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2/27/2015

MY CALL TO HELP FACILITATE SPIRITUAL AWAKENING IN AMERICA

REVIVE AMERICA was brought into existence to educate the church in America about this nation’s overt Christian origins and to issue a call for God’s people to pray for another Great Awakening in the land. Knowledge is power and in Hosea 4:6 God said, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because we have lacked knowledge of our history as a nation birthed out of Spiritual awakening, secularists have revised our history and are in the process of transforming America into a secularist, socialist, anti-Christian nation.
But there is hope! In 2010 I had a life-changing encounter with the Lord wherein I was shown that America “can” see another Great Spiritual Awakening. I also saw for the first time that there was a direct bearing between the First Great Awakening and the founding of this nation. That experience gave birth to my book, America’s Revival Heritage, published in 2012.
Revive America Events
I recently created a vivid PowerPoint presentation that highlights and documents America’s birth out of a Great Spiritual Awakening. I presented this for the first time in a Revive America Event at Abounding Grace Church in Schenectady/Albany, New York. It was a very powerful and significant time. I have included photos below.
If you would like to host a Revive American Event in your church, Bible school, fellowship or city, send me an email at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com. A Revive American Event includes the following themes:
1        How America was Birthed Out of a Great Spiritual Awakening
2.       The Original Vision of the First Immigrants to America
3.       The Loss of the Original Vision and its Rebirth through the Great Awakening
4.       The Message of the Preachers of the Great Awakening
5.       America’s Founders and How they Were Impacted by the Great Awakening

First “Revive America Event” in Schenectady/Albany, New York






  

2/22/2015

WHO ARE THE COPTIC CHRISTIANS? WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THEM?


Although I am a critic of Catholic theology, I commend Pope Francis for recognizing the 21 Coptic Christians murdered by ISIS as true Christian martyrs. “They were killed for the simple fact that they were Christians,” said Francis. He went on to say, "The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ!"
The video of their execution shows that some of them were repeating the words, "Lord Jesus Christ" as they were being beheaded. And on an Arabic Christian TV program the brother of two of the martyrs told of asking his mother, an uneducated woman in her 60s, what she would do if she saw the ISIS member who killed her sons pass on the street? He said she replied, "I would ask God to open his eyes and then invite him into my home.'" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yCmnyzYeW8
Who are these Coptic Christians? And what can we learn from them?
The Coptic Church of Egypt traces its beginning to Mark, author of the second Gospel, who according to tradition, took the Gospel to Egypt during the reign of Nero who was emperor from a.d. 54-68. Also, according to tradition, Mark was martyred for his faith on May 8, a.d. 68 in Alexandria, Egypt after being dragged by Roman soldiers through the city’s streets and alleys. 
Nonetheless, the Gospel took root in Egypt, and Alexandria became an early center of Christianity, producing some of the great leaders and theologians of the early church such as Clement, Origen and Athanasuis, sometimes called the Father of Orthodoxy.
Nonetheless, persecution and martyrdom have been a part of the Coptic Church’s experience since its inception. This persecution has come from various quarters including Roman Emperors, Byzantine rulers, the Catholic Church and Islam. They have been persecuted by practically every Egyptian ruler. 
But instead of being melancholic and morose, Coptic Christians take pride in the persecution they have endured through the centuries. On their website is a statement that says, “Perhaps the greatest glory of the Coptic Church is its cross.” To emphasize their pride in their cross of suffering, the Copts have created a calendar called the Calendar of the Martyrs that honors those who have suffered and died for their faith throughout history.
Although losing a loved one in such a horrid manner must be an emotionally wrenching experience, it would not be a theological shock, causing them to question God and His goodness, as it would be for Christians in America and the West. They understand that suffering for their faith is the price they will pay for being a true follower of Jesus. In fact, the brother of two of the martyrs spoke of how proud they were of these men and their faith and how his family rejoiced knowing they had entered the kingdom of God.
Nonetheless, the situation in the Middle East should help us appreciate the unique religious liberties we have known in America since its inception, and should serve as a reminder that we must be on guard so as not lose these liberties. As someone has noted, "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom." We as Christians in America must, therefore, not be intimidated and silenced concerning the erosion of our religious liberties. 
To illustrate this, I am editing and adapting the well-known statement by the Lutheran pastor, Martin Neimoller (1892–1984), about the consequences of the silence of the German people following the Nazis rise to power. I have adapted it to fit what could be a reality in America unless Christians pray and voice their convictions.
First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out,
Because I am not a Jew.
Then they came for the Mormons, and I did not speak out,
Because I am not a Mormon.
Then they came for the Baptists, and I did not speak out,
Because I am not a Baptist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out,
Because I am not a Catholic.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and Biblical scholar. He is also the founder of the Revive America Project, which is dedicated to reclaiming the vision and restoring the hope for another Great Awakening in America and around the world. He has written several books on Spiritual awakening that are available from Amazon and his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.






