Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tim LaHaye and Hank Hanegraaff:
The Men Behind the Headlines

“Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:16-17

What has happened to accountability in the Church of Jesus Christ? Who is upholding the standards of integrity in our leaders—standards the Bible requires? What has happened to us that we can sit back and silently watch while one “Christian leader” attacks another with impunity? These actions are not biblical, and our reaction (or lack of it) is not biblical, either. God requires accountability whether Christians find it distasteful or not, and if we remain silent in the presence of evil, we become guilty of it ourselves (James 4:17).

Some might say why bother with accountability? There is no justice in the world; the rich get richer and the poor, only poorer. And there was a time when I would have agreed with them.

Shortly after my father, Walter Martin, died in 1989 his ministry was taken over by a man who we later discovered had a disturbing habit of “borrowing” other people’s work and claiming it for his own. [1] The world defines this light-fingered approach to literature as plagiarism or literary theft—and many prominent careers have been destroyed because of it. [2] Remember Jayson Blair, the former New York Times reporter? He plagiarized multiple articles and lost his job in a matter of days. [3] His credibility and career were destroyed, but Hank Hanegraaff has dodged the plagiarism bullet for years; in fact, he’s benefited greatly from his actions.

My father hired Hank and placed him on the Christian Research Institute Board of Directors largely due to Hank’s success in the memory techniques he “borrowed” from other people, and once Walter Martin was gone, he even went so far as to claim the title, Bible Answer Man, though he had no formal education in the Bible, and my father never named him as his successor. [4] Hank then proceeded to systematically wipe out the memory of Walter Martin from Christian Research Institute so that today, many think of Hank as the founder of it and if you call there looking for Walter Martin resources, you will only find a few Martin tapes still on the CRI Resource List. This is Hank’s response to a man who trusted him.

The world disciplines plagiarists and holds them in contempt, but the Church of Jesus Christ rewards them. Only a few Christians ever denounced such blatant plagiarism and demanded accountability. Only a few stood and defended the widow and the fatherless. The vast majority remained quietly on the sidelines and applauded Hank. They handed him book contracts and gold medallions for his books; they sold him valuable radio airtime and appeared as guests on his 1-800-ASK HANK radio show. And some even defended him against the grieving family of Walter Martin. This travesty of justice has been going on for eighteen years, and there is still no end in sight.

But I believe in the certainty of Divine justice, no matter how impossible things may look. “He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow” (Deuteronomy 10:18). I trust that God will weigh each of our lives in the balance and act accordingly. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7-8). It is because of this that I have tried to speak out against this injustice and to demand accountability, regardless of the cost. And it has been high.

Through the years, Hank launched attack after attack—not at the cults, which seem to have faded from his personal radar screen—but at his brothers in Christ, some of whom publicly demanded the reason why he hadn’t come to them first about the issues in question before attacking like an unpredictable pit bull. Dr. D. James Kennedy remained silent for years about Hank’s plagiarism, until Hank turned around and bit the hand that fed him, publicly implying that Kennedy was a heretic. This attack was too much, even for the gracious Dr. Kennedy, and it prompted him to finally respond to Hank publicly:

To Whom It May Concern:

Until now I have refrained from commenting about Mr. Hank Hanegraaff, but I understand from several sources that he has continued his attack on me. Therefore, I feel I must make some sort of response. This I do reluctantly.

Hank was brought to Christ through the ministry of this church, of which he then became a member. I employed him some time later at Evangelism Explosion International in the Development Department. It was here that he learned his basic knowledge of the Scriptures. Here that he learned to evangelize. Here that he learned Mnemonics, the science of memory. It was from here and from me that he learned most of the things needed to get the position that he now holds.

Years later he published a book on evangelism, which numerous people wrote to me about, telling me that he had plagiarized my book, Evangelism Explosion. Some sent me page after page from his book with the comparable pages from my own. It did appear to be a blatant case of plagiarism, but I told them all that I did not want to sue him because I did not think that is what a Christian ought to do.

