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Is the Good News Bear a Copycat?

Hank Hanegraaff and Plagiarism




Robert M. Bowman, Jr.

1998 updated edition






I.                     Introduction                                                                                                                          3

A.      Why This Report?                                                                                                       3

B.       Was Matthew 18 Followed?                                                                      3

C.       What Has Hank Hanegraaff Said about This?                                        3

D.      Why Is This Important?                                                                                             4

II.                   Defining Plagiarism                                                                                                              6

III.                 Hanegraaff’s “Acknowledgement”                                                                   8

IV.                 The Logo                                                                                                                               9

V.                   The Conception and Outline                                                                                              10

VI.                 The Contents of EE and PWT Compared                                                         11

VII.               Introductory Materials                                                                                        12

VIII.             The Seven Pillars of PWT                                                                                  13

IX.                The Gospel Outline Presentation                                                                      14

X.                  The Gospel Presentation                                                                                    16

A.      Introduction/Relationship                                                                                          16

B.       The Gospel/Good News                                                                                              17

C.       Commitment/Response                                                                                               19

XI.                Testimony                                                                                                                             21

XII.              Objections                                                                                                                             22

XIII.            Use of the Diagnostic Questions                                                                      23

XIV.            The Questionnaire/Survey                                                                                 24

XV.              Other Parallels                                                                                                                      25

XVI.            Summary                                                                                                                                26



I.          Introduction


A.  Why This Report?


In September 1995 an anonymous person or group of persons faxed to numerous countercult ministries and other parties a newsletter called On the Edge charging Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute, with plagiarism.  Specifically, they charged that Hanegraaff’s lay witnessing manual Personal Witness Training (1987), or PWT, plagiarized extensively from D. James Kennedy’s lay witnessing manual Evangelism Explosion (3rd ed., Tyndale House, 1983), popularly known as EE.*  Hanegraaff was an associate of Kennedy in the early 1980s, making the personal connection beyond question.

Not satisfied to accept the secondhand research of anonymous critics, I decided to investigate the matter for myself.  This report, first written in December 1995, is the result.  In making this information available, my only interest is in letting the truth be known.  Given the widespread dissemination of the plagiarism charge, there is no honorable benefit to be gained by avoiding the issue.  I wish no harm to Mr. Hanegraaff or anyone else.  However, I do believe that Mr. Hanegraaff ought to be held accountable by his pastor, his Board, and his financial supporters.  These responsible parties need to decide, based on the evidence, whether Mr. Hanegraaff has indeed committed plagiarism, and if so, what they ought to do about it.


B.  Was Matthew 18 Followed?


It is possible that someone will wonder whether I ever approached Mr. Hanegraaff about this matter.  On September 28, 1995, I sent a letter to Mr. Hanegraaff asking him to comment on this and other issues.  The letter was returned unopened.  I followed up with a phone call to Mr. Hanegraaff, who told me that he would give some thought to whether or not he would agree to discuss any of these issues with me.  Through a third party Mr. Hanegraaff later informed me that he would meet with me (or with anyone else) but only to discuss “personal grievances.”  Issues such as the plagiarism question were specifically excluded.  Hence, I exhausted all attempts to deal directly with Mr. Hanegraaff on this and other concerns.  I then sent the report to a senior editor at CRI, to the members of the Board of CRI, and to the members of the Board of the Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (EMNR) in February 1996.  A couple of members of the EMNR Board have commented on the report to me privately.  However, no one at CRI or representing CRI has offered any response to or acknowledgment of the report.


C.  What Has Hank Hanegraaff Said about This?


In May 1996, the report was circulated (without my prior knowledge) to Calvary Chapel pastors all over the country.  About a week later, on Wednesday, May 22, 1996, Hank Hanegraaff made the following comments on “The Bible Answer Man” when asked to comment on the ministry of Dr. D. James Kennedy:


James Kennedy – I have utmost respect for him.  In fact, I used to work for Evangelism Explosion and patterned my own Personal Witness Training program around the principles engendered in the ministry of Evangelism Explosion.  What I did was I took the principles and made them memorable so that people could internalize the process of learning to build a relationship, present the gospel, lead someone in a response, and take them through the basic steps of discipleship and growth as a new believer.  But the work that Kennedy has done with Evangelism Explosion has had significant impact throughout the world for many, many years.  And he too is a very eloquent preacher.  He was a great role model for me in terms of motivating me to memorize Scripture as a new believer.


Is this is an accurate description of the relationship between Evangelism Explosion and Personal Witness Training?  In this report I present a thorough comparison of the EE and PWT manuals.  It provides incontrovertible evidence that the entire program of PWT is based on EE.  Virtually every statement in substance (and often in word as well) that appears in PWT is to be found in EE.  In any case, the choice of the term “patterned” reflects Mr. Hanegraaff’s admission that the very structure and plan of PWT is based on EE (although notice his careful avoidance of any mention of the PWT manual itself).  The fact is that not merely the “principles,” but the whole substance and much of the wording of PWT came directly from EE.


D.  Why Is This Important?


Some readers may also wonder how important this issue is.  After all, it may be thought, perhaps Mr. Hanegraaff did not intend to commit plagiarism.  Besides, wasn’t he simply using the information in another ministry setting?  Who cares who gets the credit, as long as the work of the Lord is being done?  These are legitimate questions, and they deserve straight answers.

