John Kilpatrick, pastor of the Pensacola, Florida-based Brownsville Assembly of God that has been the site of a two-year-long revival (CT, March 3, 1997, p. 54), has apologized for criticism of Hank Hanegraaff, head of Christian Research Institute (CRI).
The controversy erupted in April when Bible Answer Man radio host Hanegraaff compared the Pensacola Outpouring to the Heaven's Gate cult in which 39 people died.
In a sermon, Kilpatrick responded by saying Hanegraaff should repent or his ministry would fall by Independence Day. Kilpatrick said Hanegraaff acts like "the high sheriff of heaven" who rides "through the kingdom of God to straighten everybody out."
Hanegraaff regularly played sermon excerpts on his radio program and defined Kilpatrick as a false prophet as the deadline approached.
Kilpatrick issued a public apology to Hanegraaff on June 18. "I do sincerely humble myself and ask your forgiveness for unchristlike behavior," Kilpatrick said.
The pastor said he should not have responded to Hanegraaff's remark, and he was not speaking prophetically. Kilpatrick apologized for "unnecessarily polarizing" the body of Christ by his inflammatory remarks, including implying that Hanegraaff was "a devil."
Hanegraaff told CT he has "graciously accepted" Kilpatrick's apology. But he faulted him for waiting 72 days to make it.
In June, Hanegraaff pleaded with donors for $300,000 to meet a revenue shortfall with two weeks left in CRI's fiscal year as the ministry prepared to move to new headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Hanegraaff urged contributors "to defend historical, biblical Christianity against cults and false prophets—especially those predicting that the Holy Ghost will bring CRI down by July 4." In his fundraising letter, Hanegraaff called Kilpatrick a prominent leader of the "counterfeit revival," a term Hanegraaff uses as his new book title.
Copyright © 1997 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.