Exit and Support Network

Letters to Hank Hanegraaff

Hank Hanegraaff was instrumental in helping the WCG (now known as Grace Communion International since 2009) become accepted in the eyes of mainstream Christianity, calling it a "transformation that may well be without precedent in church history."1 He said that Joseph Tkach, Jr. and other leaders of the WCG "expressed their gratitude for CRI's support and encouragement in their transition from cultism to Christianity."

NOTE: For much more info on corruption exposure in Christian Research Institute and Hank Hanegraaff and Worldwide Church of God, see: The CRI Story" in OIU Newsletter, Volume 1, Part 1 and this part in OIU 4, Pt. 3. (Also see links at bottom of this page.)

UPDATE: Christian Research Institute is also known as Christian Research International. They re-located to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2005, with an affiliate (CRI Canada) in Calgary, Alberta. 

UPDATE 2017: Hank Hanegraaff converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Why did Hank Hanegraaff have to have a "fee" for his appearance with the WCG leaders? Was he in need of funds for CRI and a bargain was struck? Hanegraaff is alleged to have taken a bribe from Phil Aguilar's Set-Free cult in the past to cease exposing the darker side of Aguilar's ministry (part of a 400+ page investigative report on Hanegraaff that the ESN compiled from various documents and testimonies, especially from the Group for CRI Accountability). Could Hank possibly have done the same with the WCG leaders? When author Janis Hutchinson met with WCG leaders in Portland, Oregon, she asked them about this and was told Hank "received a fee" for his appearance. (Read the excerpt from her letter mailed to former members of Worldwide Church of God.)

Hank continues: "I will be so bold as to say that what you and I are now witnessing in the Worldwide Church of God is only a faint foreshadowing of what God is going to do in the days ahead IN CULT EVANGELISM AROUND THE WORLD." (Ibid.)

At the September 26, 1995 memorial services of Joseph Tkach, Sr. Hank was there--offering condolences to Tkach, Jr. A picture of the two together with arms touching was printed in the January 2, 1996 Worldwide News with this caption: "Kindling Friendship--A meaningful moment between Joseph Tkach, Jr. and Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute."

In an October 1995 co-laborer letter Hank says that the WCG leaders "met privately with me, behind closed doors..." (Read parts from the letter.)

In this same letter Hank goes on to give credit to CRI for the WCG's change: "God has sovereignly brought the sacrifices, the obedience, and the generosity of so many CRI partners to fruition in the extraordinary transformation of a major cultic movement."

Hank continues to say that the WCG was: "a contemporary cult willing to lay it all on the line for truth as revealed in God's word." He also praised the late Joseph Tkach, Sr., labeling him "a man who risked losing his reputation, his livelihood, his career, and world respect in his all-out devotion to finding and proclaiming the truth." [October 6,1995 co-laborer in Christ letter]

In this same letter Hank goes on to give credit to CRI for the WCG's change: "God has sovereignly brought the sacrifices, the obedience, and the generosity of so many CRI partners to fruition in the extraordinary transformation of a major cultic movement."

Hank continues to say that the WCG was: "a contemporary cult willing to lay it all on the line for truth as revealed in God's word." He also praised the late Joseph Tkach, Sr., labeling him "a man who risked losing his reputation, his livelihood, his career, and world respect in his all-out devotion to finding and proclaiming the truth." [October 6,1995 co-laborer in Christ letter]

Has Worldwide Church of God leaders really "laid it all on the line" for the truth?

What in the World is Worldwide Church of God Doing Now? (Includes WCG selling the copyrights to HWA's literature to a totalistic, apocalyptic WCG offshoot for $3 million!)

MORE ON HANEGRAAFF: 

The alleged financial and ethical improprieties of Hank Hanegraaff and letters from the group for CRI Accountability have been compiled in a 400+ page investigative report. One of the accusations against him is that he had his hired staff write large portions of his book Christianity in Crisis without crediting or adequately compensating them. He is also alleged to have plagiarized writings by other well-known fundamentalist writers like D. James Kennedy.2

Info about the CRI Accountability Report compiled by twenty-four past employees of CRI.

Letter to ESN concerning Hanegraaff's ethics.

Hanegraaff blames cultists for being deceived. CRI wrote an article3 that sincere cultists are lost (although there is "an occasional exception") and that they were "not really seeking God" but "seeking anything other than God" when they went into the cult. The article further maintains that "it is possible for sincere people, even people who were a part of the fellowship of true Christians, to be deceived into following "another Jesus." But the cultists are "to blame" and are "guilty of sin."

CRI Never Answered Any Letters from Exiters:

Following are three letters out of many that pleaded with and tried to warn Hanegraaff about the duplicity involved concerning the Worldwide Church of God changes. (All emphasis is ours.)

 

Letter #1  

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

April, 1994

Dear CRI:

Recently I heard a "Bible Answer Man" broadcast in my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, and was quite disturbed about your comments on the Worldwide Church of God. You mentioned that historically, they are looked upon as a cult by mainstream Christianity, but recently have become more Orthodox in their beliefs. They are now considered Brothers and Sisters in the faith.

Well this letter is to inform you that I do not believe that this is so. I was a member of the WCG for six years, and I finally woke up to their insidious tactics. They are stating one thing to the Christian community and another to the local membership. I would appreciate it very much, if you people could get to the bottom of this. I must tell you that they're still very much a cult, and their mainstream beliefs are only to bring more people into their organization.

