can a Christian Be Demonized? (Brent Grimsley and Elliot Miller)

Learn more about spiritual warfare in The Covering: God’s Plan to Protect You from Evil (B665) by Hank Hanegraaff Another recommended book to read is Spiritual Warfare in a Believer’s Life (B182) by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

(This blog adapted from “What part do angels play in everyday life, and how can I discern between angels and demons?” )

Apologetics

Why Were Old Testament Kings Never Condemned for Adultery and Polygamy?

MultipleWives_NoThe difference we have in the Bible is a difference between what is descriptive and what is prescriptive. What the Bible does is demonstrates the consequences that follow inextricably like night follows day, when someone does something that is outside the will of the Lord. You certainly see that in the most graphic of terms with David’s son Solomon. You see that in the end Solomon’s many wives and concubines turned his eyes away from the Lord, and so he died really in a miserable condition when you think about it, he was building pagan shrines and altars to pagan gods for his pagan wives.

So the edict is clear, Deuteronomy 17:17, memorable because of its address, the king “shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away.”1 If this was true for the kings, how much more was it true for the people! But polygamy was practiced in spite of God’s warnings; in spite of the prescriptions that you find in Scripture. Genesis 2:24 is a classic case in point: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In the New Testament, Matthew 19:4-6: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” But it doesn’t end there. There are so many other passages that make clear the very point: A wife must not separate from her husband. It’s never plural—not husbands. 1 Timothy 3:2 points out that “an overseer must be…the husband of one wife”—not multiple wives.

I think the principle is very clear in Scripture, but the Bible doesn’t airbrush anything. It presents people with all their proclivities, with all their warts, moles, and wrinkles. But thank God! God accepts us not because we’re righteous but because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further study, please see Does the Bible Promote Polygamy? by Hank Hanegraaff.

Another article to consider is “Condemnation and Grace: Polygamy and Concubinage in the Old Testament” by Richard M. Davidson, from Christian Research Journal, Volume 38, Number 05 (2015). Copies of this issue are available through the CRI bookstore. To order online, click here or call 1-888-700-0274.

This blog adapted from “Why weren’t the kings in the Old Testament considered adulterers because of their many wives?


Notes:

  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001) used throughout.
Apologetics

Who do we address in prayer Yahweh, Jesus or the Holy Spirit?

It’s important to recognize the model prayer—the prayer of Jesus, the prayer that Jesus taught his followers to pray—does start: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name” (Matt. 6:9). And I think that the recognition here is that, first and foremost, our desire, what we really care about, is that God’s Name be made holy. Our daily lives should radiate a Prayer3Sfar greater commitment to God’s nature and His holiness than to our own needs.

So to pray, “hallowed be Your Name,” is to pray that God be given the unique reverence that His holiness demands, that God’s Word be preached without corruption, that our churches be led by faithful pastors and preserved from false prophets, that we’d be kept from language that profanes the name of God, and that our thought lives remain holy, that we cease from seeking honor for ourselves but ask instead that God’s Name be magnified.

In saying this there’s nothing wrong with using the names of God as opposed to the titles for God. There’s nothing wrong with addressing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and thanking Him for His sacrificial death on our behalf. There’s nothing wrong with thanking the Holy Spirit for empowering us as we pray, as we witness, as we provide for our families. So the standard is we pray to the Father, in the Name of the Son (or through the Son), by the power of the Holy Spirit. But Jesus Himself invites us to pray to Him in John 14:14.

So there is no set formula. We pray to one God revealed in three persons, who are eternally distinct.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

What Are Some Secrets to Effective Prayer? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Prayer of Jabez or the Prayer of Jesus (Hank Hanegraaff

Prayer of Jesus: A Discussion Between Hank Hanegraaff and Lee Strobel

Is the Trinity Biblical? (Hank Hanegraaff)

[Answer taken from: “How Should Christians Start Their Prayers? Can We Pray to Jesus and the Holy Spirit?”]

Apologetics

From Hank to You

Dear Friend,

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Serious poetry readers will recognize these lines from W. B. Yeats’s most celebrated apocalyptic poem, “The Second Coming.” And my hunch is that in a moment of candor, most of us would confess to similar sentiments as we listen to today’s avalanche of largely bad news.

Falcon2From spiritual, moral, cultural, and political points of view, my guess is that increasingly rare among us are those who haven’t felt, at least at some point, that things are falling apart.

