A Missed Opportunity
I noted that no evangelical attempted to defend the prosperity gospel against the Vatican’s recent attacks. But Christian Post (CP), an evangelical journal, notes that the self-proclaimed “Bible Answer Man,” Hank Hanegraaff, missed a golden opportunity to do so: “To Whom Will Jesus Say 'I Never Knew You'? Bible Answer Man Responds.”
An audience member referred to Matthew 7: 21-23, in which Jesus denounces a false prophet speaking in his name:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
What false prophet claiming to speak in the name of Jesus did the Bible Answer Man name? This was a perfect opportunity to denounce heretical Prosperity Preachers, who prophesy in the name of Jesus while fleecing the flock. Even if Hanegraaff didn’t want to risk offending a popular prosperity preacher, he could have mentioned some widely despised former preacher like Ted Haggard. Pastor Haggard not only led a megachurch , he was the former head of the National Evangelicals Association (NAE). He spent years bashing gays and opposing gay marriage, before it came out that he was using church funds to pay for gay prostitutes and crystal meth. After Haggard was booted out of his megachurch and lost his office at the NAE, other homosexual offenses came to light. It’s hard to imagine a safer target.
But what answer did the Bible Answer Man produce?-- “I think in this passage, Jesus may well have in mind someone like Judas. Judas who was in his inner circle, who looked like a sheep, but was a wolf in sheep clothing.” First of all, the question was who will Jesus denounce, not who he may have had in mind 2000 years ago; the Answer Man avoided the question. Second, the New Testament never shows Judas prophesying and performing miracles in the name of Jesus. While it is possible he did so behind the scenes, the only thing Judas is known for is giving up Jesus to the High Priest.
Hanegraaf is a televangelist. He obeys the sacred doctrine of honor among thieves. Besides, why take any risk and attack even a despised loser like Ted Haggard? After all, Haggard is attempting a comeback, and there is no telling what kind of crap evangelicals might swallow. Why take any chances?