It is reported that Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, has left Evangelicalism and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church.
While not following Hanegraaff very closely, in past years I’ve heard him give some good, biblical answers on radio. On the other hand, I am a Premillennialist, so I have disagreed with Hanegraaff’s views on the Second Coming.
Hank Hanegraaff has apparently been evolving for some time. I thought this might be a good time to point out some differences between Baptists, Evangelicals in general, and the Eastern Orthodox.
By the way, some years ago I was teaching a Bible course at San Jacinto College, Pasadena, Texas. I had an international student in class who was Orthodox and wrote a research paper. In passing, he mentioned his belief in Baptismal Regeneration. I gave him an A for the paper. Though I disagreed with his doctrine, he did a very good job researching and writing.
What are some of those differences in beliefs?
Orthodox believe their authority comes from the Bible and tradition. Baptists believe the 66 books of the Bible are our final authority for faith and practice (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:16).
In addition, the Orthodox have added another 10 books to the Bible. Along with the Bible, they also look to Church Fathers, church leaders after the Bible was written, as authoritative.
The Orthodox believe baptism saves you. They believe in baptizing infants, a practice not found in Scripture. Baptists believe in Believer’s Baptism by Immersion, but do not believe it has a part in your salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). Only faith in Christ saves you. See the article below on Baptismal Regeneration.
While Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a great, godly woman, Orthodox believe in her perpetual virginity and venerate her a little too much. Baptists and most evangelicals believe after the virgin birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary had other children (Matthew 1:25; 12:46; 13:55-56; John 7:5).
We also believe it is going a little too far to call Mary the mother of God. Jesus is God the Son and came from Heaven to Earth to be born in human form. Jesus is far older than His earthly mother (John 1:1, 14).
For a summary of the Eastern Orthodox church, see the article by Bill Gordon and Paul Negru at the North American Mission Board:
Be praying for Hank Hanegraaff, and make sure you are lashed to the Word of God, the Bible, for your faith and practice.
Note: The word “orthodox” has also been used by Baptists to simply refer to someone who is conservative and biblical in their doctrine. The word “Orthodox” in this article, however, refers to the denominational groups by that name.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 12, AD 2017.
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