I find this interesting. There’s a lot of parallel between Hanegraaff’s experience and my own.
One of Hanegraaff’s books helped me deal with the craziness of Charismatics. Aside from Charismatics being all over the map on doctrine, he gave me enough clues to formulate a clear grasp that the movement really is all about the emotional experience from within a deeply flawed culture. I have no complaint with the emotional worship, but my direct experience with folks of the Charismatic persuasion left me burned out and badly wounded from a very Anglo-Saxon brand of condemnation. The only way you can have a good time is to surrender to something controlled by authoritative leaders who claim the Holy Spirit, but it is not the Holy Spirit. It’s that old Germanic drunkenness without the alcohol; that partying atmosphere is the objective, not simply a side-effect. That kind of religion becomes a cover for an astounding level of immorality.
But my point in citing Hanegraaff’s recent move is not that he’s so right about the choice, but that it is his choice. He has found something he truly needs for this point in his life when he’s facing something for which he was otherwise unprepared. When something breaks and you need a crutch, don’t condemn the need; work out what best fits the need and use it. We are all broken and wounded in different ways. The censure from those with a highly conditional support for his work arrogantly refuse to understand.
There’s a certain grand appeal to joining something so old and so well established as either the Catholic or Orthodox religions. It answers the very valid needs of a substantial portion of humanity. Sure, I’ll argue with the teachings of both institutions, but that’s not the point. I understand how they can carry the load. You can bet that, if either of them could tolerate me, I’d be a part of them just for the sake of fellowship.
The hardest part of the path I’ve taken is the sense of isolation. Existing organizations always want me to listen to them, but refuse to let me talk. That’s too high of a price to pay for inclusion, but it’s what we should expect from Western religion as a whole.
My whole game here is Open Source, not just as term of software development, but as a way of living. I’ve struggled to expose the very roots of what makes faith into religion so that you can see and tweak it for yourself. One of the most disturbing things I face dealing with the established religion is how they cling to the ways of this world in licensing and controlling how their stuff is used. You can’t have the music or other art forms unless you pay the fees, and they offer a very poor rationale for clinging to the money-grubbing system of copyrights. I’ll do what I do regardless of whether it can be monetized; I’ll do it until I no longer have the resources. If God doesn’t move folks to donate, then it depends on Him to provide some other way.
This is how the Kingdom of Heaven does business on the earth.