Breaking The Silence: Plagiarism?

Article ID: BTS2010-08 | By: Elliot Miller

Breaking The Silence

Chapter Eight:
Plagiarism?
 

In an August 2004 editorial in the Christian Sentinel, Bill Alnor wrote:

The evidence is overwhelming: Christian Research Institute (CRI) President Hank Hanegraaff has engaged in serious instances of repeat plagiarism.

In examining these allegations of plagiarism in connection with my doctoral dissertation project, I have prepared this brief summary of these instances in an effort to shed more light on the issue. My investigation has revealed that although some of Hanegraaff’s supporters have claimed the CRI president was “cleared” or “exonerated” of these charges, that is simply not true. Although some of Hanegraaff’s victims have cried foul, they have simply chosen not to seek legal remedies to punish Hanegraaff.

My investigation that was part of my study of plagiarism in the religious media also underscores what action Christians should take concerning Hanegraaff and CRI: A complete boycott. Don’t listen to his radio program, don’t buy his books, don’t contribute any money to CRI, don’t invite Hanegraaff to your conference or church, and tell your pastor and every Christian leader you know to do likewise. Further, I repeat my call for Hanegraaff to leave the ministry of CRI.[1]

In his editorial Alnor provided a link to the section in his doctoral dissertation on plagiarism that deals with Hank. (I think it is safe to assume that Alnor chose that topic for his dissertation at least partly because of his desire to nail Hank as a plagiarist.) Here are some important excerpts from that section:

Without a doubt one of the most extensive and controversial cases of plagiarism at the end of the twentieth century involves Christian Research Institute (CRI) president Hank Hanegraaff.…

[After devoting one and one-half pages to reviewing the “scandals” unrelated to plagiarism that Alnor believes CRI has faced under Hanegraaff, Alnor notes:] It is not the purpose of this dissertation to rehash the scandals CRI has faced under Hanegraaff. A search of periodicals and anti-CRI web sites provides a rich history. Instead this dissertation will document that Hanegraaff used plagiarism extensively from at least three books during his rise to become one of the nation’s best-known Christian talk show hosts.…

Most of the plagiarism allegations lodged against Hanegraaff stem from three of his books that he wrote prior to his takeover of CRI. They were Memory Dynamics, Memory: Your Key to a Rewarding Education and Personal Witness Training, published by Hanegraaff’s own organization, Memory Dynamics, Inc. They have since been reissued and have been for sale, both by CRI and by Hanegraaff personally.

In the preface to Hanegraaff’s Memory Dynamics, he wrote: “I trust that you will have as much fun mastering the concepts in this workbook as I have had developing it.” However, an anonymous Internet publication titled “On the Edge” in 1996, demonstrated that Hanegraaff’s memorization concepts in the book were largely taken from two classic books on memorization techniques, The Roth Memory Course by David M. Roth, which was originally issued in 1918, and The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas (1974).…[2]

Alnor’s Chart:
Hank’s Alleged Plagiarism of Lorayne and Lucas
 

Alnor provides a table detailing Hank’s alleged plagiarism of Lorayne and Lucas:[3]

 

The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas (1974, Ballentine)

Personal Witness Training by Hank Hanegraaff
(1986, Memory Dynamics, Inc.)

The authors describe the art of associations in memory techniques, using the country of Italy being shaped like a boot, and the acronym HOMES to remember the five Great Lakes, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Lorayne and Lucas note: “Do you remember the lines on the music staff, the treble clef, E, G, B, D, and F? If your teacher ever told you to think of the sentence Every Good Boy Does fine, then you do remember them.”

“Here are some examples of association. Italy —the shape of a boot… The acronym HOMES and the names of the Great Lakes, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior … the acrostic Every Good Boy Does Fine with the lines of the treble staff EGBDF.” (p. 107)

“The sound that will represent number 1 will always be the sound made by the letters t or d, and vice versa. The memory aid, which you’ll need for only a short while is this: A typewritten t has one downstroke.” (p. 107)

“To remember that 1 = T,D, picture a 1 that looks like a rocket making a lunar TouchDown. In addition, you may note that a cursive t and d both have just 1 downstroke.” (p. 42)

“The number 2 will always be represented by the sound made by the letter n.”

“…remember that 2 = N.”

“Number 3 will always be represented by the sound made by the letter M. 3 = M&M., or you might think of the #M Corporation.” (p. 107)

“Remember that 3=M. Another way of associating 3 and M is to think of the 3M Corporation.” (p. 43)

“Number 5 will always be represented by the sound of L. The memory Aid: Spread the five fingers of one hand, thumb straight out, and the thumb and forefinger form the letter L.” (p. 107)

“Remember that 5 = L. Look at the back of your left hand with your 5 fingers extended. Now pull your fingers together and leave your thumb extended. Your thumb and index finger will form the shape of the letter L.” (p. 44)

“Number 6 will always be represented by the sounds j, sh, ch, and soft g as in GENTLE.”

“Remember that 6 = j, soft g, sh, and ch. Just visualize the following scene: a staff in the shape of a 6 is being held by Jesus the GENTLE shepherd.”

“Number 7 will always be represented by the sounds k, hard c, hard g. As the memory aid, you can form a capital k with two 7’s, one right side up and the other upside down…”

“Remember that 7 = k, c, and g, visualize the following scenario…see a capital letter k falling over forwards so that it looks like the end of a picnic table. Look again and you will see that the picnic table also looks just like two 7’s back to back.”

“…there’s a much easier way, using the Peg Words that are based on the phonetic alphabet… The word for 1 will always be tie…so a mental picture of a man’s necktie will always represent 1.” (p. 118)

“In much the same way, to form peg words, you need to use the phonetic alphabet…. The peg word for number 1 is tie. We use a tie because a tie can be easily visualized and because it equates to the numerical value of 1.” (p. 63)

“The word (name) that will always represent 2 is Noah. Picture whatever you like, probably a man with a long gray beard… The Peg Word for 3 will always be Ma; picture your mother, or a little old lady. 4: rye. Picture a loaf of rye bread. 5: law. Picture whatever law represents to you; we always picture a policeman. 6: shoe. Picture s [sic in Alnor but not Lorayne and Lucas, who have it as “a”] shoe. 7: Picture a cow. 8: ivy. Picture ivy climbing on the wall. 9: bee. Picture the stinging insect. 10: contains two digits…the word is toes. Picture your toes.” (p. 118)

“The peg word for number 2 is Noah…visualize Noah’s Ark or perhaps Noah’s beard… The peg word for 3 is Ma…you can visualize your ma of [sic in Alnor but not Hank, who has it as “or”] a particular apron you would associate with your Ma. The peg word for 4 is rye…see a distinctive piece of rye bread. The peg word for 5 is law…see an unusual law man’s badge or cap or a law man. The peg word for 6 is shoe…picture a particularly unusual shoe. The peg word for 7 is cow…visualized a particular cow. The peg word for 8 is ivy…see ivy growing up along the walls of Yale or Oxford. The peg word for 9 is bee…picture a huge bumble bee. The peg word for 10 is toes…picture your toes.

 

Alnor continues:

As the “On The Edge” article demonstrates, “of the primary 100 Peg Words supposedly invented by Lorayne and Lucas, and listed on page 124 of their book, Hanegraaff lists a full 65 of them.” (However, the article also demonstrates that Lorayne and Lucas may have taken 47 of them from David Roth and his Roth Memory Course.) Concerning Hanegraaff’s borrowings from Roth, the article notes:

As a matter of fact, of the first fifty code words Roth uses in the foundation of his system (pages 40, 41), developed before Hanegraaff was even born, Hanegraaff reportedly copies virtually half of them on paged [sic in Alnor but not On the Edge] 18 and 19 of his 1986 book.[4]

Alnor’s Ironic Act of Plagiarism
 

I will fully address Alnor’s allegations that Hank committed plagiarism and I believe I will satisfactorily prove that they are false. Before I do, I think it is completely appropriate to turn the spotlight back on Alnor for a moment. What I am about to argue might seem nit-picking if we forget that Alnor has set himself up as an authority on plagiarism. His doctoral dissertation was on plagiarism and on that basis he has inaugurated what he calls the “plagiarism project” to expose plagiarism, particularly among evangelicals.[5] He has also devoted several pages on his Web site to exactly that purpose of going after various evangelicals on the charge of plagiarism.[6] One could reasonably infer from his materials that—along with exposing financial improprieties—he considers this the foremost service he is providing the body of Christ. Alnor apparently has been the recipient of an extensive education on plagiarism and Scripture tells us that “from everyone who has been given much, much will be required” (Luke 12:48) and “’in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you’” (Matt. 7:1).

Alnor’s claims about his qualifications in this area notwithstanding, it is amazing that he successfully defended his doctoral dissertation. His readers were clearly not doing their homework. In keeping with his longtime penchant for factual inaccuracy, Alnor identifies the excerpts from Hank in the right-hand column of his table as being from Personal Witness Training when in fact they are from Hank’s Memory: Your Key to a Rewarding Education. Much worse, he plagiarizes Perucci Ferraiuolo (who wrote under the pseudonym Gunther Sardasian for his On the Edge tabloid) in the creation of the plagiarism table above! Although Alnor states immediately above the table, “Some of this original chart created by the author is based upon examples originally given in an article that first appeared in the Internet in 1995,” careful analysis reveals that all of the examples first appeared in Ferraiuolo’s On the Edge article. Contrary to the clear implication of the word “some,” Alnor contributed no new examples—only the chart format is new.

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, plagiarism is defined as

  1. to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
  2. to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
  3. to commit literary theft
  4. to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.[7]

Crediting Ferraiuolo for “some” of the material in the chart does not exempt Alnor from the charge of plagiarism based on the definitions provided above. Plagiarism.org adds to the above definitions “copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not.”[8] As a self-described authority on plagiarism, Alnor should be well aware of this.

Alnor could reply that in addition to drawing “some” of his examples from Ferraiuolo he also drew some of them from the primary sources and it’s merely a coincidence that they are verbatim identical to the examples Ferraiuolo used. Such an explanation by itself would strain credulity but, unfortunately for Alnor, he left tell-tale clues that prove he only drew his quotes from Ferraiuolo and that strongly suggest that he never interacted with the primary sources at all. Consider the following table, which puts side by side L&L’s original treatment of the relationship between three and M in the phonetic alphabet, Ferraiuolo’s quotation from this very paragraph in L&L, and Alnor’s quotation from the same paragraph in L&L.

