Hank Hanegraaff, the “Bible Answer Man” and President of the Christian Research Institute, was invited to speak to a group of college students in southern California. Hank describes the Christians on Campus and Christian Students groups as “an expression of authentic New Testament Christianity” and affirms that the club embraces “the essentials of the historic Christian faith”.
Well thank you very much for that warm welcome. I am delighted to be here this afternoon, I didn’t know I would be here three days ago. And I am particularly grateful to the USC Christian Students club for making this arrangement and I find it highly ironic that I am speaking here by their invitation, because it wasn’t all that long ago that we started a primary research project on the Local Churches. And many of those who were involved with USC Christian Students worship with the Local Churches around the world. We thought this group was an aberrant group at best. I met with the leaders back on August 4th, 2003. And they confronted me with their doctrine, suggesting that they did not believe what we had as a primary research organization, said they believed. Which is, that they were the only church. And they said, “No we don’t believe that. We believe that we are only the church.” We thought that they believe that they could become like God is in the Godhead. And they said, “No, we don’t believe that. We believe in deification very much in that sense that Peter taught about deification: becoming partakers of the divine nature through sanctification.” And then, we thought that they were Modalists; that they believed that God revealed Himself in different modes or manifestations. They said “No, we don’t believe that. We are thoroughly Trinitarian. We believe in one God, revealed in three Persons Who are eternally distinct.” Now I was faced with a delimma as President of the Christian Research Institute. What happens when someone looks you in the eye involved in a ministry and tells you point blank, “No, what you say we believe is not really what we believe.”
So we started, 6 years ago, a primary research project and out of that we ended up doing an article in the Christian Research Journal, which ended up encompassing the entirety of the journal. And the words on the cover of the journal were “We Were Wrong.” And the reason that we overtly communicated “We Were Wrong” is because Truth Matters. That’s our monachre, that’s the statement by which we abide, and live and guide our organization: Truth Matters. We are followers of the One Who said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Him. So again I find it highly ironic that I am here on behalf of USC Christian Students on campus. Many of them have become my dear friends and they are an expression of authentic New Testament Christianity. I have learned to love them and grow with them, have fellowship with them, and sense a oneness with them as we seek to do what we have been commissioned to do. That is, to be salt and light in a lost and searching world.
You are called an ambassador of Christ and most of us are secret agents that have never blown our cover before the unregenerate world. You are called an ambassador. Not just an ambassador for a country, but for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You have the opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to move through you in the process of giving a lost son or daughter of Adam the bread of life, the water of life.
Let’s pray: “Father we thank You so much for USC Christian Students on campus for sponsoring this event, for their commitment to You and Your kingdom principles. Father thank You that as Christians we stand shoulder to shoulder with those who have embraced the essentials of the historic Christian faith and in unice, we can say in essentials unity, nonessentials liberty, all things charity. Father I pray that You will bless the Christian groups at USC. Father, may they recognize the potency and they dynamism within them to change the world. Not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit.”
Hank Hanegraaff serves as president and chairman of the board of the North Carolina based Christian Research Institute. He is also host of the Bible Answer Man radio program, which is broadcast daily across the United States and Canada – as well as around the world through the Internet at http://www.equip.org