The earliest immigrants to this land believed that they, as a people, had entered into a sacred covenant with God. This was clearly expressed by John Winthrop who, in 1630, led a flotilla of eleven ships with 700 passengers to New England and founded the city of Boston and the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
During their journey across the Atlantic, Winthrop formulated a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity.” In it he exhorted his fellow pilgrims that “the eyes of the world are upon us” and that God would have them, in their new home, to be that “city on a hill” of which Jesus spoke, a shining light exhibiting a model of Christian living for the rest of mankind to see.
He also spoke of the seriousness of the covenant with God into which they had entered. He exhorted,
We have entered into an explicit Covenant with God. We have drawn up indentures with the Almighty, wherefore if we succeed and do not let ourselves be diverted into making money, He will reward us. Whereas if we fail, if we fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, the Lord will surely break out in wrath and make us know the price of the breach of such a Covenant.
The Mayflower Compact Was a Covenant
Ten years before Winthrop and his company arrived, the Pilgrims had landed at Cape Cod. Before disembarking, they drew up a written document patterned after the church covenants that were common among Separatist churches in England. Being part of a Separatist congregation, they were very aware of such documents, which knit the signees together in a solemn, contractual agreement with God and one another.
Each signee promised “solemnly and mutually in the presence of God” to “covenant together” for the better ordering and preservation of their community. This covenant also stated that their purpose in coming to the New World was to glorify God and advance the Christian faith. The late Harvard professor, Perry Miller, said, “The Separatists aboard the Mayflower found a covenant the obvious answer to the first problem of political organization.”
Some have called the Mayflower Compact America’s founding document. That is going too far, but there is no question that it set the stage for succeeding communities and colonies that would base their existence on written documents—covenants--that gave recognition to God and prioritized the Gospel of Jesus Christ as their reason for being.
New England Covenants with God
This idea of a social compact (covenant) with God was expressed, not only in the founding of Plymouth, Boston, and Massachusetts, but also in the 1639 founding document of Connecticut entitled “The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.” This document states,
We, the inhabitants and residents of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield, knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there ought to be an orderly and decent government established according to God . . . we do for ourselves and our successors enter into combination and confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we now profess. (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 48-49).
With thousands of new immigrants arriving in New England and new towns springing up, there arose a felt need for some sort of centralized government to facilitate mutual defense and to arbitrate land disputes. To meet this need, the United Colonies of New England was formed and a constitution was formulated, patterned on the idea of covenant. Dated May 19, 1643, the opening statement of the constitution expressly states why they had all come to the New World. It reads,
Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the Liberties of the Gospel in purity and peace (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 52-53).
The constitution provided that each colony would choose two representatives who would form a council of eight. This council of eight was invested with power to arbitrate boundary disputes, coordinate mutual defense, and facilitate mutual advice and support. It was clearly stated that this council was also brought into existence for “preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the Gospel (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 53).
There is no question that this constitutional system wherein each individual colony retained its autonomy, and the powers of government were limited by the constitution, was a forerunner of the federalist system that would be created at Philadelphia in 1776 and 1787. The United Colonies of New England clearly foreshadowed the United States of America in both its form of government and in its Christian character.
The Puritans clearly saw these written statements as covenants, not only between themselves, but also between their society and God. They believed that God dealt, not only with individuals, but also with social units, including families, churches and nations. According to Perry Miller, “The central conception in their thought is the elaborated doctrine of covenant.”
The Blessing & Responsibility of Covenant
These early immigrants saw Israel in the OT as a pattern for their social covenant with God. Like Israel, they believed that if they, as a people, kept their part of the covenant, which was to walk uprightly and make His name known, they would be blessed. If, on the other hand, they lost their sense of purpose and began to live selfish and sinful lives, they would suffer God’s wrath because of their rejection of the covenant. During the voyage to New England, Winthrop warned,
Now if the Lord shall please to bear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He verified this Covenant and sealed our commission . . . but if we fail to perform the terms of the Covenant, we shall perish out the land we are crossing the sea to possess.
