Heresy Hunters: Character Assassination in the Church

Ministries Today March/April 1994

by James Spencer

Huntington House

Reviewed by Willilam DeArteaga

Heresy Hunters documents the disastrous tendency among many evangelical ant-cult writers to turn on Christian brethren with excessive zeal and character assassination.

This book is especially noteworthy because its author, James Spencer, has written several anti-cult works that are widely respected among evangelicals. From his personal experience as a former Mormon, Spencer learned the essential distinction between heresy and the person believing in heresy. those in the cults should be seen as victims of heresy, not merely heretics to be humiliated and destroyed. He would like to see anti-cult ministers mindful of this distinction.

Spencer shows that heresy hunters often err by labeling what are biblically acceptable positions as heretical because the targeted ministers do not conform to present evangelical thought. Furthermore, heresy hunters have surrendered to the "spirit of the are" by abandoning the biblical attempt at reconciliation and dialogue with those they believe are in error.

Spencer believes there is much need for biblical reproof and genuine discussion of issues. Unfortunately, heresy hunters go way beyond reproof and are more interested in destroying the ministry of the person in question than biblical discussion or attempted restoration.

Spencer documents his serious charges against evangelical heresy hunters in four specific case studies of ministries injured or destroyed by them. These are the attacks on Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Bob Larson, and Mike Warnke.

Spencer readily admits that all of these ministries were flawed and needed reproof. However, no Christian or non-Christian should be subject to the cruel way in which their faults and errors were exposed, and the exaggerated and distorted manner in which their beliefs have been presented. Of particular interest to pastors and lay leaders is Spencer's documentation of the distortion and malice with which Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland have been treated.

This book is theologically precise enough to satisfy pastors, yet easily understood by laymen. It is an ideal text for Sunday school classes.