I also received letters stating that he had obtained his position on The Bible Answer Man program by methods that were less than ethical. Numbers of staff, many of whom have since left that ministry, also said he was plagiarizing Dr. Walter Martin’s material. I do not have the data, the time, nor the interest to try to ascertain where he gets all of his material. I do know that when he left here, he had no formal training preparing him for his present position. (I did happen to be in graduate school at the Ph.D. level with Walter Martin [at New York University] when we were both working for our degree at the same time. I know he was well prepared for what he did.)

In conclusion, much of what Hank has learned he learned at this church and through my other ministries. I have tried in every way to be helpful to him. I have also endeavored to be gracious in spite of the many letters I have received accusing him of plagiarizing my book. In spite of all this, for some reason, totally unbeknownst to me, he has started attacking me on his public radio program. And as I just recently heard, has now had the temerity to call me a heretic. I have been called all manner of names by the enemies of the Cross, but one name I have never been called before is heretic. Given my 42 years of ministry, almost 50 books that I have published, the thousands of radio and television programs which have been broadcast here and around the world, it is almost laughable to think that we must wait until this late date to have it discovered by no less a scholar than Hank Hanegraaff that I am a heretic.

For those who have any question about the matter, I suggest they get a copy of the book in question, The Real Meaning of the Zodiac, and they will see that the idea that I believe in astrology is utterly preposterous. The book is written as a refutation of the ancient pagan idea. I would simply say get the book, read it yourself, and then tell me what you find in it that is heretical.

It is with sadness that I have found myself having to write this letter and I only hope that Hank will find something better to do with his time than to attack evangelical Christians, especially the one who taught him most of the orthodoxy that he knows.

Sincerely in Christ,

D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.
Senior Minister
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

Dr. Kennedy wrote this letter to a friend of ours, who gave his permission to publish it. A few years ago, I spoke with Dr. Kennedy at length about this issue, and he told me he believed Hank had plagiarized his work. He mentioned a recent conversation with Hank about his verbal attacks, but told me he was too weary to fight him, and they had resolved the situation, at least temporarily.

Apparently Hank did not learn from this encounter, however, and now the latest target of his aggression is Tim LaHaye, a man whose only transgression is his eschatology. Rev. LaHaye takes the Pretribulationist position, and unfortunately for him, Hank does not. This disagreement on a peripheral issue in the Church has placed Tim LaHaye directly in the line of fire.

According to Hank, Tim LaHaye, a man who has spent the last 60 years of his life preaching the cause of Christ, displays narcissistic tendencies and undermines in his writings the “uniqueness and significance of Christ’s resurrection” and His Deity. [5] Hank attacks Tim LaHaye with a vengeance, mentioning LaHaye’s name more than 200 times in a 270 page book. All this bitter invective from a man who still refuses to answer any of the charges brought against him by more than 30 brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s right, under the authority of Matthew 18, Hank Hanegraaff has been approached by at least 30 of his fellow Christians, and he has ignored them all. Where is the biblical accountability here? Where is the Christ-like spirit of reconciliation?

My father, Walter Martin, the Original Bible Answer Man and the founder of Christian Research Institute would never have countenanced such an attack on another believer. When Robert Schuller first wandered off into his Possibility Thinking, my father sat down with him face to face and tried to resolve the theological issues. These issues were not peripheral: they had a direct bearing on the salvation of souls, and yet my father never said a word publicly against Robert Schuller until he had given him every chance to explain.

One thing is certain, Hank did not offer Tim LaHaye the same courtesy in Christ, and my father would denounce Hank Hanegraaff for his glaring lack of Christian love. And that is exactly what I am doing. We tried to resolve our issues with Hank privately years ago in the spirit of Matthew 18, but Hank couldn’t find time for the widow and children of Walter Martin. He referred us to his staff.

I contacted Rev. LaHaye recently about Hank’s literary attacks, and was impressed by his kindness. He didn’t rant or attack Hank in any way; he didn’t say all the things it would have been so easy to say. Instead, he addressed a difficult situation with humility and grace. After my personal experiences with both Hank Hanegraaff and Tim LaHaye, I cannot help but see a stark contrast in character; two men with two very different responses.

Someday, there will be Divine justice; God does see and He will deal with all of us. He will deal with Hank Hanegraaff, a plagiarist who has tried to wear the shoes of the Original Bible Answer Man and failed miserably because they will never fit him.

