Friday, December 2, 2016


On Wednesday of this past week, I preached the funeral service for my older brother, Royce “Pete” Hyatt, the last surviving member of my family. Pete was not just a brother, he was also the very best of friends and a faithful supporter of our ministry. He was a rock of strength to his family and all who knew him. He will be sorely missed.
Pete, who was seven years older than me, faced death the way he faced life—with faith and courage. Three weeks before his death, he asked that we stop praying for healing, stating that he wanted to go home. 
He made his funeral easy for us in that he planned the entire service and insisted that it be a celebration of his home going that would bring glory and honor to God. I believe his wishes were fulfilled.
There were tears but even more laughter and shouts of praise during the service. There were several songs and Pete even arranged to sing at his own funeral via a CD. At his request, I was the last of four ministers who spoke.
The service lasted for more than 90 minutes. Afterwards, an elderly woman said to me, “That is the only funeral I have ever attended that I enjoyed.”
As a young man, Pete served in the United States Marine Corps and his coffin was draped with an American flag. There was a military honor guard at his graveside featuring the haunting sound of “Taps’ being blown on the bugle, the official folding of the flag, with it being presented to his widow, Betty.
A Deep Faith with a Touch of Humor
In life, Pete exhibited a blend of a deep faith, strength, and a unique “Pete Hyatt” sense of humor. These characteristics were obvious right to the very end.
For example, shortly before his death, several came during the day and visited with him at his bedside. Others called and he talked with them and encouraged them in their faith. By the end of the day, he was quite weary.
As night was falling the phone rang again and as Betty reached for the phone, Pete said, “Tell them that Elvis has left the building.”
Pete was a giver and he often mixed his giving with his humor. For example, he was a mechanic and taught auto mechanics for twenty-two years at the high school in Honey Grove, Texas.
During those years, I would take our car to him when it needed repairs. Even though he already supported our ministry with a monthly financial gift, he would always finish the job by handing me money and with a smile and twinkle in his eye, say, “This is for you letting me work on your car.”
A Powerful Lesson About Death & Life
In my message, I quoted the words of Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” From there, I emphasized that for the Christian, death is not final. It’s not over! In fact, this is a new beginning for Pete Hyatt.
At the end of my message, I opened it up for comments from any of the several hundred people who packed the Gospel Lighthouse in Powderly, TX. Several stood and spoke of how Pete had impacted their lives. His son, Jim, expressed the feelings of many when, through tears, he said it had been hard to imagine life without his Dad.
Interestingly, I had grappled with the same feelings while making the two-hour drive for the funeral service. I had inwardly struggled when I thought of going to his home and he would no longer be there.
I had just had a very painful tooth extracted and this added to the struggle that left me feeling physically and emotionally drained. But God broke through.
I lifted my heart to the Lord and said, “Lord, I need you to fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I need your strength.” Immediately, I heard these words,
"Think on the living, not the dead. Don’t mourn for Pete. He has finished his race and he is OK. Think on the ones that remain and are still running their race. Think on how you can help and encourage them."
I knew it was the Holy Spirit, and immediately the weakness and struggle dissipated.
Run to Win
Yes, Pete has finished his race. He ran well. You and I are all still running. I, therefore, want to leave you with I Corinthians 9:24 from the New Living Translation. It reads, Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
Let’s run to win!

Eddie Hyatt is the founder of "The Revive America Project" and the author of several books including his latest entitled Pilgrims and Patriots with the subtitle, The Radical Christian Roots of American Democracy and Freedom. Check out his website at