As to intentions, in one sense it is beyond our capacity or responsibility to determine what is in anyone’s heart.  However, this does not and should not stop us from determining that a particular action was wrong.  Mr. Hanegraaff himself has expressed the judgment that others were guilty of plagiarism (see the next section for an example), and that is perfectly appropriate if the evidence warrants such a conclusion.  Moreover, it is completely proper to conclude that a plagiarist is dishonest if there is sufficient evidence to substantiate that judgment.  Since Mr. Hanegraaff has been made aware of the charge of plagiarism, he has not made any attempt to clear the air.  He has not admitted inadvertently plagiarizing, or even admitted copying material from EE into PWT.  Instead, he issued a vaguely worded statement on the radio that acknowledged a relationship between EE and PWT but did not make clear what that relationship was.  If PWT was plagiarized from EE, for whatever reason and with whatever intent, Mr. Hanegraaff has not given an honest account about that plagiarism.

As to the ministry use of the material in PWT that originated in EE, certain facts about PWT need to be kept in mind.  Mr. Hanegraaff established two organizations in 1985 (four years before he became President of CRI).  The first, Memory Dynamics, Inc., was incorporated in Georgia in January 1985.   The second, Memory Development International, Inc., was incorporated just four months later in May 1985.  Memory Dynamics was incorporated as a for-profit business, not as a non-profit ministry organization.  It had no religious or ministerial purpose stated in its incorporation documents, but was established as an educational business marketing memory enhancement products and services.  Memory Development International was incorporated as a 501(c)(3), non-profit charitable organization, with the stated purpose of evangelism and discipleship training.  Now, here is the crucial point: PWT is wholly owned and operated as a product of Mr. Hanegraaff’s for-profit business Memory Dynamics, Inc., not as part of a non-profit Christian ministry.  Contrary to the widespread belief among CRI’s constituency that PWT is part of a Christian non-profit ministry, it is part of a for-profit business owned by Mr. Hanegraaff.  (The two organizations could easily be confused even if one knew about both of them.  Indeed, it is striking that both organizations could be represented by the initials “MDI.”)  Thus, it appears that if Mr. Hanegraaff did plagiarize PWT from EE, he did so in order to launch his own personal business.  While Memory Development International was apparently allowed to go defunct some time after Mr. Hanegraaff became President of CRI, he continued to operate Memory Dynamics, Inc., which produced the PWT seminars.  Although I have not been able to confirm this as definite fact, it appears from the back page of Christianity in Crisis, the book that Hank Hanegraaff authored with the considerable help of CRI staff, is owned by Mr. Hanegraaff’s business, Memory Dynamics.

The importance of PWT for Mr. Hanegraaff’s reputation in Christian apologetics ministry prior to his tenure at CRI, the close relationship between CRI and PWT, and the fact that PWT is a product of a for-profit business having no stated religious or ministerial purpose, all constitute reasons for taking the plagiarism charge seriously.



II.      Defining Plagiarism



It is possible to define plagiarism in narrowly legal terms, i.e., as an act of intellectual property theft for which the rightful owner seeks redress through the courts.  Arguably in this narrow sense plagiarism is a charge that can be made only by the injured party or his or her authorized representatives.  If one insists on this specific connotation of the term, then the charge of plagiarism against Hank Hanegraaff in this instance would have to issue from D. James Kennedy, Evangelism Explosion, or Tyndale House.

On the other hand, it is perfectly legitimate for other parties, who have no financial interest in the matter, to allege that plagiarism in some slightly less narrow sense has occurred.  In this sense plagiarism may defined as any use of someone else’s intellectual property which would be judged as plagiarism if the original author were to bring a complaint.  This definition is little different in practice, since it simply acknowledges that there is some standard that would have to be used by the courts to make a determination when plagiarism was alleged.

More broadly still, plagiarism might be defined as any unethical use of someone else’s intellectual property.  Such a definition still begs the standard by which usage would be judged unethical.  Various definitions might be cited; here is one from The Oxford Companion to the English Language, edited by Tom MacArthur (Oxford University Press, 1992), page 784:


The appropriation of someone’s artistic, musical, or literary work for personal ends. . . .  The term is usually reserved, however, for the flagrant lifting of material in an unchanged or only slightly changed form and its dissemination as the plagiarist’s own work.


In CRI’s own publications we find examples of this judgment being made against other authors to which Hank Hanegraaff, as the president of the Christian Research Institute, should have no objection.  For example, a 1988 article in CRI’s Journal charges that Victor Paul Wierwille, the deceased founder of The Way International, was “an eclectic plagiarist.”  It explains the reasoning for this charge as follows:


In addition, anyone who is well-acquainted with Wierwille’s writings and reads Kenyon’s and Bullinger’s books is struck by the close parallels, even though one cannot always trace exact word-for-word plagiarism. . . .  Almost every one of Wierwille’s teachings can be traced to other sources. . . .  When Wierwille wrote, he commonly used these men’s writings and copied them, idea by idea and often word by word.  He never credited these sources, in effect lying to his readers by leading them to believe that he originated his teachings under God’s direct tutelage.[1]


Closer to home comes the following statement from Hanegraaff himself in a 1993 article:


Hagin, who popularized and plagiarized Kenyon prolifically, not only expanded Kenyon’s perversions but added to them as well. . . . .  Kenneth Hagin, to whom we next turn our attention, plagiarized much of Kenyon’s work. . . .[2]


Hanegraaff’s statement is important because it illustrates a key point:  It is possible to plagiarize someone while also adding to what he wrote.