In the rubble and ruin that mark the wake of philosophers who have labored diligently to “deconstruct” truth, one could not reasonably be blamed for believing that in much of our intellectual landscape today, their work has been lamentably successful. Time spent debating “truth” seems a colossal if not utterly mindless waste of time to those who have swallowed “hook, line, and sinker” the notion that objective truth is sheer fantasy, embraced only by obscurantic religionists and others with room-temperature IQs.

Yet those who intimately know the One who is “before all things” and by Whom “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17) will never fear that the true center cannot hold. They will not only embrace but also daily live out the equally famous words of Alfred Lord Tennyson whom Yeats venerated as a young man:

“Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds.”

—Hank Hanegraaff

In the News

Concerning My Recent Travel to Iran…because Truth matters

In an age in which internet fabrications travel half-way around the world before truth has had a chance to put its boots on, the apostle Paul’s words ring through the centuries with added urgency: “Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Ephesians 6:14). As the waist is the center of your body, so truth is central to the full armor of God. Without the belt of truth, the covering that protects you from the devil’s schemes simply crumbles to the ground and leaves you naked and vulnerable. Truth, like all other pieces of the armor of God, is in actuality an aspect of the very nature of God himself. Thus, to put on the belt of truth is to put on Christ—for Christ is “truth” (John 14:6). And Christians are called to be bearers of truth.

As Os Guinness has so wonderfully explained, Christianity is not true because it works (pragmatism); it is not true because it feels right (subjectivism). It is not true because it’s ‘my truth’ (relativism). It is true because it is anchored in the person of Christ. Thus, “The Christian faith is not true because it works; it works because it is true. It is not true because we experience it; we experience it—deeply and gloriously—because it is true. It is not simply ‘true for us’; it is true for any who seek in order to find, because truth is true even if nobody believes it, and falsehood is false even if everybody believes it.”

Unfortunately, I’ve recently encountered further personal examples of how the internet can be used as a means of propagating falsehood.  

FALSE ACCUSATION: Hank Hanegraaff joins Occupy Wall Street and Muslims in anti-Israel conference in Tehran, Iran.

TRUTH: First, I have never joined or, for that matter, endorsed Occupy Wall Street (OWS). I have simply defined it as spontaneous activism fueled by social media.  Instead of blaming the government for social ills, OWS is bent on blaming the prosperous. Instead of awakening the political right, as the Tea Party did, OWS appeals to the political left who want equal distribution of wealth. I communicated my doubts that the OWS movement would have staying power. Although the Tea Party’s message is codified in two words, “smaller government,” which is comprehensible and can serve to galvanize a following, by contrast OWS’s message seems unclear: Are the banks to blame? Is it Wall Street? Is it Failed bureaucracies? Is it Capitalism?  As former President Bill Clinton said when interviewed by Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel, “They knew what they were against, but they didn’t quite know what they were for….They had a vision. They had no program and they had no organized political party. That’s the problem that the Occupy Wall Street people have.”

Furthermore, rather than joining Muslims at what is being characterized on the Internet as an anti-Israel conference, at both the University of Tehran and Allameh Tabatabai University I publicly opposed the radical socialist views of Imam Abdul Alim Musa of The Islamic Institute for Counter Zionist American Psychological Warfare.

Finally, I should also note that I engaged in spirited debate with Rabbi Weiss, whose calling card contains the moniker, “Pray for the speedy, peaceful dismantlement of the State of Israel.” From his perspective, the Jews were exiled for covenant unfaithfulness and therefore the notion of Zion prospering is reserved for the coming of a future messianic figure. While I strongly disagreed with the rabbi’s anti-Israel stance, I think he would readily agree that I engaged him with gentleness and with respect, in both public and private communications.

FALSE ACCUSATION: Hank Hanegraaff is a “Jew-hater.”

TRUTH: This is a patently false and slanderous accusation. I am against racism in any form. Far from facilitating race-based discrimination on the basis of eschatological presuppositions, Christians must be equipped to communicate that Christianity knows nothing of dividing people on the basis of race. Just as evangelicalism now universally repudiates the once-common appeal to Genesis 9:27 in support of slavery of blacks, we must thoroughly and finally put to rest any thought that the Bible supports the horrors of racial discrimination wherever and in whatever form we encounter it, whether within the borders of the United States or in the hallowed regions of the Middle East. Indeed, during WWII, my family was devoted heart and soul to the Dutch Resistance Movement, refusing to give in to either racial discrimination against Jews or the Nazification of the populous.