I believe in accountability, in fighting for the truth, and in Divine justice. The Church must not be afraid to question its leaders and hold their lives up to God’s gold standard. I challenge Hank Hanegraaff publicly and personally to Christian arbitration. Answer your brothers and sisters in Christ, Hank. Please respond to the multiple charges against you or step down from the Bible Answer Man platform.
There will be justice one day, I know, and I find peace in God’s promise and a joy in knowing that no matter how difficult the circumstance, all things work together for good.

[1] For examples of plagiarism evidence see Dr. William Alnor, “More Details on the Plagiarism of Christian Research Institute President Hank Hanegraaff,” Cultlink, http://www.cultlink.com/plagiarism/Hankplag.doc (accessed December 9, 2007).

[2] Plagiarism. (n.d.). 1621, from L. plagiarius . . . used in the sense of "literary thief" by Martial . . . . Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=plagiarism (accessed October 15, 2007).

[3] Rose Arce and Shannon Troetel, “Top New York Times Editors Quit,”
New York Times, March 1, 2004, http://www.cnn.com/2003

[4] This statement is based on many conversations with my father, supported by other Martin family members and a CRI Board Member at the time of my father’s death.

[5] Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code, xix, 116.


Blogger JohnD said...

Your Daddy would be proud (the good kind)!

8:47 AM  
Blogger thomasj said...

As a student of your father's for the past 28 years (we met your father in January 1980 at Melodyland where we sat 2nd row center until he left, as did we) knowing your father as I do, I can confidently say that he is quite pleased with you and your husband's work for "fighting the good fight". As sure as the Lord lives, Hanegraaff will answer for his deceptions and for all the damage is has bought to the body of Christ including his dishonest and unfounded attacks on Dr. Kennedy and Tim Lahaye along with all the attacks on the wonderful brothers and sisters who were at CRI when your father went home to the Lord. My wife and I stand with you in your endeavours and applaud your efforts as well as pray for you, your family and your ministry, as your father always encouraged his students "hang in there, baby" and "keep rocking the boat". In my heart of hearts I believe and pray that before it's all over our Lord will restore CRI to you and your family and remove the "usurper".
In His service.
Thomas&Joyce, Applehill, Ca.

4:38 AM  
Blogger JohnD said...

Yesterday all I had time to say was that your father would be proud of you.

Back when I was on a campaign against pride of any sort... taking things a bit too literally in those days...

"pride goes before a fall... pride was the first sin of Lucifer.. and God was {well pleased} with the Son rather than proud..."

That was why I said "the good kind" of pride in my last posted comment.

9:37 AM  
Blogger JohnD said...

I had a funny feeling about HHH very early on (1991-ish), but dismissed it as my over active imagination.

Now that I think about it, it was like a scene from "Angel" (which I only see flipping through channels) where someone with a normal voice has the face of a demon or vampire or something awful. As I said, I dismissed it.

In 1994 or 95 I was taking night classes at a Church where HHH was speaking. It was there that I saw that extremely angry face when I unintentionally upstaged him with a humorous Walter Martin-esque comment.

The Crouches had publicly damned him to hell for speaking out against "Dad Hagen." And I said something like "For a man who is damned and going to hell, you look rather well..." and HHH's 'pew groupies' that gathered round him all laughed. If HHH's look could have it would have burned a hole right through me.

Interesting that just now I put the two occasions together: my "impression" from 1991 and actually experiencing it in 1994. Wow.

Maybe the Crouches were not so far fetched in their pronouncement??? Only not for smearing that kook Kenneth Hagen but for the fruit HHH has produced over the years (which you spelled out very very well)

And, in fact, I am amazed by your restraint over the years and even now in your post after what HHH did to what your Dad worked so long and so hard for. In my opinion, CRI has been turned into an HHH money-making mill.

Matthew 7:16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?17 “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit.18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

It is no small thing nor is it a big deal for Satan or his minions to "join" the Church.

2 Corinthians 11:12 But what I am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Martin James said...

How can a man with any heart do such things? The love of money is the god he serves and the idol of self is his right hand man.