Obviously, there can be degrees of plagiarism.  However, this fact should not be allowed to obscure the fact that plagiarism can be a serious and well-substantiated charge.  It is not necessary for borrowing to be 100% of someone else’s exact words for it to constitute plagiarism.  Of course, at the other end of the spectrum are occasional snatches of words or phrases picked up from various authors.  These are not true examples of plagiarism.

Related to the matter of plagiarism is the question of fair use.  The concept of fair use has to do with the extent to which an author may legitimately quote from the work of another, with full credit given, but without permission, without violating copyright law.  The assumption here is that there is no plagiarism (excessive borrowing without proper credit).  Even fair use has its limits, though.  This is important because borrowing that exceeds fair use and is done without giving any credit to the original source would surely constitute plagiarism of an actionable kind.  In this light it may be helpful to refer to the authoritative discussion of fair use given in The Chicago Manual of Style.  That work explains the nature of fair use as follows:


Essentially the doctrine implies that authors may quote from other authors’ work to illustrate or buttress their own points.  They should transcribe accurately and give credit to sources.  They should not quote out of context. . . .  And quotations should not be so long that they diminish the value of the work from which they are taken (4.45, emphasis added).


Fair use is simply that – fair.  Uses that are tangential in purpose to the original, such as quotations for the sake of criticism, will always be judged more leniently than uses that are parallel, such as relying on quotations to prove one’s point rather than putting it in one’s own words.  Use of anything in its entirety – a poem, an essay, a chapter of a book – is hardly ever acceptable.  Use of less than such a discrete entity will be judged by whether the second author appears to be taking a free ride on the first author’s labor (4.47, emphasis added).


The reader is invited to consider the evidence as it is presented here.  I am satisfied that unbiased persons examining the evidence will have no trouble arriving at a conclusion.



III.  Hanegraaff’s “Acknowledgement”


A third party, speaking to me on behalf of Hank Hanegraaff, informed me that the charge of plagiarism in On the Edge overlooks the fact that Kennedy is credited in the “Acknowledgement” in PWT.

Indeed, on the “Acknowledgement” page in current editions of PWT, Hank offers “A Special Thanks” in which he expresses his “indebtedness to Dr. D. James Kennedy,” and goes on to acknowledge that he grew “by reading his books and memorizing many of his lectures.”

However, nothing is said here or anywhere else in PWT about any dependence of that book on Kennedy’s EE.  The fact that Kennedy is given such glowing thanks only makes matters worse, because it now makes it impossible to excuse Hank’s failure to mention EE as an oversight.

Worse still, this word of thanks to Kennedy is absent from the earliest editions of PWT.  An edition published in Georgia, dating from before Hank moved to California to become president of CRI, has the same “Acknowledgement” page with the “Special Thanks” to Kennedy absent.

Thus, originally PWT was published with absolutely no acknowledgment of D. James Kennedy at all.  Evidently, at some point later, probably after becoming president of CRI, Hank added the “Special Thanks.”  It can hardly be doubted that this late word of thanks was included because in fact PWT borrows from EE, though the precise circumstances prompting this change are unknown.  Yet even then he did not choose to acknowledge his dependence on Kennedy’s EE.  Therefore, if PWT is excessively dependent on EE, the lack of any acknowledgment of EE cannot be explained as an oversight.


IV. The Logo


It is striking that both EE and PWT use the ichthus or fish symbol on the cover and title page.  Although Hank replaced the Greek word ichthus inside the fish symbol with the initials “PWT,” it is clear that the symbol is the same.  In fact, on page iv of PWT we are told that the PWT logo “was designed using an ‘Ichthus’ which is Greek for the word fish.  This is the oldest Christian symbol.”

Ironically, Hank obtained a trademark for his PWT logo, as the letters “TM” under the corner of the fish’s “tail” indicates.  (The position of the “TM” indicates that it is the logo, not the title “Personal Witness Training,” that is trademarked.  The title is covered by a separate copyright that applies to the book as a whole.)  Yet there is really very little if anything original about the trademarked symbol.  In short, Hank managed to obtain a trademark for what he admits is “the oldest Christian symbol,” and the use of this symbol on the cover of his book was evidently inspired by Kennedy’s EE.



V.     The Conception and Outline


A.  The Basic Conception


There can be no doubting that the basic conception of PWT is essentially that of the EE.  Both are manuals for training lay Christians in witnessing or evangelizing non-Christians.  Both are part of a larger ministry that seeks to prepare lay Christians to multiply themselves through training other Christians in lay evangelization.  Both present sample dialogues and specific points to be learned and used in witnessing encounters.

The major difference between the two works is that PWT makes use of mnemonic devices to facilitate learning the material.  While this difference should not be minimized, it does not negate the fact that the two manuals have substantially the same purpose and conception.


B.  The Outline


A careful study of the outlines of the two manuals makes it clear that PWT is based on EE.  In many cases the terminology is even the same, although variations in terminology do occur.  The two manuals follow roughly the same plan, and both even have twelve lessons or chapters!  Both begin with a gospel presentation, move to the use of a testimony, illustrations, and answers to objections, set forth the goal of lifestyle evangelism, and conclude with two chapters dealing with utilizing the program to become trainers, with forms and other material in Appendices.  The details of the two outlines furnish additional evidence confirming the dependence of PWT on EE, as the chart on the next page makes clear.





VI. The Contents of PWT and EE Compared


The following chart is based on the Table of Contents of EE and PWT.  The chapter order of EE is followed, with corresponding lessons or sections of PWT placed alongside.