Furthermore, as delineated in my book The Apocalypse Code, I am anything but anti-Israel and consistently oppose anti-Semitism: “There is no precedent for supposing that God favors Jews over Palestinians or vice versa. At the end of the day, our heavenly Father is not pro-Jew—he is pro-justice; He is not pro-Palestinian, he is pro-peace. In fact, the priceless material with which our feet are fitted for readiness in battle ‘against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12) is nothing less than a gospel of peace that works inexorably toward justice and equity. Only a gospel of peace and justice through faith in Jesus Christ is potent enough to break the stranglehold of anti-Semitism and racism fueled in part by bad theology. This is made explicit through a vision to unclean food that Peter experienced in Joppa. Only after he encountered the gentile centurion Cornelius did Peter fully comprehend the import of the vision. ‘I now realize how true it is’ said Peter ‘that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all’ (Acts 10:34–35).” 

Finally, I am not anti-Israel; I am anti-Christian Zionism. Christian Zionism supposes that the Jews are going to be herded back in the Holy Land where two-thirds will be killed. Christian Zionism is not only anti-Semitic with respect to the Palestinians, it is detrimental in that the Jews are going to suffer for the sins of their fore-fathers.

As I pointed out in The Apocalypse Code,

The Dispensationalists’ theory of two peoples of God has had chilling consequences not only for Jews, but for Palestinian Arabs as well. Unlike early dispensationalists, who believed that the Jews would be regathered in Palestine because of belief in their Redeemer, Many contemporary Dispensationalists hold to the theory that Jews must initially be regathered in unbelief solely on the basis of race. Such unbiblical notions put Christian Zionists in the untenable position of condoning the displacement of Palestinian Christians from their homeland in order to facilitate an occupation based on unbelief and racial affiliation.

The tragic consequence is that Palestinians today form the largest displaced people group in the world. As Dr. Gary Burge, professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School, explains, “Israeli historians now talk about the mass and planned expulsion of the Palestinians, an early form of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ The most troubling national confession has been the destruction of at least four hundred Palestinian villages, the ruin of dozens of Arab urban neighborhoods, and several massacres that would motivate the Arab population to flee.” If America required people of African descent to carry special ID cards or to leave the country to make way for people of European ancestry, we would be condemned as a nation that promoted racism and apartheid. Attempting to justify our actions on the basis of biblical proscriptions is even more unthinkable. Says Burge, “Any country that de facto excludes a segment of its society from its national benefits on the basis of race can hardly qualify as democratic.”

This is precisely why Zionism has been labeled a racist political philosophy. As Burge notes, “In 1998, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel accused the government of race-based discrimination and ‘creating a threatening atmosphere that makes violations of human rights more acceptable.’”

As a closing thought, may I simply say that while the lack of discernment and civility displayed on the internet is astonishing, it becomes all the more appalling when those who claim Christianity propagate that which is untrue in an unloving fashion.  

—Hank Hanegraaff

Apologetics, In the News

Hank Hanegraaff’s Response to MSNBC’s “Mind over Mania”

Summary Critique: Mind over Mania, MSNBC, aired Sunday, November 6, 2011

Teen Mania Ministries (TMM), the youth organization founded by Ron Luce, was portrayed as a mind control cult in a November 6, 2011 MSNBC exposé titled Mind over Mania. In reality, the MSNBC piece is a case study in sophistry, sloppy journalism, and sensationalism.

In Mind over Mania, Doug and Wendy Duncan, billed as experts specializing in recovery from mind control, seek to establish the allegation that all eight criteria of Robert Jay Lifton’s Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China are active in the teachings and practices of TMM [1]. In reality, the anecdotal evidence they provide clearly fails to establish the outrageous brainwashing” allegations. Moreover, many of the arguments proffered against TMM could just as easily be used to establish historic Christianity as a thought reform cult. Equally significant is the fact that cult mind control as a sociological model has been utterly discredited. If brainwashing techniques did not work in the 20th century reeducation camps of communist China, it is sophistry to suppose it to be effectively employed in the ESOAL (Emotionally Stretching Opportunity of A Lifetime) weekend retreat of TMM’s Honor Academy.