This social responsibility to God is the reason the Puritans tended to hold one another accountable. They pointed out that since communities and nations cannot be rewarded in the next world, they must necessarily be rewarded in this one, according to their deeds. The sin of one or a few could, therefore, bring down God’s judgment on the entire community. This is also the reason that laws were passed outlawing adultery, fornication, profanity, drunkenness and Sabbath breaking.
Virginia Too
Although New England was where the writing of constitutions was profoundly developed, all the colonies were founded on similar social compacts with God. When the Jamestown settlers disembarked at Cape Henry, VA, their first act was to erect a seven-foot cross they had brought from England. They then gathered around the cross for a prayer service in which they dedicated the land of their new home to God. In his dedicatory prayer, their chaplain, Rev. Robert Hunt, declared, “From these very shores the Gospel shall go forth to not only this New World but to the entire world.”
This act was in line with the official Virginia Charter, which recognized “the Providence of Almighty God” and expressed the desire that the establishment of the colony would “tend to the glory of His Divine Majesty.” This document also expressly stated that the purpose of the colony was to propagate the “Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God.”
There are amazing similarities between the Virginia Charter, the Mayflower Compact and other founding documents of New England. This led Perry Miller to suggest that Virginia and New England were not that different. He pointed out that both communities were children of the Reformation, “and what we consider distinctively Puritan was really the spirit of the times.”
There is thus no question that these early social compacts, or covenants, were precursors to the founding documents of the United States of America. Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner are correct to say, “The early New England constitutions were covenants. These covenants clearly foreshadowed the United States Constitution” (Hyatt. Pilgrims and Patriots, 49).
God and America’s Founding Documents
The Declaration of Independence begins with an acknowledgement that human rights come from God. It ends with the signees expressing a reliance on Divine Providence, a common expression of that era for the God of the Bible and was commonly used by revivalist ministers, such as George Whitefield, in their sermons and writings.
It is obvious that the Founders saw the Constitution as a sacred document, and they treated it as a covenant. That is why George Washington took the oath of office with his hand on a Bible, and with his hand on the Bible, solemnly swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, “so help me God.”
Indeed, many of those who were part of the Constitutional Convention, saw the hand of God in the formulation of the Constitution. James Madison, the Constitution’s chief architect, declared,
It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in critical stages of the Revolution (Hyatt, 5 Pillars of the American Republic, 10).
Benjamin Rush, a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was even more blunt, declaring that the Constitution was a work from heaven. A physician from Philadelphia, he asserted that he,
As much believed the hand of God was employed in this work as that God had divided the Red Sea to give a passage to the children of Israel, or had fulminated the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai” (Hyatt, 5 Pillarsof the American Republic, 11).
This sacred view of the Constitution was obviously inherited from those earliest immigrants who considered their covenants to be sacred oaths between their communities and God. This covenantal attitude became a part of the psyche of colonial America and was clearly present in the attitude of the Founders toward America’s founding documents. Historian, Benjamin Hart, says,
The U.S. Constitution has worked because there has been a sacred aura surrounding the document; it has been something more than a legal contract; it was a covenant, an oath before God, very much related to the covenant the Pilgrims signed. Indeed, when the President takes his oath of office he places his hand on a Bible and swears before Almighty God to uphold the Constitution of the United States. He makes a sacred promise; and the same holds true for Supreme Court justices who take an oath to follow the letter of the written Constitution. The moment America’s leaders begin treating the Constitution as though it were a mere sheet of paper is the moment the American Republic—or American Covenant—ends (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 50).
Abraham Lincoln Understood America’s Covenant with God
Abraham Lincoln understood that America had a covenant with God. That is why, in the midst of the devastation of the Civil War, he proclaimed a national, day of prayer and repentance for April 30, 1863. In this proclamation, he acknowledged God’s blessing on the nation and explained the present calamity, saying,
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening of 1857-58, 37).
The populace, especially in the North, responded en masse to Lincoln’s call to prayer. On the appointed day, businesses and schools closed and people gathered in churches and homes throughout land to pray and repent for personal and national sins.
