Proposition 8 and the Church

In the beginning

Question and answer from the Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Q: In light of what the Supreme Court said concerning Proposition 8 and gay marriage, what should the church do?

A: At the end of the day, I think it’s so critical that we are able to demonstrate that the Bible is divine as opposed to merely human in origin. Because if you don’t have a North Star by which to set your sail, anything will go—you’ll start setting your standards by the size and scope of the latest lobby group.

God has set the parameters around human sexuality so that our joy might be complete. When we disrupt that, we end up doing so not only to our own hurt but also to the hurt of society in general. And I think therefore it’s incumbent upon Christians always to be ready to give an answer, a reason for the hope that lies within them, with gentleness and with respect—to be able to demonstrate that the ultimate authority is the Word of God. Because the basic sentiment today is that the Bible is outdated; it’s outmoded; it’s no longer relevant. And we can demonstrate of course as Christians that it is relevant; it is not outdated; it has the answers to every situation that we encounter, and most certainly the answers with respect to human sexuality.

Q: If the Bible is outdated, then God is outdated—all Scripture is given by inspiration of God—God can’t be outdated. Maybe a Model T can be outdated, but not God. A God that can be outdated is a limited God. Wouldn’t you say that’s true?

A: He is the One who spoke, and the universe leapt into existence. The One who knit us together in our mother’s womb. He’s the One who has created us for eternity and therefore He knows precisely what we are designed for. And this is ultimately what happens in repentance: we have a u-turn on the road of life—a change of heart, a change of mind, a change of the will—and we start doing it God’s way. But when we look at what’s happening in the culture, we have to look back at the church. When the church ceases to be a cultural initiator and becomes a cultural imitator, what happens is the culture devolves. And that’s why it’s critically important that we have reformation in the church in order to have, ultimately, revival in the culture. If reformation doesn’t take place in the church, then the culture will continue to devolve, and it most certainly is not only in a slide, it is now in an actual freefall.

Q: Oh, absolutely Hank. One more question real quick. When someone says, “It’s all about love…”

A: You have to define what “love” is. And I think part and parcel of the church’s response with respect to love is to have a commitment to others, to tell them the truth, no matter what the cost. If I am a cancer specialist and you have cancer, and I tell you I love you but do nothing whatsoever to help you, when it is in my power to do so, I am demonstrating that I don’t love you at all. And I think the same thing is true of a church that fails to tell the culture that what is happening is detrimental to people. I mean, you look at the matter of the social sciences—cross-cultural studies simply don’t lie—and they are virtually unanimous in demonstrating that a child is better served by a mother and a father than a father-father or a mother-mother coupling. Not only so, but the moment that you start to use the reasoning prowess of the Supreme Court or the Obama administration, when it comes to same-sex marriage, you start to set a precedent. And that precedent can equally apply to many other couplings. It can apply to aberrations ranging from polygamy to incest. And again, we have to be able to give an answer with gentleness and with respect. And if we don’t give an answer, it is a demonstration that we simply do not care as we should.

Hank Hanegraaff

Does the discovery of the Higgs boson or “God particle” disprove the creation account?

In the beginning

Question and answer from the Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Q: I’ve been having some debate with some friends of mine who are atheists, and they have asked me some questions and pointed out things that I just don’t have the answer to, or a response for. For example, the recent discovery of the Higgs boson, the “God particle.” They say that disproves the theory of God’ creation and that it enhances their theory of the Big Bang.

