5/06/2021

CONTENDING FOR A MORE PURE FLOW OF PROPHETIC MINISTRY

Sue and I once stopped for the night in Pennsylvania coal country. I turned on the water to take a bath and it came out very dark. The water source was pure, but the pipes through which the water flowed were tainted with coal dust.

And so it is with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including prophecy. The Holy Spirit and His gifts are pure, but they flow through frail and fallible human vessels. In over 60 years of observing and participating in prophetic ministry, I have seen individual pride, personal doctrine, feelings, and misconceptions dirty the water of the Holy Spirit as He flowed through sincere, but flawed, human vessels. 

This, of course, is why prophetic ministry is so tenuous. It is why we are instructed in Scritpure to “test the spirits” and to “judge” prophetic utterances.

In this article, I am adressing 3 popular misconceptions that dirty the flow of prophetic ministry. I believe they contributed to so many “prophets” getting it wrong about the 2020 presidential election. Although we will never be “perfect” in our prophetic giftings, correcting these misconceptions can help us move in a more pure flow of the Holy Spirit and His gifts.

Misconception #1
The Gift of Prophecy Gives Me the Ability to Predict the Future

The New Testament gift of prophecy is not a gift to predict the future. It is not a fortunetelling gift. It is a spontaneous manifestation of the Holy Spirit giving the ability to speak forth the heart and mind and God to a particular situation or circumstance. It is about “forthtelling,” not “foretelling” (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 13).

Even in the Old Testament, the purpose of prophecy was not to predict the future. Although their message might contain a future and predictive element, their purpose was not to satisfy human curiosity about the future. Their purpose was to speak the heart and mind of God to His people.

In the Old Testament, we find God raising up prophets especially during times of apostasy and idolatry. The messages of the prophets were messages of repentance, calling the people to turn from their idols and return to their God.  After Israel went into captivity because of her sins, the writer of II Kings said,

The LORD warned Judah and Israel though all His prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe My commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey . . .” (II Kings 17:13).

If speaking the heart and mind of God was characteristic of Old Testament prophecy, it is even more so in the New Testament. I Corinthains 14:3 says that prophecy is given for edification, exhortation, and comfort. It is given to affirm and encourage, as Paul says in I Corinthians 14:32. Although there can be a future element to prophecy, it is never given to satisfy human curiosity about the future.

An added dimension of New Testament prophecy is the centrality of Christ in its operation. In John 16:14, Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit had come, He will glorify Me, and Revelation 19:10 says, The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.

Those who become preoccupied with predicting the future have moved away from New Testament prophetic ministry and closer to pagan psychics and fortunetellers. It is possible that so many “prophets” got it wrong about the 2020 election because they ministered with this misconception that they had a gift to predict the future.

Misconception #2
Prophecy is a Permanent Gift that I Operate at My Discretion

Those who think they can prophesy at their own discretion—when and where they choose—inevitably give false and misleading prophecies out of their own mind and imaginations. The New Testament is clear that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy, come forth as the Spirit wills, not as we will (I Corinthians 12:11).

A “prophet” gave me a word concerning my “little brother,” about whom he said I was very concerned. He said there was no need for my concern for God had revealed to him that my little brother would be saved. There was just one big problem with his prophecy. I do not have a little brother.

This person was sincere but had been deceived into thinking that he had a gift of prophecy that he could operate at his own initiative. It resulted in him giving many prophecies out of his own human feelings, thoughts, and impressions.

In I Corinthians 12:7, Paul uses the Greek word phanerosis, translated as “manifestation,” to describe Spiritual gifts, including prophecy. It literally means “a shining forth” and refers to something that has been hidden being brought out into the open. Spiritual gifts are “manifestations” of the Spirit.

The use of phanerosis highlights the fact that these gifts reside in the Holy Spirit, not in the person. They are manifested by the Spirit, not the individual. If you are a child of God with the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, all these gifts are available to you but they come forth at His discretion.

My wife, Sue, and I have personally seen these gifts manifest at the most unexpected times and in the most unusual places. For example, we once sat down in a strange restaurant in a strange city where we had agreed to meet the pastor of the church where we would be ministering that week.

When he finally came in and sat down, Sue burst forth with a message in tongues. I had the interpretation, which was a prophetic word for this pastor. He was amazed and asked permission to share what had just happened to the members of his church board with whom he was meeting after our meal. He said the prophetic message precisely confirmed a challenging proposal he was going to submit to them that day.