1. “Training Laymen for Evangelism” — an overview of the program

1. “The Seven Pillars of PWT” — an overview of the program


“Evangel the Good News Bear”

2. “A Presentation of the Gospel” — an “Outline of the Gospel Presentation” followed by the actual “Presentation”

“PWT Good News Outline” — an outline of the Gospel; followed by “PWT Good News Presentation” (comes before Lesson 1)

3. “An Analysis of the Presentation” — reviewing the gospel presentation

2. “Relationship” — reviewing the good news presentation using “Evangel” for mnemonic purposes

4. “The Proper Use of Testimony”

3. “Testimony”


4-7. “Good News,” “Response” — expanded review of the good news presentation

5. “Handling Objections” — “Basic” attitudes and methods, followed by “Answers”

10. “Objections Overruled” — “Basic Considerations,” followed by answers

6-7. “Illustrations” and “Do’s and Don’ts”


8. “Witnessing as a Way of Life” — on becoming “lifestyle evangelists”

9. “Lifestyle Evangelism and the PWT Survey Form” — on “lifestyle evangelism,” and a form to use in some witnessing situations

9. “Questionnaire Evangelism” — form to use in some witnessing situations


10. “Follow-up” — on leading new converts to become disciples, emphasizing the Bible, prayer, church membership, and evangelizing

8. “Discipleship” — on leading new converts to become disciples, emphasizing the Bible, prayer, church membership, and evangelizing

11. “Enlistment for Enlargement” — on bringing new people into the program

11. “Certification Examination” — a test on the gospel presentation

12. “Levels of Leadership” — discussion of the prayer partner, trainee, trainer, and higher levels

12. “PWT Career Path and Oral Examination” — discussion of the prayer partner, trainee, trainer, and higher levels

Appendixes A, B, C — visitation forms and program development guidelines

Appendixes A-L — visitation forms, other forms, and program development guidelines



VII.Introductory Materials





“The only answer to this dilemma, humanly speaking, is ‘spiritual multiplication.’“ (EE, xi-xii)

“It [PWT] can maximize your time, talent, and treasure through the principle of spiritual multiplication.” (PWT, viii-ix)

“This is not theory, but fact!  These are not the idle speculations of the ivory tower...” (EE, 1)

“If you are tired of worn-out cliches or ‘ivory tower’ theories of evangelism...” (PWT/MD Resource List)

“Yet the program contains readily transferable techniques...” (EE, 1)

“PWT is unique in that it was developed to be inherently memorable and easily transferable...” (PWT, viii)

“We are not talking about the ‘flash and ash’ type of program...” (EE, 1)

“Classes and masses often produce flashes and ashes.” (PWT, xii)

The pastor (i.e., trainer) is to go out with two people, so that together they will be “going out by threes” (EE, 8)

“... participants are part of a three-member team, which includes a certified trainer...” (PWT, xii)





VIII.The Seven Pillars of PWT





The first principle of lay evangelism is based on Acts 1:8 (EE, 2).

“Pillar #1. Power,” is based on Acts 1:8 (PWT, 17).

Acts 8:1, 4 is quoted to prove that everyone in the early church was evangelizing; this is said to be the reason the early church “was burgeoning with such rapidity.” (EE, 3)

“Pillar #2. Every Believer a Witness,” based on Acts 8:1, 4, using the same reasoning; this is the reason “the church grew rapidly in the first few centuries of its history...” (PWT, 19)

Eph. 4:11 quoted to prove that a minister is supposed to train others for ministry, “as the coach of a well-trained and well-coordinated team.” (EE, 4, 5)

“Pillar #3. Equipping for Evangelism,” quoting Eph. 4:11 to prove that pastors and teachers are to train others for ministry:  “A football coach does not play the game but rather trains his players to play the game.” (PWT, 20)

“Missing Key — On-the-Job Training...  Christ’s first instructions to his new followers in the first chapter of Mark were, ‘Come ye after me...’ ” (EE, 2).

“Pillar #5. Field Training...  Mark 1:17...  Jesus began his earthly ministry with the words, ‘Come follow me.’ ” (PWT, 22)

The Lord Jesus did not say to go and make converts, but to go and make disciples.” (EE, 5)

“Pillar #6. Go, Make Disciples... Jesus did not say go make converts.  He said go make disciples of all nations.” (PWT, 23)

“... we are not called to make converts but rather to make disciples...” (PWT, ix)

“The fourth principle of this program is....   Spiritual multiplication...” (EE, 5)

“Pillar #7. Multiplication.” (PWT, 24)



Comments:  As the above analysis demonstrates, six of “the seven pillars of PWT” are taken directly from pages 2-5 of EE.  The concepts, biblical proof texts, lines of reasoning, and even some of the illustrations are the same.  In one case the wording of a complete sentence has been used.



IX. The Gospel Outline Presentation

(EE, 16-17; PWT, 1-2)




1. “The introduction”

       a. “Their secular life” (small talk)

       b. “Their church background”

       c. “Our church”

       d. “Testimony

       e. “Two diagnostic questions”:

    (1) “Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven?

    (2) “Suppose that you were to die tonight and stand before God and he were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?What would you say?

1. “Relationship”

       a. “Interests” (small talk)

       b. “Religion” (about the prospect’s church and the evangelist’s church)

       c. “Testimony

            Two questions:

       d. “Assurance”:  “Does your relationship with God make you sure you will go to heaven when you die?


       e. “Requirements”:  What would you say God’s requirements are for you to get into heaven?

