Book Review – “Has God Spoken?” By Hank Hanegraaff
“The Word of God is deeper than a flannel-graph…”
In a theological world that has sadly become over-saturated with the works of atheists and agnostics masquerading as bible-affirming theologians, this book truly comes as a breath of fresh air. Though I personally hold some reservations concerning Hank Hanegraaff, due to his “preterist” leanings and “deficient theology,” concerning some foundational biblical doctrines I’ve always appreciated his writings [especially Resurrection] and have been challenged by them.
His latest book “Has God Spoken?” the third part in his trilogy continues to provide answers the most critical questions that are coming from our post-Christian world. Being well researched, well written, and engaging, overall it does a sufficient job in meeting the goals that it was designed for.
This book is much different from other apologetic books that I have read in that Hanegraaff seems to be writing with the believer in mind and, not directly to the skeptic themselves… though they would gain much from reading it. It takes more the form of a tool for training than a standard defense of the faith. Now anyone who has read his past works of listened to Hanegraaff on the radio, knows that he is fond of utilizing acronyms, which I appreciate because I too am fond of them and they work great as a tool for retaining important information, but as with anything it can be “over-utilized,” and with this work he may have just crossed that threshold. In this work the acronym M.A.P.S. Manuscript Copies, Archaeologist’s Spade, Prophetic Stars, Scriptural Lights, is the basis for the presented information, and I think it does a satisfactory job lighting the path that the reader will be journeying down.
In the book we see Hanegraaff addressing 4 primary questions:
- Are the manuscript copies we have today reliable?
- Is there any external corroboration to the Bible?
- What predictions of future events does the Bible make?
- How do we (or should we) interpret the Bible?
As with any book on theological matters, one will struggle to find 100 % agreement with the content, as fallen, imperfect people, we’re never going to agree with anyone one everything, and in my position this is where I find myself standing with this book. Aside from my previous disagreements with Hanegraaff on issues Preterism, the role of Baptism in the salvation of man, etc. there are areas in this book that I also find to be a bit troubling. There are a sufficient number of issues that I take that I could spill much ink over, but for the sake of expediency I’ll only mention two of them.
- My first issue isn’t even one that deals with theology or matters of faith, it deals with the tone Hanegraaff takes when dealing with UNC religious studies professor Bart Ehrman. Now from the onset I’ll make it clear that I have serious fundamental disagreements with Ehrman, and I believe that his writings aren’t always academically honest as they should be. Now I believe that in any course of study we should challenge people on their positions, but it should be done in a civil manner, and there are times that Hanegraaff crosses the line of civility.
- My second issue is the one that troubles me the most about this entire work. It’s an issue that lays at the very heart of the Christian faith… the “verbal inspiration” of Scripture, a truth that Hanegraaff in his own words openly denies,
“The point that should be underscored here is that the disciples, moved by the Holy Spirit, codified the essential wisdom of Jesus – not the exact words of Jesus. Put another way, they left us a memorable oral tradition rather than the words of their Master on tape.” (pg. 20)
As far as academic standards are concerned [which is becoming more of an issues for me these days] the book, even with its flaws passes muster. The material is well-researched and of sound origin, with copious end notes, providing avenues for further study in each area, or a fact-check tool for those who may happen to question the given claims by the author. I can however say albeit with some reservation that this book has some aspects that would merit it’s reading by others, though not for a new believer. It’s a sufficient tool, as long as it’s supplemented in areas where it’s deficient, for those who desire to have a firm grasp on the evidence that proves the validity and truth of Scripture and how we can defend it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their “booksneeze program.” I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions and views expressed here are my own.