 

Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas“Number 3 will always be represented by the sound made by the letter m; 3 = m and m = 3. The small typewritten letter m has three downstrokes, or you might think of the 3M Corporation.”[9]

“Gunther Sardasian” (Perucci Ferraiuolo) “Lorayne and Lucas on page 107: ‘Number 3 will always be represented by the sound made by the letter M. 3 = M&M., or you might think of the 3M Corporation.’”[10]

William M. Alnor“’Number 3 will always be represented by the sound made by the letter M. 3 = M&M., or you might think of the #M Corporation.’ (p. 107)”[11]

 

Note that Ferraiuolo misquotes L&L both in words and in punctuation at several points and Alnor repeats all of Ferraiuolo’s errors, while adding one of his own. Ferraiuolo capitalizes the first reference to the letter m and Alnor follows him in this, despite the fact that L&L italicize rather than capitalize it. L&L follow that letter with a semicolon while both Ferraiuolo and Alnor follow it with a period. L&L write, “3 = m and m = 3,” while both Ferraiuolo and Alnor represent them as having it ”3 = M&M.” L&L finish that sentence with a period while both Ferraiuolo and Alnor finish it with a period and comma (very unusual punctuation for anyone to use, let alone two people who are supposedly writing independently). Finally, both Ferraiuolo and Alnor omit the clause “the small typewritten letter m has three downstrokes” from the next sentence, even though this would have been a natural clause to include, since they included a similar “downstroke” memory cue in another example.

The same pattern of Alnor following Ferraiuolo in all of Ferraiuolo’s deviations from the original L&L text occurs in each column of Alnor’s table. The point is not that Alnor misquoted his source, since these particular errors only reflect carelessness (typos) and not deliberate misrepresentation. Rather, the noteworthy point is that he misquoted his source in exactly the same way Ferraiuolo did, which proves he was quoting from Ferraiuolo and not L&L, and which strongly suggests he only interacted with secondary sources and not primary sources in this critical portion of the research that earned him his doctorate.

Misunderstanding Mnemonics
 

By charging Alnor with plagiarism based on the Merriam-Webster definitions am I using a double-edged sword that will also slice into Hank’s work? I firmly do not believe so. Alnor’s table and Ferraiuolo’s article conveniently place similarities in material between Hank and Lorayne and Lucas (hereafter L&L) side by side in such a way as to create a false impression. Their treatment of the issue does not reveal the public domain that not only Hank but also L&L and Roth are drawing on, the nature of the field of mnemonics in which all three parties are writing, the vast differences that actually exist between their respective contributions to that field, the distinctly and abundantly original contributions that Hank makes to that field, and several other factors that I will detail below that should pass muster with any court of law.

As we will see, in every case allegations of plagiarism against Hank are based on faulty assumptions. In this case, one such assumption is that in the field of mnemonics (memory assistance) the use of various memory-triggering devices (whether code words, acronyms, acrostics, or key words) are proprietary to whoever created them and off limits to those who contribute to the field at a later time. In significant respects, mnemonics is a science. It is something that is developed collectively and progressively by innovators in the field. In science (whether hard or soft), if someone publishes they do so because they believe they have a valuable contribution to make to the existing body of knowledge. This may be a new component to add to that knowledge, or it may be a more user-friendly way of utilizing existing knowledge. Each new author in the field is not expected to start from scratch and reinvent the basic constituents, symbols, or language of the field (e.g., peg words or associations) simply for the purpose of not repeating what has already been developed before. Indeed, redeveloping everything from scratch would be burdensome not only for the author but for those who are familiar with the system but want to benefit from whatever about the author’s contribution truly is new.

To offer an example from another discipline that has significant parallels to mnemonics (in that both discover rather than create the mental principles that organize their systems), can you imagine the burden it would place on authors of logic textbooks if they were expected to credit the source of each logical term or example of a fallacy they use? Conversely, can you imagine how confusing it would be for students if each new logic textbook used different terminology for the same logical laws and fallacies?

Hank did not plagiarize L&L any more than they plagiarized David Roth, or Roth plagiarized Felix Berol (the rising star in the mnemonics field in 1913, whose untimely death in 1914 created a void that Roth would fill four years later). They were all attempting to improve on, but not entirely reinvent, systems of memorization that preceded them. None of these authors claimed that all of the ideas that they were presenting were their own.[12] Each of them had original contributions that justified their publishing in the field.

Interestingly, none of them acknowledged their indebtedness to those who immediately preceded them—at least not by name. (As we shall see below in the section on Evangelism Explosion, Hank is the only one of these authors to acknowledge his indebtedness to “current” sources.) Not only do Lorayne and Lucas make no mention of Roth or any predecessors after ancient and medieval philosophers (“Unfortunately, the technique fell into disuse for centuries”[13]) other than William Stokes in the 1800s (“Nearly a century later, it is our pleasure to bring the art of trained memory back into the foreground”[14]), but Roth makes no mention of Berol (who, like Roth, taught mnemonics in New York City and whose book preceded Roth’s by only five years). As mnemonics historian Allan Krill commented, “These mnemonists were all a bit ‘forgetful’ when it came to mentioning sources of the code. I think they mostly made up their own key words.”[15] Should they have acknowledged their sources? I believe so.[16] Does this omission make them plagiarists? For all of the reasons stated above and below, I am convinced that it does not.

Of course there is much overlap when different authors are teaching the same basic discipline, which, after all, can only have so many proven principles and methods. Roth began his memory lessons in 1918 by laying out the principles of association, visualization or imagination, exaggeration, motion, and unusual associations.[17] Likewise, L&L begin their exposition on memory training by stressing the importance of association,[18] substitution, “out of proportion” (seeing the subjects as larger than life), and exaggeration. Although the terms are not always the same, on close analysis L&L’s principles are almost identical to Roth’s, and so are Hank’s to the former two. By Alnor’s criteria, Roth should have sued L&L for plagiarism, but Roth no doubt was well aware that he picked the same principles up from other writers. Indeed, Berol presents the same principles, and he attributed his knowledge of such principles to books he had read.[19]

None of these authors, however, was merely repeating what the previous authors had written. L&L, for example, devote fifteen pages to explaining association and the link system of memory compared to Roth’s less than eight pages, and so L&L are able to develop the concepts and methodology much more fully. Theirs is the definitive text when it comes to an explanation of the theory and practice.

Hank’s approach, by contrast, is much more visual, hands on, and user friendly (which means he got an early start with the teaching style by which we’ve come to know and love him!). Aside from some peg words that will be noted below,[20] elements in the L&L book that are clearly their own creation are not used by Hank;[21] instead, he offers his own distinctive and very creative elements.[22] He uses original illustrations as didactic devices, leading the reader through exercises where he or she learns the principles through practice. This makes mnemonics accessible for readers who might get bogged down in L&L’s more traditionally verbal explanatory approach.

Misidentifying the Major System
 

Alnor betrays his ignorance of mnemonics with the first seven of the nine rows in his table. The examples he cites to prove Hank plagiarized L&L were not created by L&L but are part of the public domain and are commonly used by teachers of mnemonics. Some of the examples Alnor cites are so commonly offered by writers in the field as examples of memory devices that it is difficult to believe Alnor actually considered them examples of plagiarism. These include the use of the acronym HOMES for the Great Lakes,[23] the association of Italy with the shape of a boot,[24] and the acrostic “Every Good Boy Does Fine.”[25] While Ferraiuolo too displays ignorance of mnemonics, at least it’s evident he interacted with the primary sources (i.e., L&L and Roth); as we’ve seen, Alnor shows no evidence of interacting with anyone but Ferraiuolo.

The phonetic alphabet Alnor cites in his table is based on a mnemonic approach known as the Major System. This system contains all of the correspondences between letters and numbers seen in both columns of these rows.[26] Early prototypes of this system go back to Stanislaus Mink von Wennssheim (or Winkelmann) in a paper he published in 1648.[27] Continued refinements were made on the system until, as Krill writes in his history of the major system, “the code was more or less perfected in about 1820 by Aimé Paris, a memory specialist in France: 0=se,ce,ze; 1=te,the,de; 2=ne,gne; 3=me; 4=re; 5=le,ille; 6=je,che,ge; 7=ke,gue;que, 8=fe,phe,ve; 9=pe,be. Other variations of the code have been tried, but are not as convenient or useful.”[28]

Many, many authors have published the major system for contemporary readerships since 1820, never pretending to have invented it but always presenting it in a form they believe makes it more user friendly, Hank included. As David Roth states, “For centuries attempts have been made to find means to fix numbers in mind. The code [i.e., phonetic alphabet] method is the perfected result of many minds that have worked on this problem. It is a practical method for you—for every one—who wishes to develop a sure memory for figures.”[29] Interestingly, while L&L make no similar acknowledgment that the phonetic code existed prior to their own work, Hank does—a fact that Ferraiuolo and Alnor conveniently fail to note. Hank writes at the beginning of his chapter on the subject: “The phonetic alphabet is an extremely valuable memory tool. It has been used with great success for centuries but has unfortunately fallen into virtual disuse in our culture. Because of its many benefits, I encourage you to learn this system very well.”[30] Rows two through seven of Alnor’s table, the vast majority of his examples of Hank’s alleged plagiarism, contain nothing more than the phonetic code and the common memory cues (e.g., t and d both having one downstroke) that were part of the public domain long before L&L used them.

Alnor also fails to note Hank’s many innovations in developing memory cues to remember the phonetic alphabet that go far beyond what L&L provide. For example, Alnor merely cites Hank as saying, “…remember that 2 = N,” which sounds substantially identical to what L&L wrote. However, if we view their full treatments of the number in context we see that Hank does make original contributions to this memory device that predates both him and L&L and he is not plagiarizing L&L at all:

 

Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas“The number 2 will always be represented by the sound made by the letter n. The memory aid is: A typewritten small letter n has two downstrokes. Think of that for a moment.”[31]

Hank Hanegraaff“To remember that 2 = N visualize a number 2 falling over backwards and turning into an N. You might also note that a cursive n has 2 downstrokes.[32]

 

Hank proceeds to provide an illustration of a two falling over and looking like an N, an approach (cartoons as memory aids) that he uses for each of the numbers but that L&L do not use at all. Similar examples could be provided for each of the ten phonetic numbers that demonstrate significant differences between Hank’s and L&L’s approaches and also Hank’s valuable contributions to the discipline.

