Last week, the radio personality many Christians know as “The Bible Answer Man” announced his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy.
Last Sunday, 67-year-old Hank Hanegraaff and his wife entered into Orthodox Christianity at St. Niktarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The former Protestant is well known among evangelicals as The Bible Answer Man. Since 1989, Hanegraaff has been answering questions on Christianity, denominations, and the Bible on a nationally syndicated radio broadcast.
A champion of evangelical Christianity, he’s best known for arguing against cults, heresies, and non-Christian religions.
Hankegraaff’s conversion didn’t surprise James Stamoolis, the author of Eastern Orthodox Mission Theology Today, who has previously written on why evangelicals are attracted to this older iteration of Christianity. Stamoolis points to Orthodoxy’s highly sensory services which include both incense and icons, as well as “the whole idea of authority.”
“I know a lot of people who have converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and Orthodoxy because it’s fixed. It’s settled. We don’t have women priests. We’re never going to have women priests,” said Stamoolis, who grew up in the Orthodox tradition but now identifies as a “card-carrying evangelical.”
Ironically, Orthodoxy’s association with tradition came after the church proved to be highly successful at contextualizing across different cultures, says Stamoolis.
“A lot of it has to do with their theological methodology,” he said. “[They] were successful and imbued so much in the culture.”
Stamoolis joined Morgan and Mark on Quick to Listen this week to discuss why there are so many different Orthodox traditions, the theological underpinnings of theosis, and what Christianity is like without the theological ideas of Aquinas and Augustine.
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