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Christianity In Crisis: The 21st Century - eBook
Thomas Nelson / 2009 / ePub
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Best-selling author Hanegraaff explores what he believes is a dangerous trend that's eating away at the body of Christ worldwide. Asserting that biblical truth is being replaced with diseased substitutes offered by the "Faith Movement," he offers scriptural proof that exposes the deadly errors being preached by some of today's most popular Christian speakers. 427 pages, hardcover from Nelson.
Q: Its been twenty years since you began writing the original book, Christianity in Crisis, which became an award-winning bestseller. Why return to this subject now?
A: Twenty years ago, Kenneth Hagin was the prime mover behind a message that threatened to undermine the very foundation of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. I have released Christianity in Crisis: The 21st Century because a new breed of prosperity preachers has taken Hagins preaching and practices to unimaginable heightsor depths. Indeed, those who followed this trainmen such as Joel Osteen, and women like Joyce Meyerare living proof that error begets error and heresy begets heresy. As such, they have taken the crisis in Christianity spawned by Hagin and popularized by disciples such as Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn to levels that I could scarcely have imagined when I was writing in the twentieth century.
Q: As you approached the writing of this new book, what were some aspects you decided to keep unchanged from the original? What are some new features youve incorporated for todays readers?
A: I have retained the core of the original, which is formulated around the acronym F-L-A-W-S. While the nub remains, it is interspersed with quotations from current stars in the faith constellation. Each chapter begins with an epigraph from a mega-faith star which epitomizes the crisis and ends with a summary entitled Error Begets Error which demonstrates that the heresies of original faith proliferators have not only been proliferated but often exacerbated by the new breed. This volume is complemented by a new introduction which not only provides a compelling overview of the issues addressed in the body of the book but also documents the eerie similarities between pop sensations such as Rhonda Byrnes The Secret and Joel Osteens Your Best Life Now. Christianity in Crisis: The 21st Century has also been augmented with a Cast of Characters section which provides comprehensive information as well as biblical evaluation of the newest and most prolific stars in the faith galaxyvirtual rock stars who command the attention of presidential candidates and media moguls.
Q: Who are the people who inspired you to tackle this topic?
A: This book needed to be written. Its not so much about the faith teachers themselves as it is about faith followers who inevitably become distracted, disillusioned, and discouraged. My heart aches for the parent who put his dead baby on ice and, in the midst of tears and desperation, drove fifty miles to a counterfeit revival center because he trusted the testimonies of faith preachers who were touting resurrections from the dead. I equally grieve the millions who have left faith churches in the midst of failed faith formulas. Some conclude that God must not love them; others question the integrity of the whole Christian enterprise.
Q: How have some of the personalities mentioned in the book responded to criticism of their practices and their interpretation of Scripture?
A: Many of the people discussed in this book occupy powerful platforms within evangelical Christianity. They control vast resources and stand to lose multiplied millions if they are exposed. The stakes are so high, they are willing to do and say virtually anything to silence opposition. Paul Crouch, founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), went so far as to suggest that if God does not kill heresy hunters, he will. Benny Hinn took it a step further. On TBNs Praise the Lord program, he said You have attacked me. Your children will pay for it. He once ominously snarled, Im not exactly a normal kind of guy, you know. Im from Israel. Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun. Id blow your head off.
Q: Many of the people who follow faith teachings are looking for a quick formula to solve their problems or acquire the things they want. Why do you think they wont find God in this formula?
A: The tragedy is that all too often we look for God in all the wrong places. The real experience is not found in counterfeit formulas but in Christian fundamentals. Think for a moment about prayer. Rather than seeking formulas through which we can get things from God, we must ever be mindful that prayer is an opportunity for developing intimacy with the lover of our souls. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us have learned to pray backwards. We hurry into Gods presence with techniques and incessant babblings and in the process drown out the sound of the very One whose voice we so long to hear. All too often we want God to move the fence posts and enlarge our houses and lands. God wants something far better for us. He wants to be still so that he can enlarge the territories of our hearts. He has sent us sixty-six love letters etched in heavenly writing. And the more we meditate upon those words, the clearer his voice will resonate in the sound of our silence.
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