Misconceptions about Peg Words
 

As for the remaining two rows of Alnor’s table, Alnor himself notes that many of the peg words used by Lorayne and Lucas to help remember the phonetic alphabet were not invented by them but go back to David Roth. What Alnor apparently doesn’t realize is that many of these words were not created by Roth either.

The term peg word was apparently originated by Lorayne, but, as we’ve seen, the concept was not. “Peg” is simply a synonym for “hook,” a term Berol used for the same type of code word used in conjunction with the phonetic alphabet,[33] and Roth followed him in this usage.[34] Of the first ten peg words that Lorayne uses, the only ones I have not been able to find in use prior to Lorayne are ma for three (Bruno Furst had it as “May” in 1944[35]), rye for four (Furst had it as “ray”), and bee for nine (Berol had it as “boy” in 1913[36]).[37] The three that Harry Lorayne did create have since been used not just by Hank but throughout the literature.[38]

Due to the rules of mnemonics that they were all following, only so many possible peg words could be selected for each number, which explains the phonetic similarity of so many of them. It also explains why later authors contributed less original peg words than earlier authors. Roth only used seventeen out of one hundred peg words for the phonetic alphabet that were first used by Berol.[39] Of L&L’s one hundred peg words, I counted forty-four that were identical to the ones that Roth used.[40] Of Hank’s one hundred, seventy-eight were used by either L&L or Roth.[41]

If Hank had used all one hundred of L&L’s peg words it would not have been plagiarism for all the reasons I am explaining here, but in light of Alnor’s logic, with Hank’s twenty-two apparently original words, how does Alnor justify accusing Hank of plagiarism but not L&L or Roth, who also mixed their own words with words previously used? How many previously used peg words out of one hundred can an author use before it becomes plagiarism according to Alnor’s take on the law? How many courts would agree with his magic number? I cannot imagine that any would.

Missing Hank’s Original Contributions
 

Even the table Alnor provides and other materials that he cites, which are carefully selected to highlight similarities between Hank and L&L while ignoring significant differences, nonetheless show quite a bit of originality on Hank’s part. He uses his own wording and, while the number-letter associations of the major system and the peg words are the same, the key words Hank uses to hang on the peg words are usually different, and, I would argue, usually an improvement (e.g., his use of “a 1 that looks like a rocket making a lunar TouchDown” to help remember that “1 = T, D”).

Hank’s major contribution was not in creating the basic memorization systems he uses, although often he does offer his own innovations even in those areas. Rather, his major contribution, which went far beyond anything Lorayne or Roth ever did,[42] is in the way he applied these systems to helping people memorize Scripture, a specific evangelistic approach, or other biblical/theological/apologetic information. For these purposes he also contributed his own original memory devices, such as the “Good News Bear” and the use of a person’s face to remember all of the parts of the gospel message.

These immensely practical innovations certainly justified publication, especially from a Christian perspective, since they equipped lay Christians more effectively to win souls to Christ. In their haste to brand him as a plagiarist, critics such as Alnor have disregarded both the originality of Hank’s contributions and the fruit they were bearing for the Kingdom of God.

In truth, no one should have taken the similarities between Hank’s work and that of other mnemonic writers as plagiarism, [43] and no one would have if certain people didn’t have a preexisting interest in casting Hank as a plagiarist. What people who have this agenda don’t seem to realize is how transparent it is that they do have such an agenda to people who do not have one.[44] This is equally true with the additional charge of plagiarism that has been leveled against Hank concerning the late pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and the author of Evangelism Explosion, Dr. D. James Kennedy.

Bowman’s Chart:
Hank’s Alleged Plagiarism of D. James Kennedy
 

Alnor proceeds to write:

On the Edge publication….On The Edge’s initial expose led with:

Startling allegations charge Christian Research Institute President, Hank Hanegraaff, with using another writer’s copyrighted material in connection with several of his own writings, including his 1987 book, Personal Witness Training. High-level sources close to Hanegraaff, who did not want to be identified, say that he gleaned most of the material for his book from well known Florida-based pastor and teacher, D. James Kennedy’s 1970 best-selling book, Evangelism Explosion. And the similarities are glaring and substantial.

The article then went on to document some of the similarities, as it also looked at another article he wrote for The Christian Research Journal that also lifted some materials from Kennedy. “Hanegraaff is merely copying material written by others and passing it off as his own,” the article claimed. Although the exposé was at first faxed to many Christian leaders nationwide, it had an immediate impact as scholars began looking into it. So far the most thorough study of the alleged plagiarism was written by Robert M. Bowman, Jr., who produced a 26-page scathing report on the plagiarism titled “Is the Good News Bear a Copycat? Hank Hanegraaff and Plagiarism.” The scholarly study includes 15 pages of tables showing similarities between Hanegraaff’s work and Kennedy’s that highlights 89 sections (many entire paragraphs) of his book in which Hanegraaff lifts from Kennedy. Bowman’s work was subsequently placed on line with the Atlanta Christian Apologetics Project web site.[45]

Bowman’s report apparently is no longer available online, but an excerpt of it can be found on the “Walter Martin’s Religious InfoNet,”[46] a Web site unaffiliated with CRI but rather established by Walter Martin’s daughter Jill and her husband Kevin Rische. (The Risches long ago joined forces with Alnor in promoting anti-Hank material on the Internet.[47]) The excerpt from Bowman reads as follows:

(Excerpted from Comparison by Robert M. Bowman, Jr., 1998 edition)

We now turn to the sample dialogues found in E.E. and in PWT as models for presenting the gospel. Keep in mind that it has already been established that the framework of both presentations is identical. This means that where the two books use similar or identical wordings, that fact has greater significance than if the basic structure of the presentations were different.

Evangelism Explosion vs. Personal Witness Training

 

EVANGELISM EXPLOSION
by D. James Kennedy

PERSONAL WITNESS TRAINING
by Hank Hanegraaff

Kennedy goes on visitation to the home of someone who visited his church; he introduces himself, gives his church name, and introduces his two companions, a woman and a man (EE, 24).

Hank goes on visitation to the home of someone who visited his church; he introduces himself and his two companions (a woman and a man), and gives his church name (PWT, 3).

Kennedy breaks the ice by noticing a painting (24). “We will… search the room for some indication of his interest. A… painting… trophies…” (51).

“As we enter and are seated, we look for items of interest, perhaps a portrait, trophy, or an award.” (3)

“How did you happen to attend our church?” (25).

“Earl, how did you happen to visit our church?” (4)

“How did you like the service?” (25) “How did you enjoy the service?” (52)

“How did you enjoy the service?” (4)

“The people seemed so friendly and made us feel at home. The singing is just wonderful.” (25)

“The music was terrific and the people made us feel really welcome.” (4)

“You know, many people have mentioned to me that they sense something different about our church….” (26)

“Perhaps the reason you noticed something special about the service and the people at our church….” (4)

“Testimony” C either of the church, or a personal testimony (26).

“Testimony” C a personal testimony (4).

“They have hopes but they don’t know for sure that they would go to heaven…. How about you, Mrs. Tucker?” (26)

“…my relationship with God makes me sure that… I will live with Him in heaven forever. How about you Earl….” (4)

“Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven?” (26)

“Does your relationship with God make you sure you will go to heaven when you die?” (5)

“Why, I don’t think anyone can really know.” (26)

“Not really. I didn’t think anyone could be sure of that.” (5)

“I even learned that that was the reason the Bible was written… ‘that ye may know that ye have eternal life'” (26).

“That is precisely why the Bible was written. It was written so we would know how to… be sure that we will live with Him forever when we die” (5).

“Would you like for me to share with you how I made that discovery and how you can know it too?” “Yes, please do.” (27)

“May I share with you how I came to have this assurance and how you can have it as well?” “Please do.” (5)

“Before I get into it, let me ask you another question….” (27)

“Before I do that, I’d like to get your insight on one more question if I may.” (5)

“Suppose that you were to die tonight and stand before God and he were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ What would you say?” (27)

“I would be interested in what you think the entrance requirements for anyone to get into heaven are.” (59) “What would you say God’s requirements are for you to get into heaven?” (5)

“And I try to be as good as I know how.” (27)

“…I’ve tried to keep the Ten Commandments” (18). “Well, I suppose it takes living a good life, being a good person, helping those in need, keeping the ten commandments…” (5).

 

Just as the charge that Hank committed plagiarism of L&L and Roth was based on faulty assumptions, so too the charge that he plagiarized Kennedy. One such unwarranted assumption is that Hank is taking Kennedy’s material and “passing it off as his own,” as Alnor quoted On the Edge affirming. This assumption is false, and it could have been avoided if the right questions were asked: What kind of publication is PWT? Why was it written? Who was it written for?

Hank’s 2001 Letter to Kennedy
 

Hank himself addressed these questions along with other issues relevant to this document in a June 4, 2001 letter he wrote to D. James Kennedy. It is our understanding that over a five-year period Bowman, Ken Smith (an outspoken atheist), Ferraiuolo, and Alnor all approached Kennedy, seeking his support for their charge that Hank had plagiarized him. Kennedy did not always back them in this allegation, but in 2001, when Hank had criticized Kennedy on the Bible Answer Man for teaching the doctrine of Christian Astrology also known as the Gospel in the Stars, Kennedy retaliated by writing an open letter that accused Hank of plagiarizing him. I will present here the full part of Hank’s letter addressing the plagiarism charge and additional charges relevant to answering Alnor generally, and then I will add my own observations.

Dear Jim:

Just moments ago, Elliot Miller, editor-in-chief of the Christian Research Journal, informed me that you recently sent an open letter to one of our long-time donors making very serious and damaging accusations against me. These allegations amount to a serious case of slander.

In the past it has been my policy not to defend myself against such personal attacks. However, in this case I have been counseled by a number of respected Christian leaders who have a full grasp of the circumstances to write you this letter. I pray that it might be a catalyst for personal reconciliation.

