Book Reviews of Heresy Hunters: Character Assassination in the Church

Heresy Hunters: Character Assassination in the Church
Heresy Hunters Character Assassination in the Church
Author: James R. Spencer
ISBN-13: 9781563840425
ISBN-10: 1563840421
Publication Date: 10/1993
Pages: 146

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Publisher: Huntington House Publishers
Book Type: Paperback
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Caught With Their Hands In The Cookie Jar, October 20, 2002
Reviewer: "maestroh" (San Atntonio, TX) -
James Spencer is an ex-Mormon who ought to understand a thing or two about heresy and the importance of TRUE Christian doctrine. If Mormonism is NOT a heresy, Spencer had no reason to convert from his former position.
It is this fact that saddens me in his counter-attack upon anybody and everybody who is not a Word of Faith Christian. Spencer's experiential Christianity is every bit as bad as his previous experience with Mormonism.

I want to keep it clean, but Spencer's book is typically spineless. He has NO problem lambasting the ministry of John MacArthur (whose cessationism Spencer despises; Spencer devoted an entire chapter to MacArthur), but he doesn't want teachers who are DEMONSTRABLY lying (like Paul Crouch, Mike Warnke, and Benny Hinn) to be called to account for their lies.

Heresy hunting is a new inflammatory term that was invented to dismiss any honest inquiry. Spencer defends this position immaculately, but his entire book misses the point. Paul Crouch, who wrote the foreward, states that "one theologian's heresy is another theologian's orthodoxy." He further claims that contending for the faith (mentioned in Jude 3) refers to Christ, the virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection, forgiveness by cleansing blood, and future judgment are the only "essentials." Crouch concludes by writing, "beyond these absolute essentials...there is infinite room for honest men and women to disagree..." Thus, according to Paul Crouch - who, again, wrote the foreward - the authority and infallibility of Scripture, the Trinity, salvation by grace ALONE are NOT essential to saving faith. It is for this reason that both Crouch and his hired defender, Spencer, completely miss the mark.

I will agree that critics of some Faith teachers have overstated their case (Hanegraaff in particular). However, Spencer uses the overstatement as a carte blanche for those who are teaching heresy to demonize people like Hanegraaff and Mac Arthur. He excuses retaliatory remarks made by Crouch and Hinn while condemning "heresy hunters."

If only James Spencer was as concerned about doctrinal purity and truth - i.e. "the faith" of Jude 3 - as he is about a straw man called heresy hunting, he might have written an interesting book. Sadly, his only means of defense is to demonize the demonizers. You would be much better off saving money or buying a fair and balanced book, "The Word-Faith Controversy" by now fired Hanegraaff employee, Dr. Robert Bowman.

October 24, 2000
Reviewer: (United Kingdom) -
One is left with the feeling that whilst in principle it is right to judge doctrine, even publicly, in practice there are not many ways of doing this without offending someone of James' sensibility. He feels that certain teachers have been unfairly criticised for their 'little gods' doctrine, yet the only evidence he offers for this is a very shallow comparison with the patristic doctrine of divinisation. He fails to reasonably demonstrate, with evidence, exactly what is wrong with the critiques that have been levelled at this teaching. One cannot help but feel that the author's run-in with the Tanners (ch. 6) is a bit of a sore spot which, because of the personal and sensitive issues involved, Spencer would have been wiser to have left alone. Having said that, there are helpful points which need to be heard by the 'heresy hunters', and they are very serious points to do with integrity and honesty. It is just unfortunate that the tone of the book seems to pander to those whose teachings raise the most concerns (hence the book's popularity at TBN) and comes across as a defence of Word-Faith etc. an approach which will only alienate those who need to hear some of its warnings.

Put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity ..., September 3, 2000 Reviewer: Jo E. Screen (GREENFIELD CENTER, NY USA) -
I read this book when it first came out and it opened my eyes and broke my heart. Opened my eyes to the bitter betrayal of brother against brother, and broke my heart for the sake of our Savior, who died for us all and asked -- no, commanded -- only one thing from us: "Love one another, as I have loved you." Instead of hunting heresy, we should be bonding in unity on that which we can agree .. GENTLY REBUKING one another on those things on which we believe that cannot be Scripturally defended. Just as we are to love the sinner, but hate the sin, in the same way we are to love the brethren without wrath or dissention (1 Tim 2:8). Who is the accuser of the brethren? Satan. Who does the work of Satan on this earth? The brethren who accuse other brethren. Does Jesus need our help to "root out and pluck up" the tares? No; He has expressly forbidden it, lest the tares be plucked up with the wheat. Our Lord is AMPLY ABLE to judge His own house and His own servants -- He does not need us to do so. Indeed, we are warned against "judging another's servants" are we not? I encourage anyone who has been hurt by believing accusations leveled by the "heresy hunters" against the brethren to read this book, then to put it behind them and then go forward in their Christian walk by observing the Eleventh Commandment as our Lord has bid us to do -- "Love one another."
reviewed Heresy Hunters: Character Assassination in the Church on + 209 more book reviews
A very revealing study, icluding several case histories, of how churches can be destroyed by their own over zealous members who take any disagreement as evidence of heresy.