We did not plan that nor could we ever duplicate it. We cannot use the Holy Spirit; we can only allow Him to use us. The key is to nurture a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, avoid grieving Him with unseemly words and behavior, and be ready to respond to His most gentle promptings.

Misconception #3
“Prophet” is a Title I Wear in Front of My Name

America's founders understood the inherent dangers of handing out honorific titles. In Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, they forbade the American government from granting honorific titles of nobility to anyone and forbade anyone holding a governement office from accepting a a title or office from a foreign state without the consent of Congress.

Honorific titles can lead to pride and give individuals an inflated idea of their importance. The Bible continually warns against pride and reminds us that it was pride that led to the downfall of Satan. I once heard the Holy Spirit say to me, while ministering in a prophetic church, "The stronghold of deception is pride." 

This is why the early church avoided titles, and is why you will never see anyone in the NT with a title in front of their name. Although certain individuals, such as Agabus, are referred to as prophets, they are never called “Prophet Agabus.” In a similar way, Luke mentions Paul by name more than 120 times and not once does he say, “Apostle Paul,” but merely “Paul.” In 2 Peter 3:14, Peter refers to our beloved brother Paul. In Rev. 1:9, John the apostle, in his letter to the churches, refers to himself as your brother and companion in tribulation.

This obvious avoidance of titles is understandable in light of the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:6-12 where He warned His disciples about adopting titles that would lift them above their fellow believers. He said,

But you, do not be called “Rabbi”; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.

In the Old Testament, God raised up prophets to be his mouthpiece to His people, but on the Day of Pentecost, a prophetic community came into existence. In the New Testament Church all believers are expected to be filled with the Holy Spirit. All have the potential to hear God and to function prophetically.

In the New Testament, there is no indication of an elite group of prophets who hear God for the rest of the church. Dr. Gordon Fee is, therefore, correct when he says that those who are referred to as “prophets” in the New Testament are merely those who prophesy more than the other members of the prophetic community (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 108),

Robert Morris, Founder and Senior Pastor of Gateway Church, obviously understands this. He told of an individual telling him that he needed a “prophet” on his staff. Morris said he replied, “I don’t need a prophet; I have the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus said the reason His followers should avoid titles is that you are all brethren. I can see the benefit of titles in a church or ministry organization to help people understand the various functions and roles, but the adoption of titles for no other reason but to give status and prestige goes against the spirit of the Gospel and is a violation of the teachings of Jesus.

Summation

God has promised that in the last days He will pour out His Sprit on all flesh with sons and daughters prophesying (Acts 2:17). Prophecy, however, is a cooperation between the human and the Divine, which is why it is tenuous and must be tested and evaluated. Dealing with the above misconceptions can help us be more finely tuned vessels through which the Holy Spirit can flow with His gifts, resulting in a more pure flow of the Holy Spirit in the days ahead.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, Prophets and Prophecy, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the author of the strategic and timely book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, which documents how America was defined by 1726 rather than 1619. 

5/03/2021

POSITIVE PROOF THAT AMERICA WAS DEFINED BY 1726, NOT 1619

#Remembering1726
This past week, Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), sent  a letter to Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, in which he expressed “grave concern” about the Biden administration's plan to implement the New York Times' "1619 Project" into school curriculums across America.

There is reason for McConnell’s “grave concern,” for the “1619 Project” paints America as inherently racist and corrupt and in need of fundamental transformation. According to those who propagate this myth, 1619, when the first African slaves were brought to these shores, defined America and is her true founding, not 1776.

This narrative is already being taught in many public schools and has even infiltrated Christian schools. A distraught parent recently contacted me to tell me of her daughter being taught, in her Christian school, that America’s founders were bad people and only wanted freedom for themselves.

The situation is critical, for as Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, "To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots." If we do not preserve our roots, the America of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, and King will be no more.  What a tragedy that would be for America and for all mankind!

1726 is the Key for Interpreting Our History

Slavery is a horrible blight on America’s past and could have defined the country, had it not been for 1726. That year, a great, spiritual awakening began, which profoundly transformed colonial America. Racial and cultural barriers were breached and an abolition movement was ignited that eventually brought about the end of slavery on this continent.