….

Regarding your allegation of plagiarism, Jim, you know better! First, this is old news. To bring it up again because I rebutted your teaching on “biblical astrology” is beneath your dignity. In my summary memo to you October 31, 1995, I provided you and your publisher details and documentation as follows:

As discussed, I developed Personal Witness Training (PWT) while teaching two classes at Mt. Paran Church of God (around 1983). At the time, I was teaching a class titled “Your Memory and the Proverbs: Keys for Successful Daily Living” on Wednesday and Evangelism Explosion on Thursday. Many people attended both classes and were excited about how easily they were able to memorize Proverbs. They urged me to apply the same techniques in my teaching of E.E.

As you will recall, I demonstrated the memory techniques I developed for Evangelism Explosion to both you and principals at E.E. while serving as a consultant to your ministries. Although there was initial interest on your part and others to further explore the possibilities of making Evangelism Explosion inherently memorable, in the end it was decided that the broad use in circulation of E.E. materials would make any major modification prohibitive.

As time progressed, I conceived of a method for taking the basic biblical principles encapsulated in the E.E. presentation and associating them with the features of a person’s face and parts of their body. In this way, whenever you shared the gospel, you could use the features of the person with whom you’re communicating to remind you of all the essential points. To make the teaching process fun and easy, I developed a character named “Evangel, the Good News Bear.”

Evangel the Good News Bear is not the only feature of PWT that is markedly different from Evangelism Explosion. For example, the gospel presentation itself (see pages 5-10) is substantially different from the one you developed for Evangelism Explosion.

Although I initially used PWT as an outreach program at Mt. Paran Church of God, by and large I have used PWT and Evangel the Good News Bear during memory training sessions as an illustration of how someone can quickly and easily learn and communicate the good news of the gospel. While many churches and denominations have for years modified E.E. to their own uses (often without any credit or attribution), I have consistently supported and recommended Evangelism Explosion as an ongoing training program for use by local churches. Although I initially shared with you a prototype of the Personal Witness Training manual, the enclosed manual is substantially the same.

Furthermore, PWT is not some big deal. It has never even been given to a publisher. It has simply been used as my personal method of equipping committed Christians to share the gospel. Additionally, I self-published these training materials for my students at Mt. Paran Church of God in Atlanta. Later, at my own cost, I produced PWT manuals for others who wanted a personal study method for learning to share their faith. And as I have communicated to you personally and in writing (March 11, 1996):

I acknowledge you as the primary source and inspiration for Personal Witness Training; that PWT is a training manual and that training manuals by definition take proven concepts and demonstrate how to apply and use them; that I continually point people and churches to Evangelism Explosion, not only during memory training seminars (such as the one I did at CRPC), but also on other appropriate occasions; and that the uniqueness of Personal Witness Training lies not in its being an “original” presentation of the gospel (I don’t know of anyone who can improve on Jesus, Paul, or Peter’s methods recorded for us in Scripture), but because it takes the time-honored principles of evangelism exemplified in Evangelism Explosion and in a unique way shows how to memorize and apply those principles with confidence through an inherently memorable training process.

Finally, let me quote a portion of a letter sent to me on your behalf by your publisher March 1, 1996:

Thank you for your letter of several months ago, in which you explained the background of your relationship with James Kennedy and the reasons for the perceived similarities between his book Evangelism Explosion and your Personal Witness Training manual. Based on the information now in hand, I am satisfied that no harm has been done to Dr. Kennedy, to Evangelism Explosion, or to Tyndale House Publishers.

Ironically, while the letter goes on to state that you told Tyndale House that you were “not interested in pursuing the issue,” the most recent letter you are circulating is but one that has been brought to my attention. (For example, your slanderous correspondence last year with a well-known skeptic is also posted on the Web.) Jim, I have never retaliated. Nor have I attempted to defend myself. In fact, to the present I continue to urge churches to adopt E.E. as their evangelism program. No one knows that better than Walter Martin’s brother-in-law, Everett Jacobson, who has continued on CRI’s board for almost 40 years and has been an E.E. teacher/trainer for as long as I have known him.

To now suggest that you do not want to sue me because you “did not think that is what a Christian ought to do” and then to proceed to defame me is at best disingenuous. Do you think slander is more noble than suing?

Which leads me to the next piece of misinformation you are presently circulating—namely that I plagiarized Walter Martin’s materials. Jim, I would humbly ask you to immediately come up with the goods or send me an unqualified apology. Let me quote Elliot Miller, who was Walter Martin’s most senior and trusted editor and researcher during the entire decade of the 1980s:

Regarding Hank plagiarizing Walter Martin, is this another one of those allegations against Hank that Dr. Kennedy in his open letter says that he doesn’t have the time to research, but still feels free to make public? I worked directly under Walter for 13 years, nine of which I served as his chief editor. Along with Gretchen Passantino, I personally wrote, edited, or contributed to most of the written material that bore his name during those years. What I didn’t personally contribute to I was intimately familiar with. It has never once crossed my mind that Hank has ever plagiarized Walter. What specific documents is Dr. Kennedy referring to? I watch Hank laboring over his numerous books and articles and he writes every single word. He has people helping him with research and editing, but if he is anything—to a fault (since he is such a perfectionist)—he is an original writer.

Furthermore, contrary to the hearsay you are circulating, I became the leader of CRI several months before Walter died. This is a matter of record (board minutes, tapes from Walter Martin’s Sunday school classes, memoranda and notes from staff meetings, etc.). In the months before his death he finally “washed his hands” of the day-to-day leadership. While retaining a titular presidency he handed the direction of the ministry over to me as executive vice-president. That’s why when Walter died there was no question as to who was in charge. As our board minutes clearly record, Walter Martin’s full board (with me abstaining) unanimously voted me in as president.

Finally, what has caused you to suddenly make an issue of this after all these years? And why have you suddenly stepped up your campaign of disseminating misinformation by circulating your most recent letter? Could it have anything to do with my critique of your “biblical astrology” as well as your fundraising efforts on behalf of TBN? On July 27, 1992, you wrote,

I am quite enthusiastic about Hank Hanegraaff and his ministry at the Christian Research Institute. Having known him since his conversion here at Coral Ridge Church, and having watched his remarkable growth in grace and knowledge to his present stature as an international Christian leader, I am tremendously impressed by what the Lord has done in him, and is doing through him. He is a worthy successor to the ministry begun by Dr. Walter Martin and I thank God for him and CRI.

Like you, Walter’s widow, Darlene Martin, was once one of my most ardent supporters. She asked me to conduct both the private funeral service as well as the public memorial service for Walter—hardly something you would ask of someone who had obtained his position “by methods that were less than ethical.” At the memorial service, Darlene herself made it clear that Walter had chosen me to lead CRI into the future:

Walt and I talked often about who would take over for him at CRI if the Lord ever were to take him home. Since last October, Walter asked Hank Hanegraaff to work with him and to be that man. Little did we know that it would come this soon. But Hank is the man that Walter wanted to lead CRI and I am eternally grateful to this man for the uplifting that he has done for me in these past few days, and he is a godsend and I am so grateful for him, and for his family who are here. And I know that the Lord is going to bless CRI, and in continuing the ministry is going to flourish under his direction. And I just thank the Lord for him.

Our research staff recently apprized me of the fact that some of those who are committed to undermine me and the ministry of CRI have sought to dismiss Darlene’s remarks by suggesting that on her way up to the podium Darlene was handed a script of what to say. This conspiratorial notion is soundly refuted by the video of the memorial service and is not particularly flattering to Darlene. It’s one thing to suggest that Darlene was deceived at her husband’s funeral; it is another to suggest that she would go along with the deception for the next seven years as a member of CRI’s board of directors. For example, on June 7, 1994 she wrote,

How very grateful I am to the Lord for you!

It was no coincidence the day you met Walter Martin; the day you took the number two position at CRI; the day you said, “yes” and became a member of the Board of Directors of CRI! All of this was according to God’s plan for you and CRI. You were there when Walt went home to be with the Lord. You were there when the board called you to be the president of CRI—again, a part of God’s plan.

Darlene (letter enclosed) goes on to rejoice in the fact that “the Bible Answer Man show has reached unprecedented heights and continues to be a beacon for the truth of the Gospel and listeners questions are being answered and people are being brought to the Lord.” Obviously Darlene has had a change of heart since she wrote this and numerous other warm and supportive letters. While I cannot and would not disclose privileged board information in this forum, it is a matter of public record that the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) prohibits any officer, director, or principal of a member organization from receiving royalties for materials sold through the organization. Our commitment to follow this standard set into motion Darlene’s falling out in her relationship with us.

Let me conclude with a word about your innuendos regarding my qualifications. I may not have written “almost 50 books” as you claim for yourself, but I actually wrote every one of my books. Further, my work in radio should speak for itself. Every day, Monday through Friday, I answer questions live on virtually every possible challenging topic for a weekly audience of over 6.3 million. And the response from listeners whose lives are changed is simply overwhelming. I have watched my life and doctrine closely and am persevering. I am the father of eight children who all love the Lord. I have never claimed to be anything other than a layman that God has condescended to use. As I encourage my radio listeners over and over, anything I can do you can do and most of you can do better.

In summary, I have bared my soul in this letter to document what I have already told you in person. As I said at the outset it is my sincere desire that God might use this letter as a catalyst for reconciliation. I do want to make it clear, however, that I am no longer going to sit back and allow you to slander me to our donors and the public. Theological differences are one thing. These false accusations are quite another.

Sincerely,

Hank Hanegraaff
President

1 Timothy 4:11–16

 

It almost seems superfluous to add further commentary to what Hank said so well in this impassioned letter to Kennedy. Of course, nothing that Hank said or I can add will change the minds of those who are unwilling to have their minds changed. Alnor responded to Hank’s letter, which Gretchen Passantino obtained permission from Hank to put up on her Web site[48] along with her own response to Kennedy’s letter,[49] by commenting: “Hanegraaff’s response did not deal with lifting a single duplicated line or paragraph he appropriated from Kennedy and he never responded at all to lifting his memory materials from others.”[50] Did Alnor really read Hank’s letter? The whole section addressing PWT was a reply to the charge that he plagiarized Kennedy and explained the reasons for the similarities between E.E. and PWT.

