|The CRI Connection
by Jill Martin Rische
PLEASE SUPPORT CHRISTIAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE IN PRAYER
Many of you have asked us what you can do about the current situation at CRI, and we would like to ask that you join us in prayer and that you let us know you are praying. We pray that God will move in a powerful way within the walls of CRI and within the hearts of the people working there--and that he would deliver it from the hands of those who would use it for personal gain. We also ask that you carefully consider where you give your tithe.
15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. NIV
The Latest News on Hank Hanegraaff
June 20, 2007
Hank Hanegraaff and CRI lose defamation law suit filed against Bill Alnor.
CRI/Hanegraaff must pay Alnor's legal expenses, up to a quarter million dollars, court rules.
January 19, 2005
FEDERAL CRIMINAL MAIL FRAUD INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED AGAINST CRI AND LEADER HANK HANEGRAAFF
Charlotte Observer, The (NC)
April 4, 2004
Column: Don Hudson - The Insider
GOLF COURSE HAS BIG NAMES
DON HUDSON, STAFF WRITER. OBSERVER STAFF WRITERS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.
Local bankers, business types and a couple of pro athletes are behind The Club at Longview, a new gated community off Rea Road in Union County.
Former Hornets star Dell Curry, former Panthers quarterback Steve Beuerlein and nine other founders are behind the Jack Nicklaus-designed course.
Bill Elmore and Frank Harrison of Coca-Cola, Paul Grube of Wachovia and retired Bank of America vice chairman Bill Vandiver and Christian Research Institute International President Hank Hanegraff are among the founders.
"The commitment to perfection is seen everywhere,"
It sounds like a great course. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To Sierra Clubbers, sprawl by any other name is still sprawl.
2003 CRI News Update
On May 19, 2003, Hank Hanegraaff welcomed the first caller of the day to his radio show.
What listeners did not know was that this particular caller, Joshua Leland Scott, had been a trusted and valued employee of CRI for more than four years. Joshua worked in many different areas at CRI--even screening calls for The Bible Answer Man Show.
by Joshua Leland Scott
By way of introduction, my name is Joshua Leland Scott. I am 28 years of age, and the Christian Research Institute, in Southern California, formerly employed me. I have been asked to put this statement together concerning a phone call that I placed in to the Bible Answer Man broadcast, the radio ministry of the Christian Research Institute (hereafter referred to as CRI), and hosted by the president of CRI, Hank Hanegraaff. What follows is a brief explanation of the reason why I called the show, and a defense against Hank's claims during that phone call.
My decision to call in to the Bible Answer Man show was not made lightly. Getting an audience with Hank is quite difficult, as it was while working for CRI, and after resigning from my position, I had determined that the only viable way to communicate directly with Hank was through the radio show. Having worked at CRI for over three years, more than one year involved directly with the radio show itself as primary call-screener, I knew that Hank was not someone easy to get in contact with. Hank is isolated and inaccessible within the walls of CRI, so that staff whose job requires direct contact with Hank do not have it. Based on this understanding, the radio show was the only way to speak with Hank about my concerns.
In regard to those concerns, I had resigned from CRI due to gross financial and ethical behavior on the part of Hank, and the executive department. My concerns in this regard, as well as the concerns of other staff members including those who either were fired or resigned between January 20th and February 7th, 2003, were confirmed by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, of which CRI is a paid member. In late March 2003, after a month of questioning and investigation, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (hereafter referred to as the ECFA) found that CRI had violated three of its seven Financial Ethics Standards, specifically Standards 2, 4, and 6. The ECFA then began a process that they said would be about Biblical repentance and restoration, as well as being meant to restore donor confidence in the financial accountability of Hank and CRI. However, in order to restore donor confidence, those of us who had left CRI felt that Biblically the donors would have to be told. The constituency of CRI was largely unaware of CRI's violation of the ECFA's Standards, simply because there had been no press release by either CRI or the ECFA telling the donors of the violation. The other former employees of CRI and I waited patiently for this public confession of wrongdoing. It never came (and still has not).
On May 19th, I decided to call the show, using my prior experience as lead call-screener, to ask Hank whether he thought that an apology was a necessary part of that process of repentance and restoration, Biblically. Knowing the right time to call, my call was the first on the show. I used my middle name (Leland), believing that had either the current call-screener or Hank known who I was immediately, I would have been screened out myself, and not had the opportunity to ask Hank. I began with a question regarding the nature of Biblical repentance and restoration, and whether an apology was a part of that process. He agreed that it was, saying that it showed that an apology demonstrated a real desire to repent. That is when I asked, since CRI had violated ECFA Standard 4, why then had he not apologized to his constituency for misusing their funds. He then cut me off (keeping me from speaking in my defense to his next statements), and said that it was I who should apologize for getting on the air under a false provision (I think he meant false pretense), and asking a question which had no basis in reality, and therefore slandering CRI.
First, in my defense, he charges that I'm calling under a false provision (or pretense). I'm not sure if he is referring to my not using my first name, or if he's referring to my asking of a question that he feels is unrelated to my second question - thereby entrapping him. If he means the first, regarding my use of my middle name, I would like to simply say that this is a baseless complaint. In my time as lead call-screener, there were many callers that I screened who did not want to use their first name, or even any part of their real name, and this was perfectly acceptable to both the producer of the show and to Hank. It was routine for me to tell callers that didn't want to use their real names to either use their middle name or to use a fictitious name. Never was this ever an issue, of course, until I call in to ask Hank about misspending donor money. If Hank was implying that I entrapped him, I can only respond by saying that my call is similar in scope to how Nathan confronted David in 2 Samuel 12 (not that I am anything close to Nathan). Therefore, since there is Biblical precedent for this type of confrontation, I would suggest that Hank has no basis for complaint on this issue either. Any charge of false provision or pretense is baseless.
Second, as to his claim that my question had no basis in reality, this is easily refuted. I called the Vice President of the ECFA, Dan Busby, the following day to discuss the call, and Hank's claim that what I had said was not true. Mr. Busby confirmed that, in fact, CRI was still in violation of not only Standard 4, but Standards 2 and 6 as well. Furthermore, the ECFA makes available by request two public statements regarding CRI. The first statement tells of CRI's "unwilling" violation of Standards 2, 4, and 6. That statement was made available to interested parties in late March 2003. Unfortunately, CRI's donors remained unaware of the violation. The second statement, put out by the ECFA in late June 2003, states that CRI was now back in compliance with ECFA Standards, though a compliance review remained open. This means, of course, that from late March 2003 to late June 2003, CRI was in fact in violation of the ECFA's Financial Ethics Standards 2, 4, and 6. Given that my call in to the Bible Answer Man occurred on May 19th, 2003, it is clear that Hank lied to all of his listeners on national radio regarding that misspending of their money. I'd say that the ECFA needs to reconsider their finding of "not willful".