Instead of being defined by 1619, America became defined by 1726 as a land of faith and freedom. The key to preserving our history and confronting the 1619 myth is to understand what happened, beginning in 1726. Interpreting America's history in the light of 1726 changes everything. 

Here are 5 historical facts from the 1726 narrative that completely undermines the 1619 myth about America.

Fact #1
Slavery Was Not Unique to America

Slavery is a part of sinful humanity and has been practiced by many peoples and civilizations for thousands of years. Slavery was being practiced in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and many parts of the world when the first African slaves were brought to America in 1619.

This is why the late Dr. Walter E. Williams, who was Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and who happened to be black, said that slavery in America was neither odd nor strange. He pointed out that at the beginning of the nineteenth century, “An estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.”

Williams pointed out that what was unique about slavery in America was both the brevity of its existence and the moral outrage that arose against it. The late historians, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, agreed, saying,

Europeans did not outdo others in enslaving people or treating slaves viciously. They outdid others by creating a Christian civilization that eventually stirred moral condemnation of slavery and roused mass movements against it.

Fact #2
Moral Outrage Arose Against Slavery in Colonial America

As documented in my book, 1726, a powerful anti-slavery movement emerged out of the great, spiritual awakening that rocked colonial America in the 18th century. In this “Great Awakening,” racial and cultural barriers were breached as blacks and whites worshipped together and shared the Gospel with everyone regardless of race or status in life.

Second-generation Awakening preachers then began to viciously attack the institution of slavery around 1750. Samuel Hopkins (1721–1803), for example, who had been personally tutored by Jonathan Edwards, was outraged by what he saw while pastoring in Newport, Rhode Island, an important hub in the transatlantic slave trade. He declared, “This whole country have their hands full of blood this day.”

In 1774, after the First Continental Congress had convened in Philadelphia, Hopkins sent a pamphlet to every member of the Congress, asking how they could complain about “enslavement” to England and overlook the “enslavement” of so many blacks in the Colonies.

As “Liberty” was becoming a watchword throughout the Colonies, the preachers of the Awakening began applying it to the enslaved in America. Like Hopkins, they pointed out the hypocrisy of demanding freedom from England while continuing to tolerate the institution of slavery in their midst. The Baptist preacher, John Allen, thundered,

Blush ye pretended votaries of freedom! ye trifling Patriots! who are making a vain parade of being advocates for the liberties of mankind, who are thus making a mockery of your profession by trampling on the sacred natural rights and privileges of Africans (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 93-94).

The breaching of racial barriers in the Great Awakening provided the social context for George Washington to order his recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the ranks of the Continental Army. As a result, by 1781 one in every seven American soldiers was black. Blacks and whites fought together for freedom from Great Britain.

Out of this Christian Awakening, the moral and spiritual forces were unleashed that would eventually bring about the end of slavery on this continent.

Fact #3
America’s Founders Rejected Slavery
When it Was Accepted Around the World

As a result of the Great Awakening and the abolition movement it launched, virtually all of America’s founders turned against slavery at a time it was accepted and practiced throughout the world. Dr. Thomas Sowell, who happens to be black, has written about this, saying,

Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century–and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and other American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 90).

Dr, Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia was a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A passionate abolitionist, he called on the ministers of America to take a bold stand against slavery, saying, “Slavery is a Hydra sin and includes in it every violation of the precepts of the Laws and the Gospels” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101).

Two years before the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin liberated his two slaves and began advocating for abolition. He joined the Abolition Society in Philadelphia and later served as its president.

George Washington’s situation was more complex because of the size of the plantation and the number of slaves he had inherited. Nonetheless, he set up a compassionate program to completely disentangle Mt. Vernon from the institution of slavery. Concerning abolition, he declared,

Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 103).

Even those founders, such as Patrick Henry, who did not free their slaves admitted that it was sinful and wrong. By the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787, virtually every founder agreed with John Adams who declared,

Every measure of prudence ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. I have throughout my whole life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101).

Yes, America’s founders were at the forefront of the fight to end slavery in the 18th century.

Truth #4
America’s Founding Documents Are Colorblind

Because of the Great Awakening, there are no classifications based on race or skin color in America’s founding documents. Nothing in either the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution indicates that the freedoms guaranteed do not apply to every individual.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968) understood this and in his stirring, I Have a Dream speech, he challenged America, not to dispense with her founding documents, but instead, to live up to them. Speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he declared,

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Then quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed,

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 122).