As for Hank’s not responding to Kennedy regarding allegations that Hank plagiarized others besides Kennedy, that was because Hank was replying to Kennedy’s open letter and Kennedy never made that particular allegation. Considering all the space I devoted above to answering the allegations that Hank plagiarized others besides Kennedy, Alnor should finally be satisfied; except, if the past is any indication, he will dismiss my response out of hand because I am on CRI’s payroll.[51]

Hank’s Acknowledgment of Kennedy
 

With Hank’s letter to Kennedy fresh in our minds, let’s return to the questions that get right to the point of whether Hank plagiarized Kennedy. First of all, did Hank claim, or even imply, that the material he used from Kennedy was his own creation? Such a claim, as we’ve seen, would constitute plagiarism. In his letter to Kennedy above Hank mentions the acknowledgment he gave to Kennedy in PWT. That acknowledgment, which was published before anyone accused Hank of plagiarizing Kennedy, reads in full:

Acknowledgment
 

A Special Thanks…. [ellipses in original]

I take this opportunity to express my indebtedness to Dr. D. James Kennedy.

It was a direct result of his ministry that I came to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior; it was through the church he founded that I was discipled; and it was from those he prepared that I learned how to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ.

Not only have I grown as a result of his personal example, but also by reading his books and memorizing many of his lectures. Most of all it was from him that I caught the vision for how my life can be used to extend God’s kingdom.

Although Dr. Kennedy is well known as a Christian statesman, to me he is best characterized as a man with a heart for God. It is my prayer that this program will be used by God to complement his vision.[52]

Alnor writes that “Bowman found things very wrong with this [acknowledgment]: [quoting Bowman] ‘However, nothing is said here or anywhere else in PWT about any dependence of that book on Kennedy’s EE. The fact that Kennedy is given such glowing thanks only makes matters worse, because it now makes it impossible to excuse Hank’s failure to mention EE as an oversight.’” I have read this statement by Bowman literally dozens of times and I still cannot find the logic in it. How is it better to not mention both Kennedy and E.E. than to acknowledge Kennedy but not E.E.? Not only is Kennedy acknowledged but the manner in which he is acknowledged implicitly but clearly acknowledges E.E., as both the quotation indented immediately above and the next indented quote below make clear. And if it were conceivable that Hank could overlook mentioning both Kennedy and E.E., why should it be inconceivable that he could overlook one but not the other? People overlook things in part as well as in whole all the time. To cite a familiar example (at least to me and perhaps to you as well), sometimes I completely forget to bring a shopping list to the market; other times I remember the list but I overlook a couple items on it (to my wife’s dismay when I return home!).

An extremely cynical and reaching interpretation would be that Hank mentioned Kennedy to try to escape the charge of plagiarism but didn’t mention E.E. because he was nonetheless trying to pass the material off as his own. A more charitable and reasonable interpretation would be that he acknowledged Kennedy because he was trying to give credit where credit was due, but it did not occur to him that mentioning E.E. by name would be a further way to do that, and it would also preclude some charges of plagiarism.

As an editor, I would have advised Hank to acknowledge E.E. explicitly. The more explicit authors are about their sources, the better. But it needs to be remembered that when he published PWT Hank was inexperienced as an author, had no professional editorial input, and was merely attempting to further the work of evangelism. When I was a young Christian I too put together evangelistic and teaching materials without properly crediting all my sources. Credit and the concerns of professional publishing were the furthest things from my mind—all I was thinking about was reaching the lost and building up the church! Although I now have three decades in professional publishing under my belt and am personally meticulous about crediting sources, I still have a hard time understanding this concern about “plagiarism” and personal ownership of ideas where the preaching of the gospel is concerned.

As much as I respect Kennedy, I believe he erred by allowing Ferraiuolo et al. to provoke in him a sense of personal violation over PWT, and I’m not alone in this.[53] First, PWT was written by one of his own disciples whom he trained in evangelism. Isn’t there a joy to be found in seeing one of your own disciples using what you taught him, showing ingenuity in the way he does it, and bearing fruit? Indeed, might he not have been offended if that disciple used some other approach? As someone who “plagiarized” Walter Martin as a twenty-one year-old Christian witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses in homes and Kingdom Halls and teaching other young Christians about the cults, I can assure you that when Walter heard about it some years later he couldn’t have been more delighted.

Second, Hank did acknowledge his teacher glowingly for being the singular influence in his spiritual life and evangelistic approach.

Third, Hank’s incorporation of E.E. material into PWT wasn’t news to Kennedy, even if it seemed that way to Ferraiuolo et al. when they brought it to Kennedy’s attention. Not only did Kennedy ask Hank to create an inherently memorable version of E.E. before deciding against it because E.E. was too well established in different translations internationally to be changed, but Hank also sent him prototypes of PWT as he was developing it. In the mid ‘80s Kennedy even had Hank teach an early version of PWT to his congregants at Coral Ridge. Indeed, Kennedy valued Hank’s contribution so greatly that at the same time that Hank was considering Walter Martin’s offer to become the CEO at CRI he was also considering an offer from Kennedy to become the CEO of the Evangelism Explosion organization.

Finally, all we’re talking about here is a training manual to help people win souls (which brings us to the important question mentioned above, “What kind of publication is PWT?”). A training manual is not the place to unfold new ideas but rather to lay out step-by-step proven methods for doing something effectively. That is precisely what Hank created with PWT in a manner that far exceeds anything that can be found in E.E. While E.E. is almost entirely written in standard paragraph form with fully developed prose, PWT is largely written in outline form with blanks for the student to fill in at every point. This, in addition to its frequent mnemonic illustrations and exercises, puts PWT in a different literary category than E.E.: it is properly a workbook. E.E. has the same practical purpose as PWT (preparing Christians to win souls), but it does so in a different way. It is more properly a study book.

Not only does Hank formally acknowledge his indebtedness to Kennedy on p. iii of PWT, explicitly stating that he learned how to evangelize from people trained by Kennedy and that he had read his books (which would, of course, include E.E.) and memorized many of his lectures, but on p. x, under the heading “The Birth of a Vision,” Hank further writes:

On a wet, windy, January day in 1979 three people from a church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, knocked on my door. The contact came at a time when I had very little interest in spiritual matters, yet, this visit marked the beginning of a whole new life for me.

….

After my conversion, I was integrated into vital church membership and began to grow in my faith. It was there that I learned how to become an effective witness for Christ and how to train others to do so as well.

Since that time, sharing my faith and training others to communicate the Gospel and to answer objections to the historic Christian faith has become a lifestyle. As I grew in my faith, I developed a tremendous hunger to know God’s Word. I not only wanted to get into the Word but I wanted the blessing of getting the Word into my heart.

Unfortunately, I did not know how to go about memorizing the Bible with retention.

My attempts to memorize the scriptures by rote ended in constant frustration. This frustration led me into a study of mnemonics (the science of memory). I began to assimilate and apply memory systems that have been used with great success throughout the centuries, as well as the most current discoveries in memory training.

As the application of these techniques bore fruit in my life, I was asked to show others how they could learn to use the marvelous abilities that God has blessed us all with to remember His Word. This led to conducting memory seminars for churches, schools, and other organizations in the United States and abroad.[54]

This quotation provides a further answer to the question, “Was Hank attempting to convey that the evangelistic approach in PWT was entirely or even predominantly his own creation?” (And please note that Hank also explicitly acknowledged that he did not create the mnemonic systems he used but drew on sources both old and new. It seems that Ferraiuolo and Alnor missed this reference as well!) With his acknowledgement of Kennedy as his pastor and the one responsible for his conversion, spiritual growth, and training in evangelism just seven pages prior, there could be no doubt what church in Fort Lauderdale sent those three people to Hank’s home to share the gospel with him; nor could there be any doubt as to where he was integrated into vital church membership, began to grow in his faith, and learned how to become an effective witness for Christ and how to train others to do so as well. What other church could he be referencing besides Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and what other evangelistic program do they use besides Evangelism Explosion? Whether he specifically referenced E.E. or not, E.E. clearly was the gospel presentation that he originally embraced, was trained to use, and trained others to use. It does not take an astute literary critic or a trained logician to catch the drift.

Conceived in the Womb of E.E.
 

Nor was it a great act of investigative journalism or first-rate primary research to establish a connection between E.E. and PWT. When I first heard Hank present PWT I immediately thought, “Oh, he’s coming from an E.E. background.” But did I think he was plagiarizing E.E.? Of course not! E.E. was the gospel presentation that Hank knew. It provided the context and atmosphere in which he was converted, discipled, and came to thrive spiritually. Someone spiritually reared in the environment of Coral Ridge or any other of the thousands of churches that use E.E. worldwide could be excused if he barely realized there was any other way to present the gospel. If someone in Campus Crusade were to develop an inherently memorable (mnemonics-based) presentation of the gospel would we expect it to be a different presentation than the Four Spiritual Laws? Would anyone accuse that person of plagiarizing Bill Bright or trying to pass off Bright’s ideas as his own? Not likely, unless the name of the person being accused was Hank Hanegraaff.

The point of all this is that PWT was conceived in the womb of E.E. The similarities between E.E. and PWT are not a matter of “lifting lines” as Alnor put it, as though Hank had a copy of E.E. open next to his typewriter and then cleverly altered a word here or a phrase there to make it look different. Rather, as a practitioner and trainer of E.E. he had not only internalized it but, using mnemonics, he had committed it to memory. Because PWT was originally based in E.E., elements of E.E. show up frequently, but Hank also infused it with mnemonics, added numerous original elements, and adapted even those elements inspired by E.E. to his own characteristically innovative approach. Bowman’s chart is misleading in the same manner that Alnor’s chart comparing Hank and L&L is, in that it puts whatever elements that are similar side by side without showing the vast differences.

The inherently memorable format in which Hank packaged the gospel presentation in PWT was his own creation and provided a strong justification for creating the material. (This answers the question, “Why was PWT created?”) This was the way he did evangelism and it was so effective that it naturally generated an interest and demand for him to teach it to others.