In conclusion, it is the hope and prayer of the former CRI staff and myself, that Hank and CRI would do the Biblical thing in this matter. There are two ways this can take place: First, Hank and CRI could be completely honest, open, and transparent with their wrong-doing and their finances, confessing their sin to the donors, and placing themselves under real, Biblical, and effective accountability, so that donor confidence could truly be restored. If Hank and CRI don't want to embark on this God-glorifying process, then there is a second option available. Hank, the entire CRI board of directors, and the entire executive staff at CRI (Paul Young and John Stoffel) could resign their positions and step down from the ministry, to preserve the integrity of it and the message CRI puts out. This would also be Biblical since Hank has disqualified himself in light of 1 Timothy 3, and he should step down if he refuses to confess his sin and truly repent of it. Until either of these two things happen in a very public way, it is incumbent on the church as a whole to communicate our displeasure to CRI continually. This can be done by writing to Hank, calling into the Resource Center at CRI and the comments and suggestions line, and by calling into the Bible Answer Man show itself. Most importantly, Hank and CRI will definitely understand the request for Biblical integrity of it's donors stopped donating to CRI. Hank continually encourages people to withdraw their support from aberrant ministries, we should follow his advice in this respect, and collectively withdraw our support for both him and CRI, until the Bible Answer Man does the Biblical thing.
I'd like to thank Jill and Kevin for their willingness to post both my call and this statement on their site, and especially for their exceedingly long fight to bring about Biblical change in the ministry that was founded by Jill's father, Dr. Walter Martin. It is my hope that, together, the church will decide to maintain its credibility in the world by condemning sin within our own ranks, just as we do in the world. By doing this, we maintain Biblical integrity, and thus glorify God. Should anyone wish to contact me for further information, or to answer specific questions surrounding the current situation with CRI and my employment there, feel free to write me at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org . May God change Hank's heart, and the hearts of those who support his unethical behavior, so that His Name would continue to be upheld and defended by the Christian Research Institute.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Joshua's call caught Hank Hanegraaff in a garbled 'on air' half-truth, preceding what amounted to a firestorm of controversy for the self-styled 'apologist'--one that would eventually lead to the pages of the Los Angeles Times.
Report by whistleblowers to Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability prompts Hank Hanegraaff to reimburse funds to Christian Research Institute."
by Marshall Allen in San Clemente | posted 07/16/2003
Jen Hubbard said she knew right away that Christian Research Institute (CRI) had spending problems. Committed to working at nonprofit ministries, the 27-year-old was thrilled to be at CRI, where Hendrik (Hank) Hanegraaff hosted the popular Bible Answer Man radio broadcast. But the way Hanegraaff spent money did not seem right, Hubbard told Christianity Today.
Hubbard's subsequent actions sparked an investigation by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and in March, the watchdog agency found CRI had "breached compliance" with key member standards. After further investigation and counsel, CRI employees agreed to pay back significant sums of misused ministry funds and create better accountability systems in the organization.
Poor internal controls
CRI hired Hubbard as a donor communications specialist in May 2002. She became alarmed when she saw ministry spending practices and heard employee concerns about the outlays. Meanwhile, she was sending monthly financial appeals to donors, urging them to give generously lest CRI suffer ministry cutbacks. The ministry generated more than $500,000 a month in donations in 2001. "It's kind of hard to make those pleas when you see the extravagance from the inside," said Hubbard, who held similar positions with Insight for Living and Joni and Friends. One item she was particularly concerned about was CRI's paying $66,000 in July 2002 for a blue Lexus sc, purchased for Hanegraaff's use. That same year former employees said a lull in giving resulted in layoffs at the $9.3 million ministry. When her supervisor refused to take her complaint seriously, Hubbard started looking for proof. (For complete story, see http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/008/6.19.html)
On August 17, 2003, the Los Angeles Times followed up the Christianity Today story with a more detailed, less neutered account:
Hank Hanegraaff and auditors won't say how much was repaid to the Christian Research Institute or by whom. Critics allege whitewash.
After complaints from former employees, a Southern California evangelist who calls himself a theological watchdog for Christians worldwide has been chastised for his ministry's financial practices. . . .
The dispute is another in a string of controversies surrounding Hanegraaff, who is best known as a Christian purist who holds pastors, churches and denominations accountable for teaching Bible-based Christianity. . . . Christian Research Institute received $9.3 million in donations and other income in 2001, according to the most recent tax records available. Hanegraaff, 53, made $251,886 and his wife made $87,600. In comparison, Billy Graham took a $174,000 salary from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn., which had about $87 million more in revenues.
(Article continued at http://www.religionnewsblog.com/4040-.html. Full article available (for a fee) in the archives of latimes.com.)
For additional information, please see: http://www.cultlink.com/news/june_2003_sentinel_eupdate.htm
Where is the obedience to Matthew 18? Where is the repentance and restoration from the man who claims the title "The Bible Answer Man"? It's past time for the Church to open its eyes and stop inviting him into their pulpits, awarding him book medals, and sending him hard-earned cash to spend on expensive cars, expensive family vacations, and flowers for his mother. There is a wolf in amongst the sheep. Enough is enough.
Why Did Darlene Martin and Members of the Martin Family
Call for Hank Hanegraaff's Resignation?
In late 1997, Darlene Martin asked us to investigate allegations against Hank Hanegraaff brought to her attention by close friends and many other concerned Christians. After an intensive two year investigation into the situation at CRI, we are now able to publicly address this issue.
How Did This Happen?
In 1994, approximately thirty employees of CRI formed The Group for CRI Accountability in an attempt to hold Hank Hanegraaff accountable for some questionable actions. He refused to meet with them individually or as a group. Instead, Hank Hanegraaff's lawyer, Sealy Yates, sent letters to members of the group which read in part:
If I learn of any future libelous conduct on your part with respect to Hank Hanegraaff or CRI, I will have no choice but [to] advise my clients to take appropriate legal action." --Sealy Yates (Letter dated May 24, 1994)
I believe you are attempting to intimidate us into silence by threatening litigation because your clients cannot answer our charges . . . If Mr. Hanegraaff is innocent of our most serious charges, disclose the information that refutes them. I am a reasonable man. Show me that I am wrong, and I will make a retraction. Show me that the charges of the Group for CRI Accountability are wrong, and I will not only abandon the Group, I will take Mr. Hanegraaff's side against it." --Robert Bowman (Letter dated July 11, 1994)
What are the Charges Against Hank Hanegraaff?
After talking with many reputable Christian leaders (who were never CRI employees) about their personal experiences with Hank Hanegraaff and reviewing the affidavits presented by the Group for CRI Accountability, we decided to contact--personally--as many people as possible in an effort to arrive at the truth. If Hank was innocent, we wished to make that very clear to everyone. If he was seriously compromised by the evidence, we felt an obligation, as the family of Walter Martin, to say so. It is important to note here that the Group for CRI Accountability did not initiate contact with us. We were referred to them by several highly respected Christian leaders whose concern for CRI prompted them to call us and discuss the situation.