6:05 AM  
Blogger Jill Martin Rische said...

Many thanks to all of you--John, Thomas, Joyce, Martin--for your kind words and prayers. This article was especially difficult for me to write, and your support means a great deal.

"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24

Merry Christmas!

10:57 AM  
Blogger JohnD said...

I still get an ache in the pit of my stomach when I read about this and the article here:

Such a waste. And though Eliot Miller claims all the tapes and papers of Walter Martin have been returned to the family, I fear most have be shipped off to the dump.

The actions of HHH (not to mention the apparent lack of scruples) have been that of a dictator establishing his reign. First thing to go are the remnants or the predecessor (Eliot Miller notwithstanding).


11:15 AM  
Blogger Rhology said...

I learned about you on Gene Cook's The Narrow Mind broadcast. You convinced me in short order; now I'm sad at 5 pm on weekdays when The BAM comes on local Christian radio. Keep going!

8:58 AM  
Blogger cory said...

My heart and sympathy is with you! I have stopped listening to CRI for many reason: Praterism, plagarism, the ruthlessness, ect.. (You know all the reasons). My comments to CRI got ignored. God bless you and don't quite! Cory

10:03 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Jill, I was a new christian when I was listening to Hank Hanegraff in 1991. I remember Hank stating he was hand picked by Walter Martin. I thought this was the best program ever especially since Hank had "Walters approval". In the early 90's I tried to find every cassette tape that walter spoke on. I bought over $1,000 in tapes. I never new your father but I feel like he has helped me tremendously in my sanctification and understaing of the Bible for I went to a Univeristy that was secular humanistic in origin. In 1995 I stumbled upon an article by Christianity Today titled Apologetics Ministry Resolves Wrongful Termination Suit published on 9-11-1995 regarding Hank. (You probably have it. I can e-mail it to you if you don't. I really thought this was an evil attack on CRI and Hank. I thought Christianity Today was a liberal organization (I still don't know if it is or not). The end result made me start thinking about Hank. 3 years later I stumbled on another article by Robert Bowman (I remembered Rob among others that worked at CRI). Rob's article clearly implicates Hank as a plagarist. This floored me as I couldn't believe it. This prompted me to try to find the truth but I didn't know how. I even tried to find Rob's phone number nationwide and call him but I knew this was a shot in the dark. I was frustated and was talking to a friend and he said "you know there is a Walter Martin web site". Again floored I looked up your website. I wrote you an e-mail and your husband Kevin wrote me back saying " We have some strong differences with the current leadership at CRI that I am not at liberty to discuss. Walter did not hand pick Hank to replace him as the leader of CRI..." I saved all of our e-mails because this was a very important issue for me because I was giving CRI a lot of my money and did not want to give it to the wrong people. I wrote back saying many things especially what Walter taught. People will listen to the Gospel of the check book. You want revival? Stop sending money. I didn't know who to trust because at the same time I was talking to CRI about the same issue but I could not get any answers from them. I was really caught in a situation. Who do I believe? Walters daughter who could be bitter and jealous or Hank who I thought was a man of God carrying on Walters work? I kept searching for answers and even wrote big name ministries to review Rob Bowman's article to see if it had validity. No one had the time for me unfortunately until one day I realized that Hank worked under Dr. D James Kennedy. I listened to Kennedy for years and new he was a Godly man so I turned to him and his ministry for help because I didn't seem equipped to handle a plagarism argument. If he really did plagarize from Kennedy then I would no longer send money to Hank (just like Walter taught). Somewhat surprised I received an e-mail from Kennedy that I would love to share with you. In the letter, Kennedy was dumbfounded by the way he was being treated by Hank, was encouraged by others to sue Hank for plagarism which he said in his letter that he would not, and he said this matter is between Hank and the Lord. Little by little I finally found out the truth. Hank was not who Hank said he is. I followed Hank closely in the media, internet, and CRI's website and even saw that he had taken off his website that he was hand picked from Walter Martin. He (or his lawyer) developed pre-formed responses to these questions about plagarism, his dealings with x-CRI employees etc on his website and the radio program if someone asked him a question regarding these issues. I want to thank you for your website and continuing on with your Dad's work. Best of luck.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Jill Martin Rische said...