2. “The gospel”

       a. “Grace” — heaven can’t be earned

       b. “Man” — “Is a sinner

       c. “God” — “Is merciful... Is just

       d. “Christ” — is God, saved us

       e. “Faith” — trusting Christ alone

2. “The Good News”

       a. “Two Responses” — not religion

       b. “Sin

       c. “God” — perfect Father and Judge

       d. “Jesus Christ” — our Savior, Lord

       e. “Two Steps” — repent and receive (trusting Christ alone, cf. PWT, 9)

3. “The commitment”

       a. “The qualifying question”

       b. “The commitment question: ‘Would you like to receive the gift of eternal life?’“

       c. “The clarification of commitment” (a review of the gospel)

       d. “The prayer of commitment”

       e. “The assurance of salvation”

3. “Response”


       a. “Are you ready now to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?”

       b. “Review” (a review of the gospel)


       c. “Prayer

       d. “Assurance Verse”

       e. “Requirements?” (further assurance)

4. “The immediate follow-up”

       a. “Bible

       b. “Prayer

       c. “Worship” (i.e., in church)

       d. “Fellowship” (meeting together)

       e. “Witness”

4. “Discipleship”

       a. “Amen”: “Prayer

       b. “Bible

       c. “Church”

       d. “Discipleship” (meeting together)

       e. “Evangel”: “Sharing the Good News”



Comments:  The preceding chart leaves absolutely no doubt – the “PWT Good News Outline” is based in general and in detail on Kennedy’s “Outline of the Gospel Presentation” in EE.  Hanegraaff follows the same four-part outline, follows Kennedy in breaking each of the four parts into five points, and the treatment of each of the four parts is virtually identical in substance.  Only one out of Kennedy’s 20 points does not make it into Hanegraaff’s outline!

The importance of the outline for Hanegraaff’s PWT should be put in perspective.  Lessons 2-8 of PWT are essentially an expansion of the outline that Hanegraaff took from EE.  In short, the core of PWT is directly based on EE.


In pointing out this fact, I do not deny that Hank introduces some original devices for memorizing the various points in the outline.  I am simply pointing out that the substance of the book comes from another source — one for which no credit is given.



X.     The Gospel Presentation


We now turn to the sample dialogues found in EE and in PWT as models for presenting the gospel.  Keep in mind that it has already been established that the framework of both presentations is identical.  This means that where the two books use similar or identical wordings, that fact has greater significance than if the basic structure of the presentations were different.


A.  Introduction/Relationship




Kennedy goes on visitation to the home of someone who visited his church; he introduces himself, gives his church name, and introduces his two companions, a woman and a man (EE, 24).

Hank goes on visitation to the home of someone who visited his church; he introduces himself and his two companions (a woman and a man), and gives his church name (PWT, 3).

Kennedy breaks the ice by noticing a painting (24).  We will... search the room for some indication of his interest.  A... painting... trophies...” (51).

“As we enter and are seated, we look for items of interest, perhaps a portrait, trophy, or an award.” (3)

How did you happen to attend our church?” (25).

“Earl, how did you happen to visit our church?” (4)

“How did you like the service?” (25)

“How did you enjoy the service?” (52)

“How did you enjoy the service?” (4)

The people seemed so friendly and made us feel at home.  The singing is just wonderful.” (25)

“The music was terrific and the people made us feel really welcome.” (4)

“You know, many people have mentioned to me that they sense something different about our church....” (26)

“Perhaps the reason you noticed something special about the service and the people at our church....” (4)

“Testimony” — either of the church, or a personal testimony (26).

“Testimony” — a personal testimony (4).

“They have hopes but they don’t know for sure that they would go to heaven....  How about you, Mrs. Tucker?” (26)

“...my relationship with God makes me sure that... I will live with Him in heaven forever.  How about you Earl....” (4)

“Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven?” (26)

“Does your relationship with God make you sure you will go to heaven when you die?” (5)

“Why, I don’t think anyone can really know.” (26)

“Not really.  I didn’t think anyone could be sure of that.” (5)

“I even learned that that was the reason the Bible was written... ‘that ye may know that ye have eternal life’“ (26).

That is precisely why the Bible was written.  It was written so we would know how to... be sure that we will live with Him forever when we die” (5).

“Would you like for me to share with you how I made that discovery and how you can know it too?

      “Yes, please do.”  (27)

“May I share with you how I came to have this assurance and how you can have it as well?

     Please do.”  (5)

Before I get into it, let me ask you another question....” (27)

Before I do that, I’d like to get your insight on one more question if I may.” (5)

“Suppose that you were to die tonight and stand before God and he were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?What would you say?” (27)

“I would be interested in what you think the entrance requirements for anyone to get into heaven are.” (59)




What would you say God’s requirements are for you to get into heaven?” (5)

“And I try to be as good as I know how.” (27)  “...I’ve tried to keep the Ten Commandments” (18).

“Well, I suppose it takes living a good life, being a good person, helping those in need, keeping the ten commandments...” (5).


B.  The Gospel/Good News




“I thought that heaven was... something that I had to merit by keeping the commandments and following rules...” (28).

“Religion is man’s attempt... by living a good life, keeping certain rules or obeying the ten commandments.” (5)

“Did you ever wonder about how good you would have to be to make it, Rene?... Jesus said, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48).

     [Rene] “Perfect?” (31)

“Some religions even teach that... we have to live many lives until we are finally good enough to make it into heaven....  The Bible declares, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).  [Earl] “I’m certainly not perfect” (5).

