9/26/2020

DEFINED BY GRACE

 How Grace Overcame Sin and Slavery and Defined America


President Trump has just appointed a "1776 Commission" to counter the "1619 Project," which many believe is turning an entire generation of young people against America. Many believe it is a contributing factor to the anti-police and anti-American demonstrations that are occurring throughout the land.

The “1619 Project,” produced by the New York Times, presents a dark and gloomy picture of America. The curriculum claims that 1619, when the first African slaves were brought to this land, marks the true founding of America, not 1776. According to this paradigm, slavery defined America and the nation is racist and corrupt at its core and in need of radical fundamental change. 

In my recent book, 1726, I present a different view that is rooted in grace. Romans 5:20 says, But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, and this was certainly true of America's origins. 

Slavery could have defined America, but in 1726 God began pouring out His grace in answer to the fervent prayers of His people. A Geat Awakening ensued that transformed Colonial America and unleashed the spiritual and moral forces that eventually brought about the end of slavery on this continent.

 In the following essay, I present 5 truths that undermine the dark and gloomy 1619 view of America and show how America was defined by grace and 1726.

Truth #1
Slavery Was Not Unique to America

Slavery has been practiced world-wide for thousands of years. Arabs enslaved Africans. Europeans enslaved Africans. Africans enslaved one another and sold their own people into slavery. During its 400+-year reign, the Islamic Ottoman Empire enslaved millions of Europeans. Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation, white slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire.

This is why Dr. Walter E. Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, who is African-American, says that slavery in America was neither odd nor strange. He points out that at the beginning of the 19th century, “An estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.”

What was unique about slavery in America, when compared with the rest of the world, was the brevity of its existence and the moral outrage that arose against it.

Truth #2
A Powerful Anti-Slavery Arose Out of the 1726 Awakening

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 social status.

Second-generation 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.

His response to slavery in Newport was like Paul’s response to the idols in Athens. Paul’s spirit was “provoked” by the idols of the Athenians, and Hopkins was deeply grieved by the "violation of God’s will” he saw in Newport. 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).

Out of this Christian Awakening, the moral and spiritual forces were unleashed that would eventually bring about the end of slavery on this continent. This is the context behind the statement of the late historians, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, who wrote,

Europeans [and Americans] 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.

Truth #3
America’s Founders Turned Against Slavery 
At a Time It Was Accepted Around the World

As a result of the Great Awakening and the abolition movement it launched, America was at the forefront of the fight to end slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries. 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. He became a passionate abolitionist and helped form America’s first Abolition Society in his hometown. 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
Blacks Fought Alongside Whites in the War for Independence

The Great Awakening and the interracial currents it unleashed opened the way for blacks to serve in the Revolutionary War. It was, no doubt, the influence of the Awakening that led 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 soldiers was black. David Barton has provided documentation showing that numbers of blacks were given honorable discharges and pensions, and that some were honored with complete military funerals for their service in the Revolutionary War.

Truth #5
America’s Founding Documents Are Colorblind

Because of the 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. 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.

1619 or 1726?

America! America! God shed His grace on thee! Yes, because of God's grace poured out in the Great Awakening (and succeeding Awakenings), America became defined as a land of life and liberty with millions of people immigrating here from around the world. Included in this number are more than two-million immigrants from African nations who have chosen to make America their home.

As we remember 1726 and turn to Him with all our hearts, He will answer, as He has promised, pour out His grace, and heal our land once again according to II Chronicles 7:14.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.comDr. Hyatt supports The Return a global day of repentance and prayer on September 26. Get the details by clicking this link. https://thereturn.org/_eblasts/jonathan2/

9/21/2020

HOW GRACE OVERWHELMED SIN AND SLAVERY TO DEFINE AMERICA

5 Compelling Truths

President Trump has just appointed a "1776 Commission" to counter the "1619 Project," which many believe is turning an entire generation of young people against America. Many believe it is a contributing factor to the anti-police and anti-American demonstrations that are occurring throughout the land.

The “1619 Project,” produced by the New York Times, presents a dark and gloomy picture of America. The curriculum claims that 1619, when the first African slaves were brought to this land, marks the true founding of America, not 1776. According to this paradigm, slavery defined America and the nation is racist and corrupt at its core and in need of radical fundamental change. 

In my recent book, 1726, I present a different view that is rooted in grace. Romans 5:20 says, But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, and this was certianly true of America's origins. 

Slavery could have defined America, but in 1726 God began pouring out His grace in answer to the fervent prayers of His people. A Geat Awakening ensued that transformed Colonial America and unleashed the spiritual and moral forces that eventually brought about the end of slavery on this continent.

