2/21/2017

WHAT DONALD TRUMP CAN LEARN FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON ABOUT MAKING AMERICAN GREAT AGAIN


Donald Trump's theme is "Make America Great Again." By using the word "again" he acknowledges that America achieved a past greatness that has since been lost. In this article, on George Washington's birthday, I seek to point out that the same fundamental principles that made America great in the first place, are the same fundamental principles necessary to make her great again. 

George Washington had a blueprint for making America great. Born February 22, 1732, this most beloved of America’s Founders and her first president, laid out this blueprint in his many speeches and writings.
Washington’s blueprint was tied to his faith in God and his deep respect for the Bible. He believed that if America honored God and did what was right, she would be blessed. If, however, she followed falsehood and vanity she would suffer calamity and defeat by her enemies.
Make Jesus Christ Your Standard
Washington expressed components of this blueprint in a meeting with Delaware Indian chiefs in 1779. The chiefs had requested that their youth be trained in American schools and Washington commended them for their request. He assured them that Congress would look upon their youth “as their own children” and then said,
"You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention."
Washington’s words reveal his commitment to Jesus Christ and his deep conviction that only Christianity provides a belief system that can serve as a basis for social stability and individual happiness. It also shows that he saw no conflict with Congress assisting in the promotion of Christianity among this American Indian tribe.
His words also reveal that he was not a multiculturalist in the modern sense, nor would he promote a religious pluralism. While tolerant and respectful of those of differing beliefs, he was firm in his belief that only Biblical Christianity—the religion of Jesus Christ--provided the moral and philosophical underpinnings for a prosperous and happy nation.
Early Influences
This Christian way of thinking was instilled in him from the time he was a child by his mother who was a devout believer. Just before he left home as a young soldier, she admonished him, “Remember that God is our only sure trust.” She also exhorted, “My son, neglect not the duty of secret prayer” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 136).
Washington would also have been impacted by the Great Awakening, which was at its peak while he was a lad. That the Awakening had a particular impact on his home state of Virginia was confirmed by Charles Hodge who wrote, “In no part of our country was the revival more interesting, and in very few was it so pure as in Virginia” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 136).
Guided by Faith
There is no question that Washington’s faith guided him throughout his life and career. It provided the blueprint that he followed in his journey from a wilderness surveyor to commander-in-chief of the colonial army to the first president of the new nation.
For example, as commander-in-chief of the colonial army, Washington issued an order that each day was to begin with prayer led by the officers of each unit. He also ordered that, unless their duties required them to be elsewhere, every soldier was to observe, “a punctual attendance of Divine services, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and public defense” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 128). He also issued an order forbidding drunkenness and all forms of profanity.
This was not a matter of imposing his beliefs on others; it was a matter of being consistent with his own beliefs and doing what he knew was right in the sight of God and good for the people. It was a matter of following his blueprint for victory and peace in the new nation.
After the surrender of General Cornwallis and the end of the War for Independence, Washington submitted his resignation to Congress and then penned a letter to governors of the various states. This letter expressed his blueprint for American greatness, which included an exhortation that they model their lives after Jesus Christ. He wrote,
"I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens . . . to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another . . . and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of His example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 134).
The Necessary Moral Underpinnings
Washington began the tradition of presidents taking the oath of office with their hand placed on a Bible. For Washington, this was no mere political formality, for he had once declared, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 137).
By placing his hand on the Bible alone, and not some other religious text, Washington was affirming his belief that Christianity alone offers a belief system of truth necessary for national stability and individual happiness. This was an important part of his blueprint for America’s greatness.
He affirmed this in his Farewell Address after serving two terms as America’s first president. In this address, Washington warned the young nation to guard the blueprint for America’s greatness. He said,
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 169-70).
When the Founders use the word “religion” they are referring to Christianity. Note that Washington says that religion [Christianity] and morality are “indispensable supports” for political prosperity and the “great pillars of human happiness.” Without these, America could never be great.
Summary
Washington and the other Founders have been accused of having a utilitarian approach to Christianity, i.e., that they embraced Christianity because it works in life. Indeed, Washington believed the Bible to contain the blueprint for national prosperity and individual happiness, and this is why he exhorted the new nation,
“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the external rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained "(Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 174).
Trust God. Make Jesus Christ your role model. Respect the Bible. Follow Christian morality. This was George Washington’s blueprint for making America great. This is the blueprint that will make her great again.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com