The following serious questions about Hank include:
Again, these are some of the accusations. Several former employees also stated that, "Working at CRI under Hank Hanegraaff was like being involved in a cult. We never expected to encounter so much fear in a 'Christian' organization." This sense of fear, oppression, and paranoia was echoed by Jen Hubbard, Joshua Scott, and others as they discussed the most recent events at CRI.
Why Did Mrs. Martin Defend Hank Hanegraaff as President of CRI?
Darlene Martin was a strong supporter of Hank until a CRI Board meeting in 1996. At that meeting, Hank was rude towards her for no apparent reason and his attitude was one of contempt. It was a strange encounter, and after experiencing this, Darlene began to worry that there might be some truth to the above allegations. She was taken aback by this negative "side" of Hank and could not think of anything she had done to offend him--or why he had not approached her privately instead of embarrassing her in such a public way.
Still, even after this confrontation, Darlene found it difficult to believe the allegations against Hank. For the next two years, at her request, we made hundreds of phone calls and conducted face to face interviews with people who worked very closely with Hank. We hoped for the best, but ended up with a very negative portrait of Hank Hanegraaff--to our disappointment and dismay. We were appalled when we realized the extent of the problems at CRI.
The evidence seemed to be overwhelmingly against Hank, and we felt--in the interest of fairness--we had to listen to his side of the story. In October, 1999, Darlene Martin and members of the Martin family went to Hank Hanegraaff and asked him to answer some important questions. The following is an excerpt from the letter sent by Darlene Martin to Hank Hanegraaff:
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Over the past several months some troubling issues have been brought to our attention and we would like to hear your response to our concerns. Our reasons for writing are two-fold: first, we are continually questioned by people regarding the following allegations and we would like to be able to answer them; and second, as the family of Dr. Walter Martin, the founder and President of Christian Research Institute and "The Bible Answer Man" radio ministry, we have a serious interest in how his name is used and who is associated with it. Please consider taking the time to answer these important questions.
Several months passed after this (we did not rush to make anything public) until the morning of April 6, 2000. A reporter from the LA Times called our home and asked me a direct question: "Is it true the Martin family is not happy with the leadership of Hank Hanegraaff?" I could not lie--either directly or by omission. We did not go to the LA Times, they came to us.
Walter Martin's Widow Calls For Hanegraaff Resignation
April 15, 2000--
(Excerpted - Full article available for a fee in the archives of latimes.com.)
Relatives of the late Walter Martin, founder of the Rancho Santa Margarita-based Christian Research Institute, contend that Hank Hanegraaff has departed from the organization's mission of debunking unusual religious claims. They are demanding his resignation.
"He's not the man we believed him to be," said Jill Martin Rische, Martin's eldest daughter and executor of his estate. "We just want someone in charge who will continue the clear vision my father had for CRI.
That vision, to be a leading think tank with a focus on evangelizing, has floundered, according to Rische, 42, who lives in St. Paul, Minn.
Instead, she claims, Hanegraaff has used the nonprofit CRI as a platform to sell his books and promote his two for-profit organizations. She also said Hanegraaff hasn't returned some of her father's personal belongings and claims he has mismanaged personnel at CRI.
"The Bible Answer Man needs to set a positive example for Biblical accountability," said Rische. "This is not the case with Hank Hanegraaff, and CRI is better off without the negative notoriety Hank generates."
Kurt Van Gorden, now mission director for Jude 3 Missions in Victorville, Calif., says the concern is greater than one of money or loyalty to Martin. Van Gorden was one of those former employees who was there in 1989 when the mantle of leadership moved from Martin to Hanegraaff.
Van Gorden said he's been very disheartened by Hanegraaff's direction and his public scuffles with leading religious broadcasters.
"CRI today is going in a different direction than its original purpose," Van Gorden said. "I wish that CRI or the Bible Answer Man program would do less attacking of Christians and more examination and evangelization of the cults."
Behind the Scenes
Did Walter Martin Ever Name a Successor?
When my father died in 1989, it was quite sudden and the effect on our family was devastating. Anyone who has lost someone dear to them knows how terrible the grief is, and how it impairs the decision-making process. Sometimes, it can take years before people heal enough inside to function normally . . . some never recover from it. My father died without naming any successor to Christian Research Institute and "The Bible Answer Man" radio show, and contrary to what was said at the time of his death, Hank Hanegraaff was never "handpicked" by Walter Martin. Darlene Martin was a newly widowed woman, vulnerable and trusting, and there were those around her who took full advantage of that trust. The following is Darlene's full statement taken from the Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2000:
Hanegraaff Wasn't 'Handpicked'
First, my husband, Walter Martin, never "handpicked" anyone to succeed him at Christian Research Institute and "The Bible Answer Man" radio program.
This claim was handed to me by someone I thought I could trust as I approached the lectern at my husband's memorial service.*
I read it for the first time--aloud--while standing in front of 1,500 people. It took me completely by surprise and put me in a very awkward position. I wish to take this opportunity now to apologize for allowing this statement to stand for so many years.
At the time of my husband's death, I believed Hank Hanegraaff was a man God could mold into a strong Christian leader, one who could play a positive role in leading CRI. I supported him loyally for six years before I came to see he was not the man I believed him to be.
Secondly, one of our family's main objections to Hanegraaff's continued leadership is his mistreatment of fellow Christians. He has left a trail of wounded people behind him since the takeover of CRI in 1989. The testimonies against him include those who are his "right-hand" people, people who worked closely with him.
Hanegraaff has called repeatedly for accountability in other Christian leaders and should be held accountable himself.
San Juan Capistrano
*(ed. note - This claim was added to Darlene Martin's speech while she was in the library of the church--out of range of the video camera taping the service.)
What Happened When Walter Martin Died?
The story behind the Memorial Service is a sad one, but for the sake of truth it should be told. Hank Hanegraaff helped Darlene Martin considerably when my father died. He made arrangements for the Memorial Service, sent word to the media, and generally filled a need our family had for someone to coordinate things. Since my father hired him for marketing purposes, he seemed the ideal person to deal with the media. Darlene was grateful for his help and support at that time. What we did not find out until years later was that Hank Hanegraaff had a "closed door" meeting with a CRI Board Member within days of my father's death--and without the presence or knowledge of the entire board. The result of that meeting (according to a CRI Board member at the time) was the naming of Hank Hanegraaff as CEO of Christian Research Institute. We ask Hank now:
The night of my father's memorial service, as Darlene Martin prepared to approach the lectern, Hank Hanegraaff and others "counseled" her in a back room of the church where we were waiting for the service to begin. It was suggested that some additional things be added to her speech ". . . in order to make a smooth transition." The words did not register at the time, as most things do not when you have just buried a loved one twenty-four hours before. When Darlene came to the end of her statements and began to read the new sentences, she was appalled. There she stood, in front of 1500 people, stating Hank Hanegraaff was the new man for CRI. All she could think as she read was, "Walt never said this."