Yes, America’s founding documents are colorblind even if her history has not been.

Fact #5
Hundreds of Thousands of American Citizens
Sacrificed Their Lives to End Slavery

Where would a nation get the moral fortitude to sacrifice a million of its citizens in order to end slavery? The Civil War was, by far, the costliest war America has ever fought. There was an incredible loss of property and livelihood, but nothing could compare with the loss of life that occurred.

It is estimated that at least 700,000 soldiers lost their lives. Add to this the civilian casualties and the thousands who were permanently maimed and injured and we arrive at the estimate of one million casualties. 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 around 290,000 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. 

It was the moral conviction that slavery was abhorrent in the sight of God that led hundreds of thousands of white Americans to put their lives on the line to bring about the abolition of slavery in their land. This moral outrage was a product of 1726 and the Awakening that began that year and the Awakenings that came afterwards.

                                                 The Summation of it All

Yes, America’s history has been far from perfect, but where sin has abounded God’s grace has abounded much more (Romans 5:20b). 1619 represents America’s sin but 1726 represents God’s grace sent forth in the form of a great, spiritual awakening.

Because of 1726 and subsequent awakenings, Christian awakening is in our national DNA. Let us, therefore, pray with confidence that another Great Awakening will sweep across our land, renewing our faith and bringing hope, healing, and reconciliation.  #Remembering1726

This article is drived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the creator of the "1727 Project," which is a Powerpoint presentation documenting America's birth out of a spiritual awakening that also brought about the end of slavery on the American continent.



4/28/2021

THE BIG LESSON GOD WOULD HAVE US LEARN FROM THE PANDEMIC

A pastor from New England, whom I had never met, invited me to speak in their Sunday morning and Sunday evening services. He said he decided to contact me after visiting a revival center and purchasing a copy of my book, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity. He also said his church was experiencing revival.

As I prayed over these services, I received a clear word from the Lord. I heard Him say, “I want them to take the revival outside the four walls of their church.” The passage He gave for this message was John 4:22-24, where Jesus said to the woman of Samaria,

Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father . . . but the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

These words of Jesus were prompted by the Samaritan woman asking Him concerning the right place to worship. The Jews and Samaritans were deeply divided over this issue with the Samaritans claiming that Mt. Gerizim, where they had built their own temple, was the God-appointed place for sacrifice and worship.

The Jews, on the other hand, insisted that their temple in Jerusalem was the God-appointed place for sacrifice and worship. So incensed were they with the Samaritan claim that in 128 b.c. a Jewish army destroyed the Samaritan temple. The Samaritans, however, still considered its ruins a sacred site and place of worship, and they outright rejected the temple and priesthood in Jerusalem.

The Big Question

The woman was prompted to ask this question when Jesus told her things about herself that He had no way of knowing. When he asked her to call her husband and bring him to the well where they talked, she replied, “I have no husband.”

Jesus responded by saying she had spoken the truth for she had had five husbands and the man with whom she now lived was not her husband. The woman was amazed and said, Sir, I perceive you are a prophet.

It was at this point that she decided to ask Jesus the theological question on which Jews and Samaritans were so deeply divided. Where is the right place to worship?

Is not her question just as relevant today? Indeed, many in the 21st century are asking, “Where is the right place to worship?” Is it the Roman Catholic Church? Is it the Baptist Church? Is it the Methodist Church? Is it the Pentecostal Church?

Jesus proceeded to tell her that the time had come when true worship could no longer be identified with a building or geographic location. Mt. Gerizim and Jerusalem were now irrelative. God is seeking those, Jesus said, who will worship Him in spirit and truth. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).

By saying God is Spirit, Jesus was emphasizing that God is not confined to a corporeal, physical body nor to any man-made building or temple. Worship, therefore, cannot be confined to a building, a geographic location, or a certain time of the week.

Jesus made it clear that God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit from a sincere heart, and the location is unimportant. It might be driving down the highway or working in the kitchen or a gathering on the beach as we see in the above photo.

I was recently walking through Walmart when an old hymn came to mind and I began to softly sing, The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as my heart overflowed with a sense of His goodness and grace. Walmart had become a place of worship for me.

They Failed the Test

Sue and I arrived at the revival church on Sunday morning as Sunday school was ending and people were filling the auditorium. The auditorium was soon packed with about 300 people.