2/18/2017

AN AMAZING PROPHECY CONCERNING GEORGE WASHINGTON AND HIS ROLE IN THE FOUNDING OF AMERICA

"Our rifles were leveled—rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss. Twas all in vain; a power far mightier than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies. He will become chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him the founder of a mighty nation" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 128)
These were the words of a Native American chief as he reminisced with George Washington and others about a battle 15 years previous when they were on opposite sides during the French and Indian Wars.
Washington Miraculously Spared
It was the Battle of Fort Duquesne in July 1755 when 1,459 British soldiers were ambushed by a large contingent of Native American warriors who had joined the French in their fight with the British for control of the North American continent.
It proved to be one of the bloodiest days in Anglo American history with 977 British soldiers killed or wounded. It was a day, however, when Washington's reputation for bravery began to spread throughout the land.
Washington, in his early 20s, had been recruited by the British because of his knowledge of the ways of the wilderness and the American Indians. He had acquired this knowledge in his work as a surveyor of wilderness territory.
Assigned to travel with the British General Braddock to take Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh), Washington found his advice for traveling through the wilderness and dealing with the Indians ignored by Braddock who considered him a young, upstart colonist.
But when the ambush occurred and Braddock himself was wounded, Washington took charge and organized an orderly retreat while at the same time putting his own life at risk, rescuing the many wounded and placing them in wagons. During this time, two horses were shot out from under him and his clothes were shredded with bullets.
He emerged unscathed and gave glory to God, saying, "I was saved by the miraculous care of Providence that saved me beyond human expectation." His reputation for bravery spread among both the English and the Native Americans.
Years later, according to historian George Bancroft, Washington and a friend were exploring an area along the Ohio River when they encountered a group of Native Americans. Recognizing Washington, the natives invited the men back to their camp to meet with their chief, whom it turned out had fought on the side of the French in the Battle of Duquesne. They had a cordial visit and then the old chief, pointing to Washington, spoke these amazing words.
"I am chief and ruler over all my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the Great Lakes, and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man's blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, 'Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the redcoat tribe—he hath an Indian's wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do—himself alone is exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies.' Our rifles were leveled—rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss. Twas all in vain; a power far mightier than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies. He will become chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him the founder of a mighty nation" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 127-28).
The prophecy came to pass. Washington was later appointed commander in chief of the colonial army, and at great sacrifice, led his outnumbered, outgunned troops to an amazing victory over the British through numerous providential events. He later presided over the Constitutional Convention, was unanimously elected the first president of the United States and known as “the father of his country.”
Washington the Devout Christian
Washington was very devout in his Christian faith and respectful toward the Native people and culture, but he never allowed the two to be in conflict. He clearly expressed this in a 1779 meeting with chiefs from the Delaware tribe who had expressed a desire for their children to be trained in American schools.
Washington responded by assuring them that the new nation would look upon their children as their own. He then commended the chiefs for their decision and said,
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.”
Washington was not a multiculturalist and did not promote religious pluralism. He was tolerant of those who held differing views but was uncompromising in his belief that only Jesus Christ and Christianity offered a belief system that would serve as a basis for national stability and individual happiness.
This was expressed in many ways, including his Farewell Address in which he warned the nation to guard Christianity and morality, which he described as “indispensable supports” for political prosperity and human happiness. This utilitarian view of Christianity was why he once prayed in public, “Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ” (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 138).
Concluding Prayer
Just as we remember George Washington on his birthday (Feb. 22), let us not forget that we, as a nation, owe our very existence to the Providential mercies of Almighty God. And let us not suppose that we can continue as a nation without His Providential care, as Washington warned in his Farewell Address.
Let us, therefore, pray for America as the Psalmist prayed for the people of Israel in Psalm 85:6-7. He prayed, "Will you not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in you? Show us Your mercy LORD, and grant us Your salvation."


