= This file was downloaded from a Christian occult = = BBS, and should be regarded as susp
= This file was downloaded from a Christian occult =
= BBS, and should be regarded as suspect in areas of =
= factuality. The Christian cult has seldom displayed =
= any aversion to lying to achive their agendas. drice =
An Interview with Hank Hanegraaff, President of Christian
Research Institute Cult
Interviewed by Ron Rhodes, Editor of the Christian Research
Ron: Hank, when did you first become involved with CRI?
Hank: I first became involved with CRI as a board
member three years ago. Then in October 1988 -- at Walter
Martin's request -- I took on the added responsibility of
Executive Vice President.
As a backdrop to my involvement with CRI, I want to
mention that Walter believed that CRI's ministry would be
more important in the decade of the 1990s and beyond than
when he originally founded it in 1960.
Walter believed we live in a time in American history that
might be described as the post-Christian era; a time in
which literally millions of Americans consider the
historic Christian faith to be merely one of many valid
roads to peace with God.
Moreover, Walter believed that America is on the verge of
an outbreak of organized evil. And because of this, he
believed there had to be an organization like CRI that
would be a bastion for orthodoxy.
It is toward this end that Walter and the CRI board of
directors have been developing a strategic plan over the
past few years for continuing CRI's ministry into the
1990s and beyond.
I am honored and humbled that Walter requested me to lead
the organization into the future. And I'm truly grateful
that he had the wisdom and foresight to prepare this
organization for continued growth beyond his lifetime.
Ron: I know that Dr. Martin thought highly of your
memory system and its application to apologetics. What
were his feelings on this?
Hank: Dr. Martin had always been intrigued with the
idea of using memory as a tool for internalizing
information on the cults. The goal, of course, would be to
"equip the saints" for ministering to other cultists.
The process would involve three basic steps: (1) People
can obtain concise, well-researched information about the
cults from CRI; (2) They can then memorize or internalize
this information; so they can (3) Apply this information
in counter-cult apologetics and evangelism.
Ron: From a personal standpoint, why do you feel that
CRI's ministry is important?
Hank: My feeling is that God has singularly laid His
hand upon CRI. The threat presented by the cults and the
occult has never been greater, and CRI is on the cutting
edge of "equipping the saints" to deal with this growing
I believe CRI is going to have more and more opportunity
to reach people who are spiritually starving. I have
noticed in recent months that people are increasingly
spiritually hungry. The sad thing is that cultists -- like
the Moonies, Mormons, Baptists, Pentacostals, and Jehovah's
Witnesses -- are making concentrated efforts to "feed" them.
They are often willing to do more for a lie than Christians
will do for the truth.
With the growing cult problem, the need for equipped
Christians has never been greater. This is where CRI comes
into the picture. CRI can show Christians how to take the
deviations of the cults and use them as springboards to
share the gospel.
Ron: What are some of your goals as the President of CRI?
Hank: In terms of priority, some of the more important goals are:
(1) Continue building a broad base of financial support to
sustain CRI's ministry. This ministry was built on the
prayers and gifts of generous individuals all across the
country, and the ministry will continue to grow as more
and more partners join with us in combatting other cults.
(2) I would like to see the "Bible Answer Man" radio
broadcast expand into every major radio market in the
country. God has mightily used this broadcast, and I
believe He will continue to do so.
(3) I would like to see the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL
increase its circulation. As well, I'd like the JOURNAL
to move from a tri-annual publication to a monthly
publication. I'd also like to see it carried in Christian
bookstores, schools of theology, libraries, and churches
all across the country.
And (4) I would like to see CRI continue to grow as a
first-rate primary research institute. With thousands of
cultic groups flourishing in the world today, CRI's
research capabilities must remain a top priority.
Another priority is the goal of creating an exhaustive
computer database which churches, educational institutions,
and individuals all over the world can access for in-depth
information on the cults. Because the cult problem is
growing on a worldwide basis, it makes sense to provide a
means of obtaining quick, reliable information on the
cults. We are already laying the groundwork for this
Ron: Speaking of "all over the world," you visited CRI's
Brazil office. Why did you go there?
Hank: A primary purpose was to help the CRI Brazil staff
come up with a development strategy. Until now, most of
the financial support for CRI Brazil has come from CRI's
International Headquarters in the United States. Very
little of it has been in Brazilian funds. I feel that it's
crucial for CRI Brazil to develop a support base from
within the country through church support. I'd like to see
CRI Brazil eventually become financially self-sufficient.