And whereas the South had been winning battle after battle and it looked as though the American union could well be dissolved, there was an almost immediate turn of the war in favor of the North after this day of prayer. God intervened and America was sustained after she renewed her covenant with God.
Where Are We Today?
America is at a critical juncture in her history. Powerful forces reject the notion of God having any role in the nation’s founding and they consider the Constitution to be a useless, outdated document—a mere sheet of paper, as Hart warned.
Taking the oath of office is now seen as a meaningless formality that may be carried out with the Koran as well as the Bible or any religious book, or with none at all. America’s future has not been this uncertain since the Civil War.
The election of Donald Trump was an act of Divine Providence that opened a narrow window of opportunity for the church in America. Despite his faults, he defends religious liberty and is a friend to Bible-believing Christians. Will we make the most of this opportunity and maximize the moment?
The decision is ours. The future is in our hands. What will we do? Will we renew the American covenant? It begins with God’s people taking seriously their role in the health of a nation as expressed in II Chronicles 7:14.
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 I will hear from heaven,
And will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This article is derived from books by Dr. Eddie Hyatt, including Pilgrims and Patriots and 5 Pillars of the American Republic, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt has a passion to see America reconnect with her Christian roots and experience another great, national spiritual awakening. He can be contacted at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.



Faith and freedom were married in the thinking of America’s founding generation. They were convinced that there could be no real freedom apart from faith in the God of the Bible. This is why George Washington insisted on placing his hand on a Bible to take the presidential oath of office. It is why he said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
The marriage of faith and freedom in the founding generation is why the Liberty Bell is inscribed with the jubilee passage from Leviticus 25:10, Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof. It is why John Adams wrote to his cousin, Zabdiel, a minister of the gospel, two weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and said,
Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles, upon which Freedom can securely stand" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 173.)
Faith and Citizenship Were Linked in Early America
This marriage of faith and freedom was expressed by James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, when he wrote, "Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe." Madison also wrote,
The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 131).
The Founders functioned on the assumption of a divine Creator to whom all creatures owe their love, honor and respect, and this is made clear by the many proclamations for days of prayer, repentance and thanksgiving issued by the Continental Congress and by founding presidents.
That the First Amendment had nothing to do with secularizing the American government is made clear by the fact that the day after ratifying the First Amendment, those same Founders issued a proclamation for a Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving. The First Amendment was the Founders rejection of an official state church like the nations of Europe.
They rejected the idea of a state church, but they all agreed that only Christianity provided the moral fabric for a stable society. Thomas Jefferson was referring to this when he said, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” This why the well-known Catholic scholar, William Novak, wrote:
Far from having a hostility toward religion, the founders counted on religion [Christianity] for the underlying philosophy of the republic, its supporting ethic, and its reliable source of rejuvenation" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 174).
America's Founders Believed Faith to Be Essential for Freedom
America’s Founders were unanimous in their belief that only Christianity provided the moral and intellectual underpinnings for a stable and prosperous nation. This was made clear by George Washington in his Farewell Address after serving two terms as America’s first president. He said, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."
When the founders use the word "religion," they are referring to Christianity, and Washington here warned of the inherent dangers in the neglect of religion and morality. And notice that he did not call religion [Christianity] optional. He referred to Christianity and morality as indispensable for political prosperity. In his thinking, faith and freedom were married and could only be divorced to the hurt of the nation.
Thomas Jefferson was in complete agreement with Washington, and he made Washington's Farewell Address required reading at the University of Virginia, which he had founded. He also invited churches of all sects and denominations to establish schools of instruction adjacent to or within the precincts of the university. He wrote,
The students of the University will be free and expected to attend religious worship at the establishment of their respective sects, in the morning, and in time to meet their school at the University at its stated hour (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 151).
As President, Jefferson sat on the front row of church services that were held each Sunday in one of the chambers of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
At one point, displeased with the music, he ordered the Marine Band to be present in the service on Sundays and to provide music for the singing of psalms and hymns. The Band was paid out of the federal treasury. No one protested because faith and freedom were married in the thinking of America’s founding generation.