This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, Pilgrims and Patriots, in which he documents the radical Christian roots of American democracy and freedom. This book, and others, are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

11/19/2016

REMEMBERING THE RADICAL CHRISTIAN ROOTS OF OUR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

America’s national “Thanksgiving” holiday is rooted in the nation’s radical Christian origins and the custom of its first immigrants to set aside special days for giving thanks to God for His goodness and blessings. This custom was carried on by succeeding generations and eventually found its way into the national consciousness and calendar.
The Pilgrims Were Not Whiners and Complainers
The Pilgrims who landed on Cape Cod in November of 1620 were devout followers of Christ who had left the comforts of home, family and friends to pursue their vision of a renewed and reformed Christianity. Although facing insurmountable challenges and much suffering, they maintained an attitude of gratitude through every trial.
They were a thankful people. They never wavered in their faith even during their first winter in the New World (1620-21) when sickness ravaged their community and half of them, about fifty in number, were taken away in death.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims the following fall of 1621 after they had gathered in their fall harvest. Although their hearts were still heavy from the losses suffered the previous winter, there were at least three areas for which they felt particularly grateful to God.
1) With the arrival of spring the sickness that had immobilized the community and taken many of them in death had lifted. Their health returned, and although sad from their losses, they were able to apply themselves to carving out a home in the New England wilderness.
2) With the arrival of spring God providentially sent to them an English speaking Native American, Squanto, who became their interpreter and guide, helping them establish friendly relations with Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag, the nearest and most powerful tribe in the region. In March of 1621 they had signed an agreement of peace and mutual aid with Massasoit, which resulted in both peoples moving freely back and forth in friendship and trade.
3) Through hard work and Squanto’s advice about farming and fishing (they were mostly townspeople and craftsmen) they experienced abundant harvests during the summer and fall of 1621.
After gathering in their fall harvest, which was abundant, Governor William Bradford designated a Day of Thanksgiving during which they would pause to offer up thanks to God for his mercy and blessings. They were not whiners. They were not complainers. They were the ultimate optimists because of their faith in God and their firm belief that He had called them to this New World.
Pilgrims and Native Americans Celebrate Together
The first Thanksgiving was attended by an approximate equal number of English Pilgrims and Native Americans. After Bradford announced the Day of Thanksgiving, word of the event soon spread to their Native American friends. So when the day arrived, not only were there individual natives on hand, but Massasoit arrived with ninety of his people, and five dressed deer to add to the meals the Pilgrims had prepared.
The Pilgrims did not seek to force their faith on the Indians but neither did they hide their faith. After all, in the Mayflower Compact they had stated that they had come to the New World “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” Their approach was what some modern missiologists would call “friendship evangelism.”
One can only imagine the emotions that filled their hearts as, in the presence of their new Native American friends, they joined Elder William Brewster in lifting their hearts in praise and thanksgiving to God.
The day turned out to be more than they could have imagined. Not only did they enjoy meals together with thankful hearts, but they engaged in shooting matches and other friendly forms of competition. It was such an enjoyable time that the one Day of Thanksgiving was extended for three full days.
And yes, it is almost certain that there was turkey at the first Thanksgiving for Governor Bradford had sent out four men to hunt for “fowl” who returned with enough “fowl” to last them an entire week (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 34).
Thanksgiving for a Remarkable Answer to Prayer
The next recorded Thanksgiving Day among the Pilgrims was celebrated in the fall of 1623 after a remarkable answer to prayer that saved their harvests, and probably their lives.
Bradford tells how the summer of 1623 was unusually hot with no rain whatsoever. As the blazing sun beat down day after day the land became parched and the corn, their primary staple, began to dry up along with other vegetables they had planted. It was a very critical moment in time.
Facing such bleak conditions, Bradford called the Plymouth settlement to a day of “humiliation and prayer.” By “humiliation” he did not mean a groveling or self-flagellation, but a recognition and repentance for the human tendency to trust in one’s own human strength and ability rather than in God.
Their day of humiliation and prayer began like the many preceding days, very hot with not a single cloud in the sky. But before the day was over, God gave them, Bradford said, “a gracious and speedy answer, both to their own and the Indians’ admiration that lived amongst them.” Bradford goes on to say;
For all the morning and the greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen; yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain with such sweet and gentle showers as gave them cause of rejoicing and blessing God. It came without wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked . . . which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold. And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving (Hyatt, Pilgrimsand Patriots, 35).
The Nationalizing of a Day of Thanksgiving
Special days of Thanksgiving continued to be observed by the Pilgrims and new immigrants, especially those who settled in New England.  As the colonies began to form themselves into a nation, these days of Thanksgiving began to be nationalized and made part of the national consciousness and calendar.
For example, during the fall of 1776, when the morale of the Revolutionary Army and American populace had sunk to an all-time low because of poor harvests and hardship on the battlefield, Congress proclaimed December 11, 1776, as a Day of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance.
After this National Day of Prayer, there was an amazing change of circumstances with successes on the battlefield and the reaping of abundant harvests. There was, in fact, such a turnaround that in 1779 Congress issued a proclamation setting aside a Day of Thanksgiving because “it hath pleased Almighty God, the father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 124).
The Congress then listed seven different accomplishments of God on the behalf of the nation, including “many instances of prowess and success in our armies” and “so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kind, as not only to enable us to easily to supply the wants of the army, but gives comfort and happiness to the whole people” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 124).
This Day of Thanksgiving was observed throughout the newly formed nation with people gathering in churches and other public venues to give thanks to God for His mercy and help in their time of need.
George Washington Continues the Tradition
Shortly after being sworn in as president, George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26, 1789 as a Day of Thanksgiving wherein all citizens should offer gratitude to God for His protection, care and many blessings. It was the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the new national government of the United States. The proclamation reads in part;
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Abraham Lincoln Proclaims a Day of Thanksgiving
A Day of Thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday in November was proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War. In spite of the fact that the nation was at war, Lincoln enumerated the many reasons the inhabitants of America had for being thankful to God. He wrote,
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that these blessings should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
The final Thursday in November, set by President Lincoln, continued to be the observed “Thanksgiving” until December 26, 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.
Concluding Thoughts
This national holiday that we know as "Thanksgiving" was brought forth by people of great faith who knew the importance of nurturing a thankful heart in every situation. They were not whiners and complainers. It was their faith in God that enabled them to be thankful even during the greatest of trials.
This Thanksgiving let’s remember our heritage and determine that we too will be a thankful people, as were the spiritual foremothers and forefathers who brought this nation into existence. Let’s follow them and the words of the old hymn that says,
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.