“If anybody is going to be in heaven then there must be some entirely different way of getting there.” (32)

“...if we are ever going to know God here and now and live with Him in heaven forever, there has to be another way.” (6)

But the same Bible that tells us that God is loving and gracious also tells us about this same God that he is just and righteous and must punish sin.  God tells us, ‘I am holy and just and righteous.  I am of purer eyes than to behold evil.  The soul that sinneth it shall die’ (Habakkuk 1:13; Ezekiel 18:4)....  Because he is a just Judge, he must punish our sins.” (32, 33)

However, the same Bible that tells us that God loves us also tells us that God is the... ...Perfect Judge and as a judge He is absolutely just, righteous and holy.  The Bible says of God, Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong (Habakkuk 1:13).” (7)

“He [Jesus] is the Creator of the world!  He is the one who created the whole universe!” (34)

““He [Jesus] not only created the universe and everything in it, but he created you!” (8)

“In that hour we see the great transaction about which the whole Bible is written...” (34).

“This is the great exchange about which the whole Bible was written.” (8)

“...Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is the Lord of life....  it is the best-attested fact of human history.  For almost six weeks, Christ showed himself alive to hundreds of people after his passion by many infallible proofs.” (36)

The resurrection of Christ is the best established fact of antiquity....  Dr. Simon Greenleaf... was the Royall Professor of Law at Harvard University and was declared by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States to be the greatest authority on legal evidences that had ever lived.  He was the highest authority on evidence that could be quoted in any English-speaking courtroom in the world....  He minutely examined each thread of evidence concerning the resurrection of Christ and concluded that in any unbiased courtroom in the world, if the evidence for the resurrection of Christ were presented it would be judged to be an absolute historical fact” (101-2).

Jesus demonstrated that He was Lord of all creation when he overcame the power of death through His resurrection and showed Himself to be alive by many convincing proofs.  In fact, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most well-attested fact of ancient history....  That was the very opinion of Dr. Simon Greenleaf who was the greatest authority on legal evidence in the 19th century.  He was in fact the famous Royall Professor of Law at Harvard and was directly responsible for its rise to eminence among American law schools.... the greatest authority on the subject of legal evidences — that is to say, evidences that are admissible in a court of law.  After examining the evidence for the the resurrection of Jesus Christ he declared it to be the most well-attested fact of human history.  He went on to say that there would not be an unbiased jury in the world that would ever deny the historical fact of the resurrection” (8-9).

Jesus was a great teacher and miracle- worker....  This comes as a real surprise to many people.  They don’t realize that he is God the Son....” (34)

[Earl] “That’s incredible....  I didn’t know that Jesus proved He was not only a great teacher, but in fact, God....” (9)

“Let me tell you what saving faith is not....  the first thing that many people mistake for saving faith is intellectual assent to certain historical facts.” (37)

“It takes more than just head knowledge.  You have just heard the Good News, so you have the knowledge it takes to be saved.  It takes more than agreement that the knowledge you have is accurate.” (9)

“Saving faith is trusting Jesus Christ alone for our salvation.  It means resting upon Christ alone....” (38)

“To receive means to trust in and depend on Jesus alone...  to trust in Jesus Christ alone as your Savior and as the Lord of your life.” (9)


C.  Commitment/Response




Now, Rene, the question God is asking you is simply this: Do you want to receive the gift of eternal life?” (EE, 41)

The question He is asking you right now is... Are you ready now to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?” (PWT, 10)

“Oh, yes, I would.” (41)

Yes, I really want to do that.” (10)

Let me clarify just what this involves” (41).

“... let me briefly review for you” (10).

It means, first of all, that you are going to transfer your trust, that is, your hope of eternal life from what you have been doing to what Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross.  He takes our sin and we receive his righteousness....  He has lived the perfect life.” (41)

“This means that you are now willing to demonstrate that you truly believe by reaching out your hand in faith and receiving his perfect life in exchange for your sin.  It means that you no longer depend on what you can do but rather depend on what He has already done for you.” (10)

“Do you want to...?”

Yes, I do.”  (41)

“Is this what you want to do?”

Yes it really is!” (10)

He says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: [at the door of your life] if any one hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’ This means that he will have intimate communion daily in your life.” (42)

“Right now, Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart and He is saying Earl... ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me....He wants to... have an intimate and a personal relationship with you.” (10) (Note: This material appears just before the Response section in PWT.)

“Are you willing to repent of your sins and follow him?  That means a willingness to turn from what you have been doing....  Rene, are you willing to repent of your sins...?”

    “Yes, I am.” (42)

“Next you must be willing to... ...Repent of your sins.  This means that you are truly sorry for your sins and are willing to turn from them....  Are you willing to do that?”


  “With His help, I am.” (10)

“The Lord is here right now.  We can go to him now in prayer and we can tell him....  Is this truly what you want?” (42)

“...the Lord is looking at your heart more than he is listening to your lips” (43).

Rene, the Lord has said, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name there I am in the midst of them’ (Matthew 18:20).  He is right here.” (43)

“If this is the desire of your heart I can lead us in a... ...Prayer and together we can tell God....  Earl, Jesus said that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is right there with them.  Jesus is here right now....  And remember there is no magic in the words.  God is looking at the intent of your heart.” (10, 11)

“(She repeats each phrase) I am a sinner....  I accept you as my own personal Savior....  I receive you as Lord and Master of my life.” (43)

[Earl repeats each phrase] “I realize that I am a sinner....  I ask you to be my Savior and Lord.” (11)

Father, you have heard the prayer which Rene has prayed.  And I ask that in this quiet moment thy Holy Spirit will grant unto her the assurance of life eternal....  ‘He that trusteth me is passed from death unto life’ (paraphrased from... John 5:24...). In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.” (43)

“Heavenly Father, I thank you for the prayer of faith that Earl has just prayed.  I ask you now by your Spirit to give him the complete assurance of his salvation....  in leading Earl from death to life eternal.  In the name above all names, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen” (11).

