Somebody recently told me he's heard that Hank Hanegraaff has been attending an Eastern Orthodox church. This individual was also concerned about a report that Hanegraaff had become an Orthodox catechumen, though some people with a close relationship with the Christian Research Institute (CRI) told him that it's not true.
Before I cite some of Hanegraaff's recent positive comments about Orthodoxy, I want to give some examples of how mixed his comments about Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy have been over the years. He'll make comments that are highly supportive of Orthodoxy at one point, but identify himself as an Evangelical, or at least seem to do so, at another point. In response to a call beginning at 47:22 on his October 15, 2014 radio program, he distinguishes between what Orthodox believe about the Apocrypha and what "we" believe. On the other hand, in response to a call at 40:17 on his May 5, 2016 program, Hanegraaff misrepresented the history of eucharistic doctrine, as if there was agreement about an Eastern Orthodox view of a eucharistic presence during the first millennium of church history. A little past the 50:00 point in his February 8, 2017 program, he comments that "I have the scripture as my rule of faith and practice", which sounds Evangelical, but may not be intended that way. He doesn't use a qualifier like "alone". Near the beginning of Hanegraaff's March 8, 2017 radio program, he commented that Mary is "the apex of all of humanity" and "the model for all that we are to become in Christ", going on to say that "while Islam venerates Muhammad, Christianity venerates Mary". Later in the same program, when discussing other topics, he seems to affirm some Evangelical and non-Orthodox positions at some points, yet uses more ambiguous language and language that seems more in line with Orthodoxy at other points. See the call on baptism and salvation at 23:13 and the call on the imputation of Christ's righteousness and confession of sin at 46:51.
Hanegraaff has been discussing Orthodoxy more than usual on his program lately. In response to a call at 39:29 on the November 11, 2014 program, Hanegraaff comments that Orthodoxy never strays from its principles, in contrast to Roman Catholicism. He also comments that though there are some problematic Orthodox churches, there are others that are "completely committed to the gospel". While responding to a call that begins at 30:40 in his June 14, 2016 program, Hanegraaff claims that Orthodoxy was "the only church" prior to the split between West and East in the eleventh century. Here's a video segment of his January 25, 2017 program in which he refers to Eastern Orthodoxy as orthodox, "fantastic", "the early church", etc. In response to a call beginning at 6:17 on his February 8, 2017 program, Hanegraaff outlines an Orthodox view of justification, describing it in a way that seems to be supportive of it. He also refers to how the Orthodox view of justification predates the Catholic and Protestant views, without further qualification. Near the end of his response to the call, he refers to how his wife has been reading the church fathers on this subject, which may explain part of what's influencing Hanegraaff on these matters. See his March 14, 2017 program here (starting at 9:56), where he refers to the alleged unity of the early church, makes some comments critical of Roman Catholicism, and refers to Protestantism as a further "schism" of the Western church, all the while saying nothing negative about Eastern Orthodoxy. More recently, on his April 4 program (start listening at 22:10), he referred to how he's always been interested in Orthodoxy, how the church allegedly had unity during the first millennium of Christianity until the Pope broke that unity, how he's recently been influenced by Orthodox individuals who have a "keen sense of church history", how he "absolutely loves" how Orthodoxy affirms the presence of Christ in the eucharist while "leaving it in the realm of mystery", etc.
I don't know just how much the segments of his program mentioned above reflect where Hanegraaff stands in relationship to Orthodoxy. Maybe he's made other comments elsewhere that would significantly qualify what I've cited above. But the impression I have at this point is that he's at least moved a long way toward Orthodoxy. However much he still holds some Evangelical beliefs that are opposed to Orthodox beliefs, he may not do so much longer. His current Evangelical positions on some issues may not have much significance. He may be in a transitional phase that will lead him away from those Evangelical views in the near future.
I haven't listened to Hanegraaff much in recent years, and I haven't read any of his most recent books. I did listen to him a lot and read some of his books in the 1990s and the opening years of the 2000s.I benefited from his work in my first several years as a Christian, and I appreciate much of what he's done. But his promotion of Eastern Orthodoxy is a major problem. CRI needs to do something about it. There needs to be clarification about Hanegraaff's relationship with Eastern Orthodoxy, and his promotion of Orthodoxy on the air and through other CRI resources needs to end. The damage he's already done, in contexts like the ones discussed above, needs to be addressed and counteracted.
Anybody who's interested can read a lot of posts we've written about Orthodoxy in our archives. My index of posts on Catholicism and church history has a lot of material that's relevant to Orthodoxy as well. As I document there, Orthodoxy doesn't have the sort of historical roots Hanegraaff suggests it does.
If Hanegraaff wants to get a better idea of how healthy Orthodoxy is, he should try doing his radio program for a month while relying strictly on Orthodox resources. Address the philosophical, historical, exegetical, moral, and other issues that come up without going to Evangelical sources. See what happens. See how well Orthodoxy has addressed these matters.
Keep in mind that Hanegraaff doesn't just influence the listeners of his radio program, the people who read his books, and such. He also influences a lot of scholars and other people who write for the Christian Research Journal or work for CRI in some other manner. His promotion of Orthodoxy encourages other people in such influential positions to become more accepting of it.