As Hank explained to Kennedy, PWT was created when people to whom he was teaching E.E. one night a week and Bible memorization another night asked him to make E.E. inherently memorable in a manner similar to what he had done with the Bible (which addresses the question, “Who was PWT written for?”). Does Alnor really expect us to believe that these people thought Hank created the E.E. material he was now teaching in a memorable format? Does he expect us to believe that Hank was trying to make them think that? Alnor and the others who take his view need to credit Hank, his students, and, for that matter, you and me, with a little more intelligence!

An Agenda-Driven Allegation
 

Let’s get one thing straight. It is a verifiable fact that these plagiarism allegations have been made by people who already had an agenda to discredit Hank before they came upon the plagiarism angle, whether Ferraiuolo, Bowman, or Alnor. The allegations need to be put in a lot of context. At the time they were made an opinion held by many of the people who were unhappy with Hank’s placement in the presidency of CRI was that he was unqualified to take the place of Walter Martin (see appendix D). He had assumed that position with no formal theological or apologetics training and no publishing history other than a few self-published books on evangelism and memory training. When Hank began to write material such as Christianity in Crisis that would seem to contradict that low opinion of him, it was alleged by some members of the Group for CRI Accountability that Hank’s materials were ghostwritten. The plagiarism charge was another attempt to discredit Hank’s claim to the leadership of CRI. Even when he writes he’s incapable of producing anything original, so the theory went.

Despite his tendency to throw everything at Hank but the kitchen sink, I was amazed to discover that Alnor continues to suggest that Hank’s books are ghostwritten.[55] Back in the early ‘90s such an opinion might have seemed credible but by the mid ‘90s it was already discredited and over a decade later it is nothing short of ludicrous. Anyone who has worked at all closely to Hank over the past fifteen years knows that he has no ghostwriter. Stephen Ross, Hank’s primary (and usually only) research assistant for well over a decade, does exactly that: he helps him with research. He also provides a sounding board as Hank thinks through the positions and arguments he develops in his books. He also edits (or tries to edit!) drafts of Hank’s chapters. Ultimately, however, Hank is too much of a perfectionist to be pleased with anyone else’s prose. As Hank quoted me stating in his letter to Kennedy, he writes virtually every word that bears his name, and that’s much more than could have been said for D. James Kennedy or Walter Martin, men he allegedly plagiarized, and many (perhaps most) other leaders of high-profile Christian churches and ministries. They’re often too busy to do much of their own writing even if they are capable writers.

The claim that Hank used ghostwriters to write any of his books is wishful thinking on the part of his detractors. I challenge them to name who this ghost writer is. I’ve never seen any evidence of such a ghostwriter whatsoever throughout the writing of Hank’s books, but I have repeatedly seen Hank hunched over his computer as he slaved over each of them, and he shared chapters from each with me as they were written.

It is not necessary, however, to take my word for it—just read the books! Hank is such a compulsive wordsmith that his inimitable, “inherently memorable” style is etched on every page of every one of his books, and that style is so consistent with the personality that emerges nationwide on the radio five hours a week that it would be hard to find an author whose authentic prose would be easier to identify. In the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the persistence of this ghostwriter allegation is truly a fascinating example of how a stubborn malevolent bias can beget a stupefying mental blindness. The people who cling to this ghostwriter/plagiarist characterization of Hank are chasing after the distant echo of a rumor that was long ago discredited. Whether they like Hank’s literary style or not, his credentials as an original writer have been established for so long as to make their campaign an exercise in absurdity.

Hank does not fit the profile of a plagiarist or someone who needs a ghost writer in any way. The profile he does fit is of someone who is trying to produce the most effective, user-friendly approach to understanding, sharing, and defending biblical truth that he possibly can. Even when he is using proven methods that were developed by others he is not content simply to repeat them. He is always seeking to improve on them. When I go to the primary source materials used in the charts of Hank’s alleged plagiarism of other authors’ materials I am unfailingly struck, not by the duplication of material I was told to expect, but rather by how much of it is different. In the case of E.E. and PWT, while the two programs run parallel tracks at various points their trajectories diverge much more often than they converge. A quick way to demonstrate this is to compare E.E.’s table of contents with PWT’s (see appendix C).

Even when the topical arrangements of the two books run parallel, the manner in which those topics are developed is often quite different. The following example is typical and is selected only because of its brevity:

Evangelism Explosion

c. God

1. Is merciful—therefore, He does not want to punish us

The Bible says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). We know that God is merciful and loving, gracious and kind, but the same Bible says that the same God is also just and holy and righteous.

2. Is just—therefore, He must punish sin

The Bible says that He “will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7). Of course, we know that the Bible teaches that God is loving and merciful and gracious. He doesn’t want to punish us. He must deal with sin, but He doesn’t want to punish us because He loves us. Now what is the answer to this dilemma?

God, in His infinite wisdom, devised a solution. God solved the problem in the person of Jesus Christ.[56]

Personal Witness Training

God

Perfect Father. We all have earthly fathers, but no matter how good (or bad) none are perfect. God, however is the Perfect Father. He wants to have an intimate, personal relationship with us. He tells us in His Word, I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). God loves us so much that He wants a relationship with us regardless of our sin. However, the same Bible that tells us that God loves us also tells us that God is the…

Perfect Judge and as a judge He is absolutely just, righteous and holy. The Bible says of God, Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong (Habakkuk 1:13).

 

Herein lies the dilemma. On the one had, we see that God is the Perfect Father. He loves us and wants to have a personal relationship with us. On the other, we see that He is the Perfect Judge whose very nature is too pure to tolerate our sin.

 

[Hank proceeds to tell the story of how the son of a California judge known to punish offenders to the full extent of the law was brought before him for DUI and other offenses. As a righteous judge, he gave his son the maximum penalty of $5,000. As a loving father, he took off his robes and paid the penalty himself that his son could not pay.]

 

BRIDGE And that’s a glimpse of what God did for us through Jesus Christ.[57]

 

 

As he does with all such expositions on the gospel, Hank follows this section up later in the manual (pp. 63–66) with a section that has key words and cartoons along with fill-in-the-blank statements to help ensure that the student will be able to remember and confidently present the material in a witnessing situation. Again, what separates PWT from E.E. most significantly is its infusion of mnemonics with training in evangelism and apologetics.

PWT has been shelved since the mid ‘90s. I assume this is because Hank concluded that the controversy generated by the plagiarism and inurement (see appendix D) charges, though unfounded, was deflective to the mission of CRI. This is a tragic outcome because, in my judgment, PWT remains a very valuable tool in equipping Christians to fulfill their highest calling: the Great Commission.

To sum up, Hank’s self-published evangelistic and memory manuals that he wrote in the early and mid ‘80s when he was a zealous young Christian have tremendous value and it is a shame that they are no longer in circulation. If Hank would have specifically referenced his indebtedness to L&L (as they did not do with Roth and Roth did not do with Berol) and E.E. by name (although he did acknowledge Kennedy), he might have satisfied Alnor, Bowman, and Ferraiuolo,[58] but a strong case has been made that these omissions do not constitute plagiarism by the definitions quoted above. Even if you disagree, to hold these youthful omissions forever against him is extremely uncharitable, given the mitigating context that has now been supplied. To accuse him of “extensive, repeat plagiarism,” as Alnor does,[59] is more than uncharitable—it flies in the face of the facts. None of the professionally published books that Hank has produced since he came into his own at CRI remotely approach even the broadest definitions of plagiarism. No matter what context, evidence, and explanation is supplied I sadly expect Alnor and some of the other public detractors of CRI to continue labeling Hank a plagiarist (they’ll reason that they’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of using this epithet against Hank and they’re sticking with it!), but I trust most Christians will be more reasonable and charitable than that.

Qualified to Lead
 

As to Hank’s qualifications to lead an apologetics ministry, that may have seemed like a vital question eighteen years ago but the answer has been plain for all to see for quite some time. Hank has for the better part of two decades now been daily taking questions on every conceivable biblical, theological, and apologetics subject and handling challenges from cultists, occultists, and skeptics with a skill, grace, and authority worthy of the president of the Christian Research Institute. I’ve been working at CRI for thirty-two years and I’m no slouch at fielding such questions and challenges myself, but I know of no one besides Walter who could do it as well as Hank, and that includes everyone else who has ever worked at CRI. This is not just my opinion: Hank’s deftness at answering questions and challenges on the spot has become nothing short of legendary among many Christians across the denominational spectrum.

As far as writing is concerned, all of Hank’s books are consistent with the mission of CRI. First, he makes his books eminently accessible to the lay reader without compromising sound scholarship and biblical fidelity on topics such as the resurrection, evolution, and answering difficult Bible questions. (Indeed, Hank has won the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Gold Medallion award for his books Christianity in Crisis and Resurrection and their Silver Medallion award for his books Counterfeit Revival and The FACE That Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution.) Second, Hank has demonstrated almost an unerring instinct to find what may be termed the classic CRI position on any given topic that comes along; that is, since its inception CRI has had a reputation for taking positions that are balanced but not compromising, orthodox but not sectarian, biblically faithful but not legalistic, scholarly but not pedantic, and so on, and it’s in these middle places that Hank consistently comes down on issues. Finally, time after time Hank has taken by the horns errors and excesses that were spreading like wildfire in the body of Christ and turned them into opportunities to promote paradigm shifts in Christian thinking toward a more biblical world view and spirituality.

For example, Hank’s 1993 book Christianity in Crisis (C in C) is widely regarded as the definitive book on the word of faith movement. In it he promoted a paradigm shift away from the five flaws of the Word of Faith movement to the five basics of biblical Christianity. C in C’s mega-best-seller status and the thousands of testimonies that have come into CRI over the past fifteen years clearly indicate that the book made a significant impact on the body of Christ.

Although controversial in some (mainly charismatic) circles, Hank’s Counterfeit Revival is regarded by many as the definitive work on the laughing revival/Toronto Blessing. Hank called Christians to turn from a fascination with the works of the flesh involving false teachers, false doctrine, and false signs and wonders so that they could embrace the works of the Sprit involving genuine worship, genuine oneness, and genuine witness.

