Totally unfocused thoughts on Hank Hanegraaf, Orthodoxy and the red pill.

Well, since everyone else is all up in arms about Hank Hanegraafs conversion to Orthodoxy, I guess I will be too.

There have been some pretty good articles and other stuff written about the protestant hysteria over it, and these are my favorites so far:

Dreher: Fundamentalist embarrasses self.

Fr. Damick: What CT gets wrong about Orthodox conversions.

And this totally hilarious meme in response to the Jeff Maples Pulpit and pen article:

I was listening to Hank Hanegraaf way back in the days when I was an obsequious, blue-pill, married, wife-pedestalizer when I heard Stu Webber come on and talk about his woman-worshipping book “Tender Warrior.” But that was a long time ago. I haven’t really listened to much Christian radio since.

And this brings me to my first random thought on the matter. Since I have made the case that Orthodoxy is nearly 100% compatible with red-pill thinking here and here, I started hopefully wondering, “could Hanegraafs conversion signal a mainstreaming of the Christian manosphere?”

Probably not, but to borrow from my favorite character in “Dazed and Confused,” it would be way cooler if it did. However, in order for that to happen, we would have to assume a lot of stuff about how he will proceed from here, which is entirely wrapped up in his own internal experience. The guy is an outlier among outliers, so he doesn’t need “game,” about which I have expressed great ambivalence in the past. He’s probably a millionaire, with multiple books sold, a nationally syndicated radio program and all. It’s one of the great conundrums of what I think being an “alpha” male really means, if there is such a thing. Here–listen to Jack Nicholson as he channels the empathy of a thousand Mother Theresas in an attempt to relate to the average frustrated chump:

Maybe because it’s always been so easy for me to get c@*&, that I never understood jacking off in a theater.

NSFW Sound Clip

Next scattered thought: Holy crap this post went viral! 500 comments, multiple reblogs and ping backs, tweets, etc. And its related to the above. I am still trying to sift through my own thoughts on what happened there. I (and my co-writer) were merely asking a question about how realistic it is to assume what we have been assuming about the “traditionalist” Christian marriage market place.

One take away I have really been struck with is that the bright line of distinction between a Christian MMP (which by definition must have the SMP be a subset of it) and the big, worldy SMP is pretty much obliterated. My readers know my own situation testifies to this. I have no room to talk, except in the abstract on this matter. Before my first marriage and in between that one and meeting Mychael, I “dated” a number of girls who I had no intention of marrying. And I even met some of them in church!

So I guess my point is, don’t hold out hope that Hank Hanegraaf is going to suddenly go all “married game” on us and all that would entail.

Still–I thought some of the points Fr. Andrew made in his article require a response. He has some videos also and appears to be a very friendly, kind man and a great apologist for Orthodoxy:

He unfortunately doesn’t mention that apostolic succession was the early Church’s way of proving that something came from the Apostles. He also doesn’t mention that Orthodox apostolic succession doesn’t depend on Constantinopolitan claims about St. Andrew. Those claims might be dubious, but no one questions, for instance, the Petrine origins of the Churches of Antioch or Alexandria nor the apostolic origin of the Church of Jerusalem, etc.

Comparing those churches’ historical succession to Baptist Landmarkism, which is essentially an attempt to trace anti-Catholicism through a long succession of various heretics, is really a stretch. And comparing it to Restorationism is almost a non sequitur. It’s not a quest for a “denominational grail.” History really does record a continuous succession of bishops and their flocks in various ancient apostolic sees, most of which are still occupied by Orthodox bishops.

And to conclude that “no one has it completely right” basically means that you can never really know if what you teach and practice aligns with what Jesus taught His disciples or not. Agnosticism about church authority means that you really aren’t accountable to anyone, because, hey, no one has it completely right.

Everyone appeals to tradition! It’s just, how far back and which one do you agree with? (And upon what grounds?).

In my case, the issue came down to the matter of scripture itself–and who collated it. If the Apostles and their successors had the authority to decide what was canonical, then why did their authority stop there? And on precisely what date did that happen?

The two largest groups of Christians (Catholics and Orthodox) account for the vast majority of the faith worldwide. And they have had a liturgical tradition centered around the Eucharist for 2000 years across all cultures. That’s what Christians DID, and continue to do, en masse. In the larger context of the world and world history only western societies with their orgasmic obsession with individual “rights” have rejected this form of worship.

I’m a simple man, really. I’m no theologian. It is glorious that Hank Hanegraaf converted and I have no idea what his journey looked like. But its nice to have such intellectually weighty company.

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16 thoughts on “Totally unfocused thoughts on Hank Hanegraaf, Orthodoxy and the red pill.

  1. Here I find why it’s just as good to ignore popular Christianity as it is to ignore popular culture.

    I have no idea who is Mr. Hanegraaf, but wish him many years.

    For myself, I left the non-denominational/evangelical world when I got fed up with the creeping emotional justification for Christianity. Sunday morning became another TED talk. Is our relationship with God supposed to be one of emotional manipulation?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The meme was a hilarious response to that Jack Chick-like article at Pen & Pulpit. I guess the freakout was larger for Hanegraaf because he was such a popular figure in some evangelical circles that it’s seen as a kind of defection (as compared to when, say, Jaroslav Pelikan quietly converted towards the end of his life — very well known in academic circles but not in popular ones).