 In the following essay, I present 5 truths that undermine the dark and gloomy 1619 view of America and show how America was defined by grace and 1726.

Truth #1
Slavery Was Not Unique to America

Slavery has been practiced world-wide for thousands of years. Arabs enslaved Africans. Europeans enslaved Africans. Africans enslaved one another and sold their own people into slavery. During its 400+-year reign, the Islamic Ottoman Empire enslaved millions of Europeans. Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation, white slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire.

This is why Dr. Walter E. Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, who is African-American, says that slavery in America was neither odd nor strange. He points out that at the beginning of the 19th century, “An estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.”

What was unique about slavery in America, when compare with the rest of the world, was the brevity of its existence and the moral outrage that arose against it.

Truth #2
A Powerful Anti-Slavery Arose Out of the 1726 Awakening

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 social status.

Second-generation 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.

His response to slavery in Newport was like Paul’s response to the idols in Athens. Paul’s spirit was “provoked” by the idols of the Athenians, and Hopkins was deeply grieved by the "violation of God’s will” he saw in Newport. 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).

Out of this Christian Awakening, the moral and spiritual forces were unleashed that would eventually bring about the end of slavery on this continent. This is the context behind the statement of the late historians, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, who wrote,

Europeans [and Americans] 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.

Truth #3
America’s Founders Turned Against Slavery
At a Time It Was Accepted Around the World

As a result of the Great Awakening and the abolition movement it launched, America was at the forefront of the fight to end slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries. 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. He became a passionate abolitionist and helped form America’s first Abolition Society in his hometown. 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
Blacks Fought Alongside Whites in the War for Independence

The Great Awakening and the interracial currents it unleashed opened the way for blacks to serve in the Revolutionary War. It was, no doubt, the influence of the Awakening that led 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 soldiers was black. David Barton has provided documentation showing that numbers of blacks were given honorable discharges and pensions, and that some were honored with complete military funerals for their service in the Revolutionary War.

Truth #5
America’s Founding Documents Are Colorblind

Because of the 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. 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.

1619 or 1726?

Yes, because of God's grace poured out in the Great Awakening (and succeeding Awakenings), America became defined as a nation of life and liberty with millions of people immigrating here from around the world. Included in this number are more than two-million immigrants from African nations who have chosen, in the past 50 years, to make America their home.

In my book entitled, 1726, I show that because America was defined by the Great Awakening, Christian awakening is in our national DNA. We can, therefore, pray with confidence that the same God that gave birth to this land and preserved her in times past, will intervene once again in His mercy and grace.

As we remember 1726 and turn to Him with all our hearts, He will answer, as He has promised, and once again heal our land according to II Chronicles 7:14.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.comDr. Hyatt supports The Return a global day of repentance and prayer on September 26. Get the details by clicking this link. https://thereturn.org/_eblasts/jonathan2/

AMERICA'S FOUNDERS HAD THE ANSWER FOR ANARCHY AND SOCIETAL CHAOS


I would be open to discussions about defunding the police if the leaders of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the mayors of America's major cities made a public statement that Jesus Christ is the greatest moral teacher who ever lived and that we should all seek to order our lives according to His example and teachings.

That may sound radical to modern ears, but it was the view of America’s founding generation. Colonial American society was so transformed by the Great Awakening that a British-appointed governor 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, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 81).

George Washington Wanted Jesus to be America’s Guide

America’s founders believed that only the life and teachings of Jesus provided the moral underpinnings that would bring peace and stability to the new nation. George Washington clearly expressed this in a letter, dated June 14, 1783, to the governors of the various states. In this letter, he expressed his “earnest prayer” for them and his desire that they would make Jesus Christ their model and seek to imitate His example. He wrote,

I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens . . . to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another . . . and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of His example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 120).

The founders knew that the liberties guaranteed in the nation’s founding documents would lead to anarchy and chaos if applied to a people without this transcendent moral guide. John Adams made this clear in a 1798 speech to the officers of the Massachusetts Militia. He said,

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, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 168).

Jesus Was Their Model and Guide

Even those founders who at times questioned the deity of Jesus agreed that His teachings were the greatest moral guide the world has known. That is why Thomas Jefferson took money from the federal treasury to pay for a Christian missionary to the Kaskaskia American Indian tribe with whom he had negotiated a treaty. It is why he said, “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 149).

Jefferson’s high regard for Jesus is why he closed all presidential documents with the phrase, “In the year of our Lord Christ.” It is why he said, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” Like Washington, Jefferson believed that only the teachings of Jesus provided the moral foundation for a stable and happy society.

