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Letter From Hank

Hank HanegraaffJanuary 2017

Dear CRI Partner:

No one who hasn’t slept through the last fifty years could fail to realize that a battle for truth is raging around us.

Some would understandably draw the conclusion that this is a collision of worldviews. Others would passionately contend that this is a civil war of values. And both would be right.

Yet much more fundamentally — at least for serious thinkers
the issue is what we can know versus what we believe.

Although the issue is at least as old as Plato’s distinction between episteme (what we know to be true) versus doxa (what we believe to be true), the real game changer for Christians has been a radical sea change in our broader cognitive environment.

More simply, for most of our history as North Americans, the largely unquestioned assumption was the obvious existence of God. In terms of a shared worldview and widely embraced Christian values, warm and gentle cognitive and cultural breezes were at our backs.

Yet several hundred years of acidic secular philosophy and the relentless advance of scientific materialism have changed those gentle breezes at our backs to an increasingly bitter wind chill that is “in your face.”

While even beginning to scratch the surface of issues of epistemology (what it means to know something and how we know that we know) are well beyond this letter, at least a definitional note from John Polkinghorne (theoretical physicist, theologian, and Anglican priest) is in order:

Episteme is the thing on which we stand (epi means ‘upon,’
and [hi]stanai means ‘to stand’), and epistemology is the search for such a foundation.”

The issue for Christians in the battles that rage around us, then, is not merely where we stand on different issues but, more fundamentally, on what we stand.

As someone for whom these epistemological issues are not novel, let me quickly admit that I’m an “epistemological pluralist.” Quite simply, I don’t uncritically embrace either the philosophically naïve “methodolatry” of scientism or the “Bible only” naïve authoritarianism that sadly still reigns in some Christian camps.

Thankfully, God in His wisdom and mercy did not make us one-dimensional. And any reliable grasp of truth is generally best achieved through “triangulation” — using multiple tools (facts, analysis, intuition, time-tested authorities, etc.) to gain a solid footing on the slippery slopes of certainty.

Yet as someone who has had to choose the “ground” on which I
stand as a Christian and apologist, I trust it will come as no surprise
that I’ve chosen to privilege God’s Word.

It is (and should be) for all Christians the “epistemological epicenter”
from which our worldview radiates.

That’s why I want to “hit the pause button” this month on the issues assaulting believers these days on multiple fronts, and offer two resources to deepen your immersion in, and understanding of, God’s Word.

The first is an audio version of THE WORD OF GOD. This brilliantly recorded audio New Testament is a deeply inspiring, spiritually and artistically rich production voiced by internationally renowned actors including Neil McDonough, Kristen Bell, Sean Astin, Michael York, Blair Underwood, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Brian Cox, Julia Ormond, John Rhys-Davies, and many more. It is a first-of-a-kind dramatized audio of the RSV translation.

In addition to the star-studded cast for the many voices of the New Testament, this dramatized recording includes an original music score and wonderful sound effects to make the Scriptures comes alive, helping listeners to feel that they’re personally witnessing the life-changing words and world-changing events of 2,000 years ago.

From Chicago to Hollywood to New York and beyond, over 70 actors and 20 audio engineers in 10 studios on 3 continents contributed to this production. More than 100 media development experts and 10,000 production hours were needed to complete this ambitious project!

In short, I think every Christian home would be enriched by THE WORD OF GOD, and I’m eager to send you a copy to say thanks for your support of CRI’s vital outreaches.

The second resource to help you deepen and enrich your understanding of God’s Word is my book, Has God Spoken? Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration.

Revisiting what for many in our postmodern world is the shaking ground and shifting sands of epistemology, Has God Spoken? is a powerful demonstration that God has indeed spoken, and His Word is trustworthy, true, and transformational!

As I note in the book,

Like a Rock of Gibraltar embedded in a sea of manuscript copies, the Bible is yet and forever will be an immovable bulwark fueling our faith and shattering the waves of skepticism and doubt. 

I posed the question on the envelope, “When it comes to taking a stand, how firm is your foundation?”

Well, as the gale force winds of secularism, scientism, and philosophical naturalism continue to shred the flimsy faith of many Christians ill-equipped to deal with these assaults, these two resources are rock-solid fortresses that will help weather the storm.

So please take just a moment to review these resources and make a generous gift to undergird CRI’s outreaches.

I’m confident you’ll want THE WORD OF GOD and/or Has God Spoken? for yourself or for a family member or friend, and I’m eager to add these to your library of resources. 

As CRI continues to equip believers at home and around the world to stand for “the faith once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 1:3), please know that we do so only because of your faithful support!

Because Life and Truth matter…


P.S. In choosing where to stand my ground in the midst of the culture wars raging about us, I’ll cast my vote with Martin Luther: “I am well-satisfied with the gift of the Holy Scriptures, which give me abundant instruction and all that I need to know for this life and for that which is to come.”

Please know that the difference you make in equipping others wake up, stand up, and speak up is “24/7” at home and around the globe. God bless you for the transformational tools you help to make available to so many!


More Questions and Answers with Hank

Paula White’s Fast Food Christianity and Q&A

Best of BAM: The Word of God with Carl Amari – Part 1

Responding to Evil Christianly and Q&A

The Book of Mormon and the Bible and Q&A

Countering Bart Ehrman and Q&A

The Importance of the Christian Research Journal and Q&A

Original Sin, the Qur’an, and Q&A

Best of BAM: The Primacy of Scripture

The Legacy of the English Bible and Q&A

The Word of God with Carl Amari – Part 1

Is Artificial Intelligence Taking Over? and Q&A

The Unending Bending of Gender and Q&A

The Primacy of Scripture

Best of BAM: The Abortion War and Q&A

Paul Copan Compilation and Q&A