This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website bookstore. To read about his vision for another Great Awakening in America and the world, visit his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.







    

11/04/2016

HOW AMERICA'S FOUNDERS CONVINCED ME TO VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP

The America of the Pilgrims, of Washington, of Jefferson, of Lincoln, and of your parents and grandparents is at stake on November 8. It is that serious!
Sadly, many evangelical Christians are emotionally reacting to personalities and letting their feelings get in the way, rather than considering the policies of the different candidates and their respective parties. The question every Christian should ask before going into the voting booth is, “Which candidate is most likely to implement policies that are friendly to Christians and accommodating of the vision of America's Founders?"
The Growing Hostility Toward Faith in America
America’s Founders envisioned this land as a place where they could live out their Christian faith without interference from government authorities. They also envisioned this new land as a place from which the Gospel would freely spread into all the world.
But in the last eight years, we have observed a growing hostility toward Bible-believing Christians by the Obama/Clinton administration with Christians being fined, jailed, and court-martialed for refusing to violate their consciences and sincerely held religious beliefs.
Showing her disdain for evangelical Christians and their beliefs about life, marriage, and homeland security, Hillary referred to you and me as “irredeemable” and belonging in her “basket of deplorables.” Her audience laughed and cheered
The Vision of America’s Founding Fathers
In sharp contrast to Hillary’s vision for America, the nation’s Founders envisioned this land, not only as a land of freedom, but as a bastion of Christian missionary activity from which the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be taken into all the world.
Even before the English settlements on the east coast, Spanish Catholic missionaries brought Christianity to the southeast and southwest areas of America. In fact, by 1630 the Spanish-Catholic missionary responsible for an area that encompasses present day New Mexico, Alonso de Benavides, reported that eighty thousand Native Americans had been baptized.
This missionary vision for America was continued by the English Protestants who settled the eastern seaboard and brought this nation into existence. This is obvious from the following quotes from America’s Founders.
“From these very shores the Gospel shall go forth, not only to this New World, but to all the world.”
Rev. Robert Hunt, April 29, 1607, as he and the Jamestown settlers gathered in prayer around a large oak cross they had brought from England.
“Having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith . . . a voyage to plant the first colony in northern Virginia.”
From the Mayflower Compact, the governing document of the Pilgrims who formulated it upon their arrival in the New World in November of 1620.
“Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the Liberties of the Gospel in purity and peace.”
Opening statement of the Articles of Confederation for "The United Colonies of New England,” dated May 29, 1643.
“Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, if we could, by such a colony, show them a better sample of Christians than they commonly see.”
Benjamin Franklin in a 1756 letter to George Whitefield, the most famous preacher of the Great Awakening, in which Franklin proposed that they partner together in founding a Christian colony on the Ohio frontier.
“If you ask an American who is his master, he will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.”
Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut, 1769-84
“That all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory.”
John Hancock, Founding Father and President of the Continental Congress. This statement was part of a call for prayer he issued while serving as Governor of Massachusetts.
 “The philosophy of Jesus is the most sublime and benevolent code of morals ever offered man. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen.”.
Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence and America’s third president, who took money from the federal treasury to support missionaries to the American Indians.
 “Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ.”
From a public prayer, prayed by George Washington, America’s first president.
Here’s Why I Voted for Trump
In I Timothy 2:1, Paul instructed Timothy, who did not have the privilege of voting, to pray for kings and all who are in authority with two specific goals in mind. These stated goals can also serve as guidelines for voting in this election.
First of all, Paul wants government leaders who will not be hostile to Christians, so that, he says, We may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Secondly, he wants there to be a freedom to preach the Gospel without opposition, because God, he says, Desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
Those who have examined and compared the platforms of the two parties agree that their visions for America are as different as day and night. For example, whereas the Republican platform affirms Biblical values of life and marriage, the Democratic platform is adversely opposed to such values.
In addition, the Republican candidate has surrounded himself with good, conservative Christians such as Mike Pence, Dr. Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and others, and has stated that he will defend Christianity at home and abroad. No such words or actions are forthcoming from the other side.
I am not a politician and my vision is not tied to a political party. My goal is to see His kingdom come and His will done in earth (that includes America) as it is in heaven. I voted for Donald Trump because I am convinced that he and Mike Pence will do the best job of creating a Christian friendly environment that will accommodate the preaching of the Gospel in this land and to the ends of the earth, which is precisely what America's Founders envisioned for this land.