I was excited to share with them the message I had received about Jesus’ conversation with the woman of Samaria and how He wanted them to take their revival outside the four walls of their church building.

Suddenly, someone reported that there was a strange smell coming from one of the Sunday school rooms. A fireman in the congregation rushed home and came back with an instrument for measuring such fumes. He then announced that the church should be vacated until a more sophisticated measuring device could be brought from the Fire Department.

In a few minutes, the entire congregation was standing in an open field behind the church building. I noted that there was a small porch on the back of the church that would make an ideal platform from which to preach. I was excited for it seemed that God had set things up for my message that they were to take their revival outside the four walls of their church building.

I approached the pastor and said to him, “I will be very happy to preach to the people from the porch.” He replied, “Let me talk to the elders.” In a few minutes he returned and said, “We have decided to send the people home.”

I was both disappointed and amazed that they were not willing to worship and hear the preaching of God’s word outside the four walls of their church building. I sensed the Holy Spirit speak in my heart, “This was a test and they failed the test.”

Have We Passed the Test?

I wonder how many churches failed the test during the pandemic when many were completely closed and others allowed to function only at limited capacity. Some passed the test but many were completely lost for they found it difficult to think of church and worship outside the four walls of their church building and their structured programs.

America’s founding generation passed the test, for America was birthed out of a Great Awakening that took place largely outside the four walls of church buildings. Benjamin Franklin testified to this in describing the ministry of George Whitefield, the young British evangelist who first arrived in America in 1738. Franklin wrote,

He was at first permitted to preach in some of our churches, but the clergy, taking a dislike to him, soon refused him their pulpits, 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 wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. 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, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 79).

Whitefield had begun preaching outside the church buildings back in England. He was ordained by the Church of England but when rectors began refusing him their pulpits he went to the streets and open fields and proclaimed the Gospel. His friend, John Wesley, followed suit and the great Methodist revival in England also occurred largely outside the established churches.

When the mayor of a certain English city accused Whitefield of preaching on “unconsecrated ground,” he replied in the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman, saying,

Honored sir, give me leave to inform you, that God is not now confined to places, but seeketh such to worship Him, who worship in spirit and in truth. Where two or three are gathered together in Christ’s Name, there will Christ be in the midst of them. The Church is defined to be, not the church walls, but a congregation of Christian people. Such is mine (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 99).

The Summation

I thank God for all the wonderful buildings He has allowed us to have in which to worship. We must not, however, confine our faith and our revivals to our church buildings, or to our well oiled and organized programs.  In the New Testament, there are no holy buildings, rituals, or objects; only a holy people called by His Name.

Yes, the time Jesus said was coming is here. The New Testament tells us that we, His people, are the temple of God. We are His sanctuary (I Corinthians 3:16-17). Let us, therefore, take our faith and our revivals to the streets, the marketplace, the internet, and the Halls of Congress. It is time to worship the Father, as Jesus said, in spirit and truth.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is the author of 1726: The Year that Defined America, which documents how America was birthed out of a Great Awakening that also unleashed the moral outrage and spiritual strength that brought about the end of slavery on this continent. His books are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. To hear this message that was shared at "Church Where You Are," click this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtYTfok7QLE

4/21/2021

HOW I LEARNED THAT THE SPIRIT AND WORD MUST ALWAYS AGREE

He was the perfect example of what happens when we neglect the Word of God in our pursuit of spiritual experiences. Without the ballast of God’s Word, we may well float away into a La-la land of false spirituality, and this was the case of this individual.

My two friends and I encountered this strange little man while going door-to-door, offering to pray with people, and inviting them to revival services we were conducting in Kiowa, OK in 1972. We knocked on his door and he invited us into his home.

We immediately noticed that his living room wall was papered with numerous pictures and letters from well-known preachers of that time such as Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, R.W. Schambach, W.V. Grant, Rev. Ike, and others.

Almost immediately, he began telling us about his sensational, spiritual experiences, including visions and out-of-the-body experiences. He told us that he had been to both heaven and hell. He also said he saw Jesus in hell, whom he said was still there suffering for our sins.

This was so contradictory to what the New Testament says about Jesus ascending on high and sitting at the right hand of God that we immediately knew it was a lie. My friend, Ruel, interrupted him and said, “Jesus is not in hell; He is in heaven.” This individual angrily retorted, “Don’t you call me a liar; I will kill you. I was there. I saw him.”