IS THERE ANY ROOM FOR REPENTANCE IN OUR MODERN PREACHING?

How a Mind-Set Change Can Transform Your World & Mine

I am not one given to visions, but in 1975, upon graduation from Bible school, I saw a vision of a coming great falling away in the church, followed by an even greater revival. I have lived to see the first part of the vision--the falling away--fulfilled. I believe the second part of the vision—the great revival—could be at the door and tarries, perhaps, until we make some much needed adjustments in how we see and present Jesus.
When I saw the great falling away I heard the words, “Jesus is a means, not an end.” I knew immediately and instinctively that the falling away would be characterized, not by a rejection of Jesus, but by Him being preached and embraced as a means to personal happiness rather than as the end or goal for life.
A means is “how” we reach a desired end or goal. If my end or goal is to travel from Dallas to New York, there are various means at my disposal for reaching that goal. The means may vary but the end is stationary, for the end is what is important.
In the vision, churches were filled with people who had accepted Jesus, not as the end or goal in life, but as a means for them obtaining their own end of personal happiness and fulfillment. They were like the people in John’s Gospel who sought Jesus, not for who He was, but for what they could get from Him.
What’s in it for Me?
In the Gospel of John, Jesus chided a large crowd for seeking Him as a means rather than as the end or goal of life. This happened when He multiplied a lad’s lunch of 5 loaves and 2 fishes and fed a large multitude. After the miracle, Jesus departed from that area with His disciples. The people, however, were so enthralled by what they had seen and experienced that they crossed the Sea of Tiberius looking for Him.
Their motives, however, were all wrong and Jesus confronted their distorted perception of Him by saying, Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled (John 6:26).
Remember that in John’s Gospel, the signs Jesus performs are indicators that point to who He is—His identity. It is thus clear that Jesus recognizes that the people are seeking Him, not for who He is, but for what they can get from Him. They see Jesus as a means for satisfying their personal needs and desires, not the End—the Lord--deserving their love and devotion because of who He is.
This is Where Repentance Comes In
The preaching of Jesus as a means rather than the end ignores the ramifications of the fall wherein our first parents heeded the serpent’s lie that God’s command was keeping them from personal happiness and fulfilment in life. They, therefore, declared their independence from God, rejected Him as the ultimate end of life, and replaced Him with their own happiness as the ultimate end, i.e., they themselves became the end and goal of life. They became the first humanists.
Since that time, their posterity—the human race--has been in a continuous search for the means that will bring them to their end, or goal, of personal happiness and fulfilment. A myriad of means have been used (and continue to be used) to try and achieve this end including entertainment, sports, drugs, power, sex, career, crime, religion, etc.
What is needed, however, is not another means, but a completely different end. This is what the Bible calls “repentance.” In Acts 20:21 Paul said the he preached a two-fold message—repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
The word “repent” is from the Greek word metanoeo and literally means “to change the mind.” It refers to a radical change of thinking wherein self is no longer the end or goal, but Christ is made the end or goal for life. This was the message preached by Charles G. Finney, the Prince of Revivalists, who described repentance in this manner.
It consists in the sinner changing his mind, or disposition, in regard to the supreme object of pursuit. It is a change in the end at which he aims and not merely the means of obtaining his end. It is a change from a state of selfishness in which a person prefers his interests above everything else, to that disinterested benevolence that prefers God’s happiness and glory, and the interests of His kingdom, to his own private happiness.
It has been estimated that 80% of Finney’s converts never backslid. In contrast, a follow-up was done on those who responded during a modern evangelistic crusade and it was found that, only six months later, only 5% had any sort of meaningful relationship with Christ.
I would suggest that preaching Jesus as a means rather than as the End is one reason we have seen so many people drop out of church and let go of their faith. They accepted Jesus as a means to their own personal happiness, not as the end and goal for their life. So when they encountered tests of faith, it was all too easy to let go of Jesus and try something else, i.e., try another means.
Finding Fulfillment & True Happiness
Jesus and His kingdom are the highest and greatest value in all creation. This is why we only find true meaning in life when we give up self as the end and make Jesus and His kingdom the end. This is the point Jesus made when he said, If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it (Matthew 16:24-25; NLT).
I believe the great revival I saw could be at the door. It tarries, perhaps, until we tweak our message and begin presenting Jesus, not as a mere means for personal happiness, but as the Lord and Master of the Universe who calls each and every one of us to an absolute and unconditional surrender to Him and His will. Then, and only then, will we see His kingdom come and His will done on earth as it is in heaven. Only then will we know true happiness and fulfillment.