Quotes in this article are drawn primarily from Eddie Hyatt's latest book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and and also from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.
This article expresses my (Eddie Hyatt's) personal opinions and is not related to any nonprofit/religious organization with which I am associated. I am here exercising my First Amendment right of free speech as a citizen of these United States of America.




9/26/2016

HE SET AMERICA ABLAZE WITH THE FIRE OF GOD AND HELPED PREPARE HER FOR INDEPENDENCE

America's Spiritual Founding Father left this world in a Divine blaze of glory 246 years ago today, September 30, 1770.

When we speak of America's Founders we immediately think of names like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison. But it is questionable if there could have been an America if had not been for George Whitefield (1713-1770) whom Thomas S. Kidd, Professor of History at Baylor University, has given the title "America's Spiritual  Founding Father."

It was Whitefield, more than anyone else, who was responsible for breaking down the denominational, theological, and regional barriers and helping the scattered colonists to see themselves as "one nation under God," a prayer he often prayed for them. 

By his incessant travels up and down the eastern seaboard, preaching to crowds numbering in the thousands, Whitefield became the most recognizable figure in colonial America. Whitefield, no doubt, was foremost in the thoughts of Harvard professor, Perry Miller, when he wrote, "The Declaration of Independence of 1776 was a direct result of the preaching of the evangelists of the Great Awakening."

At the time of Whitefield's death, Benjamin Franklin, who was in London, was obviously deeply moved. He wrote,
I knew him intimately upwards of thirty years; his integrity, disinterestedness, and indefatigable zeal in prosecuting every good work, I have never seen equaled, I shall never see exceeded (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 107).



Communities Are Entirely Transformed
A native of England, Whitefield departed his home country at the age of twenty-four in August of 1739 with a burden for the American colonists and a prayer that they would not live as thirteen scattered colonies, but as “one nation under God” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 100).
With a heart totally given to God and possessing a rare oratorical gift, he was providentially prepared and positioned for such a moment in history. As he traveled up and down the eastern seaboard, shop keepers closed their doors, farmers left their plows, and workers threw down their tools to hurry to the place where he was to preach.