Furthermore, while it is viscerally arresting to watch sensationalistic images of teenagers gagging on organic worms, it should be noted that footage hyped ad nauseum by the MSNBC promotion machine was recorded during the heyday of NBC’s Fear Factor, a TV program that elevated consumption of worms to veritable cult status. Nonetheless, Teen Mania leadership readily acknowledges that such practices were unwise and thus have rescinded them. As well, participants were clearly warned that the ESOAL event was designed to be physically and mentally challenging and were free to end their participation at will.

Finally, on a personal note, I have been acquainted with Ron Luce and TMM for over twenty years. I have found Ron to be a passionate father, husband, and ministry leader. Indeed, I still remember how impressed I was upon initially meeting one of his daughters. Since then I have recognized him to be thoughtful, teachable, and thoroughly committed to the essentials of historic Christianity. While I strongly disagree with Ron on various secondary matters, I stand shoulder to shoulder with him on the doctrines that form the line of demarcation between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the cults. It is likewise noteworthy that TMM is a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA) and operates under the oversight of a credible board of directors, which includes Paul Nelson, former director of ECFA [2].

—Hank Hanegraaff

Hank Hanegraaff is president of the Christian Research Institute, host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, and author of many bestselling books, including Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century.

Notes:

1. The following are Lifton’s eight criteria of thought reform as presented in Mind over Mania:

Milieu Control. Control of information and communication from without and within the group environment resulting in isolation.

Mystical Manipulation. The claim of divine authority or spiritual advancement that allows the leader toreinterpret events as he wishes.

Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and group members are constantly exhorted to strive for perfection.

The Cult of Confession. Serious sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either privately to a personal monitor or publicly to the group at large.

The “Sacred Science.” The doctrine of the group is considered to be the ultimate truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.

Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clichés, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.

Doctrine over Person. The personal experiences of the group members are subordinated to the Truth held by the group.

Dispensing of Existence. Those outside the group are unspiritual, worldly, satanic, “unconscious,” and they must be converted to the ideas of the group or they will be lost.

2. See http://www.ecfa.org, http://www.teenmania.com/finances/, and http://www.teenmania.com/staff/.

Apologetics, Journal Topics

The Historically Reliable Bible

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”—2 Timothy 3:16 NIV

To defend the Christian faith, we must be equipped to demonstrate that the Bible is divine rather than merely human in origin. When we can successfully accomplish this, we can answer a host of objections to the Christian faith by appealing to Scripture.

Toward that end, archaeology is a powerful witness to the accuracy of the Scriptures. Over and over, comprehensive archaeological field work since the mid-nineteenth century, coupled with careful biblical interpretation, affirm the reliability of the Bible down to minute details; and skeptics who challenge Scripture are silenced as myriad discoveries point to the accuracy of the biblical accounts. Take, for example, the skeptics’ claim that Jesus was not nailed to the cross but was tied according to the Roman custom. In 1999, archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of a young man in his early 20s who was crucified in the first century. His remains attest to a death by crucifixion precisely as described in the Bible: his bones tell the story of open arms that had been nailed to a crossbar, and a large single nail had been driven through both heels. That nail was still lodged in the heel bone of one foot, though the executioners had removed the body from the cross after death. Moreover, the shin bones seemed to have been broken, corroborating what the Gospel of John suggests was normal practice in Roman crucifixions.

Here’s another example. The Old Testament references the Hittites as one of seven Canaanite nations. In fact, Uriah the Hittite is mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:39 and is one of King David’s warriors (who is later killed in battle). Yet, prior to the early twentieth century, skeptics said the Hittites were pure mythology. Thus, many were surprised in 1906 when archaeologists unearthed the ruins of Hattutsas in Turkey, the chief city of the ancient Hittites, confirming the biblical references. Or consider the Assyrians who, like the Hittites, were also thought to be a mythological people group. In the nineteenth century, the capital city was unearthed on the plains of Northern Iraq, including the palace of Sargon, the Assyrian King mentioned in Isaiah 20:1. The list of archaeological discoveries that confirm the biblical record goes on and on.

Furthermore, the reliability of the Bible is affirmed repeatedly by the eyewitness testimony of its authors—or close associates of eyewitnesses—to the recorded events (see Luke 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:3—8; 1 John 1:1-3). Additionally, ancient Jewish and secular historians, such as Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius, also confirm the many events, people, places, and customs chronicled in Scripture.