We did not need any special revelation to know that this man was not of God. We were young but we knew enough of the Bible to know this man was totally deceived. His spiritual experiences did not line up with God’s Word, and the Spirit of God will always agree with the Word of God.

Martin Luther Learned this Lesson

Martin Luther was open to dynamic workings of the Holy Spirit and he testified to miraculous healings and personal spiritual experiences. However, he was adamant that all spiritual experiences must align with the testimony of God’s Word, and he lived this out in his own life.

One day, for example, while in intense prayer, he saw a shining vision on the wall of Jesus, with the wounds of His passion, looking down at him. Luther thought at first it was a heavenly vision but changed his mind when he noted that the person in the vision was not compatible with the Christ he knew from God’s Word. He said,

Therefore, I spoke to the vision thus: “Begone you, confounded devil. I know no other Christ than He who was crucified, and who in His Word is presented unto me.” Whereupon the image vanished, clearly demonstrating from whom it came (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 53).

Luther also used God’s word in challenging false prophetic revelations. While hiding in the Castle of Wartburg after his excommunication and condemnation at the Diet of Worms, two men from Zwickau, known as the Zwickau Prophets, visited his hometown of Wittenberg.

These men claimed to have had divine visions, dreams, and visits from the angel Gabriel. They wowed the people with their prophetic revelations and began taking the reform movement in Wittenberg in a radical direction that was not compatible with God’s Word.

When Luther heard what was happening, he put his life at risk and returned to Wittenberg. He preached eight sermons on eight consecutive days, challenging with God’s Word the visions and dreams of the prophets from Zwickau. The noted historian, Philip Schaff, said, “In plain, clear, strong, scriptural language, he refuted the errors without naming the errorists.”

It soon became obvious to the people that the two men were in error because their revelations did not agree with God’s Word. The prophets, realizing they had lost their influence, left Wittenberg, and never returned. One of Luther’s colleagues wrote to the Elector of that region,

Oh, what joy has Dr. Martin’s return spread among us. His words, through divine mercy, are bringing back every day misguided people into the way of truth. It is as clear as the sun, that the Spirit of God is in him, and that he returned to Wittenberg by His special providence (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 54).

The Leaders at the Azusa Street Revival Understood This

The Azusa Street Revival (1906-09) is well-known as the place from which the Pentecostal revival spread around the world. Gifts of the Spirit, including the gift of prophecy, were common occurrences and were encouraged. What is not so well know about the revival is that God’s Word was central, and every teaching and activity had to measure up to the standard of Biblical truth.

For example, the June-Sept. 1907 issue of The Apostolic Faith, the official paper of the revival, carried a statement that read,

We are measuring everything by the Word; every experience must measure up to the Bible. Some say that is going too far, but if we have lived too close to the Word, we will settle that with the Lord when we meet Him in the air (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 54).

William Seymour and the leaders at Azusa believed that the diligent study of Scripture was the only way that fanaticism and spiritual pride could be avoided. The January 1908 issue carried a page of questions and answers. One person had asked, “Do we need to study the Bible as much after receiving the Holy Ghost?” The response was:

Yes, if not we become fanatical or many times will be led by deceptive spirits and begin to have revelations and dreams contrary to the Word, and begin to prophesy and think ourselves some great one, bigger than some other Christians. But by reading the Bible prayerfully, waiting before God, we become just humble little children, and we never feel that we have got more than the least of God’s children (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 55).

The Berean Approach

Those at Azusa remind us of the Bereans in Acts 17:11. Before arriving in Berea, Paul and Silas had escaped an angry mob in Thessalonica that opposed their gospel message. The Bereans, by contrast, were open to their message but first compared it to the revelation of Scripture. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke says,

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find whether those things were so.

In other words, the Bereans would not accept the message of Paul and Silas before evaluating it in the light of God’s Word. They were commended for this by the Holy Spirit and described as being “noble” in their attitude and actions.

The Bereans were open, but they were not naïve. They evaluated everything Paul and Silas said in the light of the revelation of Scripture. They believed that the Word and Spirit would always agree.

Final Thought

In this post-modern era when personal, mystical experiences are valued over reason and common sense, we as Spirit-filled followers of Christ have an important role to play. We value spiritual experiences, but we recognize that there is a fleshly and demonic realm and that the validity of our experiences must be measured by the truth of Scripture. We must demonstrate to the church and the world our firm belief that the Spirit and Word will always agree.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, Prophets and Prophecy, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. If you are concerned about America's future and wonder if we might see another Great Awakening, check out his book 1726, also available from Amazon and his website. 

