“Christian Research Institute president Hank Hanegraaff on various Bible Answer Man broadcasts warned against certain Romanist teachings, but also encouraged cooperation with Catholics in many areas. He said Roman Catholicism does not fall within his definition of a cult. He said: ‘We do not classify it as a cult, neither do we just categorically state that people should just get out of it as we would say with Mormonism.’ He added: ‘We can join with Catholics in common cause issues that affect our culture’ [May 1, 1995]. Regarding Pope John Paul II, he said: ‘I don’t see the Pope, particularly this Pope, as the chief enemy of Jesus Christ....[He] stands with us on many common issues’ [June 30, 1995]. Hanegraaff succeeded Dr. Walter Martin as head of CRI and admits to being a Charismatic” (Calvary Contender, December 15, 1995).
“Recently on ‘The Bible Answer Man’ radio program, Norm Geisler declared that the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification by faith was biblical. Luther would be shocked! Christian Research Institute director Hank Hanegraaff (Walter Martin’s successor), who was interviewing Norm, agreed. ... CRI ... has even allowed Scott Hahn (another leading Catholic apologist) on ‘The Bible Answer Man’ to promote Roman Catholicism without offering the slightest rebuttal!” (The Berean Call, April 1992).
In two CRI Perspective sheets, Christian Research Institute President Hank Hanegraaff makes it clear that he does not believe Roman Catholicism is a cult:
“While Protestants continue to disagree over the issue, CRI firmly maintains that Roman Catholicism is a religious system which includes both orthodox biblical Christianity and elements of unbiblical or ‘cultic’ doctrine and practice. ... We acknowledge the presence in Roman Catholicism of many genuine brothers and sisters in the Lord, while also recognizing that many of those within Roman Catholicism worldwide appear to be lost. ... One thing we are unwilling to do is to misrepresent Roman Catholicism or to exaggerate its faults. That would be patently unfair, at CRI we’ve always striven for balance. Well, in spite of the vast differences between Catholics and Evangelicals, I believe our points of agreement provide us with common ground through which we can share and discuss the gospel in love and with understanding.”
The term “cult” is a man-made one; it is thus impossible to reach an absolute definition of the same. One thing we do know: The Roman Catholic Church meets every Bible criteria for apostasy! Its gospel is false and thus is cursed of God (Gal. 1:8). It has exalted its own man-made traditions to the level of Holy Scripture, and thus worships God in vain (Matt. 15:1-9). Its leaders are false prophets; its dogmas are doctrines of devils; its Papacy is antichrist. What does God say regarding an apostate entity? Does He say we should find positive ways to see that entity? Does He say we should try to find common ground through which we can share and discuss the gospel in love and understanding? No, God says, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues”! (Rev. 18:4). Paul did not treat the Galatian heretics as the Christian Research Institute treats the Roman heretics. Evangelical leaders will answer to God for their refusal to preach and practice Bible separation.
The following overview of the Christian Research Institute’s relationship with Roman Catholicism is by the respected Baptist researcher Wilson Ewin:
“For ten years as ‘The Bible Answer Man,’ Dr. Walter Martin participated in the Long John Nebel Show—heard in 43 states, six days a week over the NBC radio network. His book on the cults was first published in 1965 and soon became a best seller with 24 printings. The author taught on the fields of Biblical Theology and Comparative Religions at the Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, California. ... Because of his tremendous influence upon Evangelicals around the world, Dr. Martin and the Christian Research Institute which he founded must bear major responsibility for today’s wall of neutrality, tolerance and silence that surrounds the exposure of Roman Catholicism as a cult. Dr. Martin died in June 1989.
“Then came 1993 and the C.R.I. moved openly into the ecumenical camp. This was stated in their book entitled The Cult of the Virgin. Sponsored by the Christian Research Institute through its editors Elliot Miller and Ken Samples, the book contains an appendix by a Jesuit named Michael Pacwa. Miller and Samples present him as a ‘Bible-believing Catholic’ with whom they have ‘fellowship in Christ and cooperative efforts in the common cause of Christ’s kingdom’ (p. 161). The book states: “The underlying purpose of this book is ultimately ecumenical rather than anti-ecumenical” (p. 161). [DWC: The editors also claim that priest Pacwa has “a strong personal relationship with Christ” and they enjoyed “positive fellowship in Christ” with him.]
“Dr. Martin was a close friend of Pacwa. The priest is a known apologist and defender of his church. He wrote for the C.R.I. Journal and spoke on Dr. Martin’s The Bible Answer Man program. Martin introduced him to C.R.I.’s contributing editor, Ken Samples.
“Was Martin a double agent and guilty of deception regarding his views of Roman Catholicism? The claim he made in the opening statement of his book on the cults is at variance with the testimony given by Ken Samples. The contradiction is recorded on cassette. Editor Samples stated this:
“‘The position that I hold on Catholicism ... was greatly influenced by Dr. Martin ... (he) held the very same position, in fact the statements that I wrote to represent our organization, Dr. Martin read and agreed with ... Dr. Martin agreed absolutely with our position on Catholicism, because quite frankly he helped shape my own view of Catholicism.’
“A lengthy article in four parts began to appear in the Winter 1993 issue of the C.R.I. Journal. Entitled ‘What Think Ye of Rome?—An Evangelical Appraisal of Contemporary Catholicism,’ the Journal strongly opposes calling the papal church a cult. It states, ‘Catholicism affirms most of what the cults deny and possesses an orthodox foundation which all cult groups lack.’
“A Vatican ecumenist could not have improved on the image of Popery created by the C.R.I. Journal. The Winter 1993 (Part One) issue states, ‘From the fourth century to the present, Roman Catholic thought has had a momentous influence ... The Church has wielded great power over the centuries, often spreading enlightenment and benevolence among humanity.’
“The Part II section in the Spring 1993 issue credits Catholicism with ‘almost a two-thousand-year history (it has historical continuity with apostolic, first-century Christianity), and is the ecclesiastical tree from which Protestantism originally splintered.’
“The lengthy C.R.I. Journal’s presentation of Popery is a flow of half truths, distortion, falsehood and deceit, all staged with the obvious purpose of altering the accusing facts of history” (Wilson Ewin, Today’s Evangelicals Embracing the World’s Deadliest Cult, Quebec Baptist Missions, Box 113, Compton, Quebec, Canada J0B 1L0, 1994, pp. 59-61).
From he book EVANGELICALS AND ROME: THE ECUMENICAL ONE-WORLD “CHURCH” (D.W. CLOUD)
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