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Christian Research Institute attacks critic, former employee

The increasingly controversial Christian Research Institute -- which bills itself as "the largest, most effective apologetics ministry in the world" -- has launched a spirited attack on one of its most persistent critics, former CRI employee Bill Alnoroffsite.

Written by Elliot Miller, CRI's Editor in Chief, "Breaking the Silenceoffsite" is subtitled, "A Response to Bill Alnor's Crusade against CRI."

Since the death in 1989 of Walter Martin, who founded CRI in 1960, CRI has been involved in several controversies -- largely surrounding CRI's new leader, Hank Hanegraaff. Many of those controversies were brought to light by (at that time) current and former CRI employees. (In 1994, approximately thirty employees of CRI formed The Group for CRI Accountability in an attempt to hold Hank Hanegraaff accountable for his actions.)

In March, 2007, a defamation suit filed by Hank Hanegraaff against Christian apologist Bill Alnor was thrown out of court.

CRI's attack on Alnor, which in the PDF version runs over 200 pages, has been posted to CRI's website, with duplicate content posted at and It has also been posted at the, a website operated by Cindee Martin Morgan and Rick Morgan.

Cindee is one of the late Walter Martin's daughters. She and her husband support CRI, and in particular the contention that Hank Hanegraaff is Walter Martin's legitimate successor. In doing so, they are in very public disagreement with Martin's other sister, Jill Martin-Rische and her husband Kevin. On her YouTube channel, Cindee Morgan markets "Breaking the Silence" as "Elliot's NEW FREE BOOK."

Jill and Kevin are carrying out Walter Martin's vision through their ministry, Walter Martin's Religious InfoNet. They reject the notion that Hanegraaff was Walter Martin's legitimate successor.

In 2003, Walter Martin's classic bestseller Kingdom of the Cults. A previous edition of the book had been edited, updated and revised by Hank Hanegraaff and Gretchen Passantino.

After it was determined that copyright of the book belonged to the Martin family, the revisions and updates were reverted by general editor Ravi Zacharias, along with Jill and Kevin who served as general editors. Many, the team members of Apologetics Index included, belief that in so doing Walter Martin's writings were rescued from changes he would not have agreed to had he still been alive.

That said, copyright issues are still -- or, rather, again -- an issue.

As for CRI's latest efforts, on the AR-talk list Bill Alnor has stated that he will respond to "Breaking the Silence."

Elliott Miller's report also addresses questions, concerns and criticisms of Hank Hanegraaff by Jay Howardoffsite, author of the book, "Hard Questions for the Bible Answerman: Hank Hanegraaff And His Takeover Of The Christian Research Instituteoffsite"

Howard's response to Miller is posted hereoffsite.

Meanwhile, CRI also remains embroiled in controversy over its about-face regarding the Local Church -- claiming that this movement, considered by many apologists and other theologians to be a cult of Christianity, is not a cult but rather a legitimate Christian movement. (On that issue, see A Response to the Christian Research Journal’s Recent Defense of the “Local Church” Movement)

At Apologetics Index we recommend that people interested in apologetics- and countercult work support the ministry of Jill and Kevin Rische.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 11, 2010