“The assurance of salvation....

I want you to see now...” [quotes John 6:47 for assurance] (43)

Assurance Verse”

“Earl, I’d like to show you a verse...” [quotes John 5:24 for assurance] (12)

“In whom are you now trusting, Rene, for your salvation?” (44)

“Well Earl, now what would you say God’s requirements are for you to get into heaven?” (12)




XI. Testimony





“If a Christian is to be an effective witness for his Savior, the first tool he needs is a clear, forceful personal testimony” (EE, 70).

“... develop your personal testimony into a clear, concise, and effective tool for presenting the Good News” (PWT, 41).

“... the use of personal testimony helps to preclude the objection raised when the prospect is asked questions about his spiritual life that are ‘personal’“ (71).

“During this part... we share an [intimate] part of our lives and enhance the likelihood that our prospect will discuss personal aspects of his or her life” (34).

Emphasize the Positive” (heading, 71).

Emphasize the positive benefits” (71).

Emphasize the benefits” (34).

Emphasize the positive” (42, 43, 45).

“...select truthful statements about yourself that will enable him to see himself in your life” (72).

“Provide a point of contact” (34).

“...this will act as a logical stepping stone into the first diagnostic question” (72).

“Provide a bridge into the first diagnostic question” (34).

“... the three essential elements are:


1. What I was before I received eternal life.


2. How I received I eternal life.


3. What eternal life has meant to me.” (71)

“... tell of the changes in your life” (73).

The elements of an effective testimony are:

     1. Before... your life before you had a personal relationship with God....

     2. Fact... the fact that you have a personal relationship with God....

     3. After... describing how your life has [changed] as a result....” (41).

Do Not Give Answers Before You Ask the Questions” (heading, 72).

Don’t give away answers to the questions” (42, 43, 45, 46).

“Avoid cliches” (75).

“Watch those ‘buzz’ words” (42, 43, 45, 46).

“If the testimony is used before the ‘introduction of the gospel’ (see outline), speak in general terms as you tell how you received eternal life....  you have not told them anything about how you received eternal life....” (72-73).

“When your testimony comes before the Good News presentation, it is not necessary to give an explanation of how you received Jesus as Savior and Lord” (47).

“People will argue doctrine till the blood runs.  But they cannot argue your personal experience” (74).

“Your personal testimony is significant because someone can debate religion but not your personal experience” (48).








Avoid Argument... Use Sincere Compliment” (77).

Avoid arguments by paying sincere compliments” (111).

Basic Methods of Handling Objections”

2. Postpone

If an objection is raised you must decide whether it is essential to answer it before you can continue....  For example, if he does not believe in heaven, you obviously cannot continue....  On the other hand, if he raises the question of the heathen in Africa, this is obviously a matter that can be put off....  3. Answer Quickly

If his objection deals with an essential part of the gospel and you would not be able to continue without responding to it, than answer it as quickly as you can....” (78).

4. “Research and Return....

If the witness does not know the answer to a question...” (79)

Basic Considerations”

5. If an objection is unavoidable and essential, it should be answered (e.g., God or heaven).

6. When you don’t know the answer to an objection, research and return.

7. If an objection is a smokescreen, we should answer quickly or postpone it (i.e., ‘What about the person who has never heard...?’).” (111)

“Such an objection can be the springboard into the gospel itself” (84).

“...objections... which can be used as springboards into the Good News” (111).




XIII.Use of the Diagnostic Questions


Both EE and PWT include an analysis of the “four possible combinations of answers which may be obtained to the two diagnostic questions” (EE, 53).  As EE explains, the first question can be answered “Yes” or “No,” while the second question can be answered in terms of “Trust in Christ” or “Trust in self” (53).  PWT retains the analysis of the first question and rewords the answers to the second question as “Christ” vs. “Works” (PWT, 38).  These two sets of two possible answers yields four possible scenarios, which the two books analyze as follows (EE, 53-55; PWT, 38).





1. [Yes] - “trusting in Jesus Christ alone”

Interpretation of diagnosis: Apparently a Christian....

Recommendation procedure [share with him about church, etc.]...” (53-54).

A. “Yes... Christ”

“Assumption” [a Christian]


“Remedy” [perhaps none needed]

2. [No] - “trusting in his own good works”

Interpretation of diagnosis: Apparently a non-Christian....

Recommendation procedure [present the gospel]...” (54)

B. “No... Works”

“Assumption” [a non-Christian]


“Remedy” [present the gospel]

3. [Yes] - trusting in his good works

Interpretation of diagnosis: This is what we call ‘presumption’....

Recommendation procedure [refute idea of works salvation, present the gospel]...” (54)

C. “Yes... Works”

“Assumption” [a non-Christian]


“Remedy” [present the gospel]

4. [No] - “trusting in Jesus Christ” “Interpretation of diagnosis:  This is most probably a lack of assurance....

Recommendation procedure [present assurance from Scripture]...” (55)

D. “No... Christ”

“Assumption” [lacking assurance]


“Remedy” [biblical assurance]




XIV.The Questionnaire/Survey





“Assurance Questionnaire Form”

“PWT Survey Form”

“I am _________ of __________.

We’re trying to determine people’s religious thinking and assist anyone looking for a faith....  I. Will you help us by giving your thoughts in response to five brief questions?

