Reviewed by David B. Smith, director of public relations and develop ment, It Is Written television broadcast, Newbury Park, California.

Even as an insider in religious television, I am stunned by this powerful book coming from the president of Christian Research Institute (an organization founded by Dr. Walter Martin). Hanegraaff outlines the clear and present danger of the "faith movement" blanketing America's airwaves.

American televangelism has long been a source of amazement and amusement to secular viewers with its shallow theology, Robert Tilton's $1,000 harangues, and emphasis on the prosperity gospel "Name it and claim it." Hanegraaff color fully calls it "Blab it and grab it." Christianity in Crisis exposes how a handful of widely viewed ministers Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Frederick Price, and others undermine the pillars of Christianity, especially the atonement, the Trinity, and the nature of God and Christ, with their own brand of "faith."

Adventist pastors will gain at least two benefits from this well-written book. First, Christianity in Crisis (CRI) is an eye-opener about New Age theologies encountered by many of our own members as they idly flip the dial on Sunday morning after a half hour with Finley, Brooks, or Matthews. As Hanegraaff says, "Not everything these [faith] teachers espouse is wrong. If these men and women promoted nothing but error, their audiences would quickly shrink to insignificance. It is sometimes possible to watch 15 minutes of a faith broadcast and wonder what all the fuss is about, since we may see and hear nothing worthy of censure. But it is what occurs on minute 16 that ought to rock us on our heels, for it is the fatal error mixed in with the truth that makes the faith movement so dangerous."

Some sample quotes from these televangelists expose the foundation of this new gospel: "You don't have a god in you, you are one." "God cannot do anything in this earth unless we give Him permission." "Satan conquered Jesus on the cross." "Being poor is a sin." "There will be no sickness for the saint of God." The speakers dangerously have "faith in faith" the concept of faith as its own independent power, reducing God to an impotent servant, or gofer, in the service of demanding humans whose haughty words create their own reality.

Second, I found in reading this book a powerful affirmation of the relevance of Adventist teaching. In each of the cardinal tenets defended so compellingly, readers will discover Adventism. Obviously Hanegraaff and CRI would not agree with the Adventist position on every issue. But I found it invigorating to say "Amen!" to each of the "primary doctrines that separate Christianity from the kingdom of the cults."

Hanegraaff, host of the Bible Answer Man radiobroadcast, is also a memory expert and lecturer; he shares a good number of acronyms that give the reader a handle on key biblical points and doctrines. There are almost too many of the acronyms.

The book is impeccably researched and written in a hard-hitting but gracious style. His philosophy regarding the need for this critical book: "When it comes to such matters as the fabric of faith, the nature of God, and the atonement of Christ, there must be unity. As Saint Augustine so aptly put it: 'In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.' "


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Reviewed by David B. Smith, director of public relations and develop ment, It Is Written television broadcast, Newbury Park, California.

October 1993

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