It is important to note, finally, that while archeological and historical evidences can remove doubts about the factual accuracy of the Bible, the spiritual message of our sin, humanity’s need for redemption, and a loving Creator who interacts in the affairs of humans, providing salvation, must be received by faith. Indeed, as the apostle Paul declared, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NIV).

Hank Hanegraaff

Apologetics, Journal Topics

Proof Positive

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”—2 Timothy 3:16

scriptureDespite what you might glean from the media, Christians have proof positive that the whole cannon of Scripture is utterly reliable. This is an important point to internalize because in order to effectively defend the Christian faith, we must be equipped to demonstrate to an unenlightened audience that the Bible is not only divine in origin, but also one hundred percent correct.

In fact, archaeology is a powerful witness to the accuracy of the Scriptures. Over and over, comprehensive archaeological field work since the mid-nineteenth century, coupled with careful biblical interpretation, affirm the reliability of the Bible down to minute details.

Skeptics who challenge Scripture are silenced as myriad discoveries point to the accuracy of the biblical accounts. Take, for example, the skeptics’ claim that Jesus was not nailed to the cross, but was tied according to Roman custom. In 1999, archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of a young man in his early 20s who was crucified in the first century. His remains attest to a death by crucifixion precisely as described in the Bible: his bones tell the story of open arms that had been nailed to the crossbar and a large single nail had been driven through both heels. That nail was still lodged in the heel bone of one foot, though the executioners had removed the body from the cross after death. Moreover, the shin bones seemed to have been broken, corroborating what the Gospel of John suggests was normal practice in Roman crucifixions.

Here’s another example. The Old Testament references the Hittites as one of seven Canaanite nations. In fact, Uriah the Hittite is mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:39 and is one of King David’s warriors (who is later killed in battle). Yet, prior to the early twentieth century, skeptics said the Hittites were pure mythology. Thus, many were surprised in 1906 when archaeologists unearthed the ruins of Hattutsas in Turkey, the chief city of the ancient Hittites, confirming the biblical references.

Or consider the Assyrians who, like the Hittites, were also thought to be a mythological people group. In the nineteenth century, the capital city was unearthed on the plains of Northern Iraq, including the palace of Sargon, the Assyrian King mentioned in Isaiah 20:1.

The list of archaeological discoveries that confirm the biblical record goes on and on. The reliability of the Bible is affirmed repeatedly by the eyewitness testimony of its authors—or in some cases close associates of eyewitnesses—to the recorded events. Secular historians also confirm the many events, people, places, and customs chronicled in Scripture.

It is important to note that while archeological evidence can remove doubts about the historical accuracy of the Bible, the spiritual message of our sin, man’s need for redemption, and a loving Creator who interacts in the affairs of men, providing a means of salvation, must be accepted by faith. Indeed, as the apostle Paul declared, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Hank Hanegraaff

For Further Study CRI Recommends:

Flip Chart: LIGHTS on Your Path

Basic Bible Reading Tool Kit

Book: How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth

Article: Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Historicity of the Bible

Journal Topics

What is yoga?

Since Swami Vivekananda first introduced yoga to the West more than a hundred years ago, yoga has become as American as apple pie. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, Everybody loves yoga; sixteen and a half million Americans practice it regularly, and twenty-five million more say they will try it this year. If you’ve been awake and breathing air in the twenty-first century, you already know that this Hindu practice of health and spirituality has long ago moved on from the toe-ring set. Yoga is American; it has graced the cover of Time twice, acquired the approval of A-list celebrities like Madonna, Sting, and Jennifer Aniston, and is still the go-to trend story for editors and reporters, who produce an average of eight yoga stories a day in the English-speaking world. Consumers drop $3 billion every year on yoga classes, books, videos, CDs, DVDs, mats, clothing, and other necessities.

As noted by New Age expert Elliot Miller, “Yoga is rapidly becoming integrated into such traditionally secular institutions as public education, health care, and the workplace. It has been widely embraced by Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants, and over the past several years a Christian yoga movement has been thriving among evangelicals.”

-excerpted from Hank Hanegraaff’s Complete Bible Answer Book

While yoga has become increasingly popular even in the church, can it truly be compatible with Christianity? Rajiv Malhotra, the founder of the Infinity Foundation, says NO.