Friday, October 7, 2016


Many today are talking about revival and another Great Awakening in the land. Such an Awakening, however, is being hindered, I believe, by a misunderstanding and misapplication of Jesus Christ’s atoning death. Since this Tuesday-Wednesday is the Jewish “Day of Atonement,” I have decided to take it as an opportunity to share my thoughts on how a fresh look at the Atonement can lead to Spiritual awakening.
Understanding the Atonement
October 11-12 is Yom Kippur, or “Day of Atonement,” the most holy day of the year on the Jewish calendar. Yom means “day” and Kippur is probably derived from the Hebrew kofer, meaning “ransom.” It falls on two of our calendar days because the Jewish day begins and ends at sunset.
It was on this Day of Atonement that the Old Testament high priest went into the holy of holies, and with animal sacrifices, made sacrificial atonement for the sins of the people of Israel (Leviticus 16). Interestingly, there was to be absolutely no work on this Day. This Day was God’s idea and God’s work, with the high priest being the one carrying out the proceedings.
The Old Testament Day of Atonement was a type and foreshadowing of the atoning death of Jesus Christ, not just for Israel, but for the world. Jesus Himself said in Mark 10:45 that He had come to give His life a ransom for many. Paul speaks of the death of Christ as a sacrifice, even referring to Him as our Passover lamb. (I Corinthians 5:7).
Chapters 9 and 10 of Hebrews likens the death of the Christ to the Day of Atonement. The writer pictures Jesus as both high priest and sacrifice. Contrasting the power of Christ's offering with the temple offerings that had to be offered year after year, the writer says, For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).
As both fully God and fully human, Christ’s death was vicarious and efficacious for the whole world, making it possible for mankind to be reconciled to God. Just like on Israel’s Day of Atonement, God did not ask or require our help in Christ’s atoning work. We have nothing to add. We can only come to Him and in faith and receive the benefits of the work He has already done.
A Serious Misunderstanding of the Atonement
One serious misunderstanding of the Atonement is the idea that its benefits are automatically applied regardless of attitude or behavior. This idea seems to run parallel with the popular teaching that since Christ has paid for my sins, I do not have to confess sins I commit or be watchful concerning sin.
This way of thinking downplays the need for repentance and has been labeled by opponents as “hyper-grace,” but is actually based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the Atonement.
The reasoning goes something like this. Jesus paid the penalty for all sins that have ever been, or ever will be, committed. Therefore, any sins I have committed in the past, or am committing now, or will commit in the future, have already been paid for, and borne away, by Christ. I, therefore, do not have to confess sin or be concerned with sin. There is no longer a sin problem for me or for the human race.
The Benefits of the Atonement Must Be Appropriated
For many, this theory has an attractive ring to it, but it is at odds with so many passages of Scripture. For example, Simon the Sorcerer, who had been baptized in the great Samaritan revival led by Philip, offered Peter and John money in return for the authority to lay hands on people to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter’s answer to him was very telling.
Peter said to Simon, Your money perish with you because you thought the gift of God could be purchased with money (Acts 8:20). Peter went on to say, Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. (Acts 8:22).
Simon’s request had revealed the awful condition of his heart. Peter said that Simon, even though he had been baptized, was in a state of perishing and he called on Simon to repent of his wickedness and ask God for forgiveness.
Peter obviously did not see the benefits of the atonement being automatically applied in Simon’s case. He did not take Simon’s sin lightly. There was a need for repentance and contrition of heart on Simon’s part if he was going to experience the blessings and benefits of Christ’s atoning death.
Yes, the forgiveness and blessings of Christ’s atoning death are available to all, but must be appropriated by repentance and faith. This is why Paul, when speaking to the Ephesian elders, reminded them how he had testified to both Jews and Greeks, Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is why Paul expressed concern to the Corinthians about un-repented sin in their midst and said he feared that when he would come to them,
My God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced (I Corinthians 12:21).
No, the atoning merits of Christ’s death are not automatically applied across-the-board. The New Testament is filled with passages about the importance of repentance and faith in appropriating the forgiveness and blessings provided through Christ’s atoning death. This understanding is vital for another Great Awakening in our land.
The Nature of Christ’s Atoning Death
We must realize that the atonement of Jesus Christ was not a commercial transaction in which He paid the aggregate penalty for every single sin that ever was, or ever will be, committed. If this were the case, there would be no mercy or forgiveness on God’s part. God would be like an ice cold businessman who demands exact payment for every debt and obligation.
If such were the case, the sinner would be in the position of being able to demand his/her salvation from God since the precise debt for any sins they have committed, or ever will commit, has been paid. Salvation would not be a gift from God but something He owes and must give to every person regardless of their attitude, because the precise debt has been paid.
Instead, however, God is presented in Scripture as a merciful and caring being, willing to forgive those who come to Him in reverence and faith. The word “forgive” means “to remit” or “to cancel” or “to write off.” Because of what Christ has done, God is willing to “remit” or “write off” our sins when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work through the cross.
We, therefore, should not think of the Atonement in terms of a quantitative payment for every individual sin. We should, instead, think of the Atonement in terms of “quality.” It was the quality of the sacrifice--Jesus Christ being God incarnate--that made His sacrifice acceptable in the sight of God and the basis for God to offer amnesty and pardon to a race of rebels, if they will only come to Him in repentance and faith.
The death of Christ on the cross was a public demonstration of God’s love for humanity and a public showing of His willingness to grant forgiveness and new life to those who will come to Him in repentance and faith. It also, however, showed the terribleness of sin and provided satisfaction for the just nature of a holy God who cannot wink at sin.
Let’s Take a Lesson from History
On the Old Testament Day of Atonement, the people were instructed to “afflict their souls.” In other words, they were to examine themselves and repent of wrong and sinful attitudes and behavior. But is such an approach appropriate for a New Testament believer?
In I Corinthians 11:27-32 Paul cautions the Corinthian believers about taking communion in an "unworthy manner," that is, with unconfessed sin in their lives. Communion is a celebration of Christ's atoning death and sin is not to be treated in a light, trivial manner by those who participate. Paul then instructed, Let a man [person] examine himself and so let him eat . . .. In verse 31 he says, But if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged we are chastened by the Lord that we may not be condemned with the world