Hank’s 1999 book The Millennium Bug Debugged spoke a word of well-founded calm to the body of Christ at a time when many other respected Christian leaders were fueling the fires of unfounded fear and millennial madness. Hank took a bold stand that Y2K would not result in a social meltdown and, when his position was vindicated on January 1, 2000, it drove home the importance of Christians avoiding the snares of sloppy and sensational journalism and adhering to Scripture, the available facts, and sound reason.

His 2001 book The Prayer of Jesus turned the disturbing popularity of The Prayer of Jabez into an opportunity to promote a solid, biblically based understanding and practice of prayer. As someone who has read and taught about prayer for well over three decades, I consider this one of the best books on the subject.

Hank’s 2002 book The Covering likewise presented a thoroughly biblical approach to the important topic of spiritual warfare while exposing the unbiblical approaches that were glutting Christian book stores. As someone who has written extensively on spiritual warfare, I consider The Covering to be the best book on the subject bar none.

Finally, Hank’s 2007 book The Apocalypse Code packages a remarkable depth of scholarly research, exegetical skill, and theological insight in an eminently readable format. Hank brought me into his office to discuss these biblical views as he was thinking them through and also had me read the chapters of The Apocalypse Code as he completed them, and at first I was disturbed, then merely challenged, and finally won over by the undeniable foundation of his position in the biblical text. This book has thus evoked a paradigm shift for me and opened up a whole new dimension of further biblical inquiry. Only the best scholars have ever been able to affect me in such a way. Whether you agree with Hank’s conclusions or not, he has given the church at large much-needed food for thought at a time when questionable eschatological views and hermeneutical methods are not only affecting the church’s witness to the world but are also spilling over into American political decisions and foreign policy.

Hank’s proclivity to respond to every theological and practical crisis, compromise, and confusion that develops in the body of Christ as an opportunity to promote a biblical worldview and genuine reformation is proof positive of his vision and leadership abilities and strong confirmation of Walter’s wisdom in selecting him as his successor. To suggest, as Jill Rische does,[60] that her father was fooled by Hank is no more an insult to Hank than it is to her father’s diligence, foresight, wisdom, and leading by the Holy Spirit in selecting a man for such an all-important task. The available record unequivocally confirms that Walter’s choice of Hank was prayerful and painstakingly researched (see appendix A), and subsequent history has confirmed Walter’s wisdom: Hank is a memory expert, a highly effective evangelist, a visionary leader, and a man of God who persists in his calling despite opposition so relentless and vicious that almost anyone else (besides Walter) would have hung it up a long time ago and retreated to a more hospitable environment.

After fifteen years of Hank’s daily hosting the Bible Answer Man and the creation of such an impressive body of work it is astounding that we still need to have this discussion about his qualifications. Again, it is a testimony to the blindness that can set up in people’s minds once they uncritically allow someone else’s biases to become their own.

What is tragic is that while some people have had an axe to grind that explains their bias, other people originally had no axe to grind, were supporters of Hank and CRI, but allowed themselves to become unduly influenced by the harsh judgmentalism and agendas of the former people. If that describes you, we are encouraged that you have at least taken the time to investigate CRI’s side of the story by reading this book. We only ask that you reflect on and pray about what you have read and then think and do as God would lead you.


[1] William Alnor, Ph.D, “With a Little Help from His (Paid) Friends” (editorial), The Christian Sentinel, August 2004, http://www.cultlink.com/plagiarism/plaglies.htm [http://web.archive.org/web/20081204110743/http://www.cultlink.com/plagiarism/plaglies.htm].

[2] William M. Alnor, “More Details on the Plagiarism of Christian Research Institute President Hank Hanegraaff,” 2004, 1–4, http://www.cultlink.com/plagiarism/Hankplag.doc [http://web.archive.org/web/20071005021500/http://www.cultlink.com/plagiarism/Hankplag.doc].

[3] Ibid., 5–6.

[4] Ibid., 7.

[5] See http://www.cultlink.com/plagiarism/plgpjt.htm [http://web.archive.org/web/20090221050329/http://cultlink.com/plagiarism/plgpjt.htm].

[6] See, e.g., http://www.cultlink.com/news/apr_2003_sentinel_eupdate.htm [http://web.archive.org/web/20090221185022/http://cultlink.com/news/apr_2003_sentinel_eupdate.htm].

[7] As cited in “What Is Plagiarism?” Plagiarism.org, http://www.plagiarism.org/learning_center/what_is_plagiarism.html [http://plagiarism.org/plagiarism-101/what-is-plagiarism].

[8] Ibid. It is admittedly debatable whether this fifth definition can be applied to Alnor’s use of Ferraiuolo’s research here. On the one hand, Alnor’s larger “work” is his dissertation, in which his section on Hank is only one of several chapters. On the other hand, he has made that section available as a stand-alone document, that section comprises the entirety of his “work” on Hank’s alleged plagiarism, and the chart itself could be considered a separate piece of work.

[9] Lorayne and Lucas, 107.

[10] Gunther Sardasian, “CRI Prez Fingered in Alleged Memory Course Plagiarism,” On the Edge, Nov. 1995, 2.

[11] Alnor, “More Details,” 5.

[12] Hank’s words that Alnor cites, “I trust that you will have as much fun mastering the concepts in this workbook as I have had developing it,” need to be looked at more carefully. Hank did not say he developed “them” (the concepts) but “it” (the workbook). Nonetheless, while there are many concepts in the workbook that he did not originally conceive, there are many others that he did.

[13] Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas, The Memory Book (New York: Stein and Day, 1974), 19. Lorayne does mention Roth once in the book as a famous memory expert that he knew personally, but he does not acknowledge his indebtedness to him. In fact, in the Genii Forum (at a Web site for illusionists), in response to a post that claimed “Harry Lorayne’s system is based on the system Roth used,” Harry Lorayne himself posted in reply, “Boy! Such knowledge, such research! I never, in any of my 12 books on the subject, taught hat, hen, ham [the first three code words that Roth used for the phonetic alphabet]… Sure, send them to David Roth, who was a friend, we corresponded often, and in his later years (he died at 96) he STARTED TO USE MY IDEAS” (emphasis in original). (Genii, the Conjurer’s Magazine, Forum, http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=33238.)

[14] Ibid., 20.

[15] From a July 25, 2008 e-mail to me.

[16] Bear in mind that Hank was completely inexperienced in publishing and his mnemonics books were self-published, which means he had no professional editors to advise him. More on this a little later.

[17] David M. Roth, Roth Memory Course, Lesson One (New York: Independent Corporation, 1918), 5–10.

[18] Lorayne and Lucas, chap. 2.

[19] See “Fix Facts in Mind by Hooks and Slips—Berol, Memory Man, Tells the Public How Not to Forget Names,” New York Times, October 19, 1913, http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=2&res=9407E6DB133FE633A2575AC1A9669D946296D6CF&oref=slogin&oref=slogin.

[20] Hank, like mnemonic writers before him, drew assorted peg words from various sources as he saw fit and then combined them with some of his own device to create a unique mix that he thought would best serve his students.

[21] For example, in their chapter on association, L&L introduce a concept called “Original Awareness,” which states that “anything of which you are originally aware cannot be forgotten.” This is clearly their own idea and if Hank had used that term or idea without attribution it might have been considered plagiarism, but it is not to be found in Hank’s work. (Lorayne and Lucas, 22.)

[22] For example, in his section on association Hank stresses, “The visual associations in this book are purposely unusual so that they will make an impression on your mind. The more unusual or out of the ordinary something is, the easier it is for us to remember it for long periods of time. Remember, the pictures in this book are merely tools designed to help us make conscious associations. Once this information is firmly rooted in our minds, the visual associations will no longer be necessary.” (Hendrik Hanegraaff, Memory: Your Key to a Rewarding Education [self-published, 1986], 7.)

[23] See, e.g., “Mnemonics,” WikiEd, http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Mnemonics [http://web.archive.org/web/20120604022134/http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Mnemonics].

[24] See, e.g., “Use Memory Devices” in “Test Taking Hints,” Student Academic Resource Center, University of Central Florida, http://sarc.sdes.ucf.edu/documents/learning_skills/test_taking/TTHINTS.pdf [http://web.archive.org/web/20100607135254/http://www.sarc.sdes.ucf.edu/documents/learning_skills/test_taking/TTHINTS.pdf].

[25] See, e.g., “English Mnemonics,” Wikiquote, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/English_mnemonics.

[26] See “Mnemonic major system,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mnemonic_major_system

[27] Alan Krill, “About the ‘Feinaiglers’ Who Developed the Number Alphabet,” Psuedonumerology, http://folk.ntnu.no/krill/home.htm.

[28] Ibid.

[29] David M. Roth, Roth Memory Course, Lesson Five (New York: Independent Corporation, 1918), 7.

[30] Hanegraaff, 41.

[31] Lorayne and Lucas, 107.

[32] Hanegraaff, 43.

[33] See “Fix Facts in Mind by Hooks and Slips.”

[34] See, e.g., David Roth, Roth Memory Course, Lesson Two ((New York: Independent Corporation, 1918), 9.

[35] Cited by Allan Krill in an e-mail to me, July 30, 2008.

[36] Felix Berol, One Hundred Good Stories and How to Remember Them (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1914), 15. I was unable to locate a copy of Berol’s primary work, The Berol System of Memory Training (1913), but in this follow-up book Berol used his one hundred code words as the basis for remembering his one hundred stories.

[37] Five of Lorayne’s first ten peg words were used in 1918 by Roth: tie, shoe, cow, ivy, and toes. (See Roth, Lesson One, 15, and David M. Roth, Roth Memory Course, Lesson Seven [New York: Independent Corporation, 1918], 48. Noah and law were used by Furst in 1944. (Cited by Krill in his July 30, 2008 e-mail to me.)

[38] See, e.g., “Peg System of Memory” in “The Art of Storytelling Part 1,” http://seductionlifestyle.wordpress.com/2008/07/07/the-art-of-storytelling-part-i/.

[39] Berol.

[40] Cf. Roth, Lesson Two, with Lorayne and Lucas, 124.

[41] Cf. ibid. with Hanegraaff, 66–75.

[42] Jerry Lucas, famous as one of the greatest college and professional basketball players of all time, is also a Christian and has used mnemonics to help Christians memorize the Bible. He and Hank were friends in the 1980s (with Lucas even living with the Hanegraaffs for a while) and the two memorized Scripture and conducted memory seminars together.