4/15/2021

5 HISTORICAL FACTS THAT DISPEL THE 1619 MYTH ABOUT AMERICA

#1726
I received an email from a distraught parent whose daughter is being taught, in a Christian school, that America's founders were bad people who only wanted freedom and equality for themselves. I sent her the article below, which she read and immediately forwarded to the principal with an exprssion of her concern.

Her school has obviously been influenced by the New York Times' "1619 Project," which paints America as racist and evil. Proponents of the 1619 narrative claim that America was forever defined by slavery and that 1619, when the first African slaves were brought to this land, represents her true founding, not 1776.

Sadly, school children throughout America are being brainwashed by this twisted history of our country. Now, Oprah Winfrey has teamed up with Disney to produce a "docuseries" for TV that will propagate this same distortion of America's origins.

If we do not preserve our true history, the America of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, and King will be no more, for as George Orwell said, "Whoever controls the past, controls the future." 

1726 is the Key for Interpreting Our History

Slavery is a horrible blight on America’s past and could have defined her had it not been for 1726. That year, a great, spiritual awakening began, which eventually engulfed colonial America in an inferno of religious fervor. Racial and cultural barriers were breached and an abolition movement was ignited that eventually brought about the end of slavery on this continent.

Instead of being defined by 1619, America became defined by 1726 as a land of faith and freedom. The key to preserving our history and confronting the 1619 myth is to understand what happened, beginning in 1726. Interpreting America's history in the light of 1726 changes everything. 

In the following essay, I present 5 facts from the 1726 narrative that completely dispels the 1619 myth about America.

Fact #1
Slavery Was Not Unique to America

Slavery came into the world as a result of the Fall (Genesis 3) when our first parents rebelled against their Creator. It is a part of sinful humanity and has been practiced by peoples and civilizations for thousands of years. Slavery was common throughout the Roman Empire and it has been said that the master-slave relationship in Rome was as common as the employer-employee relationship today.

During its 400-year reign, the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire enslaved millions of white Europeans. Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation in America, white slaves were still being bought and sold in the Islamic Ottoman Empire. When the first African slaves were brought to America in 1619, slavery was being practiced in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and many parts of the world. 

This is why the late Dr. Walter Williams said that slavery in America was neither odd nor strange. Williams, who happened to be black, pointed out that at the beginning of the nineteenth century, “An estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.”

Williams said that what was unique about slavery in America was both the brevity of its existence and the moral outrage that arose against it. The late historians, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, agreed, saying,

Europeans did not outdo others in enslaving people or treating slaves viciously. They outdid others by creating a Christian civilization that eventually stirred moral condemnation of slavery and roused mass movements against it.

Fact #2
America Was at the Forefront of the Fight to End Slavery

As documented in my book, 1726, a powerful anti-slavery movement emerged out of the great, spiritual awakening that rocked colonial America in the 18th century. In this “Great Awakening,” racial and cultural barriers were breached as blacks and whites worshipped together and shared the Gospel with everyone regardless of race or status in life.

Awakening preachers began to viciously attack the institution of slavery around 1750. Samuel Hopkins (1721–1803), for example, who had been personally tutored by Jonathan Edwards, pastored for a time in Newport, Rhode Island, an important hub in the transatlantic slave trade. What he saw in Newport deeply grieved him and he wrote, “This whole country have their hands full of blood this day.” 

In 1774, after the First Continental Congress had convened in Philadelphia, Hopkins sent a pamphlet to every member of the Congress, asking how they could complain about “enslavement” to England and overlook the “enslavement” of so many blacks in the Colonies.

As “Liberty” was becoming a watchword throughout the Colonies, the preachers of the Awakening began applying it to the enslaved in America. Like Hopkins, they pointed out the hypocrisy of demanding freedom from England while continuing to tolerate the institution of slavery in their midst. The Baptist preacher, John Allen, thundered,

Blush ye pretended votaries of freedom! ye trifling Patriots! who are making a vain parade of being advocates for the liberties of mankind, who are thus making a mockery of your profession by trampling on the sacred natural rights and privileges of Africans (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 93-94).