As New Covenant believers with the indwelling Holy Spirit, we judge ourselves by opening our hearts to the Lord and inviting Him to show us anything in our lives that is displeasing to Him. As He brings attitudes and behavior to our attention, we then acknowledge, or confess, our sins before the Lord as we are instructed to do in I John 1:9, a passage and letter written to believers. The results of such repentance and confession can be astounding.

This was the experience of a church, described by Charles Finney, that led to great revival. Through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, the leaders of this church came to realize that in seeking numbers and recognition from the culture and community leaders, they had compromised their commitment to Christ. They, therefore, formulated a public statement concerning their “backsliding and want of a Christian spirit” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 177).
It was submitted to the congregation for their approval and then read before the congregation. As the confession was being read publicly, the entire congregation stood to its feet with many of its members weeping. Finney said that, from that moment on, the revival went forward in great power, and the opposition, which had been bitter, was silenced.
A Lesson from the Prodigal Son
Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son to reveal the merciful, forgiving heart of God. However, the parable also reveals the attitude of heart in which the wayward son or daughter must return to the Father.
After coming to the end of himself in the pigpen, the prodigal departed for home with a different attitude. He determined that on arriving home, he would say to the Father, Father I have sinned against heaven and in Your sight and I am no longer worthy to called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants (Luke 15:18-19).
The prodigal was not perfect. He probably smelled like a pigpen. He probably had pig manure on his shoes and straw in his hair. But he had left the pig pen with a changed attitude and was headed in the right direction, back to the Father’s house. That is a picture of true repentance.
When the Father saw him afar off He ran and fell on his neck weeping. He then brought him into the house, completely restored him to his place in the family, and initiated a time of rejoicing for his safe return.
Appropriate the Atonement Blessings Today
God rejoices today when erring sinners return to Him in faith and sincerity of heart. If you have never appropriated the wonderful forgiveness and blessings of Christ’s Atonement, I urge you to do so today. Come to Him now in faith and sincerity of heart. He will receive you with open arms.
If you are a believer, I urge you to invite the Holy Spirit to search your heart for any attitudes, or any compromise with the world, that are displeasing to Him. As He brings these sins and weights to our minds and we confess them before Him with contrition of heart, I am convinced that we will see a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our lives, our churches, our nation, and the world.

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, Bible teacher, and ordained minister with a vision for another Great Spiritual Awakening in America and around the world. His latest book, Pilgrims and Patriots, documents how America was birthed out of prayer and the First Great Awakening. To schedule him to speak at your church, conference, or college, send an email to, and visit his website at

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


In Acts 16:16, Paul and his team encountered a young woman who prophesied to them through what Luke calls a “spirit of divination” (NKJV). However, the Greek word from which “divination” is translated is python.
“Python” was a word associated with prophecy amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans. Because it was so well known in the ancient Greco-Roman world, the original readers of Acts would have made an immediate association when they read the words “spirit of python.” Here is how they would have understood it.