T. Barnes--

I see no need to post a link to Hanegraaff's position on this issue. He is a plagiarist--a literary thief--and a man who lied to my father and did not show an ounce of Christ-like love to my family. Perhaps if you had been treated this way, you might not post a link either. :)

His position is readily available on the internet and if anyone feels the need to read it, all they have to do is hit Google (exactly the way you did).


12:22 PM  
Blogger Jill Martin Rische said...

Thanks so much--everyone--for your wonderful words of support. They mean a great deal to me and to my family! :)

God bless,


12:25 PM  
Blogger Jill Martin Rische said...


Thank you for sharing your experiences. I truly appreciate your insights. Yes, I would like very much to read Dr. Kennedy's email to you. I'm currently in CA right now with limited internet access, so it would be great if you could email me Thursday or Friday (and we can talk).

Take care,


12:29 PM  
Blogger T. Barnes said...

I sense much bitterness from you about this situation. Again, I do not know who is correct, however, you may consider showing Christ-like love and forgiveness to Hank. It seems that you are doing to Hank what you are accusing him of doing to you and your family.

4:57 PM  
Blogger archie said...

I have to say in hopfully the spirit that yours is a simple task regarding Hank, pray for him and nothing else about Hank.

9:57 PM  
Blogger KevenC said...


Your father had one of the largest impacts on my life when I was a teenager. A "long distance mentor" I would call him. I never met him, but would listen to cassette tapes from Gospel Light/Regal (which I still own). The BAM wasn't broadcast in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1980's. In many ways your father was one of my main reasons to enter Pastoral ministry. I never met him, but I wish I had. I've not listened to the BAM in years for many of the reasons you've mentioned in your blog. I'm so disheartened by any lack of accountability in the Christian community. Believers with courage are needed, who aren't simply a mile wide and an inch deep.

God Bless

11:30 PM  
Blogger Sweet Kee said...

Dear Jill,
I literally choked up and held back tears reading the information I have read about Hank and what he did in the past. His apparent mis-managing of organizational funds and his hateful behavior to fellow workers. I am so sorry your family has to endure this as well. I mourn with you and feel your pain. Remember that God is a vindicator. We don't have to be sorry that justice seems to not be prevailing. If Hank does not repent from his apparent ungodly behavior, he is already condemned! GOD IS NOT MOCKED!! I only wish it were not true. You see, I stumbled upon this information as I was looking to listen to his show over the Internet. Little did I know that he had so much negativeness attached to his name. When I began reading up on those claims, it became apparently clear to me that these "attacks" are most likely true! When I read the letter that D.James Kennedy wrote in response to Hank's attack against him, I knew it HAD to be true! This information is a godsend in that I did not go out to seek this information against Hank. Until today, I did not know who Walter Martin was. You would think since he is the founder, he would constantly give him credit. I listen to Vernon Mcgee's show and he is still dead. The men on that show honor him!! Hank in my book is not a man of faith and I will NOT be listening to his show any longer! I wish he would repent! I am sorry the former CRI employees had to endure such experiences. May GOD bring forth HIS justice speadily! Also, remember that not everyone is sitting on the sidelines KNOWING this, and continuing to support the ministry. There are many people like me, who did not know! Continue the work of getting this PERTINENT information out and may many more people stumble accross the information as I have until it is well known.


12:47 PM  
Blogger FreeGoodNews.com said...

Hi Jill-

Here's more news about CRI and ECFA:


Hank is slipping-up financially, and ECFA isn't doing their job in calling him on it.


11:50 PM  
Blogger Donna L. Carlaw said...

Hello, Jill,
It is nice to meet you. I loved your father's radio program. Just today I found that much of his material is available on the internet. I feel as though I have found a good friend whom I had not seen in many years.

I am so sorry about what has happened with the Bible Answer Man program. We were in South America as missionaries when your father died, and when we came back, I was glad to hear that the Bible Answer Man program was still on the air.

I listened to Hank for a year or two after we got home. I think that his work on the counterfeit revival was very good. He turned me off, though, - or I turned him off? - when he began to teach that a Christian does not have to forgive his enemies.