*(ed. note - Darlene Martin's speech was "edited" while she was in the library of the church--before she left to take part in the Memorial Service. It was done out of range of the video camera taping the service.)
The following statements were added to the end of Darlene's address:
I know that the Lord is going to bless CRI and that the ministry is going to flourish under Hank's direction. I thank the Lord for him and for CRI and for all the staff who are going to carry on, even in the midst of Walt's absence. And I just praise the Lord for it. Thank you again."
But was Hank the man of integrity that my father believed him to be, or did he come to CRI under false pretenses? If Walter Martin had been presented with all the evidence, would he have hired Hank?
Hank Hanegraaff and Walter Martin were never close friends. At best, they were close acquaintances. My father was a warm, trusting person, and he often invited people to his home. They first became acquainted when Hank asked him for advice regarding his wife, Kathy, who was then having some personal problems. Hank is a charismatic person with many good qualities, and my father always saw the good in people. He was impressed with Hank's memory and what he considered to be the excellent memory course Memory Dynamics Hank claimed he developed. He was also interested in Hank's Personal Witness Training--again, something he thought Hank developed. He told me he liked Hank and his work, and would be hiring him for fund-raising purposes, i.e., marketing. He mentioned this several times to various members of his family and close friends--never once saying anything about naming him as his successor.
It wasn't until Hank was at CRI for more than a year after my father's death, that rumors about Hank and his "work" began to surface.
Why Does Hank Hanegraaff Ignore More Than
50 Brothers & Sisters in Christ?
We ask Hank to answer now what he refused to answer for us in 1999:
Examples of Hank Hanegraaf's "work":
(Excerpted from Comparison by Robert M. Bowman, Jr., 1998 edition)
We now turn to the sample dialogues found in EE and in PWT as models for presenting the gospel. Keep in mind that it has already been established that the framework of both presentations is identical. This means that where the two books use similar or identical wordings, that fact has greater significance than if the basic structure of the presentations were different.
Evangelism Explosion vs. Personal Witness Training
The Memory Book vs. Memory Dynamics
Why Does Hank Hanegraaff Hold Everyone But Himself Accountable?
The sad truth is that my father, who despised plagiarism in any shape or form, ended up hiring a man whose "work" was questionable. Walter Martin simply did not know about these troubling similarities to other people's work--and if he had, would he have hired Hank Hanegraaff? Again . . . this is a question of integrity. Either Hank "borrowed" from other people's work or he did not. Given the intensive examination Hank's Personal Witness Training and Memory Dynamics have undergone, this should be very easy to prove or disprove.
A Trail of Wounded People. . . .
All of the following people have reputations of integrity. Many are still involved in apologetic ministries throughout the United States.
Former CRI Radio Department Head
To: The Board of Directors of the Christian Research Institute
I am compelled to write to you once again. As you may remember I was one of the few people who wrote to you in June of 1990.
This letter is being written after many hours of interviews with people such as: Ken Samples, Craig Hawkins, Rob Bowman, Dan Schlesinger, Tony Horpel, Bill Seaver, Stuart Orr, Dennis Green, Brad Sparks, Mark Hoover, Lillian Stock, Robert Velarde, Mike Stephens, among many others . . . Several of these people believed they were called by God to serve at CRI. They've told me that they were willing to make, and did make, many sacrifices in order to work there. And yet, Hank told me these very same people were the "enemy" to his ministry. They were conceited, puffed up, and thought more highly of themselves than they should. These individuals were out to "destroy me" and refused his "God given authority".
A pattern began to take shape all the way back in 1989 and early 1990. I was part of the re-direction that Hank had planned. At the NRB convention in January of 1990, (i) Tony Horpel and I were "sold" the dream of Hank's vision. To forever "improve" the ministry of CRI by reshaping it into Hank's Dream. Hank said he was furthering Dr. Martin's work. And in some ways he may have truly believed that.
(i) Tony Horpel confided in me that Hank had said that . . . "Dr. Martin was in the way of his own vision . . . that CRI needed Me [Hank] as the New Visionary . . .". Tony also told me that Hank felt he needed to step into or fill Dr. Martin's shoes, in essence to become Dr. Martin, and that Tony tried to convince Hank that he didn't need to do that. Instead, Hank should utilize all of the resources of the staff. But, according to Tony, Hank never did respond to his suggestions. Instead, Hank told Tony Horpel, Dennis Green and me that he would accomplish this reshaping by 'systematically forcing the resignations of all of the research staff over a relatively short period of time." CRI was to become the ministry of one person.
As I stated in my letter of June 6, 1990, one of the worst displays of Hank's hidden agenda came just after a Bible Answer Man broadcast in early February of 1990. Hank, Craig Hawkins and I were on the air that day together. Immediately after the program concluded all three of us stood up to leave the studio. Hank began praising Craig. He stated clearly that Craig was Dr. Martin's obvious permanent replacement for the daily program. Hank expressed an overwhelming awe of Craig's talents and gifts. Hank told him that he counted it God's providence to have prepared Craig for this very important role as the new Bible Answer Man and that he looked forward to working with Craig for many years to come. At that point Hank and I left for his office for our regular post broadcast review.
As we reached the top of the stairs, with Craig Hawkins only 10 or 12 steps behind us, Hank put his arm around my shoulders, leaned over to quietly explain . . . 'Craig Hawkins is a wolf in sheep's clothing, he's power hungry . . . I'll be getting rid of him as soon as I possibly can. You know, my wife Kathy has the gift of discernment and she says Craig is out to destroy me and my ministry here. He wants nothing more than to take over and force me out. He's got news coming . . . He's outta here!!" I couldn't believe my ears . . . I was in shock! It suddenly appeared as if Hank believed that by confiding in me he could create an alliance to support his secret plans. He did exactly the same thing with Tony Horpel and Dennis Green.
Tony, Dennis and I began questioning Hank and others about the conflict between the research staff and Hank's administrative staff as well as the obvious impropriety of advertising Hank's Personal Witness Training (PWT) / Memory Dynamic seminars on the daily broadcast.
(i) Dennis Green became equally concerned about the full page ads Hank had placed in the journal. (i) Dennis Green, Tony Horpel and I confronted J-- and then Hank himself about Hank paying for the advertising of his "For-Profit" Memory Dynamics company through CRI. After continued concerns were expressed by others (including Tim Folkers - as is outlined in my letter of June 6, 1990), Hank assured several of us that he would cease this abuse of his power as president. And yet he has continued to do this repeatedly over the past four years. Including the promotion of his book, Christianity in Crisis, which also appears to be a Memory Dynamics product.
It was at that point that Hank suddenly began to distance himself from me. Subsequently, I was pseudo . . . "released". I've never been fired or forced to leave any job, let alone the way I was forced out of CRI.
