1/10/2019

THE QURAN OR THE BIBLE? WHAT WOULD THE FOUNDERS SAY?

Rashida Tlaib, the new Congresswoman from Michigan, took the oath of office with her hand on a copy of the Quran. She then commented that "some of our Founding Fathers knew more about Islam than some members of Congress now," which was probably a reference to Thomas Jefferson who owned a copy of the Quran.
Tlaib is not the first to depart from the tradition established by the Founders and use a religious book other than the Bible for taking the oath of office. In 2007, Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, also chose to be sworn into Congress with his hand on a Quran.
What would America's Founders think of this break from the tradition they established? Would they be indifferent about it? Or would they be concerned?

A ten-year project instituted to discover where the Founders got their ideas for America’s founding documents found that by far the single most cited authority in their writings was the Bible. They seldom, if ever, quoted from the Quran. 

They were children of the Reformation and they had been impacted by the Great Awakening that brought a renewal of faith to all of Colonial America (for documentation of this, see my book Pilgrims and Patriots). This renewal of faith included the Reformation emphasis on the Bible as the final authority for life and liberty. 
Indeed, the First Continental Congress was opened with an extended time of Bible reading and prayer. And when George Washington placed his hand on a Bible and took the oath of office as America’s first president, it was no mere formality. It was an expression of his commitment to the Bible as the ultimate source of guidance and authority for his administration.
Jefferson, after reading and comparing the Quran and other writings with the Gospels, wrote, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” He not only took the oath of office with his hand on a Bible, he closed all presidential documents with the appellation, “In the year of our Lord Christ.”
The Founders understood the power of values and belief systems in a way that most Americans today do not. They were convinced that only the Bible--centered in Jesus--offered a belief system and set of values that would sustain the free Republic they had brought into existence. 
Washington affirmed this when he said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” It was respect for the Bible as a guide for life and liberty that led James Madison, while president, to sign a federal bill in 1812 that provided economic aid for a Bible society in its goal of the mass distribution of the Bible (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 145).
The Founders’ respect for the Bible was highlighted when the first English Bible printed in America in 1782 included a recommendation from Congress. The producer of the Bible, Robert Aitken, had written a letter to Congress in which he asked for that government body’s sanction on his work. In the letter, Aitken called this Bible, “a neat Edition of the Scriptures for the use in schools.”
Congress enthusiastically responded to his request and offered the following recommendation to be included in this first English Bible printed in America.
Resolved: That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of the arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.
The Founders lived at a time when the European Enlightenment and its emphasis on reason was drawing many on the European continent away from the Bible. America’s Founders, however, saw no dichotomy between the Bible and reason. The well-known Catholic scholar, William Novak, says,
Everywhere that reason led, Americans found the Bible. If they read Francis Bacon, they found the Bible. If they read Isaac Newton or John Milton, they found the Bible. In Shakespeare, they found the Bible. In the world of the founders, the Bible was an unavoidable and useful rod of measurement, a stimulus to intellectual innovation (Hyatt, Pillars of the American Republic, 16).
This primary role of the Bible in America’s founding was acknowledged by Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, when he declared, “That book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.” It was also confirmed by the twenty-sixth president, Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “No other book of any kind ever written English has ever so affected the whole life of a people.”
America's Founders were tolerant of non-Christians, not becasue they were indifferent, but because it is what Jesus taught. They were tolerant also becasue they believed in the power of the Christian message. They believed that, if given a level playing field, the truth of Christianity would prevail. Jefferson declared,
Truth can stand by itself … If there be but one right religion and Christianity that one, we should wish to see the nine hundred and ninety-nine wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves.

Nations derive their values primarily from religion. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria have derived their values from the Quran and Islam. The oppression and lack of individual freedom in those nations is obvious to all. Why then would anyone want to bring those same values to America?

Ameica's Founders believed that only Christianity provided the moral and intellecutal underpinnings for a stable and prosperous nation. They would, therefore, be very concerned with someone taking the oath of office with their hand on a Quran, which they would see as an expression of allegiance to that book. 
Yes, America was founded on Biblical values. It is time, therefore, for a “Back to the Bible” movement that will reeducate Americans, beginning with the church, as to what the Bible actually teaches, and the role it played in the founding of America.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt has written several books on America’s Christian origins and they are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He also conducts “America Reawakening” events, an inspiring PowerPoint presentation that documents how America was birthed out of a great spiritual awakening and a Christian worldview.

1/08/2019

WHEN THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER COMES UPON A NATION


When a “spirit of prayer” comes upon a person, congregation or nation, they desire to pray more than anything else. Their hearts are overwhelmed with a yearning towards God and nothing but prayer will suffice and satisfy. This kind of prayer  is a work of the Holy Spirit and is mentioned in Romans 8:26.

