Christian Research Institute, Home of “Bible Answer Man,” Resigns from ECFA
The Christian Research Institute, home of “The Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff, has resigned from membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).
The ECFA listed the reason for the resignation as “voluntary.” That means the Christian Research Institute was not under review by the ECFA, nor was it found to be out of compliance with the ECFA’s standards for financial integrity. However, the Christian Research Institute had been a member of the ECFA for since 1996, so its departure is a significant move.
The Christian Research Institute had 2019 revenue of approximately $2.8-million. This figure is significantly lower than 2015 revenue of about $4.3-million. In early 2005, Christian Research Institute posted revenue in excess of $8-million.
The long slide for CRI may be the result of developments in the life of the ministry’s leader, Hank Hanegraaff. In 2017, Hanegraaff learned he had a rare form of cancer and underwent aggressive treatment.
But perhaps more significant than the financial health of the ministry, it was also in 2017 that Hanegraaff converted to the Greek Orthodox Church. A photo of him during the service in which he was “chrismated,” or confirmed, rocked the evangelical social media world. In that year alone, CRI’s revenue fell by about $1-million. His popular radio program was dropped by more than 100 radio stations, including the influential Bott Radio Network.
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The stations that dropped him said they had become concerned about whether Hanegraaff was still “thoroughly biblical.” At the time, Hanegraaff told The Charlotte Observer that such comments revealed “an ignorance about Orthodoxy.”
Hanegraaff is the author of more than twenty books, with more than a million copies in print. His most recent, which he calls his “magnum opus,” is 2019’s Truth Matters, Life Matters More: The Unexpected Beauty of an Authentic Christian Life.