A: Well these are people speaking out of the abundance of their own ignorance. By the way, good for you for bringing it up. We happen to have run recently an article in the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL on this very matter. It’s titled, “The God Particle.” It’s written by William Lane Craig . You can also find a podcast of my interview with him on the Bible Answer Man broadcast, or we can put that into your hands. But this is simply about a sub-atomic particle in the standard model of particle physics. It was the final particle in the standard model to be empirically confirmed. But, it itself, is a contingent particle. So it still needs to be created. And the philosophical naturalist has to start with this notion: that nothing creates everything; life comes from non-life; and the life that comes from non-life produced morals. What’s really exciting by the way about this discovery is that it accords with the theistic world view, not with the world view of the philosophical naturalist. Because a theoretical physicist predicted decades ago that it would exist based on mathematical theory. So a naturalistic picture of the world would have no explanation why the physical world contains that kind of remarkable mathematical structure. But theism actually explains this, in that God created the world according to a certain blueprint that He had in mind. Therefore we are able to comprehend creation; we are able to think God’s thoughts after Him. Science could not have arisen apart from a biblical world view. In the age of the Greeks, they had logic. In fact the Greeks codified the laws of logic. But, they didn’t have revelation. And reason without revelation always ends up in the blind ditch of ignorance. The Christian world view presupposes that God has placed His imprimatur on the world and that we can figure things out. It’s not a world that is ministered by moody gods, but a God who is logical, who can create such things as the majesty or the tapestry of mathematics. So, in short, as you’ll read in this article,  the “God Particle” so called, and by the way, that’s a moniker that was given to it, that has become a misnomer, as though the particle replaces God. No, the particle doesn’t replace God. In fact the particle points to God. I did an interview with William Lane Craig on this subject which is probably really worthwhile listening to. William Lane Craig just did a phenomenal job of talking about the subject.

Hank Hanegraaff

Can Christians Only “Thump the Bible” On the Issue of Same-Sex Marriage Legislation?

This morning when I came into the office, I listened to a segment of The O’Reilly Factor, where he was characterizing Christians as “Bible thumpers.” I began to think about the long procession of political pundits and public personalities who are now raising doubts in the minds of multiplied millions regarding the reliability of the Bible. The reason I want to bring it to your attention is that as Christians in this milieu we must be ready to give an answer with respect to the reliability of the most significant literary work in the annals of recorded history. When the Bible is being denigrated, mocked, disdained, as sarcasm drip from the lips of political pundits and public personalities, we must take a stand, because the lives of multiplied millions literally hang in the balance.

Now I want to give you an example by letting you listen to a clip (or read transcript below), and as you listen to this clip you will hear MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell mock the Bible. And I want you to listen very carefully because as he does so, he makes myriad mistakes. In other words, as he’s mocking not only the Bible but others, he himself gets tripped up in his own words. See if you can figure this out:

Why hasn’t your party, the Republican “Bible-thumping” party defended Todd Akin on legitimate rape? The Bible says there is such a thing as legitimate rape. Yes it does in Deuteronomy 23:23-26 [sic],

If there be a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them to death with stones; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife: so thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee. But [but, but] if the man find the damsel that is betrothed in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die: but unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing [American Standard Version].

So, you get what the Bible is saying here. The Bible is saying that the first rape victim in the story has to be put to death because she did not cry out for help during her rape and she was in the city where cries for help would be heard, therefore it was not a legitimate rape, according to THE BIBLE. So the woman deserves the same penalty she would get for adultery—death! But the damsel who gets raped out in the field where no one can hear her—she is under no obligation to cry for help. The Bible doesn’t want to put her through that futile exercise. So, according to THE BIBLE, getting raped, and not calling out for help, if you’re out in the field where no one can hear you, is legitimate rape. Todd Akin would understand that completely. “But the Bible-Thumping” Party isn’t using that passage to help defend Todd Akin’s comments about legitimate rape because the Bible thumping party doesn’t actually READ the Bible, they just thump it. They don’t quote the Bible. They just thump it. They just swear that they live by it. But like every sane person in the world today they do not live by the Bible. They take some guidance from the Bible, some of it, and reject vast, vast tracks of it—the homicidal parts of the Bible, the death penalty parts of the Bible.

Now one of the things I want everybody to note is if in fact you take all of the Bible as the infallible repository of redemptive revelation, according to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, you are quite literally insane.

Of course, O’Donnell launches a bit of a diatribe against Todd Akin, the Republican Representative of Missouri, and certainly Todd Akin misspoke. You may recall that Akin had referred to forcible rape by the moniker “legitimate rape”—his point was that reasonable people agree that pregnancy can result from forcible rape but that there is scientific disagreement on how likely that is. Although Todd Akin may have misspoken; Lawrence O’Donnell also misspoke. In fact if you listen to the Bible Answer Man broadcast enough you’ll hear me misspeak. We’re fallible human beings. Now O’Donnell’s referring to a passage, in fact reading a passage, and describing its address as that of a different passage. He’s reading Deuteronomy 22 and suggesting its Deuteronomy 23. But let’s not quibble about that. What he’s doing is far more serious than that. Because the first case (Deut. 22:23–24) that he is making a mockery of is not rape at all. A simple reading by a fifth grader could have determined that. It’s consensual adultery, which is why the woman does not cry out. Of course, biblically, adultery is a very serious crime against marital fidelity, and as such is rendered under Mosaic Law a capital offense.