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is the founder of the Revive America Project that is dedicated to reclaiming the vision and reviving the hope for another Great Awakening in the land. His books on revival and American and church history can be found on Amazon and at his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.







THE AMAZING PROPHECY OF A NATIVE AMERICAN CHIEF CONCERNING GEORGE WASHINGTON

 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.
These were the words of a Native American chief as he reminisced with George Washington and others about a battle fifteen years previous when they were on opposite sides during the French and Indian Wars. 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 twenties, 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 colonialist.
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 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, said something amazing.
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 (Benjamin Hart, Faith & Freedom, 234).
Washington, of course, 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 then presided over the Continental Congress and was later unanimously elected the first president of the United States of America. "First in war. first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," was a common adage ascribed to Washington by his generation.
As we remember George Washington today on his birthday, 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. Let us therefore beseech Him to have mercy upon us as a nation and visit us again with His mercy and power. As David prayed in Psalm 85:6-7, Will you not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in you? Show us Your mercy LORD, and grant us Your salvation.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, historian and Bible teacher. He is the founder of "The Revive America Project" that is dedicated to laying the Biblical and historical foundations for another Great Awakening in our land. His books on Spiritual awakening and American  and church history can be found on Amazon and at his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html

2/15/2015

HAS OUR NATION BECOME "UNPATRIOTIC" ACCORDING TO GEORGE WASHINGTON?