Sincerely,

[name withheld]
 

Letter #2:

April 15, 1994

Dear Mr. Hanegraaff,

I was disturbed to hear you say on 4-14-94 that the Worldwide Church of God needs to be applauded for moving closer to orthodox Christianity and is no longer holding to such doctrines as Sabbath keeping, etc. for salvation.

I can say, with very good evidence, that the WCG is telling the media one thing and telling its members something else in order to no longer be considered a cult!

I am enclosing a copy of part of a letter I received from Jim Baldwin of Charlestown, NH, who was a former elder in the WCG, showing why he believes the WCG is still a cult. I am also enclosing a copy of a letter I received from Watchman Fellowship (a Christian research and apologetic ministry) showing how the members are not being made aware of all the changes.

I just exited this last week. Within the last few months I have heard many comments by our ministers telling us that there is only one true Church of God and if we have any doubts, we need to prove it. We have also been told that, "If we don't keep the Sabbath, we will begin to be put in a spiritual death that will eventually put us outside the body of Christ," "If we don't tithe, we are stealing from God!" We were also told recently that the Old Testament Feast days are from God and commanded to be kept.

Since our local congregation is having an "open house" in May for subscribers to The Plain Truth in this area, we have been instructed for two months on how to "recruit" them. We were told a list of dos and don'ts to say to them, including, "Don't reveal all our doctrines." I could no longer stand everything they are planning on doing to these new people to get them to join the WCG under the guise of "accepting Christ."

There is still the fear, guilt, authority, control, and disfellowshipping-fellowshipping going on if there are any divisions. Our minister even stated recently, "I don't want to hear of any dichotomies in this church or I won't say what I will do, or more so what God will do!" The members are still living by grace plus works and the freedom in Christ is not experienced or known in this church.

Please warn people that the WCG is still a cult! Thank you for your ministry. It was through some related WCG material you sent, leading me to investigate the WCG further, that I began my journey out of confusion and darkness to freedom! 

Sincerely,

[name withheld]

Letter #3:

Dear Mr. Hanegraaff,

This is my second letter to you on the subject of the Worldwide Church of God and how the members are not receiving all the new information the leadership is giving to the media.

On May 5 on the Bible Answer Man, it was either you or Ron Rhodes that stated there was cause for rejoicing in the Christian circles because the WCG had now announced that the Holy Spirit is a person. And yes, I agree with you, it is important the WCG accept the doctrine of the trinity. You also stated that the Holy Spirit is working with the WCG and this is total repentance. I am going to have to take exception with your saying this is "total repentance."

However, and I think that this is a very important fact, the WCG is still employing abusive practices with its members-disfellowshipping, control, guilt, etc. To cite one example: Our 19 year old son, who hadn't been attending the church in several months, was recently invited to the church's youth prom by a girl from [a nearby WCG church]. When they showed up, he was approached by the associate pastor and an elder who told him, "You are not a part of this church, so you will have to leave." He left and came back at the end of the prom to pick up the girl and take her home. 

The leadership does believe that most of what Herbert W. Armstrong taught was wrong, but they have not told the members everything and the ministers are not preaching all the new truth. The changes that they are making are being done in stages so as not to cause confusion and discouragement among the members, especially the old-timers. Some of these changes could take years, as they are so radical as to what was formerly taught. They are just being introduced gradually as "new understanding" in how the doctrines of the church are expressed.

If you really want there to be total repentance, then pray that the MEMBERS can be told the truth and set free from all the lies that have been perpetuated on them all these years by HWA. The Holy Spirit is working with the people and cares for them. He has been helping some of them to receive the message of grace and freedom from the law (weekly and annual Sabbaths, tithing, etc.) But how long are the rest going to have to wait to hear this?

Thank you for your radio program. It has helped me to understand the truths of the Bible clearly and is helping to free me from the false doctrines of the WCG that I have held for many years!

Sincerely,

[name withheld]

UPDATE on WCG:

In November 2004 the Worldwide Church of God moved its headquarters from Pasadena to Glendora, California. In April 2009, they changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. (Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.) Today they have gone on to embrace New Age Teachers and philosophies. Read: Grace Communion International - New Age and Ecumenical Connections and Letter to Worldwide Church of God, Philippines (On Apostasy--A Radical Proposal) (this letter reached close to 350 WCG ministers, including those at Headquarters).

Related Articles:

Hank Hanegraaff Lawsuit (Hank accused of financial fraud and other criminal activities) [offsite article]

CRI: "A bastion for orthodoxy" (CRI & their adherence to the Lausanne Covenant) [offsite article]

Footnotes:

1 January 1996 CRI newsletter.

2 Update: D. James Kennedy died September 5, 2007 at the age of 76. Few are aware that Kennedy was a member of the CNP (Council for National Policy). Much more on the Council for National Policy (founded in 1981), plus a list of members, can be found in this offsite report and in the exposé Let's Focus in on "Focus on the Family" by former FOTF employee Randy Shafer which documents the unscriptural and New Age direction that Focus on the Family is moving the Christian church toward.

3 Are Sincere Cultists Lost?


Back to Research Letters Concerning Worldwide Church of God Changes