Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Bible Answer Man is right!!

No, seriously! I had a tough time believing it myself, but Hank Hanegraaff, the self-proclaimed Bible Answer Man, has actually come down on the right side of two disputes against other Protestants. First, he's coming out with a new book that argues for the partial preterist interpretation of Revelation against the kooky Rapture theories of Tim LaHaye, and get this: it's being published by the same publisher who put out Left Behind! Here are some priceless quotes from the Dallas Morning News:

But the Rev. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind books, called the decision by his publisher "stunning and disappointing" and said he felt betrayed. "They are going to take the money we made for them and promote this nonsense," he said.

The co-author of the new series, obviously, disagrees. "I am elated with Tyndale's support," said Hank Hanegraaff, the host of a syndicated call-in radio show, The Bible Answer Man. The first book in the new series, written with Sigmund Brouwer, is The Last Disciple. Additional volumes are planned....

"I don't know what science fiction he is reading," said Dr. LaHaye. "We believe the Rapture is going to come, not his nonsense that Christ came back in 68 A.D."

"I am reading the Bible, specifically Revelations [as] it was written for first-century Christians," retorted Mr. Hanegraaff. "I am not relying on some wooden, literal interpretation that is unsupportable."


As if that weren't enough, Hanegraaff also came out with a statement that Catholics don't really believe in works-salvation. That really ticked off notorious anti-Catholic Eric Svendsen, who already bore some animosity toward Hanegraaff for "his obviously premeditated and thug-like ambush of James White on the predestination issue a few months ago" (score one more for Hanegraaff!). In the Svendsen-Hanegraaff exchange, Hanegraaff was once again right, and his critic was once again wrong. The best part was that Svendsen's response exposed his blatant ignorance of Catholic theology. After stating that "Hanegraaff is confused on many points," Svendsen argues:

The real question at hand is not, Do Roman Catholics believe works are necessary to salvation? The real question is, Do Roman Catholics believe works are necessary to justification? More to the point, Do Roman Catholics believe they can earn eternal life? The answer to the final two questions is an uequivocal [sic] yes! Here is what Trent affirmed about justification and meriting eternal life:

Now, of course, it doesn't take any particular theological brilliance to discern the difference between merit in the Catholic sense and earning salvation by works in the Pauline sense. Indeed, it seems now that every Protestant that is not among the NTRMin coterie has managed to grasp it. Obviously, there are still significant differences on the concept of justification, but scurrilous charges that we Catholics teach works-salvation are, to use Mr. Hanegraaff's term, "unsupportable." Unfortunately, the repeated and conclusive demonstration of this fundamental misunderstanding of Catholic soteriology has not stopped some people from endlessly repeating the argument. And Hanegraaff is the one who is supposedly confused?

Anyway, after seeing Svendsen repeating the tired old argument with the requisite misinterpreted canons of Trent, we get treated to a nice new anti-Catholic riff:

And to the extent that the Roman Catholic sacramental system adds even more things necessary to meriting eternal life, it is even more reprehensible to the gospel than the single-work justification system of the Judaizers that Paul condemned in Gal 1:8-9.

Even if one were to accept the ... shall we say ... novel theological concept of the degree of reprehensibility to the Gospel being directly proportional to the number of added "things necessary to meriting eternal life," this is almost certainly wrong on its face, since it is quite improbable that the Judaizers, whom Paul criticizes for relying on the "workS of the law" (Gal. 3:3, 10-11), were merely advocating the single work of circumcision for justification. But hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good rant against Catholics, right? Just think, if he would've left out this argument, he might not have managed to work in the word "reprehensible."

It's evident that both LaHaye's and Svendsen's views got pantsed by Hanegraaff, and their flailing attempts to recover from the embarrassment only made them look more ridiculous. So, Hank Hanegraaff, you have my sincere thanks for your diligent work in making two people who couldn't deserve it more look foolish.

7 Comments:

At 10:01 PM, Blogger Eric Sloan said...

Hello,

Here is what Tim said:

"I don't know what science fiction he is reading," said Dr. LaHaye. "We believe the Rapture is going to come, not his nonsense that Christ came back in 68 A.D."

Correct me if I'm wrong but a partial preterist interpretation, which Hank is advocating, does not teach that Jesus returned in 68 A.D, that's full preterism, right? Partial preterist's just don't believe in a rapture, I think.

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger yoni cohen :: http://yocohoops.com said...

Hey-

Came across your blog today. Interesting reading. Definitely good writing.

Noticed you were a college sports fan. Hoping that while this site has little -- check that, nothing -- to do will college basketball, you could (create a blogroll and) add a link to my College Basketball Blog, http://collegeball.blogspot.com. I'd very much appreciate a link on your site.

And would gladly return the favor, adding a link from my site to yours. Always happy to link to a quality writer.

Thanks!

Yoni Cohen (not Catholic ;-)), http://collegeball.blogspot.com
College Basketball Blog

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger yoni cohen :: http://yocohoops.com said...

Hey-

Came across your blog today. Interesting reading. Definitely good writing.

Noticed you were a college sports fan. Hoping that while this site has little -- check that, nothing -- to do will college basketball, you could (create a blogroll and) add a link to my College Basketball Blog, http://collegeball.blogspot.com. I'd very much appreciate a link on your site.

And would gladly return the favor, adding a link from my site to yours. Always happy to link to a quality writer.

Thanks!

Yoni Cohen (not Catholic ;-)), http://collegeball.blogspot.com
College Basketball Blog

 
At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Entertaining and informative read. Nice to see you start up a blog as well; will have to check in on this one as well. I told you I was stalking you across the internet, didn't I? ;)

I've been busy with job interviews and moving, but haven't forgotten about a phone call sometime soon. I'll email you before I do call.

- Travis "the WHOOO2P!!, Cyprian" Strow

 
At 5:05 AM, Blogger CrimsonCatholic said...

Eric:
Like most critics of partial preterism, I suspect that LaHaye was exaggerating. Of course, Hanegraaff might be a full preterist, but I doubt it based on the way he listed "all the major events" (Tribulation, Armageddon, Rapture) without including any bodily Parousia. I could be wrong, though. Either way, it's a better starting point than premillienialism.

Travis:
Tell me about it! Work is absolutely crazy right now. I'm sure we'll manage eventually. :-(

 
At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric,

In general, partial preterists believe that 70 AD was a coming (as predicted in the Olivet Discourse and parts of the Revelation), but not the Final Coming. They look to the future for the final wrap-up which will include the bodily Resurrection and Judgement.

Most partial preterists that I know don't believe the rapture was part of the 70 AD "End of the Age" (meaning Jewish Age) or the future final coming. So, yes, they don't believe in a Rapture, in the Left Behind sense. They share this particular point with full preterists.

Waidmann

 
At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Eddie Teague said...

Praise God for Hank. While I do not always agree with him, he at least has the sense to see through the nonsense of the Left Behind stuff, and the added fact that he grasps some of the complexities of Roman Catholicism is really great. What I really appreciate is that he doesn't resort to straw man fallacies when disputing with others.

 

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