[43] August 2010 update: This also applies to evidence Alnor recently (August 4, 2010) presented in a paper at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) titled, “An Inquiry into the Alleged Plagiarism of a Former NBA All-Star.” In the paper Alnor presents eleven examples each from Jerry Lucas’s 1978 book, Ready, Set, Remember and Hank’s 1987 book, States and Capitals that he clearly thought would establish a charge of plagiarism against Hank. (Ironically, Alnor lifted these examples entirely from examples provided on YouTube [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC2f2zkNZpY] by former Bible Answer Man engineer turned agnostic and CRI adversary, Rolly DeVore. Once again, Alnor publicly accuses Hank of plagiarism without showing any evidence of interacting with the primary sources.) Interestingly, a panel of plagiarism experts that Alnor assembled did not confirm his opinion that Hank committed plagiarism. In the abstract of his paper, Alnor states, “The results were inconclusive as four respondents said no, three said yes, and three were not sure. This case shows the difficulties with detecting plagiarism using limited text and images.” Indeed! Nonetheless, when Alnor announced his presentation of the paper to apologists and countercult workers (the group of people he most wants to turn against Hank) he misrepresented the respondents who believed plagiarism was committed (the three out of ten previously mentioned) as “most” of the experts: “Most believe some plagiarism was committed, but there were special difficulties in this case that have to be considered.” (July 30, 2010 e-mail from William Alnor to AR-Talk titled “AEJMC paper on Jerry Lucas/Hanegraaff plagiarism.” To be fair, Alnor does provide a link to DeVore’s YouTube page here, but he does not indicate that this was the sole source of the research he provided the experts). As for the three experts who thought plagiarism occurred, I suspect if they were presented a copy of this chapter they would come to a different conclusion. DeVore’s examples, like those of Ferraiuolo before him, do not convey all the differences that actually are found in the two men’s work, and even the supposed examples of plagiarism show much originality on Hank’s part, with that which is similar being entirely explainable by the nature and limitations of the discipline the two men were working in.

[44] I realize the people who I say have an agenda can and will try to turn the tables on me and say it is transparent that the ones with an agenda are those who do not see evidence of plagiarism; however, I believe I’ve provided a good basis for my claim. I will let the objective and fairminded reader be the judge of which party in this debate has the evidence on its side.

[45] Alnor, “More Details,” 7–8.

[46] See Jill Martin Rische, “The CRI Connection,” Walter Martin’s Religious InfoNet, http://www.waltermartin.com/cri.html.

[47] I would rank the Risches next to Alnor as the most significant current detractors of Hank and CRI, and this fact is tragically ironic. There has always been a fierce opposition to CRI throughout its history. Those of us who believe in the importance of CRI’s mission and outreach can easily see the hand of the Enemy in this ongoing and fierce assault. When I first came to CRI I experienced firsthand what it is to be on the front lines of spiritual warfare, and I’ve been experiencing it ever since. I have never seen the leaders of any other ministry subjected to more brutal and ruthless ad hominem attacks than Walter Martin and Hank Hanegraaff. With the rise of the Internet people who desire more information about these men, whom I’ve known to be men of God, could easily come away believing them to be proven frauds and smarmy opportunists. The irony is that it is quite common on such Internet pages to find links to the Risches’ Hank-maligning material lined up right next to links to Walter-maligning material on pages devoted to maligning CRI in general! (see, e.g., http://www.shields-research.org/Critics/cri.html; http://www.ltn.net/T/Idioma/English/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Opposing_Views/Christianity/Apologetics/; and http://www.cooltoad.com/links/show.php?c=815486&PHPSESSID=4f. ) The tragedy is that some of the members of the Martin family have sought to appropriate for themselves Walter’s legacy at the expense of the ministry that clearly was the major focus and project of his life. This is what I have found so grievous. I know the stories behind people who have gone public against Hank. It almost invariably involves their own personal reasons unrelated to the Kingdom of God (whether career objectives, monetary considerations, resentment at being fired or laid off, or what have you—interlaced with their own faulty rationales about how publicly smearing Hank serves the Kingdom of God), and they allow these sentiments to dispose them uncritically to accept allegations against Hank without seeking fairly and objectively to understand both sides of the story. They seem to have no problem referring people to sources of allegations, such as the Brad Sparks lawsuit, that clearly are unrighteous and bogus (see appendix D). It seems that if someone makes allegations against Hank that person is fine by them, no questions asked; but anything Hank does or says is always interpreted in the most uncharitable and cynical light. As a result of all this, such people, who invariably say they are upholding the memory of Walter Martin, have unwittingly allowed themselves to become tools in a much larger, supernatural effort to destroy the crowning effort of Walter’s life and ministry: CRI—a ministry that, as we saw at the beginning of this document, is continuing to do the work and bear the fruit Walter envisioned for it. However, not all of the Martin family is in agreement with that effort. Walter’s former brother-in-law and lifelong closest confidante, Everett Jacobson, served on CRI’s board from its inception in 1960 until his death in June 2007, and his support for Hank was unwavering. Walter’s daughter Cindee and her husband, Rick Morgan, have also taken a strong stand in support of Hank. See appendix B.

[50] Alnor, “More Details,” 11.

[51] See Alnor, “With a Little Help from His (Paid) Friends,” in which he cites my status as a CRI employee and Gretchen Passantino’s past financial relationship with CRI to discredit our past defenses of Hank against the plagiarism charges. This kind of ad hominem argument (attacking the person so you don’t need to deal seriously with his or her arguments) has been typical of Alnor’s approach, and thus he has entire pages on his Web site attacking Passantino and her late husband Bob, Richard Abanes, and others who have spoken up in Hank’s defense. (Please note: this kind of fallacious and malicious approach is not how discernment ministry, apologetics ministry, or any kind of Christian ministry should be conducted!) For the record, Passantino has never been paid for anything she has said or written in Hank’s defense. She has not been on CRI’s payroll since the 1970s and has not performed any contract services for CRI for many years, and yet she remains just as vocal in defense of Hank, simply because of her longstanding commitment to truth and truth-telling in journalism. For my part, Alnor and others who have publicly suggested that I would not still be working for Hank had I not been corrupted have it exactly backwards: I would not still be working for CRI had I found any merit in the allegations that Hank is corrupt. This book-length document as well as the 1995 document Setting the Record Straight should be sufficient to show that my continued involvement with CRI stems from conviction based on an intimate grasp of the facts and not corruption resulting in a denial of the facts. I write these things not to vindicate myself, for I live for, serve, and am accountable to the Lord alone (1 Cor. 4:3–5), and the older I become the more I realize that His approval is all that matters. However, attacks against me are really not about me but are about Hank, and the continual onslaught against Hank amounts to nothing more or less than a continual onslaught against CRI, a ministry that I firmly believe God raised up and has continued to sustain for forty-eight years. CRI is making an impact for the Kingdom of God and could accomplish much more than it is, but it is significantly being hindered in accomplishing its purpose by the malicious and slanderous anti-CRI materials that are so readily accessible on the Internet. Tragically, most of this damage is being done not by cultists, occultists, heretics, or atheists but by people who claim to honor Walter Martin and passionately care about apologetics. It reminds me of Jesus’ prophecy to His disciples that “an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God” (John 16:2). These people are attempting to destroy a ministry of God in the name of God. To work at undoing the damage that they have proven so dedicated to doing is why I write this document.

[52] Hendrik Hanegraaff, Personal Witness Training: Your Handle on the Great Commission (self-published, 1987), iii.

[53] Under “Critics Might Say” MinistryWatch.com affirms, “Dr. Kennedy has made critical comments about an author who has drawn from Evangelism Explosion in order to develop other witnessing materials. Although every author has the right to protect his or her publications from (perceived) plagiarism, the context and wording of Kennedy’s comments reflect a prideful and vindictive spirit which ill-becomes the Gospel.” http://www.ministrywatch.com/mw2.1/F_SumRpt.asp?EIN=237068456.

[54] Ibid., x–xi.

[55] See, e.g., Alnor, “More Details,” 3 and n. 8. As proof of this Alnor cites a statement by Gretchen Passantino that she was an editorial consultant to Hank “’formally and informally as both editor and close friend.’” Passantino did provide formal editorial assistance to Hank in the ‘90s and continues to provide informal feedback to some of his manuscripts today. Every writer needs editing and most writers desire feedback from people whose opinions and critique they value. It shouldn’t need to be pointed out that editing and ghostwriting are two very different things. Anyone close to the situation knows that Passantino didn’t ghostwrite Hank’s books but Alnor, from a distance, sees what he wants to see and then publishes his unsubstantiated speculations apparently without a second thought about accuracy or the harm that a false allegation can do. (Please note this also: this is not the way any kind of journalism, let alone Christian journalism, should be done!)

[56] Ibid., 34.

[57] Hanegraaff, Personal Witness Training, 7–8.

[58] I say this facetiously, since it’s quite evident that Hank could do nothing to satisfy them short of resigning from CRI, and even then they might not be satisfied until he retired from public life.

[59] See Alnor, “CRI—Hanegraaff under Federal Mail Fraud Investigation?”

[60] See Rische. Jill Rische asks: “Was Hank the man of integrity that my father believed him to be, or did he come to CRI under false pretenses? If Walter Martin had been presented with all the evidence, would he have hired Hank?…He was impressed with Hank’s memory and what he considered to be the excellent memory course Memory Dynamics Hank claimed he developed. He was also interested in Hank’s Personal Witness Training—again, something he thought Hank developed.He told me he liked Hank and his work, and would be hiring him for fund-raising purposes, i.e., marketing.” As we’ve seen, Walter was not mistaken in believing that Hank developed both those books. Rische’s latter statement particularly impresses me with how out of touch she was with CRI at the time of her father’s death. She had been living out of state for many years and I never saw her at CRI during the thirteen years I worked for her father there (whereas three of the other Martin children, including Cindee Morgan, were on staff at CRI at various times). Although Hank’s fund-raising abilities were no doubt a factor in Walter’s hiring him, they were far from the only factor (see, e.g., appendix A). Anyone with an inside knowledge of what was going on at CRI during the first half of 1989 would have known this.

 

MENU