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Letter From Hank

Hank HanegraaffApril 2016

Dear CRI Partner:

With somewhere in the vicinity of 41,000 Christian denominations around the world, what would you say is the most important kind of Christian?

Think about it.

While answers will no doubt vary with the convictions of individual Christians, let me share a personal conviction.

Given the state of the church and our nation, I’ll contend that the most important kind of Christian is the one who actually is making a positive difference.


Although my reasons are many, here’s a “bottom line” of sorts:

The health of our nation can’t be divorced from the health of the church any more than the health of a tree can be divorced from its roots.

And with the American church now in decline and the Christian worldview under increasing assault by hostile secularists and atheists, as followers of Christ, we’ll either take a stand and make a difference, or future generations will reap the bitter harvest of our apathy, indifference, and inaction.

As you know, CRI is committed to equipping Christians. Not only to think and live Christianly but also to do so effectively and winsomely. Especially at this pivotal point in the history of the church and our nation.

But frankly, millions of American Christians still appear to be asleep at the switch. And before they can make a difference, step #1 is waking up!

Consider just a few excerpts from The Great Evangelical Recession by John S. Dickerson:

Twenty-three of twenty-five major evangelical denominations are experiencing declining attendance patterns.

Christianity as we know it is receding. The evangelical recession offers us a window of opportunity, during which we can re-center Christ’s church on His mission. Wise leaders must be aware of what is changing, why it’s changing, and how to prepare.

“I believe this moment is unlike any other time in history. Its uniqueness demands an original response. If we fail to offer a different way forward, we risk losing entire generations to apathy and cynicism. Our friends will continue to drift away, meeting their need for spiritual transcendence through other forms of worship and communities of faith that may be less true but more authentic and appealing.” —Gabe Lyons

We’re losing millions of our own (evangelical) people—about 2.6 million per decade, just from one generation studied.

22% of 1,200 college and university professors surveyed held unfavorable feelings for Muslims. 53% held unfavorable feelings toward evangelical Christians.

While these forces eat at the evangelical church internally, the external climate is turning against evangelicals. The fastest growing subcultures in the United States express a militant antagonism against Christians who take the Bible seriously.

Frankly, I think The Great Evangelical Recession could be considered a “must-read” for thinking Christians in America today. It is a potent wake-up call while also providing a road map to genuine hope if we act concertedly to make a difference.

Responding to Atheists

It will likely come as no surprise that one of the reasons why the church is witnessing the defection of millions of young believers is the inability of most believers to stand their ground effectively and coherently against the philosophical and scientific arguments of the New Atheists.

What makes this doubly tragic is the fact that most of their arguments are lame! But while Christians know in their hearts the atheists are wrong, they can’t effectively respond with their heads in ways that weaken, if not demolish, these arguments against the existence of God.

Thankfully, Mitch Stokes has written a very timely and critical book, How to Be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough. Unlike many books that seek primarily to defend the Christian faith, Stokes effectively targets and erodes the very ground on which atheists stand by showing the inconsistencies in their most cherished beliefs.

In short, if they were as critical of their own stances as they are of believers (perhaps just another variant of seeing the speck in others’ eyes while missing the plank in their own), they would threaten the very foundations of atheism.

As I mentioned in my last letter, because our aim is to equip our ministry partners as well as the multitudes of people we reach with their support, each month we’ll be offering our ministry partners, radio listeners, and JOURNAL subscribers a choice of helpful resources from books to DVDs. I hope you’ll want to add some of these resources to your personal library, and I certainly encourage you to do so. There’s simply no substitute for being equipped when critical issues are raised, key apologetics questions are posed, and threats to the Christian faith are raised.

In some cases, you may want to choose the “double pass” option. You can simply “pass” on receiving these materials in order to “pass along” more of CRI’s resources to others, including desperately hungry and poorly resourced fellow believers in the Global South.

In the interest of providing timely, relevant, and well-researched resources for Christian change agents (aka agents of redemption and reconciliation), I’ve chosen two books that are valuable additions to any apologist’s toolkit.

You may wish to choose one or both of these key resources, or to opt for the “double pass.” Either way, your support today will strengthen and expand CRI’s vital outreaches to equip fellow believers to be faithful witnesses for Jesus Christ and effective apologists for orthodox biblical faith.

Whether your gift today is large or small, please know that your support is making a real difference as a war rages for the soul of our nation and the future of the church.

May God bless you powerfully for the lives your partnership helps to transform!

…because Life and Truth matter,


Host, Bible Answer Man Broadcast

P.S. It’s been said that no one but a fool would take a knife to a gunfight. Yet sadly, many Christians are simply outgunned when it comes to evidence and arguments that are essential to winning the postmodern mind. That’s why we’re continuing to build “The Apologist’s Arsenal.” Whether for you or for a friend or loved one, these resources are a strategic investment in the future!


More Questions and Answers with Hank

I Died, and Behold I am Alive Forevermore

Q&A: Lordship Salvation, Witnessing to Muslims, and the Sin Leading to Death

Responding to the Gay Rights Movement and Q&A

The Great Evangelical Recession with John Dickerson – Part 2

Holy Week and Q&A

Best of BAM: Q&A: Isaiah 65:20, The Millennium, and Soul Sleep

Q&A: False Teachers, Understanding Scripture, and the Problem of Evil

The Great Evangelical Recession with John Dickerson – Part 1

Headed Toward the Secularism of Europe and Q&A

The Cultural Free-fall and Q&A

The Most Important Kind of Christian, and Q&A

Best of BAM: Erased from Space and Consciousness with Gary Burge, and Q&A

No Tolerance for Religion and Q&A

Q&A: Isaiah 65:20, the Age of the Earth, and Sin in Heaven

Q&A: Christian Zionism, Tattoos, and Immortality