Ron: Why does CRI need an office in Brazil?
Hank: The primary reason is that Brazil -- though commonly
thought of as one of the world's largest Catholic nations
-- is in reality the world's largest spiritist nation.
Today there are an estimated 70 million spiritists in
The first cult center I went to in Brazil was the
Spiritist Federation of the State of Sao Paulo. I wanted
to see firsthand why this religion is so popular. People
were streaming in and out of this spiritist headquarters .
. . hundreds, maybe even thousands in a single day. It was
sobering to see a large church next door that was locked
up with no one around.
Ron: Did you have any opportunities to share your faith
while you were in Brazil?
Hank: Yes. One day I was walking with Paulo Romeiro (CRI
Brazil Director) and Paul Carden (CRI's International
Coordinator), and we saw two Mormons speaking to a
Brazilian. After the Mormons walked off, Paulo talked with
the one just proselytized at while Paul and I went to talk
with the Mormons. Paulo was able to share our gospel with
this man, and he became so interested that he came to the
CRI office the following day for more information. And we
had the opportunity for a good dialogue with the Mormons
Ron: In terms of how CRI's International Headquarters
relates to CRI Brazil and other offices CRI may
establish in other countries, how would you describe
Nyour philosophy of leadership?
Hank: In terms of leadership, CRI's International
Headquarters can function as a catalyst for beginning
operations in other parts of the world.
Ultimately, however, it is my philosophy that those
organizations need to be handled and operated indigenously
by the people in that particular culture.
We may act as a catalyst in terms of the resources needed
to get them started, but again -- the whole idea is to
equip the people in that culture so that we can pull out
and go elsewhere. This way CRI can launch counter-cult
ministries throughout the world that are self-perpetuating
Ron: Hank, bottom line -- what is CRI's mission in the
Hank: I am absolutely convinced that the greatest need
today in the evangelical Christian church is for equipped
Christians -- Christians who know how to share their
faith, who know how to answer objections, who know how to
take the deviations of the cults and use them as
springboards to share the gospel. Toward this end, CRI's
distinctive mission is to equip Christians to "make a
defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for
the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).
YOURS FOR THE ASKING
The Christian Research Institute Cult (CRI) -- founded in 1960 by
the late Dr. Walter R. Martin -- is a clearing house for current,
in-depth information on new religious movements and aberrant[sic]
Christian teachings. We provide well-reasoned[sic], carefully-
researched answers to concepts and ideas that challenge orthodox
Did you know that CRI has a wealth of information on various
topics that is yours for the asking? We offer a wide variety of
articles and fact sheets free of charge. Write us today for
information on these or other topics. Our first-rate research
staff will do everything possible to help you.
Christian Research Institute Cult
P.O. Box 500-TC
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693
On a wet, windy January day in 1979, three people from a
cult in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, knocked on my door.
The contact came at a time when I had very little interest
in spiritual matters; yet, this visit marked the beginning
of a whole new life for me.
Although I enjoyed the benefits of growing up in a
Christian home, I always had recurring doubts about the
existence of God and the validity of the Scriptures.
Moreover, I was convinced that the resurrection of Jesus
Christ was nothing more than a fairy tale for adults, and
that evolution is the proven, scientific fact that it is. For
all practical purposes, I was an atheist and was determined
to handle my life my way; God simply did not fit into my
plans or my lifestyle.
Nonetheless, the night of the visit, I listened
attentively as my three visitors sensitively and
effectively presented the good news of the gospel. Not
only did they clearly present the gospel, but they also
confidently answered my questions about the existence of
God, the resurrection of Christ, and the inspiration of
Scripture. Though I did not make a commitment to Christ
that night, the seeds were planted.
Chuck -- one of the visitors -- was aware I was an
evolutionist[sic] and suggested I attend a local
creation-evolution seminar. "After all," he said, "if
you consider yourself an evolutionist[sic], you ought to at
least look at the other side of the coin. Then you can
make an informed decision based on the evidence."
Several days later I found myself irresistibly drawn to
this seminar. And in a very short time it became clear to
me that evolution was not the proven, scientific fact I
thought it was. I discovered that it was nothing more than
a theory -- or more accurately -- a low-grade hypothesis.