In his Farewell Address, after serving two terms as America’s first president, George Washington warned that there are two things—religion and morality—that are “indispensable to political prosperity.” We should note that when Washington, or any of the Founders, use the word “religion” the word “Christianity” can be substituted. “Christianity” and “religion” were synonymous to them. And while they were tolerant of other religions, they were not “religious pluralists” in the modern sense. They derived their morals and values from Christianity. This is borne out by the fact that a recent, ten-year study project to discover where the Founders got their ideas for America’s founding documents revealed that, by far, the single, most-cited authority in their writings was the Bible (Eddie Hyatt, America’s Revival Heritage, 62).
Two Great Pillars for Human Happiness & Political Prosperity
Interestingly, the two things Washington said are indispensable for the success of the republic—Christianity and morality--are the very two things that are under increasing attack, and the two things that so many of our political leaders seem hell-bent on removing from the public life of this nation. In this same Farewell Address, Washington refers to Christianity and morality as the “great pillars” of human happiness and “firmest props” of the duties of citizens. 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.
Although Washington was not outwardly zealous in his faith like a George Whitefield or a Jonathan Edwards, there is no question that he was a devout Christian whose faith was obvious in both his private and public life. Virginians tended to be more formal and reserved in their faith than their counterparts in New England. Whereas New England had been settled by Separatists, Puritans and Baptists who were vehemently at odds with the religious and political powers-that-be in the Old World, Virginia had been settled primarily by loyalist Anglicans (Church of England) who were more settled and accepting of the religious status quo. This is why Anglicanism was, for a time, the official state church of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Nonetheless, with more and more interaction between Virginia and New England and with the impact of the Great Awakening, Virginians tended to take on the more intense and devotional character of New Englanders in their faith, and this is seen in the faith of Washington.
Washington A True Christian Statesman
Upon assuming command of the American Revolutionary Army in 1775, Washington immediately began bringing a much needed discipline to the ragtag forces, and this included a moral and religious discipline. For example one of his first orders forbade profanity, swearing and drunkenness among the troops. The order also stated, “He [Washington] requires and expects all officers and soldiers, not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance of Divine services, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and public defense.” For a time, Washington stayed in the home of a pastor from which he issued his orders for each day after morning prayers. One of the orders directed the troops to observe a national day of fasting and prayer on July 20 “exactly in the manner directed by the Continental Congress.”
Henry Muhlenberg, pastor of a Lutheran church situated in the area of Valley Forge where Washington and his troops were camped during the winter of 1777-78, was able to observe many of their activities. He wrote, “Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each and every one to fear God.” Muhlenberg went on to say, “This gentleman does not belong to the so-called world of society, for he respects God’s word, believes in atonement through Christ, and bears himself in humility and gentleness” (Benjamin Hart, Faith & Freedom, 293).
Washington A Devout Christian
That Washington was devout in his faith was confirmed by Isaac Potts, a Quaker, who also lived near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, when the Continental Army, led by Washington, was wintering there under much duress. As a Quaker, Potts was a pacifist who opposed the war until he had a life-changing experiencing while riding through the woods one day during, perhaps, the bleakest period of the war. He said;
I heard a plaintive sound as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling and went quietly into the woods and to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis, and the cause of the country, of humanity and of the world. Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying. I went home and told my wife I saw a sight and heard today what I never saw or heard before, and just related to her what I had seen and heard and observed. We never thought a man could be a soldier and a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington (Eddie Hyatt, America’s Revival Heritage, 67-68).
It was Washington who began a tradition, and demonstrated his respect for the Bible, by choosing to be sworn into office with his hand resting on a Bible. It was Washington, who immediately after his inauguration, proceeded along with Congress to St. Paul’s Chapel to participate in a worship service and to ask God’s blessing on his administration and the nation. It was Washington, who upon reflecting on his life and role in the formation of a new nation, wrote, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Washington obviously saw no conflict between his faith in God and his duties as a soldier and a statesman. He, in fact, saw faith in God as a necessary component for success in these areas. This was also true of even the most nonreligious Founders, such as Franklin and Jefferson, who believed that the morals and values derived from Christianity were vital for the health and success of the nation. They, therefore, desired that Christianity be promoted and taught in the public arena. This is why Mark Hall, Professor of Politics at George fox University, has said;
America’s Founders did not want Congress to establish a national church, and many opposed establishments at the state level as well. Yet they believed, as George Washington declared in his Farewell Address, that of “all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.” Moreover, almost without exception, they agreed that civic authorities could promote and encourage Christianity and that it was appropriate for elected officials to make religious arguments in the public square. There was virtually no support for contemporary visions of a separation of church and state that would have political leaders avoid religious language and require public spaces to be stripped of religious symbols.
“Unpatriotic” According to Washington
It is obvious that a serious fundamental change has been taking place in our nation that involves the removal of the two pillars--Christianity and morality—that Washington said are indispensable for the success of the nation. Who can deny this is happening when prayer and Bible reading have been outlawed from the public schools, when the Ten Commandments, crosses and Scripture verses have been ordered removed from public facilities, when nativity scenes are no longer allowed in public squares and Christmas trees are now called holiday trees? Who can deny that the two pillars of which Washington spoke are being attacked when religious liberty is being attacked from the highest echelons of government?
What would Washington think of a commander in chief who remains silent when a government bureaucrat orders that Christian prayers cannot be prayed at a VA cemetery, and when the Walter Reed Army Hospital bans the Bible from its premises? (both orders were rescinded after firestorms of protest). What would Washington think of a presidency that seeks to force privately owned businesses to provide services that violate their conscience and religious convictions. What would Washington think of self-serving politicians on both sides of the political aisle who refuse to take stands on moral issues for fear of jeopardizing their political careers?
What would Washington think of churches and ministers who capitulate to popular culture and refuse to take a Biblical stand on moral issues. “Silence gives consent,” is a maxim affirmed by Thomas Jefferson who said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” 
In this same Farewell Address, Washington told us what he thinks of those who would undermine the two pillars of Christianity and morality. He said, “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.” In other words, any pastor, politician, government official, educator or entertainer who would undermine the influence of Christianity and morality in America is, in the words of our Founding Father, “Unpatriotic.”


Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian, and ordained minister. He is the founder of the the Revive America Project and presents Revive America events throughout the nation. His books on Spiritual awakening and Christian history are available from Amazon and from his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.



2/06/2015

WHATEVER BECAME OF SIN?

How Recognizing and Confessing Our Sins 
Can Lead to Personal Freedom & Spiritual Awakening

A mature Christian friend shared how that in her younger days she became filled with such bitterness toward her verbally abusive husband that she decided to murder him. He was an unbeliever and she said God told her not to marry him but she did anyway. The honeymoon was hardly over before he began to vehemently oppose her and her Christian faith.
As the months passed and he became more antagonistic and verbally abusive, the anger and bitterness built in her heart until she finally made plans to kill him in his sleep and then dispose of the body. She, of course, told no one of her plan. 
During this time she went to a small revival type meeting with some friends, who probably sensing her struggle, urged her to go forward and receive prayer. She did so but when the minister started to lay his hands on her and pray he suddenly withdrew. He was silent for a moment and then said, “Sister I can’t pray for you; you have murder in your heart.”
My friend burst into tears and blurted out, “Yes I want to kill my husband.” At that moment the intense anger and bitterness lifted. The confession of her sin brought immediate relief and she was able to deal with the situation in a more appropriate and Christian manner. She is a vibrant follower of Jesus today.
A Secular Psychiatrist Gets It
The well-known psychiatrst, Dr. Karl Menninger, who was no evangelical Christian, wrote a book in 1973 called Whatever Became of Sin. In this book Menninger, who taught in the Harvard Medical School before founding the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, discussed the tendency in psychiatry and society to do away with the concept of sin and to exonerate individuals of personal responsibility by shifting the blame for their bad behavior (sin) to others, i.e., to parents, circumstances and society.
Menninger considered this to be a harmful trend and said that what many psychiatric patients really need is an old fashioned mourner’s bench where they can open their hearts and pour out their fears and their sins to God. He also argued that by terming “sin” as a mere “symptom” or “disease,” the behavior is defined downward removing any sense of personal guilt and responsibility. This, in turn, reduces any real hope for change and recovery because mental health and moral health go hand in hand.
Since the publication of his book over forty years ago, our politically-correct society has taken this trend of banning “sin” to places Menninger probably could not have imagined, including church.
The Truth About I John 1:9
I agree with those today who say that we as Christians should live in a consciousness of who we are in Christ and of the righteousness that has been given us through faith in Him. I do not, however,  agree with those who insist there is no place for a believer confessing his/her sins. Such teaching is neither Biblical nor reasonable and robs individuals, like my friend, of the relief and forgiveness that comes through walking in the light and confessing our sins to God.
Those who insist that believers do not need to confess their sins argue that I John 1:9 does not apply to believers because it was written to Gnostics. The passage reads, If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Such a claim, however, is like a sieve that does not hold water for at least three reasons.
First of all, there is no evidence of an identifiable movement known as Gnosticism or people called Gnostics when John wrote this letter. The earliest evidence for a Gnostic movement is not until the latter part of the second century in the writings of the church father, Irenaeus, in his book Against Heresies.
Secondly, John is obviously addressing believers in this passage for he uses first person plural pronouns (we and us) throughout the letter. If he were addressing outsiders he would have used the third person plural, i.e., they and them. Also John, throughout this letter, addresses its recipients as my little children and this is further evidence that he is addressing fellow believers. The idea that he addresses Gnostics in the first chapter and then switches to addressing Christians is, to me, playing fast and loose with the text.