This is what happened in the Great Prayer Revival of 1857-58. As if drawn by an invisible force, multitudes throughout the nation crowded into churches, fire stations, lodges and halls to pour out their hearts to God in prayer.
The did not want preaching or singing. They did not want to be  entertained. They wanted to pray. Charles G. Finney said the general impression seemed to be, “We have had instruction until we are hardened; it is time for us to pray.”
This prayer revival began with a simple layman named Jeremiah Lanphier experiencing a deep concern for the unconverted and spiritually indifferent. Out of this concern, he obtained a third story room in the Old Dutch Church on Fulton Street in downtown Manhattan and invited local businessmen to come and spend their noon hour in prayer.
Although simple in format and absent of hype, the meeting grew until every day it was standing room only. Men, women and the unconverted were drawn as if by a magnet into the prayer meeting. Marvelous answers to prayer were multiplied and many remarkable conversions occurred.
Many pastors began attending the daily prayer meeting, and seeing the passion for prayer, began opening their churches for prayer meetings. They were amazed to see multitudes fill their sanctuaries to pray both day and night.
A spirit of prayer seemed to be unleashed from the Fulton Street meeting to the nation. Prayer meetings began springing up in Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago and in a multitude of smaller cities and rural areas.
Characterized by a Solemn Sense of God’s Presence
The prayer meetings were characterized by a solemn sense of God’s presence and much convicting power. Sinners seemed helpless in God’s presence as the arrows of the Almighty pierced their hearts.
For example, in a noon prayer meeting at a church in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, the sanctuary was crowded with a standing-room-only crowd when a prayer request was read from a wife asking prayer for her unsaved husband.
Immediately, a man stood to his feet and with tears exclaimed, “I am that man. My wife is a good Christian woman and she must have sent that request. Please pray for me.” He sat down and immediately a man in another part of the house stood to his feet weeping, and as if he had not heard the first man, declared, “That was my wife who sent that request. She is a good Christian woman and I have treated her badly. Please pray for me!” He sat down and another man stood, also convinced that it was his wife who sent the prayer request and after him a fourth and a fifth with similar confessions.
One writer described a “zone of heavenly influence” that pervaded the eastern seaboard, extending out into the Atlantic and impacting the passengers and crews of approaching ships. He wrote,
Revival began aboard one ship before it reached the coast. People on board began to feel the presence of God and the sense of their own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them and they began to pray. As the ship neared the harbor, the captain signaled, “Send a minister.” Another small commercial ship arrived in port with the captain, and every member of the crew converted in the last 150 miles. Ship after ship arrived with the same story: both passengers and crew were suddenly convicted of sin and turned to Christ before they reached the American coast (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 24-25).
Finney told of a prayer meeting in Boston in which a man stood and declared that he had just travelled almost two thousand miles from Omaha, Nebraska and had found “a continuous prayer meeting all the way” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 22).
The Nation is Awakened
A young D. L. Moody attended daily prayer meetings in Chicago and wrote to his mother, “Oh, how I do enjoy it! It seems as if God were here Himself.” In Washington D.C., Presidents Pierce (1853-57) and Buchannan (1857-61) attended prayer meetings that were organized in that city.
In Charleston, South Carolina, the black pastor of the Anson Street Presbyterian Church, John Giardeau, established a prayer meeting in 1858 and exhorted his people to “wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
The prayer service grew until the auditorium was overflowing with more than two-thousand people. As on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit suddenly fell upon those at the Anson Street Church, a congregation made up mostly of slaves.
They began to sob, softly, like the falling of rain; then, with deeper emotion, to weep bitterly, or to rejoice loudly, according to their circumstances. It was midnight before he could dismiss the congregation. The meeting went on night and day for weeks. Large numbers of both black and white were converted and joined churches in the city (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26).
Finney described 1857-58 as a time when “a divine influence seemed to pervade the whole land” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26). He estimated that at the height of the revival fifty-thousand were being converted in a single week—and that without the aid of modern communication and technology.
Conservative estimates place the total number of conversions at around one million, but some have suggested that as many as two million may have been converted. The March 1858 issue of a religious journal reported,
The large cities and towns from Maine to California are sharing in this great and glorious work. There is hardly a village or town to be found where ‘a special divine power’ does not appear displayed (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26).
The Third Great Awakening
This was America’s “Third Great Awakening.” For any revival to be called a “Great Awakening” it should have the following three characteristics.
1.     It is an obvious sovereign work God in that it has arisen apart from any identifiable human plan, strategy or design.
2.      It is non-sectarian and touches people of all sects and denominations. No one group, or church can “own” the revival.
3.       It is not localized or regional but has an obvious national impact on the nation and its culture. 
The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58 possessed these characteristics, which is why I have chosen to call it America’s “Third Great Awakening.” 
The Reason for the Great Prayer Awakening
Some have suggested that the Prayer Revival of 1857-58 was an outpouring of God’s mercy preceding national judgment for the institutional sin of slavery—that it was God giving the nation an opportunity to deal with this sin and thereby avoid the coming judgment.