Hank explained to me that he had been looking for someone to assist me in the radio department. A need I had expressed more than once. As a matter of fact, Hank had met with Mike Stephens who attended his Bible class and who'd been working for KBRT radio. Hank explained to me that Mike would be hired to be my assistant. He also explained that Mike would work full-time for very little money which would allow me to upgrade the studio as was needed. And that Mike loved the work of CRI and would be "very loyal" to Hank. Mike was then hired. Only . . . Mike was told it would be under the pretense of replacing me.
The second most devastating experience I endured at the hands of Hank and his staff would come just after Mike Stephens was hired, but before I was notified that I was to be released. The management staff was informed that a photographer was coming to work in order to take pictures of each of the department heads. These photos were to be used in the new CRI multi-color brochure. We were instructed to come to work dressed our best. I was really excited! With 8 or 9 staff members watching, it came time to set up and shoot the radio department. Ron Rhodes and I were told to sit down together as the photographer prepared the appropriate lighting and our best positioning. Just as the photographer was ready to shoot . . . Mike Stephens came in and told me that he had been informed that he was to sit in my place. I was totally taken by surprise! I said something to the affect of . . . "I'm certain Dennis wants the department head to be in this picture." Dennis said "Yea, Craig is the right person." "No" said Mike, he was just told to take my place. I looked around in amazement and said "what is going on here?" Suddenly J-- spoke up and said . . . "Yes Craig, we want Mike in the photo." It was so embarrassing, it was like a nightmare, my heart was pounding, I began to perspire, I just couldn't believe the humiliation in front of 8 or 9 people from the staff. I know it may not seem like a big deal, but I walked slowly down the hall to my office, sat down alone at my desk and began to cry. I must have cried for twenty minutes. By the time I got up the photo shoot was over, and I was heartbroken.
Within a day or two, Hank created a series of meetings where I was told by J-- that CRI could no longer live up to Hank's promises of a full-time salary of around $50K a year. (This is an amount that (i) Dennis Green-overheard Hank promise to me directly. Hank also implied directly to Dennis Green that I would make around the fifty thousand @ dollar range as well. (i) Tony Horpel was told that he could expect, with video and seminar income, to earn between $70-80K a year.) I now believe that Hank was making promises to Dennis, Tony and me, that he never intended to keep! Promises that would buy our support.
Over the course of just a couple of days J-- would direct Mike Stephens to inform me that I was being released through a "change of employment" agreement. This is something that I never agreed to.
During one of the last of these meetings I was called into Hank's office. There sat J--, Mike and Hank. This meeting was the single most devastating of any of my encounters with Hank. I was humiliated, berated and out-right lied to. In affect, Hank was trying to enrage me in order for me to leave on my own. But it didn't work. Therefore, Mike was forced to deliver the so called "change of employment" form to me. I refused to sign such a form.
Based on my own direct experiences and the reports of many others, I was forced to go through the following abuses and acts of vengeance over four years ago:
As was requested of me, I am totally committed to participate with the group for accountability for CRI. I'm certain that you have all been informed as to the meeting that Hank was invited to on April 17, 1994. As Chuck Smith has said many times, when a small group of focused Christian men and women gather to pray and seek God, miracles do happen!
The name of the Lord Jesus Christ has been dragged through the mud long enough! It is time for the Board to take action! Your duplicity as the board of CRI only serves to prove that you too are culpable. It is indefensible to cover up the problem of Hank's leadership and personal agenda by using the name of Christ and blaming Satan as foe which serves to provide Hank with a line of defense!
There is also some serious question as to what Dr. Martin's intended role for Hank Hanegraaff was supposed to be upon his passing. Dr. Martin wanted to see CRI expand into the future, that is certain. But many people have suggested that Dr. Martin only wanted Hank to work in the area of development and administration. Never to become the new "Bible Answer Man" nor the senior president over research. Hank was never formally considered the acting president while Dr. Martin was still alive. Did the board approve Hank's position before or after Hank assumed this new and very significant role and title? Did the board elect Hank president or Not?
So many people have come forward to testify to Hank's inappropriate and suspect behavior, that there is no question . . . You must take action! The scripture is very clear. Go to the brother who has offended you alone first. If he refuses to hear you, take two or three witnesses. If he still refuses, take to him to the Church. Still refusing we are to expose him Publicly 1 We are to treat him as a non-believer!
I do believe with all of my heart that I have followed the prescribed method as is outlined in Matthew 18. 1 went to Hank alone. Met with Hank, J-- and Mike. Wrote to you, the Board of CRI. I have waited for over four years before taking any further action. And now, it's time to go to the Church at Large . . . Including CRI's constituents. More than anything, I want to see the vision of Dr. Martin re-established at the Christian Research Institute!
Let me tell you what most all of the people that I have interviewed have insisted that Dr. Martin Did Not wish to see happen upon his passing.
If Hank is a Christian, he must be called to an account for his many abuses of authority. Technically, only you, The Board of Trustees can bring this about!!!
Please feel free to contact me individually if you wish. If you'd like me to meet with you collectively, I would welcome such a request. I will be available after the May 9th meeting of the Board of Trustees of Simon Greenleaf University. Please call me at the number listed below.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Dan R. Schlessinger,
Former CRI Research Department Coordinator
Dear CRI Board Members:
Some of you may remember me from my employment there at CRI between 1985 to 1989. I worked as the Building Campaign Manager, Research Consultant, and finally as the Research Department Coordinator. My time and involvement, while there at CRI, was the highlight of my ministerial experience. In fact, I believed so strongly in the mission and ministry of Walter Martin, I had hoped to continue there until my retirement.
Needless to say, things changed for me shortly after Hank Hanegraaff came to CRI. My understanding regarding his coming on board CRI was that he would be functioning in an executive administrative capacity. However, soon after Walter Martin died, Hank assumed the role of president of CRI. At first there was little discussion regarding Hank's new role, but questions regarding his position, agenda, and qualifications began to be raised by a number of people not only from the research department but other departments as well.
The following report details the evolution of the events surrounding my final two-months at CRI, the eventual "trial" for my "crimes", and my forced resignation from the ministry. What I am about to share actually happened. I'm not fabricating a story because I am a disgruntled former employee. Neither do I seek revenge or personal vindication in order to hurt Hank Hanegraaff or the ministry of CRI. I am fully at peace with God regarding my sharing this information with you. So, whatever happens as a result of this report, I am prepared to take full responsibility before the Lord.
Please understand also, I share the following with you out of a deep sense of love and compassion for the ministry of CRI- I'm concerned that you are aware of what has happened in the past with regard to me (and many others), and more importantly, what is happening presently within the walls of CRI. With that in mind, I present to you, as a matter of record, the following report.
As I stated above, I held the position of Research Department Coordinator previous to my departing CRI. Given the fact that I held a responsible position at CRI, and not wanting to perpetuate rumor or misinformation regarding Hank's position or agenda, I refrained from addressing questions or giving my own personal opinions to those coming to me with concerns. However, questions kept coming from individuals pulling me aside or coming to my office regarding Hank's qualifications, etc. After several weeks of this, I began to see there was much greater concern on all levels of ministry (never mind my own personal questions and opinions) than I first suspected.
