Utah Mormons, Protestants finding new spiritual home in ancient Orthodox church

Bob Mims

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Father Justin Havens, a former Presbyterian, is a convert to Orthodox Christianity at Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Christian Church in Salt Lake City, Thursday, April 27, 2017. (Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Father Justin Havens, a former Presbyterian, is a convert to Orthodox Christianity at Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Christian Church in Salt Lake City, Thursday, April 27, 2017.
    

It shook the fundamentalist Christian world to its roots: Hank Hanegraaff, the darling of evangelicals as host of the long-running, nationally syndicated "Bible Answer Man" broadcast, had joined the Greek Orthodox Church.

Hanegraaff, for nearly 30 years president of the Christian Research Institute, an evangelical apologetics ministry, also has written 20 books opposing purported cults and heresies and non-Christian faiths. If ever evangelicals had a doctrinal superhero, Hanegraaff was he.

But on Palm Sunday, in a video released via social media, there was the 67-year-old Hanegraaff kneeling for "Holy Chrismation" — a rite of anointing with oil accompanying baptism — inside St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church of Charlotte, N.C.

Within days, Bott Radio Network, a 107-station strong, evangelical broadcasting empire, severed its longstanding relationship with him; other critics proclaimed Hanegraaff had somehow betrayed true Christianity.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," he countered in a broadcast shortly after he, his wife, Kathy, and two of their 12 children became Orthodox. "Nothing has changed in my faith. ... I have fallen ever more in love with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

There are no authoritative statistics available, but anecdotally, at least, it appears Hanegraaff is hardly alone in finding a spiritual home in the world's oldest — and Orthodox believers insist the first and most faithful — Christian fellowship.

That certainly is the case for Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Christian Church in downtown Salt Lake City. The Rev. Justin Havens says the church, located in a former Jewish synagogue at 355 S. 300 East, had fewer than 100 worshippers when he became its priest nine years ago.

"We have almost tripled in size since then," Havens says. "I would say 60 percent or more of our parish is made up of converts. About half of those are former LDS [Mormons], and the rest are former Protestants and evangelicals, along with a few former Catholics and Episcopalians."

Read the rest here.

Bob Mims

The Salt Lake Tribune

6/7/2017

See also
“Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff joins Orthodox Church “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff joins Orthodox Church “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff joins Orthodox Church “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff joins Orthodox Church
Known to millions as the “Bible Answer Man,” 77-year-old Hank Hanegraaff and his wife were received into the Orthodox Church this year on the great feast of Palm Sunday, at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, NC.
A Calvinist Anglican Converts to Orthodoxy A Calvinist Anglican Converts to Orthodoxy
Fr. Joseph Gleason
A Calvinist Anglican Converts to Orthodoxy A Calvinist Anglican Converts to Orthodoxy
Mark Bradshaw, Fr. Joseph Gleason
Priest Joseph Gleason (Antiochian Archdiocese of the U.S.) talks about his radical journey from free-flowing Protestantism to hardline Calvinism, and finally home, to Orthodoxy.
“Church Is The Most Important Thing That Protestants Receive In Orthodoxy” “Church Is The Most Important Thing That Protestants Receive In Orthodoxy”
Interview with former Pentecostal pastor
“Church Is The Most Important Thing That Protestants Receive In Orthodoxy” “Church Is The Most Important Thing That Protestants Receive In Orthodoxy”
Interview with Orthodox Priest Igor Zyryanov, former Pentecostal pastor
The guest of today’s program is Priest Igor Zyryanov. He started his journey to God in his early youth, but initially this path led him past the Church. He was a Protestant for 18 years, 12 of which he was a pastor of a Pentecostal community and an active missionary. Several years ago, he and his community converted to Orthodoxy.
“God called upon me and I responded” “God called upon me and I responded”
Interview with Andrey Solodkov, former Adventist pastor
“God called upon me and I responded” “God called me and I responded”
Interview with Andrei Solodkov, former Adventist pastor
Andrei Solodkov, Priest George Maximov
Today our guest is Andrei Ivanovich Solodkov, sectologist and missionary. I’ll tell his secret right away: In the past Andrei Ivanovich was a member and even a pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A Life Changed by Icons A Life Changed by Icons A Life Changed by Icons A Life Changed by Icons
OrthoChristian.com correspondent Vasily Tomachinsky recently travelled to Boston, where he became acquainted with Clifford Isaac Gardner, Senior Administrative Manager of Research in the Division of Nephrology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and member of a number of refugee humanitarian relief missions in the Middle East. Isaac, once a Southern Baptist, is now a parishioner of the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Boston. He tells Vasily about his journey to the Church through icons.
From Baptist to Orthodox: My Journey of Faith From Baptist to Orthodox: My Journey of Faith
Vincent Gabriel
From Baptist to Orthodox: My Journey of Faith From Baptist to Orthodox: My Journey of Faith
Vincent Gabriel
But why Orthodoxy? Why would anyone—especially a faithful, Bible-believing Protestant—want to convert to this old, “weird” faith?
Comments
Editor6/8/2017 2:30 pm
Eve, You can search for parishes near you at http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/. It looks like the closest is about 60 miles away. The address and phone number are there on that page, as well as the next closest parishes. May God bless you!
Eve Loeffler6/7/2017 8:39 pm
I for one am very interested in this Church. It is what I have been looking for. Unfortunately I live in Roosevelt,Utah. Can you tell me which is the closest Church around to where I live ? Or anyone that even feels as I do around this area? Thank you.
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 700 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook , or enter your information:
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 700

×