For the same reason, Benjamin Franklin responded vehemently to a manuscript Thomas Paine sent to him in which he challenged the idea of a prayer-answering God, the inspiration of Scripture, and other aspects of orthodox Christianity. Franklin refused to print the book and in strong language urged Paine not even to allow anyone else to see it. He wrote,

I would advise you, therefore . . . to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion [Christianity], what would they be if without it?

By Whom Will We Be Governed?

The founders believed in the Biblical view of the fall of humanity—that human nature is flawed by sin. People, therefore, must either govern themselves from within according to moral principles or they must be controlled by force from without. This is what William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was referring to when he said, “Those who will not be governed by God must be ruled by tyrants.”

Until the 1960s, it was common for school days, school activities, sporting events, city council meetings, and other public events to open with prayer. Displays of Bible verses, crosses, and the Ten Commandments were common in public buildings, including courtrooms. It was normal for a baccalaureate sermon by a local pastor to be part of public-school graduation exercises. Christian influence was seen everywhere in the public life of the nation.

When, however, the nation’s highest court banned school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in 1962-63, it opened the floodgates of anti-Christian activism. Ten Commandment displays, crosses and other Christian symbols have now been forcibly removed from schools, courtrooms, and other public venues. This has produced destructive consequences, as explained by a recent sociological study.

Several years ago, I heard Charlie Rose interview a sociologist who had just led an extensive study on the power of symbols, including religious symbols. This sociologist said they discovered that a person in a room where a Bible is visible is less likely to lie than if they are in a room where there is no Bible. In other words, the very presence of the Bible exudes a positive moral influence.

The removal of prayer and positive moral symbols from schools and public buildings has had disturbing ramifications. When I attended high school in the 1960s, the major infractions were things like chewing gum in class, talking without permission, and being out of your seat without permission. School shootings and attacking teachers were unheard of! Security guards and metal detectors never crossed our minds.

“Defund the Police” Advocates Are Learning this Lesson

Those of the “Defund the Police” movement are learning this lesson the hard way. Cities, such as Minneapolis, that have made moves to defund the police have seen crime skyrocket. Being moral relativists, they are not offering a transcendent moral guide for their city and so are now wanting the police back to control the crime.

They could have taken a lesson from Charles Finney who described, in his Memoirs, the dramatic drop in crime as the result of a powerful Christian revival in the city of Rochester, New York in 1830.

Finney told of a lawyer who was converted during this Christ-centered revival and later became the district attorney for the city. This district attorney shared with Finney how the influence of the awakening had dramatically impacted the morals of the city leading to a remarkable reduction in crime. He said,

I have been examining the records of the criminal courts and I find this striking fact, that whereas our city has increased since that revival three-fold, there is not one-third as many prosecutions for crime as had been up to that time. Thus crime has decreased two-thirds and population has increased two-thirds. This is the wonderful influence that the revival has had upon the community (Rosell and Dupuis, The Original Memoirs of Charles G. Finney, 245-46).

Finney did not say, but we can see that a discussion on reducing the police force in Rochester at that time would be understandable.

A “Back to Jesus” Movement

The answer for the anarchy, chaos, and political hatred in America today will not be found in another costly government program in which we “reimagine” policing. Neither will it be found in religious pluralism and everyone just trying to get along. Neither will it be found in the next election, as important as it is.

The ultimate answer will be found in a return to America’s founding principles and the founders’ belief that only the example and teachings of Jesus provide the moral underpinnings for a stable and prosperous society. In summary, America needs a “Back to Jesus” movement.

This article is derived primarily from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. This book offers an alternative to the "1619 Project" by documenting how it was the Great Awakening that brought about the end of slavery and gave birth to this nation.

9/18/2020

The Colossian Heresy Revisited

 Have Contemporary Revival/Prophetic Movements Lost Their Focus?

This is an article I wrote in 2005 after a series of providential events surrounding my teaching of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. This morning, 15 years later, I was drawn to read Paul’s letter to the Colossians again. I was so deeply stirred that I decided to republish the article I wrote in 2005. Paul's letter speaks powerfully to the same troubling issues that continue to plague the body of Christ.

While driving to class one day, I asked God for a theme for the class I would be teaching from Paul’s letter to Colosse. As I prayed, the phrase "Don't Lose Your Focus" was strongly impressed upon my heart and mind. This phrase remained in my heart as I prayed and worshipped during the 25-minute drive to the campus.