Eventually the number of individuals expressing their concerns rose to a point where I knew I had to take what I heard and felt myself, to the Research Department Executive Committee (which I chaired) to ask for their counsel and direction.
The Executive Committee advised me to go directly to Hank and share with him all that had happened the previous couple of weeks. I immediately went to Hank (J-- was there also) and began to share the aforementioned concerns. Hank got very upset, raising his voice at me, asking what right I had to question his credentials. He then questioned my background and education (though at that time I had a Master's degree), and insisted he could "debate with the best there was" on the subject of Creation/Evolution and other issues, and that he "memorized all of Walter Martin's tapes and read over sixteen books on the New Age Movement." (When questioning his lack of a formal education, Hank responded by saying I was arrogant and prideful to even bring up the subject." )
Hank then insisted that I name the individuals who raised questions regarding his position and other concerns. I felt very uncomfortable in doing so and asked that they remain unknown until a later date. Hank insisted again that I name names and so I gave him an example regarding one individual, sharing briefly his concern. (I realize now I probably should not have mentioned this person but, as was the case in most instances, Hank had a rather forceful and manipulative way of getting what he wanted.) After an hour or so, Hank asked me to leave and said that he would call me back to his office later that morning.
About 11:30 that morning, Hank called me back to his office and I was told that I had misrepresented people, was a divisive person, and that I had undermined his position and authority by not going to him first or encouraging others to go directly to him with their concerns. I agreed that I should have encouraged others to go to him (though most people were in positions where they felt very uncomfortable bringing these kind of concerns to him personally) but that I was definitely not guilty of causing division or undermining him.
Once again about mid-afternoon of the same day I was called back into Hank's office this time to be told that several individuals recommended dismissing me because of my "attitude problems." Hank told me that he was told that I had a long history of divisiveness and failed to submit to those whom I was accountable to. In spite of all these allegations, Hank stated he was willing to "give me another chance to make it work" and therefore allowed me to continue on with CRI.
About a week later I scheduled a Research Department meeting where most of the research staff were present. One of the items on the agenda pertained to questions regarding the upcoming Board meeting. (I was told explicitly in a previous meeting with J--, to communicate to the research staff not to "pull board members aside to discuss daily operations, problems or concerns regarding the ministry." Moreover, J-- said Board members were coming expressly for the board meeting only and that it was not proper protocol to involve them in the internal affairs of the research department or any other department for that matter.) In our research department meeting, I communicated to the staff exactly what I was supposed to regarding board members. Someone responded by asking how many Board members were presently with CRI and who were they. Someone stated "three or four." I said that was correct and that there was another individual presently being considered. I was asked whether I knew anything about him and I stated that I knew only that he was a close friend of Hank's and that he had completed Hank's memory training seminar. Following my statement several research staff made flippant remarks including E-- who stated "God forbid that he be a theologian."
Immediately after the meeting R-- came to my office and stated that "I blew it again." He accused me of undermining the leadership of CRI this time by questioning the "credentials" of a potentially new board member and further by questioning Hank's selection of this individual. I responded by saying that I intimated no such thing and no one present at the meeting understood me that way. Because I felt R-- was so off base, I went to every individual who attended the meeting and asked them whether they misunderstood my comments regarding the candidate for position of Board member. Without exception, not one staff member said they understood my "comments" as undermining or questioning Hank's selection of a new board member.
I went back to R-- and stated that I thought he overreacted and that I was fully exonerated from these false charges. Apparently, R-- thought otherwise. He called Hank over the weekend and communicated his "concerns" about me and the remarks I made at the staff meeting.
Monday morning I was again called into Hank's office. With Hank were R-- and J--. Hank confronted me with the things R-- had accused me of and within a few minutes found myself in a heated discussion with Hank and a shouting match with R--. Our meeting was interrupted because of the scheduled Monday morning prayer time and so we were to meet again after lunch.
I was sickened at what I was accused of to the point where my stomach was in knots. I went on my lunch break and just sat in my car, prayed, and tried to relax - I couldn't eat I was so upset.
After about an hour or so, I went back to my office and waited for Hank to call me back in to his office. After several hours Hank still had not buzzed me to come to his office so I decided to ask his secretary if she knew whether Hank was available to speak with. She stated that he was in a meeting with R--, J--, and E-- and that they had been in there since returning from lunch.
I knocked on Hank's door and was told that they resumed the meeting without me, to leave for a while, and that he (Hank) would call me back in as soon as they were finished.
About 45 minutes later, Hank called me back to the meeting. From that time on I was "hit" with every piece of so-called "dirty laundry" since I began with CRI. I was told not only was I guilty of undermining the leadership of the ministry, but my performance as research department coordinator was in question, and that my communication skills were "sub-standard." I was told that I was basically a "square peg in a round hole."
I argued vigorously that none of my performance evaluations (though not perfect) reflected their opinions. If fact, Leona Ross (former Administrator of CRI) gave me a performance evaluation based on both her's and the executive Committee's evaluations which was clearly satisfactory and above in many areas! Moreover, others in the research department not present at that meeting felt my communication skills (written and oral) were good and had I been given proper help (perhaps an assistant or secretary.) I would have been able to accomplish much more!
Interestingly, a few day's prior to this meeting, R-- told me that he knew I loved research and would be content to be put in a room to do research because I was an "investigative type" and had an "ability to really pull out what others generally miss."
While I freely admitted my writing skills needed improvement, I was never given the opportunity to improve while at CRI - I simply did not have the time to develop them due to research and administrative burdens.
After a couple of hours or so, Hank was interrupted by a phone call regarding his seminar tapes. He got up and left to take care of his business and finally came back to the meeting. He immediately stated that it would be in the best interest of CRI (and for me) to part company and go on my way. (I broke down and cried. ) He said he would do anything he could to make my departure smooth and as painless as possible and that he would be more than happy to write me a letter of recommendation. I was also told that I could pick up my books and other belongings later, not at that time. I left CRI that day devastated.
Having left CRI at such a quick notice left me somewhat baffled. I felt deeply that I certainly had something yet to offer the ministry. It wasn't easy to put four years of ministry at CRI and another fourteen years of counter-cult ministry prior to CRI on the shelf. Because of my phone counseling abilities, breath of knowledge on the cults, the occult and general apologetics (all of which had been praised by a number of research staff), I felt that I could help develop or assist in developing ways of expanding the department in areas needing more attention.
I put together a proposal and asked Hank if I could present it to him. He was quite open to my suggestions and in fact seemed to be elated with the idea! We met in his office a few days later where I shared my proposal. For the most part, Hank was in agreement with what I wanted to do. He said he wanted to think some things through and get back with me later.
As a result of this meeting, I was led to believe that there was a possibility of returning to CRI. In my excitement I began to share what Hank and I talked about with a few of my friends on the research staff asking them to pray with me in the matter. After a week or so, I began to inquire about Hank's decision regarding the proposal. Hank informed me that he would have to seek advise from B-- (then candidate for the research coordinator position) and perhaps one other person as well.