Out of this Great Awakening and the racial harmony it stirred, black preachers, such as Richard Allen, began to arise and saw great success with both black and white audiences. Black congegations, both slave and free, began to be formed and the American black church, that has had such a positive and profound influence on American life, was born.

The breaching of racial barriers in the Great Awakening provided the social context for George Washington to order his recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the ranks of the Continental Army. As a result, by 1781 one in every seven American soldiers was black. Blacks and whites fought together for freedom from Great Britain.

Yes, at a time when slavery was accepted and practiced throughout the world, moral outrage had arisen against it in colonial America. 

Fact #3
America’s Founders Rejected Slavery
When it Was Accepted Around the World

As a result of the Great Awakening and the abolition movement it launched, virtually all of America’s founders turned against slavery at a time it was accepted and practiced throughout the world. Dr. Thomas Sowell, who happens to be black, has written about this, saying,

Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century–and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and other American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 90).

Many of America's founders were passionate abolitionists. For example, Dr, Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia was a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He helped form America’s first Abolition Society in his hometown and he called on the ministers of America to take a bold stand against slavery, saying, “Slavery is a Hydra sin and includes in it every violation of the precepts of the Laws and the Gospels” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101).

Two years before the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin liberated his two slaves and began advocating for abolition. He joined the Abolition Society in Philadelphia and later served as its president.

George Washington’s situation was more complex. He had inherited a large plantation with a large number of slaves, and he realized that to thrust them suddenly and unprepared into the world would have been unwise, and perhaps, harmful to them.

To remedy the situation, Washington set up a compassionate program to disentangle Mt. Vernon from the institution of slavery. Those slaves who wanted to leave were free to do so. Those who chose to remain were paid wages, and he began a program to educate and prepare the children of slaves for freedom. Concerning abolition, he declared,

Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle (Hyatt, 1726: The Year thatDefined America, 103).

Even those founders, such as Patrick Henry, who did not free their slaves admitted that it was sinful and wrong. By the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787, virtually every founder agreed with John Adams who declared,

Every measure of prudence ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. I have throughout my whole life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101).

Yes, America’s founders were at the forefront of the fight to end slavery in the 18th century.

Truth #4
America’s Founding Documents Are Colorblind

Because of the Great Awakening that began in 1726, there are no classifications based on race or skin color in America’s founding documents. Slavery is not mentionted. Nothing in either the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution indicates that the freedoms guaranteed do not apply to every individual. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968) understood this and in his stirring, I Have a Dream speech, he challenged America, not to dispense with her founding documents, but instead, to live up to them. Speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he declared,

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Then quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed,

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 122).

Yes, America’s founding documents are colorblind even if her history has not been. According to James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, this was purposeful for they felt it wrong to even mention slavery and thereby admit that there could be such a thing as human property.

Fact #5
Hundreds of Thousands of American Citizens
Sacrificed Their Lives to End Slavery

Where would a nation get the moral fortitude to sacrifice a million of its citizens in order to end slavery? The Civil War was, by far, the most costly war America has ever fought. There was an incredible loss of livelihood as cities were burned and crops destroyed, but nothing could compare with the loss of life that occurred.

It is estimated that at least 700,000 soldiers lost their lives, and all on Ameican soil. Add to this the civilian casualties and the thousands who were permanently maimed and injured and we arrive at the estimate of one million casualties. 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 around 290,000 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.

It was the moral conviction that slavery was abhorrent in the sight of God that led hundreds of thousands of white Americans to join black Americans and put their lives on the line to abolish slavery in their homeland. This moral outrage was a product of 1726 and the Awakening that began that year and the Awakenings that came afterwards.

                                                 The Summation of it All

Yes, America’s history has been far from perfect, but where sin has abounded God’s grace has abounded much more (Romans 5:20b). Americans of all races and creeds can, therefore, sing together the words of the patriotic hymn, “America! America! God shed His grace on thee.”

This grace has come in the form of spiritual awakenings that have awakened the best in the American populace, inspiring individuals to love God with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves. As a result, society has been transformed from within and the nation has prospered.

America stands in desperate need of another such Awakening. Because of 1726, Christian awakening is in our national DNA. We can, therefore, pray with confidence that another Great Awakening will sweep across our land, renewing our faith and bringing hope, healing, and reconciliation.  

#1726

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available fromAmazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is the founder of the "1726 Project" dedicated to informing America about her Christian roots out of Spiritual Awakening.