Jefferson and all the founders knew that the success of the free Republic they had formed hinged on the moral character of its citizens and their ability to govern themselves according to Christian values. This is clearly borne out in a 1798 address by John Adams to the officers of the Massachusetts Militia. He declared,
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious [Christian] people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other" (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 173).
Missionaries Sent Out to Establish Faith and Freedom
When the young French sociologist, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited America in 1831 to study her institutions, he found a Christian people who saw their citizenship linked with their faith. He discovered that missionaries were being sent to the western frontier out of concern that if the new settlements did not have the gospel, they would not be able to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the American Constitution. He then said, "Thus, religious zeal is warmed in the United States by the fires of patriotism" (Hyatt, 5 Pillars of the American Republic, 31).
Tocqueville also told how a judge at the court in Chester County, New York threw out the testimony of a witness when he learned that the witness did not believe in the existence of God. The judge said that by denying the existence of God, the witness had, "Destroyed all the confidence of the court in what he was about to say."
There were no complaints because faith and freedom were still married in America. The judge said it was the first time he had met someone who did not acknowledge the existence of God. He also said that he knew of no case in a Christian country where a witness had been permitted to testify without such belief in God.
Tocqueville concluded that in America, "From the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance that which has never been dissolved" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 168).
The U.S. Supreme Court Affirms the Marriage of Faith and Freedom
John Marshall (1755-1835) served as the second Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for thirty-four years (1801-1835). Many consider him the greatest Chief Justice the court has known. During his tenure, he heard many cases and offered groundbreaking opinions that continue to guide the Supreme Court and the United States Government today.
In one of his writings, Marshall clearly states what every Founder assumed--that the founding documents and institutions on which the nation was formed presuppose a commitment to Christian principles and values. He wrote,
No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion in the happiness of man, even during his existence in this world. The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not refer to it, and exhibit relations with it (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 166).
While Chief Justice, Marshall made the Supreme Court facilities available to a local congregation for their Sunday gatherings. So, each Sunday, the singing of Christian hymns and the preaching of God’s Word could be heard ringing through the chambers of both the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court. This was neither surprising nor offensive to anyone, for it fit perfectly within the mindset of the founding generation.
The marriage of faith and freedom was still a part of the American mindset as recent as 1892, when in the ruling of Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States, the United States Supreme 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).
Modern Secularists Have Departed from the Vision of America’s Founders
The modern divorce of faith from freedom is a sharp departure from the founding generation where religious liberty was considered a God-given right. The modern removal of crosses, nativity scenes, Bible reading, and prayer from public schools and other public venues would horrify the nation’s Founders who considered Christianity the moral fiber that would hold the nation together.
This is illustrated by the fact that Benjamin Franklin refused to print a manuscript by the Deist, Thomas Paine, in which Paine railed against orthodox Christianity. Franklin suggested to Paine that he burn the manuscript and then said, "If men are this wicked with Christianity, what would they be if without it" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 142).
Faith and Freedom Must Be Married Once Again
Faith was not something optional for America’s Founders, as Washington made clear in his Farewell Address. They considered faith to be “indispensable” for the life of the nation. After a meticulous study of the Founders, Novak wrote, "The founders did not believe the constitutional government they were erecting could survive without Hebrew-Christian faith" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 174).
Yes, the modern liberal, progressive is the one that has departed from the vision and values of America's Founders. We must, therefore, not be intimidated by their misguided attempt to remake America in their own image.
We must stand for truth and be salt and light in this generation. We must also pray that God will visit us once again with a heaven-sent revival that will awaken His church and alter the course of this nation—a revival in which faith and freedom will be married once again.
This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's books, Pilgrims and Patriots and 5 Pillars of the American Republic, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Eddie is a Bible teacher, historian, and ordained minister with a passion to see America return to its Christian roots as a nation born out of prayer and spiritual awakening. He can be reached at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.