About that time Hank was preparing for a trip to Hawaii and would not be returning until the following week. While he was away, I received a phone call from J-- at my home in which she informed me that it was never Hank's intention to bring me back on in any capacity then or in the near future. She also stated that I was in jeopardy of loosing the second half of my severance pay due to my breaching our agreement that I not "arouse or stir up things" with other staff regarding my leaving CRI. J-- accused me of rallying individuals for personal support and stirring up confusion among CRI staff regarding my departure and possible return. (However, as I mentioned above, the only two people I shared my "vision" with was C--. and R-- who, incidently, wholly favored my return.)
I argued that I was not wrong in confiding with my friends and I did not "breech" our agreement. J-- backed off though she said she had grave reservations regarding my actions.
At the end of the next week, I was finally able to make arrangements to pick up my books, files, and other belongings. When I arrived, everything had been packed for me in boxes. My instructions were to quietly pick my things up and leave as quickly as possible so as not to "disturb anyone" or anything at CRI.
The following Tuesday I spoke with Hank once again regarding my proposal. He stated that I was in error to think that he was going to bring me back on at that time or in the near future. Once again we exchanged words. It was quite obvious there would not be any ministry opportunities for me at CRI, this time, for good. Once again, I left CRI with a deep sense of loss.
Needless to say, the whole ordeal from the outset was very disturbing and left me in a state of depression and disillusionment. Because I confronted Hank with real concerns - not imagined - I was brought before a kangaroo court where I was "tried" or judged without due process; I was accused of being divisive; I was shouted at and attacked personally by the president of CRI; I was told that I was arrogant and prideful for raising questions regarding legitimate inquiries as to Hank's credentials; I was treated like a criminal; I was wrongly accused of being incompetent, insubordinate, and useless to the ministry of CRI.
My commitment to CRI and the things I accomplished while there (managing a building campaign which brought in 1.6 million dollars in gifts and pledges, the creation of "Table-talks" with Dr. Martin and the research staff, development of an Internship program, writing personal letters for Dr. Martin, doing primary research for Journal articles, writing book reviews and research papers, answering hundreds of research calls, presenting lengthy reports to the CRI Board, etc.,) hardly speak of a person without anything to offer to the ministry.
I am appalled that this kind of thing happened by Christians who were apparently thinking of themselves only. Because I was forced to resign from CRI, I (and my family) have had no unemployment benefits, no substantial income to speak of; we had to sell our home in Oceanside because we couldn't pay our mortgage payment; my wife had a miscarriage due to the stress and pressure related to my leaving CRI; and I have not been able to find related ministry employment other than those which expect us to raise our own financial support to work with their organization.
From the first time I was made aware of Hank Hanegraaff's possible involvement with CRI, I had personal reservations whether it would be in the best interest of CRI to bring him on except in an executive administrative capacity. It had been communicated to the research staff that he would function in this role. However, after Hank shared his own objectives in a company meeting, it became quite clear to me that he was going to "integrate" his own ministry (PWT) with CRI's ministry. At first, it seemed there might be some merit to what he was saying. However, in reality, what he was really saying was CRI would become his ministry. Indeed, since Dr. Martin's untimely death, that's exactly what it has become!
Along with the above, I offer the following observations regarding my personal concerns about the president of the largest and influential counter-cult ministry in the world:
The ministry and mission of Christian Research Institute needs to continue the vision and mission of it's founder, the late Dr. Walter Martin. It should not be integrated with the ministry (or business) of Hank Hanegraaff.
The research department needs to return to the development of first-rate research department - a think-tank where researchers are free to write, publish, dialogue, and produce materials on the lay and scholarly level for the furtherance of the Gospel. Hank has, by-in-large, diluted or dissolved this objective by systematically disposing of researchers who have the capability of bringing this about.
CRI's president and director should have ample qualifications for such a position. He need's to be well-educated, have an extensive background (both practically and professionally) in counter-cult studies, apologetics, and theology, a deep sense of mission and calling to this kind of ministry, a mature walk with the Lord which exhibits humility and servitude, and a man of prayer.
Hank Hanegraaff is not an apologist, theologian, nor an expert on the cults or the occult. Hank Hanegraaff, in my opinion, is a lay evangelist pretending to be what he is not. He should be exercising those gifts God has bestowed on him in his respective field of ministry.
Hank Hanegraaff needs to be removed from the ministry of CRI. He should not be allowed to "pontificate" on matters of faith or doctrine as he is clearly unqualified to do so. Neither should he be allowed to perpetuate the wrongdoing he has brought on many others since my departure.
I ask you, the board of CRI, to review the above in an attitude of prayer and concern. I sincerely hope and pray you will look into these matters and take appropriate action. The future life and ministry of the Christian Research Institute demands that you take these matters seriously. I trust you will do what's best for the memory and ministry of Walter Martin. Especially remember, it is the Lord's ministry - He holds those of us in responsible positions directly accountable for the decisions we make.
Always in the Service of Christ,
Dan R. Schlesinger
Former CRI Translator
I pray that this letter finds you well and rejoicing in the Lord. I am writing you a letter that I find most difficult to write. I'll start by saying that I have given CRI almost six years of good, solid service, not only helping Rich Poll with library materials, but also translating over 100 articles under your supervision. I have enjoyed every minute of the literally thousands of hours that I have spent as a translator and I believe that my work there has not been in vain because many Spanish speaking people have been helped. I have also been a staunch supporter of CRI and CRI Brazil although I am already retired and have limited resources. I am writing to you with certain concerns that I feel need to be expressed. And I am writing to you because I have known you all these years and have admired you and your untiring work as CRI International Coordinator, and hope that you will understand what my frustrations are. I have valued your friendship and consider you a dear brother in Christ. I trust that you will take what I have to say with understanding and Christian love.
I suppose it first began when Craig Hawkins was terminated at CRI. At the time, although I was surprised and saddened, I took it as an internal problem at CRI. However, when Robert Bowman was terminated, it really bothered me. I know it bothered you because of your demeanor when I asked you about his leaving. But again, I chose to overlook it as another internal problem. The resignation of Kenneth Samples, though, was of particular concern for me. I have the highest respect for Ken not only because he is an educator, a fellow teacher, a profession that I held for over thirty years, but also because of his skill as a researcher. I enjoyed translating his articles. His leaving CRI hurt me greatly. Even then, I chose to consider his resignation as none of my business, because being only a volunteer it really wasn't any of my business. All my frustrations and concerns, though, came to a culminating point at the insensitive and unloving way that CRI dropped the class at Newport Mesa Christian Center. It left me, along with hundreds of others deeply hurt. One Sunday we had a teacher, then the following Sundays there was no one to teach the class, The class was dropped much like a hot potato. It nearly destroyed the class. I thank the Lord that he heard our prayers and Ken Samples took the class over. Since then, though, Brad Sparks, Mary Cook, Rich Abanes and others have been dismissed from CRI. There must be something terribly wrong at CRI. I understand that there were some demonstrations at CRI on April 23 during the Book Fair because a listener referred to the demonstrations on a call to the BAM program.