Thirdly, from the time of its composition, I John was recognized as a letter to Christians. Polycarp, a disciple of John and bishop of Smyrna, quotes I John 4:3 and uses it to warn the church in Philippi to beware of false teachers who deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Indeed, it is obvious that I John was written, not as an evangelistic letter to nonbelievers, but as a letter to warn the faithful to beware of false teachers. 
The Oxford Companion to the Bible, edited by the eminent New Testament scholar, Dr. Bruce Metzger, expresses the prevailing view of both history and contemporary New Testament scholarship regarding this letter. It states that I John was written to Christians, "evidently addressed to a particular church situation in which problems of belief and behavior were being encountered." 
In summary, this letter bears all the marks of a standard apostolic letter, addressed to believers and meant to be read in their public assemblies. 
The Importance of a Two-Fold Confession
Very early in my walk with the Lord I learned the importance of a two-fold confession: (1) confessing the “position” that is mine through the salvation God has accomplished for me in Christ, and (2) confessing my “condition” as I walk out this salvation He has provided for me. John calls this walking in the light (I John 1:7).
This lesson began one day when I sensed the Lord speak in my heart to do something that I found intimidating. I struggled for weeks but would not confess that I was afraid. My confession was, “God, I am your man and you just make clear that this is what you want me to do and I will do it.” Do you see the pride in that confession? And all the time my heart was afraid and in turmoil.
One day I decided to come out of denial and have an honest conversation with God. I got down on my knees and said, “God, I am afraid to do this.” As soon as those words were out of my mouth the heaviness lifted and my soul became settled and peaceful for the first time in weeks. I went on to say, “But I know that if this is what you want me to do, you will give me the strength and courage to do it.”
I waited for a couple of days and then obeyed the word He had spoken to me some weeks before. I went to a family in the community and told them what God had put in my heart. It resulted in an entire family coming to Christ, and I learned a very important lesson about the importance of a two-fold confession.
A Key to True Revival
Scripture, personal experience and history is replete with examples of God’s power being displayed when Christians walked in the light and admitted that they had sinned. In his Autobiography Charles Finney tells of one congregation that was so convicted of their “condition” that the leaders drew up a public confession that was signed by all the adult members and then read in public.
The confession asked forgiveness from God and the community for their selfish living and for not being true witnesses of Jesus Christ in their community. When it was read publicly it had a powerful effect on the church and the entire community, and resulted in many turning to Christ.
Now, there is no question that our witness must be centered in Jesus. We must preach Christ and what He has accomplished for the human race. We must, however, also be open to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit in our midst and be willing to confess the sins that He makes known to us. 
This was the message of Jesus to the lukewarm church of Laodicea when He said, As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:19). Only when we are open to the discplining, convicting work of the Holy Spirit in our midst will we see the needed change and true revival in the churches of America. As Peter said in I Peter 4:17, For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is the founder of "The Revive America Project," whose goal is to lay the Biblical and historical foundation for another Great Spiritual Awakening in America and around the world. His books on Spiritual awakening and church order can be found on Amazon and at his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html