In I Kings 18 we have the story of Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal to a duel on Mt. Carmel. They would each offer a sacrifice to their god and the god that answered by fire would be the God that Israel would serve.
The prophets of Baal went first, but despite an entire day of fervent prayers, shouts, dancing and prophesying, no fire fell on their sacrifice. Outward religious hype is a poor substitute for the real presence and power of God.
When Elijah’s time came to pray, there was no such hype. His first act was, he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down (I Kings 18:30). It was broken down because the Israelites had compromised their faith. They had mixed the worship of Yahweh with the worship of Baal. They had become religious pluralists—multiculturalists.
An altar is a place of consecration—a place of sacrifice where one is given completely over to God. Consecration was absent in Israel. They had broken the First Commandment wherein God had said, You shall have no other gods before me . . . you shall not bow down before them or serve them (Exodus 20:2-5).
In a similar way, the American altar is broken down and in desperate need of repair. Like ancient Israel, Christians in America have compromised their faith. They may not have bowed down before a pagan shrine, but they have bowed to the gods and goddesses of cultural approval, social acceptance and personal popularity.
In Elijah’s situation, the fire did not fall until after the altar of the LORD was repaired. The fire of God is not going to fall on America until we (God's people) repair the altar of the LORD that is broken down. The Awakening we speak of is not going to occur until we renew our absolute consecration to Him.
The first generation of immigrants to America were totally consecrated to God. Moved by their absolute commitment to Jesus, they left homes, family and friends to begin a new life in the New World. The Great Awakening, that gave birth to this nation, was led by people totally committed to God and His word.
When, for example, George Whitefield, preached in Philadelphia he purposely attacked Deism knowing that Benjamin Franklin and many others in that city had been influenced by that teaching. He was not there looking for acceptance. He was there to share the Divine truths of God’s word.
Interestingly, he and Franklin became life-long friends and the fire of God fell on Philadelphia and Colonial America. Years later, Franklin wrote in his Autobiography,
The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was a matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers. 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).
“Repairing the altar of the Lord” must begin with the church—with God’s people. We do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and show us where we have compromised His truth because we were afraid of offending some person or some group. Or, it may be that we have compromised by putting our own personal success and desires ahead of His will and way.
As we repent of our compromise with the world, we position ourselves to see the fire of God fall on America. When the fire of God fell on Mt. Carmel, the entire nation was turned back to God. It can happen again.
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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin
And heal their land (II Chronicles 7:14).

As part of our July 4th celebrations, let's repair the altar of the Lord that is broken down in this nation. Take time in His presence and allow Him to seach your heart. Make fresh commitment to follow Him wholeheartedly, without compromise, all the days of your life.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is the author of numerous books on spiritual awakenings that have impacted America. His latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, is available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehhyatt.com. He is also the founder of the "1726 Project" that is dedicated to educating about the nation's birth out of a great, spiritual awakening and to calling on the church to pray for another Great Awakening.



From the Preface of Pilgrims and Patriots

Will the America of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln survive? The answer to that question depends on whether a nucleus of her citizens will recover and reconnect with the nation’s history. A nation derives its sense of identity from its history. If you want to fundamentally change a nation, tamper with its history, for as George Orwell said in his classic, 1984, “Whoever controls the past, controls the future.” Or as Karl Marx is said to have put it, “People without a heritage are easily persuaded.”
This gives understanding to the statement by Barack Obama shortly after taking office, “America is not a Christian nation.” This was not a statement based on the facts of history, but was, instead, a statement based on an ideology and tied to his stated goal to “fundamentally change” America. He was tampering with our history.
American history, of course, had already been tampered with before Barak Obama. Historians tamper with history, not always by changing it, but by excluding what they find objectionable. There is, for example, a noticeable void and absence when one reads modern textbook accounts of America’s origins and compares that with the letters, journals and autobiographies of those same people and events. The common references to faith in God, the Bible and Jesus Christ in the original accounts are glaringly missing in the modern renditions.