    I’m not sure what the future holds for him in terms of his audience, given the reaction to his conversion (and not just from folks like the Pen & Pulpit crowd).

    I think essentially it’s really hard to look at church honestly seriously, and not in a historicist mindset, and reach the conclusions that Protestantism does about Christian history. I’ve never been a Protestant Christian, but I know quite a few former Protestant Christians who are now Orthodox, and this seems to be a common thread for many of them (not all).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is really something. Hank Hanegraaf converting to Orthodoxy. That’s something, coming from the evangelical “tradition” myself.

    “I think essentially it’s really hard to look at church honestly seriously, and not in a historicist mindset, and reach the conclusions that Protestantism does about Christian history. ”

    As a man becoming increasingly disillusioned with Protestantism, I’m coming to the same conclusion.

    Scott and Nova, please check your emails shortly…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I read this closely as I’ve been attending a Russian orthodox church in my neighbourhood for the last year. I feel deep down like this is the direction I am headed– so dramatically different from the life of protestantism I’ve had. My father was a pastor before I was born– my siblings and I attended bonteboks l bibleschools overseas, and studied the bible.
    With orthodoxy, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface and there are so many words I do not understand (let alone it being spoken Russian at my church).

    But compared to what I grew up with, the orthodox church seems to be a rock in a sea of degeneracy. It seems quaint, but I really appreciate how the women cover their hair as per Paul’s teaching.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. This was interesting reading. We Catholics have our share of similar folks who leave Protestantism for the Catholic Church. Your points above, Scott, echo many of my own, and lead to why I am (still) Catholic.

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  6. @ Deti

    Many of the people at my Eastern Catholic Church are former Protestants who have gone through the same journey you are on now. Some are still on it, and are deciding whether or not to convert. Feel free to send any questions you might have my way too. I would be glad to answer them.

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  7. To all my brothers in Christ who worship with the EO Church. I apologize for my Pharisaical brothers who have used the occasion of Hank’s relocation as an opportunity to bash your practice and veracity of sincere Christianity. I am ashamed at the state of the Protestant church and its eagerness to eat its own. There are so many areas that evangelicals, Lutherans and Reformed Christians need to seek repentance that the log in their own eye has embittered many of them to accuse others and arrogant pride has occluded their perspective. I look forward to deepening my understanding of EO, wrestling with the theological differences, appreciate the diversity of practices and sitting at the table with you for eternity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This pretty much confirms my view from when I was trying to find arguments against Orthodoxy; Protestants pretty much came in two types, those that ignored Orthodoxy, and those that didn’t understand it. (Catholics at least sometimes seemed to be able to make actual sensible arguments, though ultimately I didn’t find them convincing)

    Speaking of Protestants converting to Orthodoxy: On the Saturday just passed I was Baptised and Chrismated at the local Russian Orthodox parish I’ve been attending for the last year and a half. So thanks Scott–your writing on your older blogs was part of what originally inspired me to look more closely at Orthodoxy.

    (I haven’t been taught any cool spells yet, but since I’ve been informed by highly reliable sources that we’re all a bunch of witches and warlocks, I’m sure that will come soon enough. :-P)

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  9. To me, an intellectually honest examination of Christian history and theology says that there are only two candidates for the true church: Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Everything else just doesn’t work.

    By the way Scott, glad to see your blog is working out for you. I saw you back when Sunshine Mary has her Sunshine Mary and the Dragon blog. Good times…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yeah, this is something I’ve been mulling over for the past year or two as well.

    It’s pretty clear that Protestants in general have much more heretical beliefs as “sound doctrine” can be thrown away at the mere whim of feelings. I think there are “true believers” so to speak who are Protestant, but they are fewer and farther between.

    I’ve been investigating RC and Orthodoxy slowly as I become “more mature” in the faith so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There is an undeniable appeal. My oldest son has mentioned the same. We appreciate the reverence. This is lacking in many places.

    In my opinion I never abandoned my faith, but my faith abandoned me – if you are familiar with the machinations of the Methodist church over the last few decades you will know what I mean. I never heard of Hank Hanegraaf before but I can imagine his mindset.

    I have visited Orthodox churches in the USA and abroad out of curiosity. There is a fairly big one in a nearby city that hosts an annual open house and has people on hand to answer questions. Also watched (portions) of some services on video. Scott’s posts are partly responsible for that.

    The other day I watched some of a service from Athens (Greece not Georgia). I wanted to see what could be seen of a congregation on home base (Greek Orthodox) and it was interesting. Women were not wearing anything on their heads, except for a couple of really old ones, and some were also dressed in pants, had stylish short haircuts, etc. I wasn’t expecting that. But also the church was divided down the middle with men all on one side, women the other. They were not intermingled. There was a decent sized group something like a choir, that was singing and/or providing some chants – all men. Everywhere you looked it was men up front operating their church and upholding their faith. Not girls lighting candles, or women doing a reading and passing out communion. It was impressive in that regard.

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