Others would emphasize that the revival was God’s way of strengthening and preparing the nation for the terrible time of suffering it would endure through the Civil War. In their excellent book, FIREFALL: How God Has Shaped History Through Revivals, McDow and Reid write,
The Prayer Revival laid the foundation to give spiritual resources that would help the nation survive this conflict. Roy Fish notes that one of the major functions of the great awakening of 1858 had to do with its preparation of the country for its fratricidal war which clouded the horizon” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 34-35).
Giardeau, the black pastor from South Carolina, believed the revival was sent to prepare the hearts of so many who would soon lose their lives in the Civil War. He described the revival as “the Lord’s mercy in gathering His elect for the great war that was soon to sweep so many of them into eternity.”
The Greatest Tragedy in American History
There was, indeed, great loss on all fronts, but none so great as the loss of human life. Estimates of the loss of life range from 625,000 to over 700,000 soldiers and an unknown number of civilians. The magnitude of the loss is amplified by the fact that the United States population at the time was only 31 million.
By way of comparison, in WWII 50,000 American soldiers lost their lives. In the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan less than 10,000 Americans have died. More lives were lost in the Civil War than in all wars combined from the American Revolution through the Korean Conflict.
It was truly a devastating time. Weeping could be heard in homes throughout America. In many homes both father and sons were missing. Hardly a family could be found that had not lost multiple family members.
The nation was devastated only a few years after the Great Prayer Revival. However, there is evidence that the spirit of prayer continued during the war and, no doubt, preserved the populace and the nation from utter ruin.
Prayer Continues During the War
Although this great Prayer Revival is often identified with the years 1857-58, it did not suddenly cease after those dates. Those dates merely identify the revival at its height and period of its greatest impact. There are reports of prayer meetings being prominent in both the Northern and Southern armies—a carry-over from the Prayer Revival.
When, for example, things were not going well for the Union army in the early days of the war, President Lincoln expressed concern that the “rebel soldiers” were praying more fervently than those of the North. The noted historian, Mark A. Noll, says, “Revivals were common in both camps of the Blue and the Gray” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 35).
A National Day of Prayer Changes the Course of the War
With the North suffering one defeat after another and things looking grim for the state of the Union, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution asking the president to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer.
President Lincoln then designated April 30, 1863 as a national day of humiliation, prayer and the confession of national sins, which would include the sin of slavery. In this proclamation, he said,
It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is Lord.
Lincoln’s Prayer of Faith
Because the influence of the Great Prayer Awakening was still fresh in the minds of the people, they responded en masse to Lincoln’s call to prayer. And after this national day of repentance and prayer, there was an almost immediate turn of the war in favor of the North--but not before a severe test of faith.
The following June, a confident General Robert E. Lee led 76,000 Confederate troops north into Union territory, i.e., into Pennsylvania. The populace was terrified and there was much panic. Lincoln, however, having been impacted by the Prayer Revival, found solace in prayer. He said,
When everyone seemed panic-stricken, I went to my room and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed. Soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul that God Almighty had taken the whole business into His own hands (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 38).
The Confederate forces were defeated at Gettysburg on July 3 and that battle proved to be the turning point for the war. Some would say the victory at Gettysburg was coincidental, but the change came on heels of the national day of repentance, prayer and fasting. One writer surmised that the North did not win the Civil War, but that prayer won the war.
The War Ends • The Healing Continues
For all practical purposes, the war ended in the spring of 1865, when Robert E. Lee and the last major Confederate army surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9. Over the next few months smaller units throughout the South laid down their arms and the bloodiest four years in American history came to an end.
It was from this era and out of this environment of both prayer and the sufferings of war that the Negro spiritual came forth that included the repeated phrase, “Ain’t gonna study war no more.” It captured the deepest feelings of many who longed for peace and a sense of God’s blessing once again on the nation.
Gonna lay down my burdens,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside, down by the riverside.
Gonna lay down my burdens,
Down by the riverside.
Ain’t gonna study war no more.
Gonna sit down with Jesus,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside, down by the riverside.
Gonna sit down with Jesus,
Down by the riverside.
Ain’t gonna study war no more.
If My People Will Humble Themselves and Pray
America is once again deeply divided and there is no answer to be found in politics, education or formal religion. There is, however, an answer and the Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58 points us to that answer. The answer is a serious meeting with God in prayer.
A national healing will occur when God’s people meet, not in Washington D.C, but in II Chronicles 7:14. This is a promise of national healing with certain conditions attached—conditions related to prayer.
We can be encouraged that Vice President Mike Pence often quoted this passage during the 2016 presidential campaign as a basis for national healing. When he took the oath of office, he purposely placed his hand on a Bible opened to this passage. It reads,
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s latest book, The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58, available from Amazon in both kindle and paperback. To read more about his vision for America and the world, visit his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