Modern historians seem to be embarrassed by America’s overt Christian origins. They, therefore, tamper with her history by deleting or downplaying that aspect of her story. So what is being taught in public schools and universities today is a secularist revision of America’s history.
The purpose of this book is not to give a detailed account of America’s beginnings, but to highlight that aspect of her history that has been ignored or diminished. This is necessary, for as the Catholic scholar, Michael Novak, says, “In one key respect, the way the story of the United States has been told for the past one hundred years is wrong.”
What is “wrong,” according to Novak, is the elimination of faith from the story of America’s history. He points out that to read most historians today, one would think that America’s Founders were the embodiment of “secular philosophy,” when the truth is that “their faith is an ‘indispensable’ part of their story.”
A unique contribution of this book is documenting how the Christianity that gave birth to America was the Christianity of the “Radical Reformers.” “Radical Reformers” is a term coined by George H. Williams, the late Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale University, in referring to the Anabaptists, but would also include groups such as the Separatist Puritans, the English Baptists and the Quakers. In some regards, it can also be a designation for Puritans in general and the early Presbyterians.
It was these “Radical Reformers” who articulated doctrines of freedom of conscience, religious liberty and the freedom of the church from the state. They brought these “radical” ideals to America where they were further tried and forged in the furnace of practical experience in building a new life in the New World.
This is their story. This is America’s story. This is the story that must be recovered if we are to see America's Reawakening.

In 2010, Dr. Eddie Hyatt experienced a seven-hour visitation of God in which his hope for America was restored and he saw, for the first time, that there was a direct bearing of the Great Awakening on the founding of this nation. Several books, including Pilgrims and Patriots, have come out of that visitation as well as "America's Reawakening," a PowerPoint presentation documenting America's birth out of a Christian vision and spiritual awakening. His website is www.eddiehyatt.com.



America today seems hopelessly divided along political, cultural, religious and moral fault lines. The hatred and animosity is at a level unseen in my lifetime, and I lived through the 1960s with its assassinations, race riots, and a very unpopular war that provoked widespread protests.
Only two times in history has America been as divided as it is today: (1) At the time of the Civil War and (2) the early 1700s before the Great Awakening in the thirteen colonies. The answer for both situations was the same.
In this essay, I will address how the Thirteen Divided Colonies became the United States of America.
The Deep Divisions of Colonial America
Most do not realize the deep divisions that existed in colonial America between the Anglicans who settled Virginia, the Puritans who settled New England, the Baptists who settled Rhode Island, the Quakers who settled Pennsylvania, and so on.
In the Old World, Anglicans (as the state church) had imprisoned Puritans, even putting some to death. They had also persecuted Baptists and Quakers. In the New World, Puritans had persecuted Quakers and Baptists, banning them from their colony and even putting some to death. Anglicans in Virginia jailed Baptists preachers who came into their colony to preach the gospel. Baptists and Quakers did not get along and considered Puritans and Anglicans to be part of the false, harlot church of Revelation.
It seemed that these groups could never reconcile. Their history was too long and their pain too deep. God, however, had an answer. His answer was a great, spiritual awakening based on the preaching of the gospel wherein Jesus was presented as the central object of faith.
God’s Instrument for Change
God’s instrument to ignite this Awakening and carry the revival flame from Georgia to New Hampshire was a 23 years old Oxford graduate who had just been ordained with the Anglican Church. At Oxford, George Whitefield had been part of the Holy Club (Methodists) and had experienced a radical conversion to Jesus Christ. After his ordination, he ignited great revival in England while John and Charles Wesley were away on a mission to Georgia.
Although ordained with the Anglican Church, Whitefield did not have a denominational bone in his body. He freely fellowshipped with all true believers, including Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, and any who honored God and confessed Jesus Christ as the true Lord of the Church.
Whitefield came to America on his first of seven visits in 1738. He came with a burden for the colonists and a prayer that they would not live as thirteen scattered colonies, but as “one nation under God.” (Hyatt, George Whitefield, 27).