Now in the second case (Deut. 22:25–26), the woman is obviously an innocent victim. She’s not a willful adulteress and the rapist alone, therefore, deserves punishment and is put to death. So in the first case it’s not really about rape at all, it is, however, in the second case about rape. But that, of course, was lost on Lawrence O’Donnell. He’s too busy mocking the notion of death penalty for rape. My question: Is he minimizing rape as a crime? Does he not think that rape is a serious matter? Maybe his superiors should look closely at his own worldview all the while he is mocking the biblical worldview?

And not only that, among the 16 or so crimes that incurred the death penalty under Mosaic Law, only the case of premeditated murder did not allow judges the latitude of assessing other penalties. For example, there is biblical precedent for a judge to spare the life of a rapist for the sake of a woman’s security. As such, the rapist was compelled to provide for the rape victim for as long as he lived.

In any case, neither then nor now is there a perfect resolution for a woman who has been violated through the horror of rape. Indeed, if we are completely satisfied by any earthly solution—even the death penalty—our moral sensibilities are seriously skewed. Ultimately, only eternity will make all wrongs right.

In reality, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell is himself a “thumper;” a “thumper” who has taken the Bible out of context and used it as a pretext for his own idiosyncratic brand of fundamentalism. To anachronistically rip a narrative out of its Ancient Near Eastern context and then use it as a demonstration of the superiority of modern pluralist assumptions, I think is at best misguided. And to read anachronistic modern meanings into an Ancient Near Eastern context is hardly enlightened. Instead of reading anachronistic prejudices into the text of the Bible, O’Donnell would have been well-served to read the Bible synergistically. One can no more read New World realities into Ancient Near Eastern legalities than read Torah legalities into New Covenant realities. He cannot comprehend the Bible as a whole without comprehending its individual passages. And He cannot comprehend its individual passages apart from, well, comprehending the Bible as a whole.

Lawrence O’Donnell’s bigotry has done a grave injustice to the majesty of the most significant book in the history of Western civilization. If indeed, O’Donnell had an adequate understanding of the rich tradition of biblical Judaism, he would not have been so cavalier in his diatribe against Old Testament Jewish jurisprudence. Because complex codes regarding the propriety of human relationships are hardly reducible to superficial sound bites like those emanating from his mouth.

Now I would be remiss if I did not note that the denigration of Christianity and the Bible is not an isolated issue. Rush Limbaugh just the other day expressed his disdain for Bill O’Reilly’s suggestion that Christians who oppose the concept of same-sex-marriage are little more than Bible thumpers. In fact, here’s what O’Reilly had to say:

The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. That’s where the compelling argument is. Where America is. “We just want to be treated like everybody else.” That’s a compelling argument. And to deny that you got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.

And that’s just dead wrong. The other side certainly has been able to do more than “thump the Bible.” Talk about the “spin stops here”—O’Reilly’s spinning! Christians recognize that everything from the ethos, the mores, the civil liberties, art, language, science, to the jurisprudence of Western civilization is inextricably linked to what is no doubt the most significant book in the history of human civilization. And Christians have, in fact, pointed beyond Scripture to cross-cultural sociological studies, which show that children are far better served by a father/mother coupling than by father/father or mother/mother coupling. They have likewise underscored the reality that marriage redefinition erodes the rational basis for rejecting aberrations ranging from polygamy to incest. I’ve personally commented on this issue on numerous occasions and I’ve had Jay Richards on the air as well on several occasions, and I have recommended Jay’s article in defense of traditional marriage over against same-sex marriage that we published in the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL.

So while I see the Bible as the North Star by which I set my sail, I’ve also pointed to sociological studies. I’ve also pointed to the reality of what happens when you redefine marriage. So it’s not just about thumping the Bible. At the end of the day, it is learning to read the Bible for all its worth. Evidently, Bill O’Reilly can’t do that and Lawrence O’Donnell can’t do that. Why? Because they are pointing at snippets, they’re not reading the Bible within its intended context. And we as believers can curse the darkness or we can build a lighthouse in the midst of the gathering storm by demonstrating that the Bible is indeed the infallible repository of redemptive revelation.— Hank Hanegraaff

What are the inherent liabilities of same-sex marriage?