I am completely bewildered and hurt. In view of the concerns which I have expressed to you, I find it very difficult to continue to support CRI, something that I never deemed possible, simply because of the legacy that Dr. Walter Martin left, not only in the wonderful research staff that he gathered, but also in the Bible class that meant so much to him. But when I see the research staff being dismantled, or so it seems, I cannot support CRI any longer. However, I will continue to support CRI Brazil because of your interest in the work there and the ministry of Paulo Romeiro. I covet your prayers and your counsel. I know that I will remember CRI, and you in particular in my prayers. May the Lord richly bless you and your family.
Former CRI Seminar Division / Video Department Head
To the CRI Board of Directors:
This letter is written by request from some twenty individuals who believe that Hank Hanegraaff is not qualified to lead CRI. I feel that in light of what they have testified combined with what I know to be true they appear to have a very good case.
I was recruited into CRI by Hank in late 1989 to develop a seminar division and a video department with equipment from my former business. The equipment was purchased from me by CRI for about $40,000. I agreed to take on this challenge contingent on a salary of $30,000 per year plus an opportunity to generate, additional income through book and tape sales made from these seminars. I had told Hank that I needed to earn around $70,000 a year. He indicated that that would be no problem since he had already done very well with Personal Witness Training. Hank said that I should be generating the income I needed in six to eight months. The seminar themes were to be based on PWT with Hank and ultimately with a team of outside speakers delivering them. Hank had no intention of using his CRI research staff as part of his speaking team because he felt they would not make good speakers. I saw almost immediately that there would be problems since the research staff would have been offended if Hank had sought outside staffing for CRI/PWT seminars. Because of this potential problem and the fact that Hank had never developed PWT enough to make it transferable, nothing ever got off the ground. This all became very apparent to me by April of '90.
I was never allowed to develop and schedule any seminars. The farthest I got was creating time lines based on ICR's materials and following through with a seminar previously scheduled in Wellsville, New York with Elliot Miller who was specifically requested. That seminar was a success for Wellsville but a bomb for CRI. CRI lost about $1500 in expenses. The blame shifted between Elliot Miller not being prepared enough professionally as a speaker and poor judgment for seminar location.
After the Wellsville fiasco, all seminar discussions stopped and Hank redirected my focus to producing a video brochure. I began to realize that the income from seminars would not materialize, at least at this point. Recognizing that, Hank assured me that I could probably learn and teach PWT with him or at least earn some income booking engagements for him. This never materialized either. It all seemed to be just a lot of talk. When pressed for any real commitments, Hank stalled and blamed the delays on Kathy.
Hank believed the researchers were conspiring against him. He commented about Paul Carden, Ken Samples and Craig Hawkins. How they were either useless or in the way and if they were gone he'd never miss them. On several occasions Hank had confided that he thought Craig Hawkins was not a team player. That he had an agenda of his own and was a threat. I recommended that he confront Craig with his differences. He never did.
While Hank was introducing PWT to CRI, there was a growing concern about the mixing of a for-profit operation (Memory Dynamics) with a non-profit organization (CRI). It appeared that Hank was using CRI staff on CRI time to prepare PWT materials. Promotions for PWT seminars were broadcast and printed on CRI time with CRI staff. Hank defended himself by stating that Tim was working it all out and that a solution was at hand. We were never privy to the "Solution". There was definitely the appearance of a conflict of interest. Hank was also able to persuade CRI staff to volunteer to man his book tables when he gave his for-profit PWT seminars.
In May of '90 Hank had decided to travel to Brazil and evaluate CRI Brazil. His original intention was to end the financial support or at least slowly diminish it. He asked me to join him and gather up some video footage of Brazilian occultic and cultic activity, which I did. While in Brazil Hank outwardly expressed much compassion for the staff's effort. However, inwardly Hank had little compassion for the poverty level of the CRI staff. While there, he expressed that he resented buying lunch for the staff members after we had been out all morning visiting the cults (with their cars and expensive gasoline). If it were not for them we would have been completely helpless. Paulo Romeiro is a real trooper! He would do anything for the truth. Needless to say, Hank did not stop support to CRI Brazil, but he did begin to reduce support forcing Paulo to seek additional aid from aggressive seminar marketing.
After we returned from Brazil, my time was spent finishing the video brochure and creating another from the Brazilian footage. This program was used to help raise support for Brazil. I had nothing to do with the promotions of that program. It was shortly after we had returned from Brazil that the first "insurrection" to oust Hank exploded. You all are quite aware of what happened there. Hank told us that Craig Hawkins believed him to be possessed by demons. That seemed hard to believe but Hank is very convincing and since we had no reason to doubt we gave him the benefit. Besides he was the President. I stood by him through it all. However, in observing Hank over the last four years and listening to the complaints of mishandled employees, I began to wonder ;if the insurrection of 90 might really have been justified.
The Bible Answer Man became the "Hank Hanegraaff Hour". His ego seemed to run out of control. Although he relied on the expertise of Ron and the others, he made numerous inexcusable blunders on the air. Hank is just not qualified for the role of Bible Answer Man. If the format were changed, then perhaps he might be. While his attacks on the Word Faith movement were justified, far too much time was dedicated to it. The other issues (the cults etc.) with which CRI dealt paled into insignificance. Hank was on a soapbox. The book, Christianity in Crisis was promoted on the air in a sensationalistic fashion as if Hank had a lot to gain by the sale of his book over the airwaves.
As the year drew to a close, Hank no longer seemed interested in me or in any capacity I could hold on the CRI staff. The promises of a larger income had faded away and $30,000 a year could not fulfill my financial obligations. On December 15, 1990 I gave Hank my notice. Hank said that he would subcontract me to do video work when needed. Video work was subcontracted but not with me. To the best of my knowledge, all the video gear still sits somewhere on the premises gathering dust.
Since I left CRI, I met with Hank once for dinner and talked with him once or twice on the phone. Every now and then I would drop by to say hello or use the video gear for a small project. Hank was always too busy to talk.
Over the past four years, I heard many stories from individuals who had also left CRI. Their observations of Hank and the way he ran CRI matched very closely to mine. But their stories were much more harsh. The question of Memory Dynamics and CRI as a conflict of interest seems to lie at the bottom of it all.
It is my opinion that Hank believes himself to be extremely honest and forthright. That he sees himself as an individual who has taken CRI on an incredible journey to prosperity. Because he has done this, and quite well I might add, he feels justified in generating income through Memory Dynamics at CRI's expense. That this somehow is the least CRI can do to pay him back. I don't think ethics has ever really entered his mind. He doesn't view himself as part of CRI. I think he sees CRI as a part of himself. He doesn't serve CRI; CRI serves him.
W. M. Religious InfoNet ¤ Box 456 ¤ Forest Lake, MN 55025