His impact on America was astounding. Most of his meetings were in the open air because there were no buildings large enough to accommodate the thousands that came to hear him. In his Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin tells of the incredible change that came over his hometown of Philadelphia when Whitefield came there on his second of seven visits to America. He wrote,
In 1739 there arrived among us from Ireland the Reverend Mr. Whitfield who made himself remarkable there as an itinerant preacher. The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was a matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street (Hyatt, George Whitefield, 32).
Although accounts of his meetings often describe the multitudes as standing and listening in rapt silence, accounts also reveal intense emotional responses at times, as things eternal were made real to their hearts and minds. On one occasion, after preaching to a huge throng gathered outdoors, Whitfield surveyed the crowd and noted the amazing response. He wrote in his Journal,
Look where I would, most were drowned in tears. Some were struck pale as death, others wringing their hands, others lying on the ground, others sinking into the arms of their friends and most lifting up their eyes to heaven and crying out to God (Hyatt, George Whitefield, 35).
Whitefield Confronts the Divisions
Whitefield addressed the divisions of the colonists head-on. In one of his sermons, for example, as he was preaching in the open air to several thousand, representing various sects and denominations, he pretended to converse with Father Abraham, whom he pictured as looking over the banister of heaven at the gathered multitude.
Whitefield cried out, “Father Abraham, are there any Anglicans in heaven?”
The answer came back, “No, there are no Anglicans in heaven.”
“Father Abraham, are there any Puritans in heaven?”
“No, there are no Puritans in heaven.”
“Are there any Methodists in heaven?”
“No, there are no Methodists here either.”
“What about Baptists or Quakers?” 
“No, there are none of those here either.”
“Father Abraham,” cried Whitefield, “What kind of people are in heaven?”
The answer came back, “There are only Christians in heaven, only those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb.”
Whitefield then cried out, “Oh, is that the case? Then God help me, God help us all, to forget having names and to become Christians in deed and in truth!” (Hyatt, George Whitefield, 34).
Sectarian Walls are Broken Down
In Boston, when the population was around 17,000, an estimated crowd of 20,000 gathered on the Boston Common to hear Whitfield preach. Differences were melted, denominational walls were broken down, and for the first time, the colonists began to see themselves as a single people with one Divine destiny, “One Nation Under God,” as Whitfield had prayed.
By his incessant travels, Whitefield made the Great Awakening America’s first national event. It was the first time the scattered colonists of various denominational and theological persuasions had participated together as one people in a single event.
Historian, Benjamin Hart, points out that when Whitefield visited America for the final time in 1770, even the Episcopal (Anglican) churches, which had initially rejected him, opened their doors to him. He goes on to say,
The true Spirit of Christ had dissolved sectarian differences. America considered itself to be a nation of Christians, pure and simple, as Whitefield noted with satisfaction. “Pulpits, hearts and affections,” he said, were opened to him and any preacher of whatever denomination who had a true Christian message to share (Hyatt, GeorgeWhitefield, 59).
The late Harvard professor, Perry Miller, surely had Whitefield in mind when he wrote, “The Declaration of Independence of 1776 was a direct result of the preaching of the evangelists of the Great Awakening.” Through Whitefield’s ministry the Divided Colonies of America became the United States of America.
We Hold the Key
In Ephesians 2:14, Paul says of Jesus, For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one and broken down the middle wall of separation. For Paul, the greatest gulf in first century humanity was the one between Jew and Gentile. He was convinced, however, that Jesus, and only Him, could span that gulf and bring the two together.
This is what brought the divided thirteen colonies together--the Christ-centered preaching of Whitefield and others of the Great Awakening. This happened to such an extent that a British-appointed governor in Connecticut wrote to his superiors in England, “If you ask an American who is his master, he will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 119).
We, as the church, hold the only message that can restore civility and harmony to this nation. We, therefore, must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the anti-Christian rhetoric of the modern world.
Be bold. Preach Jesus. And pray for the rain of the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon this nation.