Now, that is outright false teaching, if you ask me. So, I have not listened to him since that time. I don't know if he still holds that position or not.

I did not agree with Dr. Kennedy on the Gospel in the stars ideas, but I would not call it heresy. That is going way, too far. He did not distort the Gospel in any way when he interpreted the signs of the Zodiac in light of the revelation of Christ. In fact, someone who may be trapped in that system may find his material helpful when coming out of it. It is an interesting theory, even though I do not hold to it.

I am pre-trip, but not pre-trib rapture. Even so, we have at least one good friend who came to the Lord though the Left Behind series of books. I have appreciated the ministry of the LaHay's though the years, though I would not be in agreement with all they say...but heretics? That is going way, too far, IMO.

So, Jill, be encouraged in the Lord. Keep posting in the tradition of your father's legacy.

May God grant you grace and peace, knowing what you know about what happened to your dad's ministry. May you be enabled to continue to preach the One Who is worthy of all honor.

People will do what they do and say what they say. Keep preaching Christ, and Him crucified, helping people to get free of the tangle of false teachings and cults that would sidetrack them from the simplicity of Christ.

God bless,

12:20 PM  
Blogger vgstar79 said...

Dear Jill,
I thought this would be the perfect time to tell you how much impact your father has had in my life. I am but a babe in Christ, 28 years old and 3 years into my faith. When I became a believer I was always searching the internet for good bible teaching Pastors to listen to while at work. Someone told me about Blue Letter Bible, which is where I found your dad Walter Martin. I listened to all the sermons that were available in Blue Letter Bible. I then searched the internet and found Walter Martin's Religious info net. I would listen to all the messages available for that month and when done waited for that next month of messages to come in. I was amazed at the wealth of knowledge that your dad imparted to me. I was fascinated at how much he new on the cults and fighting the good fight. I believe he got me into loving apologetics and really digging into the Word. I always felt that your father Walter Martin exemplified these following verses:
2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction.
1 Peter 3:15,16
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

I am in Bible College and in my Leadership class I have to write an essay about a leader who has impacted my life greatly, I chose your father because even though he passed away when I was a child he was the best teacher for the foundation of my faith. Thank you for keeping his work alive and going forth, He would be proud to know that almost 20 years later because of your faithfulness he is still making a difference.

Vanessa Estrella

11:01 AM  
Blogger J said...

I have listened to HH intermittently and have never been at odds with any of the theology that I have heard. The actions that I have found described are quite disturbing. BUT, I still feel the Bible Answer Man is an appropriate name. HH's answer is the bible, has nothing to do with me, man,. Not quite in order, but that is the way the HH appears on the basis of multiple testimonies. May GOD have mercy on all of our souls.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Hi Jill,
I learned of your fathers teaching in 1985, I was 15 years old and wanted to learn how to witness to Jehova's witnesses. I was given a tape series that your father put out and learned so much of what the Bible taught but what really stood out to me was God's love for the person whom your Dad was trying to reach. It is because of the lack of God's love in HH's communication that I have never really looked to him as a true teacher. I will always be impressed with Dr. Walter Martin's knowledge but I have been forever challenged by the fruit of the Spirit in his life. I will take every opportunity to refer people to your website so they can be informed.
"Lord, teach us accountability".


10:59 PM  
Blogger Jill Martin Rische said...

Thank you so much, everyone, for the wonderful encouragement!

T Barnes--the tricky thing about posting something is it can often be misinterpreted. I never became bitter about Hank and his behavior--I became angry when I discovered who he really was and then it changed gradually to acceptance (the Lord is in control) and finally to forgiveness.

One important thing, though--forgiveness does not mean allowing a Christian leader to do as he pleases. Accountability in the body of Christ is commanded in the Scripture and that is what we are trying to accomplish with Hank.

1:26 PM  
Blogger savedbyangelfrom2dogs said...


I dont remember hank saying or claiming he is original bam man, but i have trouble with his ministry

It gives appearance of unethical inappropriate conduct to have people plug their books on his program and then he turns aroudn and gives them air time to plug their books.

