For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book Review: Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century

Forget about Frank Peretti or Ted Dekker. The scariest book from a Christian writer in recent memory comes from Hank Hanegraaff. That’s right, the Bible Answer Man. And the book is Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century. In large part this is merely an updating of the original Christianity in Crisis published some 20 years ago. But as Hanegraaff points out, things have only gotten worse since then. Some of the things being taught by some of the more popular “Christian” teachers of our day is enough to keep you awake at night.

In short, this is an expose of the Word Faith movement. Here you will find the history of the movement and the core fallacies of its warped theology. He starts with some of the “old” names like Hagin and Copeland and the new edition works its way up to include the newer stars like Osteen and Myers. The “Cast of Characters” section alone is worth the price of the book. Of particular interest are the parallels pointed out between the teachings of people like Joel Osteen and the New Age thought behind books like Rhonda Byrne's The Secret. He also shows how this parallel with demonic metaphysical thought goes back to the earliest days of the movement.

The book is proliferated with Hank’s use of acronyms to help us remember the key truths, including the overall FLAWS to mark the five basic areas of error in the Faith movement’s teaching: Faith in Faith, Little Gods, Atonement Atrocities, Wealth & Want, and Sickness & Suffering. Each section then has an acronym or two of its own.

Whether you like such mnemonic devices or not, the content of this book is worth your time. In fact, I would suggest that every pastor, if not every Christian, should have a copy of this book on your shelf to use as a reference work. Hanegraaff has done extensive research to back up the information presented here, as evidenced by the 40+ pages of notes in the back. There is also a more than 15 page Bibliography showing the source material.

I started to collect a bunch of quotes and anecdotes Hanegraaff uses to show the ridiculous nature of what these Faith teachers promote; but the list quickly grew too large (I guess that’s why it took over 300 pages for Hank to write it all). I’ll simply have to say: pick up a copy of this book (along with Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity, which is a wonderful companion read to this one, I might add).

As much as followers of some of these folks might be offended, this book is a much needed one. It’s already been out for awhile now (I’m a bit behind on my reviews), but if you haven’t picked it up yet, I would strongly encourage you to do so soon.


Frances Clements said...

Oh, I hope they still have this one up when I get to pick my next book.

Anonymous said...

It was still available as of this morning.