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, George Whitefield, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Eddie is the creator of the "America's Reawakening," a PowerPoint presentation in which he has documented America's birth out of prayer and spiritual awakening. For information on bringing this informative, inspiring presentation to your city, contact him at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.



Twenty-three-year-old George Whitefield sat on a ship ready to sail for America from the port of Deal, located approximately 70 miles southeast of London. For some time, he had experienced a compelling call to preach the gospel to Colonial America and now the day for his departure had finally arrived. His heart was filled with gratitude, excitement and expectation.
As he waited for the ship's crew to hoist anchor and sail, a letter was delivered to him from John Wesley who had just returned from Georgia. He opened the letter and was stunned by what he read.
Wesley had written, “When I saw God, by the wind which was carrying you out, brought me in, I asked counsel of God. His answer you have enclosed.” The message Wesley had enclosed was, “Let him return to London.”
Whitefield was shocked and momentarily confused. Wesley was ten years his senior and had been a mentor to him. He held the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, in very high esteem. However, this word from John contradicted everything he believed about his call to America.
He Finds the Answer in Prayer and God’s Word
Whitefield went to prayer with a friend, and as they prayed, there there came to his mind a story from the Old Testament where a prophet lost his life because he listened to the words of another prophet instead of diligently adhering to what God had told him.
I Kings 13 contains the story of an unnamed prophet to whom God spoke and instructed to go to Bethel and prophesy against the idolatrous altars that had been established there by King Jeroboam. God instructed him not to stop to eat or drink but to return directly home to Judah when he had completed his assignment.
Based on this directive from the Lord, the prophet went to Bethel. As he prophesied against the idolatrous altars as instructed, they miraculously split apart and the ashes were poured out on the ground. As a result of that miracle and a miracle of healing for King Jeroboam, the king invited the prophet to his home. He refused and recounted to the king what the Lord had told him.
But as he departed Bethel, an old prophet, who heard of what had happened, saddled his donkey and caught up with the prophet and invited him to his home to eat and drink. When the first prophet recounted to him what the Lord had instructed him, the old prophet said, I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, “Bring him back with you to your house that he may eat bread and drink water.” The old prophet, however, was lying.
Contrary to the instructions given him by the Lord, the prophet went back with the old prophet. While they were eating, the Spirit of the Lord came upon the old prophet and he prophesied to him that because of his disobedience he would not be buried in the tombs of his ancestors. Sure enough, upon leaving the old prophet’s home, he was met by a lion in the road, which killed him, fulfilling the old lying prophet’s prediction of his demise because of his disobedience.
Three Powerful Lessons

As Whitefield prayed about Wesley’s letter, this story was powerfully impressed on his mind and heart. He knew that God was highlighting to him the importance of obeying the directions he had received from the Lord and to not listen to this word from another party, even such a respected one as John Wesley.
It turns out that Wesley had “cast a lot” concerning whether Whitefield should go to America. This was something Wesley and others practiced, if after diligent prayer they were unable to discern the will of God.
Exactly how he cast the lot is not clear, but it may have been as simple as putting two sheets of paper in a bowl on which was written, “Proceed to America” and “Let him return to London” and then drawing the one that said, “Let him return to London.”
Hindsight is 20/20 and it is abundantly clear that Whitefield made the right decision in ignoring Wesley’s prophecy and sailing for America. He ignited the Great Awakening that transformed Colonial America and prepared her for statehood. Through his incessant travels he became the most recognizable figure in America and earned for himself the title, “America’s Spiritual Founding Father.”
Here are three powerful lessons to be derived from Whitefield’s experience:
1.  We are not to be led by lots, omens or prophecies. We are to be led by the indwelling Holy Spirit as Paul tells us in Romans 8:14.
2.  Prophetic utterances are to be tested, even when they come from the most esteemed among us.
3.  We should be more confident in our own ability to hear God's voice, than in someone else's ability to hear Him for us. 

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s latest book entitled, George Whitefield, with the subtitle, From Poor English Inn-Keeper to the Revivalist Who Became America’s Spiritual Founding Father. This book and oters are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.