He is on record as saying holy spirit doesnt reside in you physically.

He condemns others for making money from books sensationalizing as he says and all he does is ask for money for books all the time and yet pockets the highest amount of any christian ministry that i know of something like 30 percent of income.

The late Kennedy could have called him a heritic for his arminian views.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Marty said...


Thanks for writing this blog. It has placed some of the troubling info I've been hearing about into a clearer context. When I became a follower of Christ back in 1986, your dad was a big influence on me through his writings and appearnces on the John Ankerberg show. Thanks for keeping his work alive.


4:07 PM  
Blogger MichaelR said...

I can't tell you how excited I was to find this site. I was on a Campus Crusade missionary trip when your father died. I was 19. No man before or since has had the effect on my Christian life as did your father. I just bought a number of cds that I had not heard in 20 years starting with Spirit of the Age. I had forgotten how powerful that cd is. What got me about your Dad was his complete reliance on scripture and the way he spoke with incredible authority and love. When I came back... well, Hank just wasn't the same. I pray for him and CRI. No authority, no zeal. I eventually got off the mailing list for 2 reasons. 1. Your fathers stuff started going off the site, and 2. I got really tired of the begging for money letters every month. I took an apologetics class taught by Frank Beckwith and of all people I ended up sitting next to Craig Hawkins. I don't want to speak for Craig but we did discuss the CRI situation in depth. I think it is safe to say that things did not exactly go down the way he thought that they would or the way he thought your father would have wanted. That being said, again, I am so excited to have found this. On a side note, I would love to get your Dad back on in LA. Any suggestions on who to write or call out here? God bless. Mike

5:47 PM  
Blogger allen peters said...

Jill, with all the hurt Hank did to you and family, will there be any forgiveness? Your reply would be kind, Thanks


12:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Wow, that is so sad and tragic. I have incredible respect for both the late Walter Martin and the late Dr. James Kennedy. Both men made incredible differences, and were some of the most respected Christians of our day, IMO.

I have heard briefly of Hank Hanegraff, but I really didn't know much at all about him.

I have seen too many Christians putting down other Christians, mainly because of theological differences, and it is an ugly thing.

Satan is very active, and even works through Christians sometimes to do great damage.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Jason said...


Your dad's ministry had a significant impact on my spiritual formation. This is because the Holy Spirit has working through Dr. Martin's ministry, and reaching people like myself in love and grace by scriptural power and authority. I am 25 years old (almost 26) and started listening to some of Dr. Martin's vintage radio broadcasts, and then I ended up purchasing about $200 worth of his tapes. I have listened to these tapes over and over again, and find blessings from your father's teaching. Most of my hermeneutics exposure comes from Dr. Martin's tape series on the topic, which was a highly beneficial education.

I too am wondering why the Christian community in the western world is so reluctant to hold those individuals who hold positions of authority accountable.

As members of the body of Christ, we are called to be obedient to Jesus. It is a tragedy that we have sometimes replaces Christ as our archetype and instead placed great communicators on a pedestal, and elevated them to a place which is inappropriate. Maybe this is part of the reason why many Christians are hesitant to go to a brother or sister in Christian love and discuss theological issues with them. When Christ is placed in his proper place of authority, we as his ambassadors are empowered by his love and authority to meet with a brother in love and rebuke him if he is in error. I saw Dr. Martin's example of this, through his words and deeds. Hank is going to be accountable for his actions (as we all will be), and I am relieved that amidst the turmoil and tension of this situation, God's will for His kingdom will work out for His great pleasure. It would be so much easier for us if we had the infinite mind of God, would it not?

I want to encourage you that God loves YOU - and is perfectly just.

Take care sister,
-jason gillis, Boulder, Colorado.

4:18 PM  
Blogger bbbfohio said...

In 1994 a great man of God (who I won't name because it was a personal conversation) told me that Hannegraaf simply memorized Walter Martin's materials (and Norm Geisler on the textual issues)... I had called this wonderful man for encouragement after Hank verbally skinned me alive for disagreeing with him on his view of Scripture...