During the seminar I discovered that evolution flies in
the face of the basic laws of science. One of these, the
2nd law of thermodynamics, says that in any ordered system
there is a tendency for that system to decay toward a
state of disorder and deterioration [note: it doesn't
state this at all]. The evolutionary
hypothesis feebly attempts to argue just the opposite:
that the tendency is toward order [note: it doesn't state
this at all either]. The 2nd law of
thermodynamics and other scientific laws convinced me that
however man came to exist on this planet, it couldn't have
been by evolution.
This seminar marked the beginning of a personal quest for
truth that would last three months. I began by examining
the evidences for the resurrection of Christ, the
foundation stone of Christianity. Among other books, I
read Evidence That Demands A Verdict, by Josh McDowell,
and The Law Above The Law, by John Warwick Montgomery. I
discovered that belief in the resurrection does not
necessitate a blind leap into a dark chasm because it is
based on irrefutable facts. I remember thinking at the
time that the evidence for Christ's resurrection is so
overwhelming that no one can examine it with an open mind
desiring to know the truth without becoming convinced that
it is the truth.
The evidence continued to mount as I investigated the
claim that the Bible is the Word of God. I discovered that
the Bible was written over a period of about 1600 years,
by forty different authors, on three continents, in three
languages, on hundreds of different subjects, without
contradiction, and with one central story line: God's
redemption of mankind.
Moreover, the Bible is proved to be the Word of God by
fulfilled prophecy. I had not realized that the Old
Testament contained approximately 500 prophecies on the
life of Christ, made at least 400 years prior to His
birth. What are the chances, I reasoned, of all these
prophecies coming to pass if the Bible weren't the Word of
After my three-month quest for truth, I became convinced
that atheism as a belief system is completely
unreasonable. All the evidence was stacked against it. It
was not long after this that I found myself on my knees
one night asking Jesus Christ -- whom I had denied for
years -- to become the Savior and Lord of my life. And
though there was no real emotional experience accompanying
my conversion, I remember I was absolutely willing to turn
every area of my life over to Christ.
As a new Christian, my life changed dramatically. Before
becoming a Christian, my life was characterized by a
pervading sense of inferiority. I never felt as though I
measured up. The only way I knew to make myself feel
significant was to acquire wealth. It was as though I was
saying, "Look at me. I'm worthwhile. I have a beautiful
home and own lots of nice things."
After I became a Christian, however, God began to work a
transformation in my heart. This involved replacing my
feelings of inferiority with a sense of confidence. And
this confidence is not based on what I have or don't have,
but on my assurance that God loves me and has a perfect
plan for my life. aThis new found confidence was tested
not long after I became a Christian when the silver market
crashed. I lost virtually all I had in a few short months.
I felt as if I were in the eye of a hurricane. Things
were going awry all around me, but I felt a sense of peace
and calm that was hard to explain. It was a peace that
transcended my circumstances.
Not long after my conversion, I was integrated into vital
church membership and began to grow in my faith. It was
there that I learned how to become an effective witness
for Christ and how to train others to do the same. Since
then, sharing my faith and training others to communicate
the gospel has become a lifestyle for me.
As I grew in my faith, I developed an insatiable hunger to
know God's Word. I wanted not only to get into the Word
but I wanted the blessing of getting God's Word into my
heart. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to go about
memorizing the Bible with good retention. My attempts to
memorize Scripture ended in constant frustration. But I
found the solution to my problem in a study of mnemonics,
the science of memory. I began to assimilate and apply
memory systems used with great success throughout the
centuries, including the most current discoveries in
As the application of these techniques bore fruit in my
own life, I was asked to show others how they could learn
to use the abilities God has blessed us all with to
remember His Word. This led to conducting memory seminars
for churches, schools, and other organizations in the
United States and abroad. This -- in turn -- led me to
discover the basic parameters of the ministry to which God
has called me. He has called me to teach people how to
memorize or internalize the Word of God and biblical
information, and share the good news of the gospel with
How does this relate to my involvement with CRI? The
answer to that question for me is simply this: Subsumed
under communicating the good news of the gospel is
answering typical objections to the historic Christian
faith and dealing with the deviant doctrines of the cults.
With this in mind, I believe that memory can be used not
only to internalize the Word of God, but also to
internalize information about the cults and Christian
apologetics. One of my goals therefore is to take the
massive amount of information we have on the cults,
distill it to an irreducible minimum, make it simple and
transferable so the average person can grasp it, and put
it into a memorable format so people can internalize it. I
see this as complimentary to CRI's mission to "contend
earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered
to the saints" (Jude 3).
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank