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=========================================================== = 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 Newsletter 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 problem. 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 database. 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 Brazil. 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 as well. 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 organizations. Ron: Hank, bottom line -- what is CRI's mission in the world? 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 Christianity. 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 (714) 855-9926 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 God? 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 memory training. 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 others. 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).


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