Sadly, 15 years later, our local AM 880 WRFD is putting Hank back on the air and doing a media blitz to promo it all. I wrote and voice my dissappointment.

The number of faithful servants given air time these days seems to be dwindling. I believe it's part of the apostasy that leads up to the return of Jesus Christ...

4:53 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

My parents were missionaries in Panama. I remember living in a dormatory with other MKs and we'd listen to Dr. Walter Martin the Bible Answer Man program on, I believe an Armed Forces Radio channel. I was young but he mad an impression on me. I lost my way for a while but God is faithful to finish what he started in each of us. As I began to listen to his wooing and return to Christ. I stumbled across the BAM program back around 2000 and began listening again. There was something different though. This was not the same man. I wondered what had happened to the original Bible Answer Man. I listened to this new guy Hank use words that he would not explain to the lay person. He sometimes taled in circles and his answer lacked clarity. It pulled at a chord inside my heart and I remembered Deut 28 and the blessings and curses that go along with obeying God. I guess I sensed in my spirit the disobedience. It began to jump out of each broadcast thereafter. I was disheartened on occasion when he would blast the character of a fellow Christian leaders whom I had grown to trust. His methods didn't appear to follow the biblical principles I had been taught. I had purchased software and periodicals from him. I had purchased periodicals for my father from CRI as well. My dad is very prudent and discerning and has been a student of God's word since 1960. There was something VERY DIFFERENT about the material coming out of CRI now than when we listened t the program back in the early 1980's. My prayers are with the Martin family members. My daughter and I have learned through losing my husband this year that God has a very special place in his heart for widows and orphans. God is our judge!!! God bless you as you carry on your Father's mission and your daddy's passion for putting the TRUTH before the children of God. Evil prevails when good men do nothing! I just stumbled across your web-site this morning when I was trying to find out wha Hank had to say about leadership. I was asked by a fellow student at the school I'm attending about Oprah and was trying to explain some of my concerns that I've watched on her program and then some of the cautions that other Evangelical teachers have warned about her theology (or lack thereof) and faith statements and how dangerous her influence is. Then in my research I stumbled across the issues surrounding CRI and Hank Hanegraff. I firmly believe that the church needs to be equipped but we need to be careful who we listend to in the equipping process!! God Bless, DRZ

10:04 AM  
Blogger eeellama said...

I saw HHH at an event in the Sacramento area sponsored by a local radio station. There were several odd things which caught my attention:

1) The church where HHH spoke (Fair Oaks Presbyterian in Fair Oaks, CA) had its lobby full of merchandisers. I literally felt like turning over tables as the house of the Lord was used for this purpose.

2) HHH had an armed guard which escorted him. This guard was at a side door throughout HHH's presentation and accompanied him as he left.

3) At one point in the presentation, HHH sat on the front table for a while while he lectured. This is the table called various things in protestant churches: holiness table, altar, or communion table. Both my pastor and I noticed this, and it bothered us.

4) A child asked a simple question, to which HHH went on a very long dissertation filled with language a child would never understand. It seemed as if he wanted to show off his great memory rather than answer this child's question on his level.

5) At one point in the presentation I left because of a feeling that something was very wrong. The fundraising started right after that. I stayed out of the room and prayed for quite a while.

6) When I returned at the end of the money begging, I reentered the main room and sat on a side bench. HHH finished up his talk and walked up to me with his entourage, the offering, and his armed guard. He said a few words to me and shook my hand. I felt a very strong impression that we were of different spirits.

None of this proves anything, but if one has a sense of discernment they may get the same impression that there is something terribly wrong with HHH. We are to test the spirits, and for me he failed.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Tim Smith said...

I feel for the Martin family..I am more than willing to join hands with the Martin family to formally confront Hank Hannegraph and pressuring him to come clean with the TRUTH!!

Tim Smith

1:23 AM  
Blogger Wesley said...

Jill, like 1000's of others, your dad had a profound impact on my early days as a christian. I still treasure his major works and have gladly added your latest book on the occult to my library. May the Lord continue to bless you, your family and ministry.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Jill Martin Rische said...

Thank you very much, Wesley, and many thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. I appreciate all of your thoughts, prayers and support.


8:23 PM  

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