At the beginning of the class, I wrote across the board in large letters "DON’T LOSE YOUR FOCUS" and announced it as the theme, even through I had no idea how it would apply. I was then astounded at the sequence of events that unfolded.

As I taught that morning the Holy Spirit directed our attention to what New Testament scholars call "The Colossian Heresy." Although I had taught on the subject before, on this day, new and fresh insight unfolded as to the nature of this 1st century heresy.

In essence, the believers in Colosse had lost their focus on Christ, being distracted by other, even legitimate, things. After the class was over, I went to a nearby auditorium to hear a well-known guest speaker. As I listened to this individual, who is well known in the revival/prophetic movement, I was astounded to hear The Colossian Heresy that I had just delineated being propagated all over again.

The Colossians Had Lost Their Focus

What was it that was distracting the Colossians and causing them to lose their focus? They had become obsessed with how to be “spiritual” and had become enamored with supernatural phenomena such as visions and angelic visitations (2:18).

The Colossian Heresy was, in essence, an unhealthy preoccupation on the part of the Colossian believers with their own spirituality, which they based on the number of angels and visions they had seen.

Paul’s answer was to direct their attention back to Christ as the source and fullness of everything they needed. They did not need to look to angels or any other source for knowledge of God, For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (2:9).

Neither was there any need to look elsewhere for salvation and healing for, You are complete in Him who is the Head of all principality and power (2:10). They did not need to turn to other avenues for obtaining special wisdom and knowledge, for in Christ, Are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3).

A Religious Fascination with Angels & Visions

In 2:18 Paul chides the Colossians for the worship of angels and for dwelling on visions (NRSV). The word “worship” in this passage is a translation of the Greek word threskia and is not the normal word for “worship.” Besides Col. 2:18 it is found in only three other places in the New Testament, Acts 26:3 and James 1:26, 27, where it is translated as “religion.” The point seems to be that the Colossians had developed an unhealthy “religious” fascination with angels and visions.

Because of their fascination with such esoteric, sensational phenomena, they are no longer, Holding fast to the Head from whom all the body, nourished and knit together . . . grows with an increase that is from God (2:19). This is serious, for only by abiding in Christ and holding fast to Him can the Colossians experience the fullness of salvation and arrive at spiritual maturity.

Spiritual Pride Intrudes

To complicate matters, the spiritual experiences, with which they are so enamored, have become a basis for pride. They consider themselves a notch above other Christians because of their spiritual experiences. They are an elite group. Although they purport to be humble, it is a false humility that is betrayed by their attitudes and actions (2:18). Perhaps referring to their most prominent teacher, Paul says that he, like his followers, is vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind (2:18).

The Colossian Heresy Today

As I sat and listened to this well-known “prophetic” speaker, I was amazed at how closely their message coincided with the Colossian Heresy the Holy Spirit had just delineated for us. Their message seemed to be all about angels, visions, and prophecy with little or no mention of Jesus.

I suddenly realized that the Colossian Heresy was being unwittingly propagated again under the guise of “revival” and the “prophetic.” I somberly realized that those, including myself, who long for genuine Spiritual awakenings must guard against an unhealthy preoccupation with sensational phenomena lest we too lose our focus on Jesus and, thereby, repeat “The Colossian Heresy.”


A Lesson from the 18th Century Methodist Revival

I am here reminded of the words of George Whitefield to John Wesley during one of the greatest revivals of Christian history. Many manifestations were occurring such as falling, laughing, shaking, weeping, trembling, and trances. Whitefield cautioned Wesley not to become preoccupied with such phenomena less they lose their focus. He wrote,

I think it is tempting God to require such signs. That there is something of God in it, I doubt not. But the devil, I believe, does interpose. I think it will encourage the French Prophets, take people away from the written word, and make them depend on visions, convulsions, etc., more than on the promises and precepts of the gospel (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 84).

Suggestions For Not Repeating the Colossian Heresy

1.    Keep Jesus front and center. Hold fast (cling) to the Head (Jesus) from whom all the body is nourished and knit together (Col. 2:19).

2.    Stop seeking spiritual experiences. Seek the Lord and you shall live (Amos 5:5). We are not to follow signs. Signs are to follow us as we seek and obey Him (Mk.16:17).

3.       Build your life and ministry on the word of God. Remember that Jesus overcame Satan by saying, “It is written,” not by recounting the voice from heaven, prophecies, or angelic visitations.

4.    Let the supernatural happen; don’t try to make it happen. When Christians try to make the supernatural happen, they inevitably get in the flesh and open themselves to “angels of light” who prey on the naive and the prideful.