At a time when the population of Boston was estimated at twenty thousand, he preached to an estimated crowd of 25,000 on the Boston Common. Great revival seemed to erupt everywhere he went. Denominational walls were broken down and for the first time the scattered American colonists began to see themselves as a single people with one Divine destiny.
Entire Regions Stop and Gather to Hear Whitefield

Nathan Cole gave a vivid description of the stir it caused throughout the region when Whitefield preached in Middletown, Connecticut. Cole was working in his field twelve miles away near Kensington when someone told him that Whitefield would be preaching in Middletown at 10 o’clock that same morning.
Cole immediately dropped his tools, ran to the house, and told wife to get ready to go and hear Whitefield preach. He then saddled their horse, they both mounted and hurried on their way to Middletown. Concerned that the horse might tire carrying two riders that distance, Cole would ride for a while and then dismount and run alongside.
As they approached the main road from Hartford to Middletown, they saw an amazing sight. A cloud of dust rose above the hills and trees and they heard a sound like a low rumbling thunder. As they drew closer they realized that the dust and sound were caused by a massive company of horses and riders that filled the road, all on their way to hear Whitefield preach.
No one made a sound and there was something surreal about the scene as every rider seemed somber and intent on their purpose. “It made me tremble to see the sight,” said Cole.
Cole and his wife finally reached Middletown covered with dust. There they encountered another amazing sight. He said,
When we got to the Middletown old meeting house there was a great multitude, which was said to be three or four thousand people assembled together. I turned and looked towards the great river and saw the ferry boats running swift bringing over loads of people. The land and banks over the river looked black with people and horses all along the 12 miles. I saw no man at work in his field, but all seemed to be gone. When I saw Mr. Whitefield come upon the scaffold he looked almost angelical; a young, slim, slender youth before some thousands of people with a bold undaunted countenance. And my hearing how God was with him everywhere he came along, it solemnized my mind and put me into a trembling fear before he began to preach, for he looked as if he was clothed with authority from the Great God, and a sweet, solemn solemnity sat upon his brow. And my hearing him preach gave me a heart wound. By God’s blessings, my old foundation was broken up, and I saw that my righteousness would not save me (Hyatt, Pilgrimsand Patriots, 101).
Benjamin Franklin & Philadelphia Are Impacted
Whitefield preached in Philadelphia and saw incredible results. Benjamin Franklin’s testimony of the impact of his preaching on the city is particularly significant since he did not profess to be a Christian at the time. In his Autobiography, Franklin tells of the incredible transformation that came over the city when Whitefield came there on his first of seven visits to America. He wrote,
In 1739 there arrived among us from Ireland thReverenMr. Whitfield who made himself remarkablthere as aitinerant preacher. He was at firspermitted to preach isome of our churches, but thclergy, taking a dislike to himsoon refused him theipulpits, and he was obliged to preach in the fields. The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was a matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street (Hyatt, The Faith & Vision of Benjamin Franklin, 33).
Whitefield and Franklin became close friends and business partners, with Franklin taking on the task of printing and distributing Whitefield’s sermons and journals. They kept up a lively correspondence until Whitefield’s death some thirty-one years later, and Whitefield stayed in Franklin’s home on at least one subsequent visit to Philadelphia. In a letter to his brother James, a printer in Boston, Franklin said, “Whitefield is a good man and I love him” (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 140).
Franklin admits that he was skeptical of reports of Whitefield preaching being heard by crowds of 25,000 and more. While listening to Whitefield preach from the top of the Philadelphia courthouse stepsto a huge throng, Franklin, having an inquiring and scientific mind, retired backward to see how far Whitefield’s voice would reach. He then did some calculations and decided that Whitefield’s voice, which he described as “loud and clear,” could be heard by crowds of thirty thousand and more.
The Awakening Touches All Sects and Denominations
Although ordained with the Church of England, Whitefield did not have a denominational bone in his body. In England, he had been instrumental in spearheading the great Methodist Revival along with the Wesley brothers. He freely fellowshipped with all true believers, including Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, and any who honored God and confessed Jesus Christ as the true Lord of the Church.
In one of his sermons, as he was preaching in the open air to a great multitude representing various sects and denominations, Whitefield pretended to converse with Father Abraham, whom he pictured as looking over the banister of heaven at the gathered multitude.
Whitefield cried out, “Father Abraham, are there any Anglicans in heaven?”
The answer came back, “No, there are no Anglicans in heaven.”
“Father Abraham, are there any Methodists in heaven?”
“No, there are no Methodists in heaven.”
“Are there any Presbyterians in heaven?”
“No, there are no Presbyterians here either.”
“What about Baptists or Quakers?” 
“No, there are none of those here either.”
“Father Abraham,” cried Whitefield, “What kind of people are in heaven?”