In television’s Modern Family, Cameron and Mitchell adopt a child. NBC’s The New Normal proudly showcases a gay couple and surrogate mother. And on Grey’s Anatomy, Arizona and Callie are pronounced wife and wife with pomp and ceremony. Little wonder then that politicians like the Clinton’s have had a radical change of heart and mind. Hillary Clinton, in lock-step with Bill, now says she supports gay marriage both “personally and as a matter of policy and law.” As noted by Associated Press writers Julie Page and Ken Thomas, “public opinion on gay marriage has shifted perhaps more rapidly than on any other major issue in recent times.”  In fact, holdouts are routinely relegated the status of Bible thumping bigots. But are they really? Reason answers emphatically, No!

First is the matter of the social sciences. Cross cultural studies simply do not lie. They are virtually unanimous in demonstrating that a child is far better served by a mother and a father than father/father or mother/mother coupling. This of course is not to suggest that exceptions do not exist. Rather it is to underscore what is plainly and simply a statistical reality.

Furthermore, we should underscore the biological reality of sexual reproduction. Every organ in the human body is self-sufficient to perform its intended function except for one. Natural reproduction always, always, always requires a coupling of male and female. As Dr. Jay Richards has well written in the Christian Research Journal, “Marriage protects, reflects, and reinforces this powerful complementary, reproductive part of our natures.” As such, marriage “is a comprehensive union of body, mind, emotion, and soul, a proper end of which is children.”

Finally, we should note the hazards inherent in marriage redefinition. It is not too much to say that marriage redefinition open Pandora’s Box and spells the death knell to civil society. Fairly applied, the logic of the Clintons and Obama White House would apply equally to any voluntary relationship that one can conceive of. Put another way, marriage redefinition erodes the rational basis for rejecting aberrations ranging from polygamy to incest. As one can well imagine, the social impact on women and children in particular is singularly draconian.

In sum, marriage cannot be reduced to politically correct rhetoric or political whims. It is a matter of natural law. Says Richards, “Rights come from our nature, and our nature comes from God. If you deny that, then you deny the basis of all our other rights.” In the end, redefining marriage strikes a mortal blow to the foundation of a free society.

Oxford scholar Os Guinness was right to wonder whether the stones of the Washington Monument will escape the fate of the Parthenon, the pyramids, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

—Hank Hanegraaff

 See also Jay W. Richards, “To Defend Marriage, We Should Learn a Lesson from Apologetics,” Christian Research Journal, vol. 35, no. 4, 2012.

Bible Answer Man interview with Jay W. Richards, “What is marriage?”


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DVD726-350Honored as a top 10 best-selling nonfiction book in both 2001 and 2002 by the Christian Bookseller’s Association. “The disciples circle around Jesus, urgency sketched on their faces. One of them, perhaps Peter, blurts out…’Lord, teach us now to pray!’ He had watched Jesus withdraw to secluded places and marveled at his serenity afterward. He did not know what made Jesus’ face seem to glow, but he knew one thing: Whatever it was, he wanted it, and he wanted it now! Jesus smiled. The time had come for him to unveil the secret. The prayer of Jesus revolutionized their lives. It can revolutionize yours as well!” What are the secrets to real intimacy with God? Best-selling author Hank Hanegraaff desires to take people to the next level in understanding the mystery of prayer. How? By delving into the prayers of One who is the cornerstone of our faith, Jesus Christ. In this new paperback edition, readers will learn Jesus’ seven-fold secret of prayer as found in His own words.

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crAstonishingly, the same techniques used by non-Christian cult leaders are today employed in literally thousands of churches worldwide. In this classic book, Hank Hanegraaff exposes these manipulative techniques and reveals the dangers of striving after subjective spiritual experiences rather than seeking a biblical relationship with God. As Hank surveys contemporary revivalism, he unmasks the contradictions, spiritual deception, and seductive allure of esoteric experience masquerading as truth. Providing biblical remedies, Counterfeit Revival not only confronts a paradigm shift that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of contemporary Christianity but equips believers to distinguish a false revival from genuine movements of God.

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