1/02/2019

ATHEISTS DEMAND REMOVAL OF CROSS BASED ON FAKE "WALL OF SEPARATION"


An atheist group, the American Humanist Association, filed a lawsuit to have the Peace Cross in Bladensburg, MD removed because, they claim, it violates the Constitution. This 40-foot cross, which was erected in 1925 to honor WWI soldiers, has never posed a problem until now--a reflection of the anti-Christian bias that has emerged in our culture.
A Maryland judge agreed with the atheists, saying in her ruling that the presence of the cross, maintained by tax money, “breaches the ‘wall of separation between Church and State.’” The suit has worked its way through the lower courts and is now headed for the Supreme Court.
The Fake “Wall of Separation”
The phrase “wall of separation between church and state,” to which Judge Stephanie Thacker and others have alluded, is not found in the Constitution. The First Amendment merely says, “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion or hindering the free exercise thereof.”
By establishing the First Amendment, the Founders were merely saying that America would never have an “official” state-run church. Indeed, it was from such oppressive state churches that they, their parents, and grandparents had fled. They came to America to find the freedom to live out their faith without government interference.
The phrase “wall of separation” comes not from the Constitution, but from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist group in Danbury, CN. The letter was written to assure them that the First Amendment provided a “wall of separation” that guaranteed their protection from government interference such as they had known in the Old World and in Colonial Virginia.
Jefferson’s “wall of separation” was thus unilateral, in place to keep the government from interfering in matters of faith. Jefferson’s “wall of separation” did not hinder the government from supporting Christian causes, which is why he took money from the federal treasury to pay for missionaries to work among the Kaskasia Indian tribe and to build them a building in which to worship. Jefferson was also free to close all presidential documents with the words, “In the Year of Our Lord Christ.” 
The modern "wall of sepration" that would remove crosses from public land is a fake wall, unknown to the foundding generation. That the First Amendment had nothing to do with removing Christian influence from government is highlighted by the fact that the day after ratifying the First Amendment, those same Founders proclaimed a day of prayer and thanksgiving throughout the land.
Not only that, but Congress continued to be opened with prayer and Bible reading and prayer continued to be a daily part of the normal school day in America. Presidents continued to take the oath of office with their hand on a Bible and they continued to issue proclamations for special days of prayer and thanksgiving.
America’s founding generation would be up in arms at the thought of the government banning a cross memorializing veteran soldiers. They would be astonished to see how the First Amendment is being distorted by modern secularists and manipulated into a weapon against religious liberty, the very thing it was meant to protect.
The Reason for the First Amendment
Yes, it is obvious to anyone who knows American history that the First Amendment was not put in place to stifle Christianity or to be indifferent towards it. The words and actions of the Founders make this clear. For example, writing nearly four decades after the American Revolution, John Adams declared,
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were . . . the general principles of Christianity. Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 163-64).
This was also made clear by Joseph Story (1779-1845) who served as a Supreme Court justice for thirty-four years from 1811-1845. Commenting on the First Amendment, he said,
We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment to an indifference in religion, and especially to Christianity, which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 153).
Historical Precedent Says “Leave the Cross Alone”
Interestingly, the first act of the Jamestown settlers upon landing at Cape Henry, VA on April 29, 1607, was to erect a seven-foot cross they had brought from England. They then gathered around the cross where they held a prayer service and dedicated the land of their new home to God.
If historical precedent holds any sway with the sitting Supreme Court justices, they should consider the 1892 ruling of the Court in the case of “Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States.” After reviewing thousands of historical documents, the nation’s highest Court declared,
Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian . . . From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation . . . we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth that this is a Christian nation (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 167).
Those who want to remove the cross have based their case on a new and novel interpretation of the First Amendment that ignores its historical context. Their "wall of separation" is a fake wall, unknown to America's Founders. 

Leave the cross alone!

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt has a vision to see America reeducated cocerning her spiritual birth and see the nation experience another Great Awakening. You can read about his vision on his website and blog and his latest book entitled, The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58.