Prophecy Among Ancient Greeks and Romans

Prophecy was common among the ancient Greeks and Romans. One historian has said that the consultation of prophetic oracles was probably the most universal cult practice in the Greco-Roman world.[1]
“Oracle” was a word used by the ancients for a message from the gods, i.e., a prophecy. Many regions had their own divinely inspired prophets or prophetesses who gave their oracles (prophecies) to a constant stream of seekers.
Prophecy was also common in the ancient pagan and mystery religions. This is borne out by the Roman historian, Livy (59 b.c.a.d. 17), who describes followers of the pagan deity, Bacchus, who “as if insane, with fanatical tossings of their bodies, would utter prophecies,” and also describes devotees of the goddess Cybele as “prophesying in their frenzied chants.”[2]
That prophecy and the supernatural were so common in the ancient world is why there are so many admonitions in the New Testament to not be deceived; and is why Paul, every time he mentions prophecy, includes an admonition to judge, test and prove the genuineness of prophecy.

The Oracle at Delphi

The most famous ancient oracle (prophetic center) was at the city of Delphi in Greece and was known as the “Oracle at Delphi.” According to legend, the Greek god, Apollo, had slain a large female serpent--a python--at that site and the spirit of the python had remained. According to the legend, it now possessed the prophets and prophetesses who functioned there, “taking possession of their organs of speech moving and compelling them to give prophetic utterances.”[3]
This was commonly known as the “pythian spirit” or the “spirit of python.” At the height of its popularity, the prophetic oracle at Delphi maintained three priestesses/prophetesses who offered advice and counsel through the pythian spirit to a continual stream of visitors including generals and government officials. This is the association the first readers of Acts would have made to Luke’s mention of a “spirit of python.”
One characteristic of the Oracle at Delphi—and all pagan prophecy—is that it was self-induced. Preceding their prophetic functions, the priestesses would go through ritual baths, sprinklings and animal sacrifices leading to a hyped and frenzied prophetic state.
One ancient drawing pictured the prophetess in a disheveled, frenzied state as she gave forth her oracle. Other pagan religions used music, dance, contortions and sex orgies to work themselves into a prophetic frenzy. Do we charismatics have our own rituals by which we work ourselves into a “prophetic” state?
How We Open Ourselves to a Spirit of Python
In contrast, New Testament prophecy is not self-induced, i.e., it does not come forth at the initiative of the person prophesying. Paul is very clear in I Cor. 12:11 that the gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy, are given as He [the Holy Spirit] wills.
Although we can learn about how prophecy and how Spiritual gifts function, it is dangerous to think that we can learn “how to” prophesy of our own initiative.
This is, perhaps, why Paul allowed this situation to go on for “many days” before dealing with it and casting out the spirit. He did not have a “how to” list for dealing with such situations but was dependent on the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I am convinced that when we begin to push ourselves into prophesying out of our own hearts, apart from the Holy Spirit, that we open ourselves to false spirits such as the spirit of python that possessed this young woman in Philippi.
Characteristics of a False Prophetic Spirit
Luke uses “spirit of python” in regards to this slave girl probably because the spirit operating in her was like the one at Delphi. There is, of course, the possibility that she had actually been to Delphi and that is where she picked up this false spirit.
It is important to note that what she said was true. Satan and demons have some knowledge and will reveal their “secrets” in order to impress and draw people into their destructive web. Only our God, however, is omniscient, i.e., all knowing.
Here are some of the traits of a false prophetic spirit that are obvious in this narrative.
#1 It loves to flatter.
The prophecy of this young woman was not given to encourage or affirm, but to flatter. We all need encouragement and affirmation in our Christian walk, and the Biblical gift of prophecy will affirm, encourage, and build up (I Corinthians 14:3). Flattery, however, is deceitful, insincere, and self-serving.
So many today, including leaders, are so starved for affirmation and approval that they are vulnerable to the flatteries of a deceiving, python spirit. We must be so settled in God’s acceptance and approval that we are no longer susceptible to the flatteries of a false prophetic spirit. Beware of those who use prophecy to flatter and, thereby, gain advantage.
#2 It loves to be seen and heard.
This is indicated by the fact that she kept putting herself at the center of attention with her continual prophesying day after day. Scripture is very clear that the Holy Spirit is in the earth to draw attention to Jesus, as Jesus Himself said of the Holy Spirit in John 16:14, He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
Revelation 19:10b says, Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Beware of those who use prophecy to thrust themselves into the limelight.
#3 It wants to be important.
This is indicated by the fact that she directed her prophecies to the leaders of this new movement. Beware of those who use prophecy to gain status with pastors and leaders.
#4 There is often a monetary motive involved.
This young slave girl was raking in a lot of money for her masters. I am afraid this same motive is at work in the church today in both overt and subtle ways.
For overt examples, you can go to the internet and find those who will send a personal prophecy in return for a donation. These are not psychics but those who claim to be Christian prophets. Such prophecies are not worth the paper they are printed on.
I recall observing a subtle expression of a monetary motive in a man who probably had a genuine gift of prophecy. After preaching he expressed his desire to pray for everyone who would bring a certain offering for his ministry to the front.
As he prayed and then prophesied over each one, I saw women looking in their purses to see if they had enough money to go forward and get a “word.” I believe this man was opening himself to a false spirit—a spirit of python—by his devious actions.

