Sunday, March 1, 2009

Christianity in Crisis 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff

It’s been some fifteen years since the original edition of Christianity in Crisis was released. Hank Hanegraaff has presented an updated edition in Christianity in Crisis 21st Century.
Hanegraaff does an excellent job of identifying the heresy of the faith and wealth teachers. He draws attention to the similarities between their teaching and that of New Thought. New Thought teachers claim that mental confession can control physical conditions. The faith teachers claim people can create their own reality through the creative power of their words and visualization.
The faith teachers are not deterred when accused of following mind science. They say there are laws in the universe and it is not their fault if others have discovered them too.
Hanegraaff give many examples of the hurt and pain the faith teachers cause. Many have died waiting for the healing they have been taught to believe was their right. Others are weighed down with guilt, being taught that the reason they are not healed is their own lack of faith.
The author does a great job showing orthodox Christianity: a sovereign God (instead of man telling God what to do) and a yielded Christian (not telling God what is his “right”).
Unfortunately, most of the material in this book is a repeat of the 1993 edition. Hanegraaff has added some material on Osteen. Meyer, Bynum, Bently and White but the vast majority of the material is old and older. He has included a great index so if you have read the earlier edition, just look up the newer teachers. Hanegraaff has added material on Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret which helps the modern reader understand the similarities between the teachings in that book and that of the faith teachers.
Hanegraaff has the bad habit of repeating much of the material in his book, sometimes several times over. I read the book in a two day setting and was dismayed by the times I ended up reading the same quote from Copeland or Hagin again and again.
It is amazing that Hanegraaff stands pretty much alone in pointing out the errors of the faith teachers. In another time, there would have been an identification of heresy by theologians and denomination leaders. It’s hard, however, to call a faith teacher a heretic when he or she has thousands and thousands of supported. Hanegraaff is a lone but very necessary voice.