5.    Stay humble. Avoid an elitist attitude. Remember that “pride is the stronghold of deception.” 

If you would like to read more about discerning the true from the false in revival and prophetic ministry, check out my books Revival Fire: Discerning Between the True and the False and Angels of Light, both available from Amazon and my website at www.eddiehyatt.com. See also my recent book 1726: The Year that Defined America.

9/17/2020

WHY CHRISTIAN AWAKENING IS THE MAJOR THREAT TO THE MARXIST VISION FOR AMERICA


Marxism has a history of being hostile to Christians, and the Christian faith in general. We should not be surprised for Karl Marx showed a hostility toward all communities of faith, calling religion an “illusion” and “the opium of the people.”

In his Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Marx arrogantly declared, “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.” In other words, for Marx, abolishing faith in God is a necessary component of securing “real” happiness for people.

Christianity a Threat to the Marxist Vision

Marxism and atheism are compatible, bosom buddies. Christians and their faith in God, on the other hand, are perceived as threats to the Marxist vision. It is, therefore, not surprising that the old Soviet Union, Castro’s Cuba, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Mao’s China, and other modern Marxist states have all persecuted people of faith. 

In Marxism/socialism the state is deified. The God of the Bible is replaced by the god of the state. People no longer need to look to God for help with life’s problems; they can now look to the government to solve every problem and meet every need.

In Marxism/socialism, the God of the Bible is viewed as a competitor—an enemy of the state. This is why, during the 20th century, millions of Christians were imprisoned and put to death in Marxist/socialist regimes. The god of Marxism is a jealous god and will tolerate no rivals.

Disturbing Trends in the Democrat Party

It should, therefore, not be surprising that as the Democrat Party has drifted more and more toward a socialist vision for America, they have also shown more and more hostility toward people of faith. For example, in 2019, the Democrat National Committee unanimously passed a resolution affirming atheism and insisting that neither Christianity nor any religion is necessary for morality and patriotism.

In this same resolution, the DNC made a point to single out and rebuke evangelical Christians for, in their words, “Loudly claiming that morals, values and patriotism must be defined by their particular religious views.”

When the Democrat Party took control of the House of Representatives in 2018, they chose to remove the phrase "so help me God" from the oaths that witnesses would take before their committees. 

Ineed, the DNC’s hostility toward God and people of faith is showing itself in many ways. Democrat senators grilled Notre Dame law professor, Amy Barrett, who had been nominated to serve on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. They questioned her fitness to serve on the court becasue of her strong faith in God. Democrat Senator, Diane Feinstein, went so far as to complain that when she reads Barrett’s speeches, “The conclusion one draws is that the [Christian] dogma lives loudly in you.”

The Democrat Party has supported the removal of Ten Commandment displays, crosses, and other Christian symbols from public property. Shortly after becoming president, Barak Obama told a foreign audience, "America is not a Christian nation." And when he spoke at Georgetown University, a Catholic institution, he demanded that the Christian symbol behind the podium where he was to speak be removed.

America’s Founders Were People of Faith

The DNC flight from God is so out of character with the founders of this nation, whose writings are filled with references to faith in God and sprinkled with biblical quotations. In fact, a ten-year research project to discover where America’s founders got their ideas for the nation’s founding documents, found that they quoted the Bible far more than any other source (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Refined America, 167-68).

George Washington, after insisting that he take the first presidential oath of office with his hand on a Bible, then warned the new nation in his first Inaugural Address,

The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the external rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.

John Adams sounded a similar tone in a 1798 address 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, 1726: The Year that Refined America, 168).

The well-known Catholic scholar, William Novak, is thus correct in saying,

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, 1726: The Year that Refined America, 171).

We Must Have a Christian Awakening

Psalm 33:12 says, Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. The Democrat Party’s move toward Marxism/socialism and its rejection of the God of the Bible should deeply concern every American, for they are following in the path of so many failed, totalitarian movements of history.

The greatest threat to their vision for America is a Christian awakening wherein the masses renew their faith in God. When that happens, people are set free from dependence on government. Their faith is now in God and they want government to merely protect them in their quest for those God-given, Constitutional rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Let us, therefore, ask God to visit this nation once again with another Great Awakening. God has sent such awakenings again and again in our history at times of great national crisis. I am convinced that He is ready to do it again.

If you want to know what such an Awakening might look like, get a copy of my book, 1726: The Year that Refined America.

This article is derived in part from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest books, 1726 and 5 Reasons I Changed My Mind About Donald Trump. These and other books by Dr. Hyatt are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.