“Hello!  My name is __________

We’re from ___________

We’re trying to find out about people’s religious thinking.  Would you have a few minutes to assist us by answering a few short questions?

“II. Of what religious group or church are you a member?”

“III. What local church do you attend?”

“IV. How often do you attend?”

“1. What religion or church are you affiliated with?”

“V. Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know that you have eternal life — that is, do you know for certain that if you died today you would go to heaven?

“2. Would you say you have a personal relationship with God?

3. Are you sure you will go to heaven when you die?

“VI. If you were to die today and stand before God and he said to you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say?

“5. What would you say God’s requirements are for you to get into heaven?”

May I have a few more minutes of your time to share with you how I came to know I have eternal life and how you can know it too?”

“4. May I share with you how I came to have a relationship with God that makes me sure I will go to heaven when I die?”



It should be noted that the EE Questionnaire has an explicit statement of copyright on it.  This implies that the Questionnaire was not supposed to be used outside of the EE program.


XV.Other Parallels





Don’t give the reference when you quote Scripture....

Do quote just the relevant portion of the verse” (EE, 111).

“3. Quote only the relevant part of scripture verses.

4. Do not quote the scripture reference” (PWT, 60).

“Theologians have rightly pointed out that there are three elements to saving faith: knowledge, assent, and trust” (EE, 66).

“The three elements of true belief are:


Agreement [or, Assent]

Trust (PWT, 79).

Faithful and able.  The two basic qualities you should look for in a trainee are that he be faithful and able.  ‘The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also’ (2 Timothy 2:2, NASB).” (EE, 144-45)

II Timothy 2:2 says, And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will also be able to teach others.

Trainees (those whom we train) should be faithful and able.” (PWT, 121)







I believe that the evidence presented in this report is sufficient for anyone who wants to arrive at a conclusion on this matter to do so.  In closing I will simply summarize what we have seen.


1.      Mr. Hanegraaff once worked for Dr. Kennedy, so we know he knew about EE.

2.      At first, PWT contained no reference to Dr. Kennedy at all.  Later, a paragraph praising Dr. Kennedy’s ministry and acknowledging his personal influence was added, but with no mention of EE.

3.      After the first version of this report was made public (by others, not by me), Mr. Hanegraaff publicly acknowledged that PWT was based on the “principles” of EE, but did not mention this report or the EE manual.

4.      Mr. Hanegraaff started PWT as part of a for-profit business, not a non-profit ministry.  This establishes that Mr. Hanegraaff benefited financially from whatever use he made of EE in PWT.

5.      The logo of PWT was inspired by or based on the cover of the EE manual.

6.      The basic conception and outline of PWT is based on EE, as a review of the tables of contents of the two manuals reveals.

7.      The Introductions to EE and PWT make several identical points, often in distinctive expressions that are identical or nearly so.

8.      Six of “the seven pillars of PWT” are taken directly from pages 2-5 of EE.  The concepts, biblical proof texts, lines of reasoning, and even some of the illustrations are the same.

9.      The Gospel Outline in PWT has exactly the same structure as in EE – four parts, each of which is divided into five points.  The treatment of each of the four parts is virtually identical in substance.  Only one out of the 20 points in the EE outline does not make it into the PWT outline.

10.  The sample dialogue in PWT (that illustrate how the first three parts of the Gospel Outline is to be presented in the field) closely parallels the sample dialogue in EE, both conceptually and verbally.  The questions asked by the Christian, the responses by the non-Christian, and the concepts presented and illustrations used by the Christian, are all very similar, often expressed using nearly identical wording.

11.  The instructions for sharing one’s personal testimony are the same in PWT as in EE, including the same three essential elements of a testimony and giving the same counsel on the fine points.

12.  PWT uses the same strategy for handling objections as EE, and presents this strategy using much of the same wording as in EE.

13.  PWT uses the same two diagnostic questions, although they have been reworded, as EE, and like EE reviews the four possible replies and how the Christian should then respond.

14.  PWT uses a Survey Form that is based on the EE Questionnaire (which has an explicit copyright notice on it).

15.  There are other verbal parallels between PWT and EE, in some cases extending to whole sentences.


Are there differences between the two manuals?  Certainly.  On the “macro” level, PWT uses the device of “Evangel the Good News Bear” to review the content and as a mnemonic device.  PWT is also slimmer than EE, representing a more simplified version of the same material.  On the “micro” level, PWT rewords many of the statements taken from EE, sometimes only slightly, sometimes in significant ways.  These differences do not diminish the significant similarities between the two works, nor do they undermine the case for plagiarism.

                Again, I leave it up to the reader to draw your own conclusions.  This report should be viewed as just that, a report presenting an objective analysis of the contents of PWT as compared to EE and an explanation of the issues involved in determining plagiarism.  I leave it to CRI’s Board, its personnel, and its financial supporters to consider this evidence fairly and take whatever actions are appropriate.


                Should anyone wish to contact me regarding this report, they may do so by E-mail at robertbowman@verizon.net.




*I use italics with EE and PWT when referring to the manuals, and with no italics when referring to the ministry programs bearing the same names.

[1]John P. Juedes, “The Way Tree Is Splintering,” Christian Research Journal 11, 2 (Fall 1988) 10, emphases added.

[2]Hendrick H. Hanegraaff, “What’s Wrong with the Faith Movement? Part One: E. W. Kenyon and the Twelve Apostles of Another Gospel,” Christian Research Journal 15, 3 (Winter 1993) 18-19, emphases added.

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