The answer came back, “There are only Christians in heaven, only those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb.”
Whitefield then cried out, “Oh, is that the case? Then God help me, God help us all, to forget having names and to become Christians in deed and in truth!”
Although accounts of his meetings often describe the multitudes as standing and listening in rapt silence, accounts also reveal intense emotional responses at times, as things eternal were made real to their hearts and minds. On one occasion after preaching to a huge throng gathered outdoors, Whitfield surveyed the crowd and noted the amazing response. He wrote in his Journal,
Look where I would, most were drowned in tears. Some were struck pale as death, others wringing their hands, others lying on the ground, others sinking into the arms of their friends and most lifting up their eyes to heaven and crying out to God (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 104).
Cultural Change
The Great Awakening literally changed the moral climate of colonial America. Entire communities were transformed. Profanity, lewdness, and drunkenness almost completely disappeared, especially in some areas. Reports in New England alone show thirty thousand to forty thousand converts and 150 new churches. No one had a greater role in this transformation than George Whitefield.
By his incessant travels, Whitefield brought local and regional flames of revival together and made the Great Awakening one national event. It was the first time the scattered colonists of various, national, denominational and theological persuasions had participated together in a single event. Denominational walls were broken down, and for the first time, the colonists began to see themselves as a single people with one Divine destiny, “One Nation Under God,” as Whitfield had prayed.
The preaching of Whitefield also helped democratize the inhabitants of the colonies by showing no preference based on race, wealth, or social status. For Whitefield, everyone was on the same level, that is, guilty sinners before God, with only one solution for the sin problem, that being faith in Jesus Christ. He did not spare anyone because of their social status.
The preaching of Whitefield helped create a national identity and prepared the way for nationhood. This is why Harvard professor, William Perry, said, “The Declaration of Independence of 1776 was a direct result of the evangelical preaching of the evangelists of the Great Awakening” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 108).
Historian, Benjamin Hart, points out that when Whitefield visited America for the final time in 1770, even the Episcopal (Anglican) churches, which had initially rejected him, opened their doors to him. He goes on to say,
The true Spirit of Christ had dissolved sectarian differences. America considered itself to be a nation of Christians, pure and simple, as Whitefield noted with satisfaction. “Pulpits, hearts and affections,” he said, were opened to him and any preacher of whatever denomination who had a true Christian message to share (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 109).
Whitefield Flames Out for God
Whitefield loved America and made seven visits to this land. He died during his final visit to America at the age of fifty-eight, probably of congestive heart failure brought on by fatigue.
During his seventh and final visit in 1770, Whitefield was continuing his incessant travels even though he had been experiencing weakness, pain in his chest, and had been coughing up blood. On September 29 he preached to a large crowed in an open field near Newburyport, Massachusetts.
With night falling, he retired to the home of a friend, Reverend Jonathan Parsons, to spend the night. Hundreds, however, followed him to the home wanting to hear more of God’s love and power.
Although weak in body and night had fallen, Whitefield emerged from the house with a candle and announced to the multitude that he would preach and pray until the candle burned out. There were many tears and cries to God as he continued to pour out His heart to the people and to God. Finally, the candle burned down and went out. Whitefield bid the people a final farewell, returned to the house, and went to bed.
His sleep, however, was restless and he awakened in the middle of the night with an asthma attack. He then went back to sleep but awakened later with a tight chest and difficulty breathing. He finally stopped breathing altogether and despite a doctor’s attempts to revive him, he expired at 6 a.m. on September 30, 1770.
Offers to bury him came from New Hampshire and from Boston’s Old South Church. Parsons, however, quickly arranged for Whitefield’s interment in the vault of the Newburyport Presbyterian Church, where his remains still lie today.
Daniel Rogers, who had been converted under Whitefield’s ministry thirty years before and had remained a loyal friend, prayed at the funeral. He said that he owed his conversion “to the labors of that dear man of God, whose precious remains now lay before them.” Rogers then began weeping and crying, “O my father, my father!” The congregation melted into tears (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 107).
As word spread of his passing condolences poured in, including the heartfelt eulogy from Benjamin Franklin, who, like thousands of others, had been profoundly impacted by the life and ministry of Whitefield. Indeed, America owes a great debt to his tireless labors and his selfless commitment to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to Colonial America. George Whitefield is, indeed, "America's Spiritual Founding Father."

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book,Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. To read about his vision for another Great Awakening in America and around the world, visit his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.