Taking A Stand for Truth

Many ministries today would probably have put this young woman on their prophetic team, for what she prophesied was positive and flattering. Discernment is lacking because, in this post modern world, the lines between true and false are being blurred and even erased.
Some in the charismatic movement are tapping into New Age writings with the excuse that “all truth is God’s truth.” If this had been Paul’s approach he would never have confronted the python spirit and cast it out, for what was being said was true.
Taking a stand for truth is not always the most popular thing to do. Paul and Silas were arrested, beaten and thrown in jail because they distinguished between the true and the false and cast out the false prophetic spirit.
Because, however, they refused to compromise, God sent an earthquake, physically and spiritually, and turned the situation completely around. God is looking for people who will stand for truth in this hour. As Jesus said in John 8:31-32, If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

This article was derived from Eddie Hyatt’s latest book, Paul, Women and Church, available now from Amazon in the Kindle format and soon to be available in paperback. To learn more about his vision for another Great Awakening in America and around the world, visit his website at

[1] F. C. Grant, Hellenistic Religions: The Age of Syncretism (New York: Liberal Arts Press, n.d.), 33.
[2] Livy, Annals, vol. 11, trans. Evan T. Sage, LCB, ed. T.E. Page et. al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1949), xxxix.12.12.
[3] David Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), 33, 354.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Two hundred and forty-six years ago this Friday, September 30, America’s Spiritual Founding Father departed this life the way he had lived it—in dramatic fashion. He literally “flamed out” as he preached the gospel for the final time.
As news of his death spread, condolences poured in from throughout the colonies, including a moving eulogy from Benjamin Franklin whose life had been profoundly impacted by the life and ministry of America’s Spiritual Founding Father, George Whitefield (1713-1770).
The Most Recognizable Figure in Colonial America
By his incessant travels, Whitefield became the most recognizable and talked about figure in Colonial America. From Georgia to Maine, thousands filled churches and gathered in open fields to hear him preach. Loved by the masses, he was detested by many of the clergy who refused him their pulpits. Undaunted, he preached in the open fields to massive crowds of all sects and denominations.
At a time when the population of Boston was estimated at twenty thousand, he preached to an estimated crowd of 25,000 on the Boston Common. Great revival seemed to erupt everywhere he went. Denominational walls were broken down and for the first time the scattered American colonists began to see themselves as a single people with one Divine destiny.
Through his incessant labors and his love for America, Whitefield helped prepare the way for the formation of the United States of America.
Communities Are Entirely Transformed
A native of England, Whitefield departed his home country at the age of twenty-four in August of 1739 with a burden for the American colonists and a prayer that they would not live as thirteen scattered colonies, but as “one nation under God” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 100).
With a heart totally given to God and possessing a rare oratorical gift, he was providentially prepared and positioned for such a moment in history. As he travelled up and down the eastern seaboard, shop keepers closed their doors, farmers left their plows, and workers threw down their tools to hurry to the place where he was to preach.
Nathan Cole gave a vivid description of the stir it caused throughout the region when Whitefield preached in Middletown, Connecticut. Cole was working in his field twelve miles away near Kensington when someone told him that Whitefield would be preaching in Middletown at 10 o’clock that same morning.
Cole immediately dropped his tools, ran to the house, and told wife to get ready to go and hear Whitefield preach. He then saddled their horse, they both mounted and hurried on their way to Middletown. Concerned that the horse might tire carrying two riders that distance, Cole would ride for a while and then dismount and run alongside.
As they approached the main road from Hartford to Middletown, they saw an amazing sight. A cloud of dust rose above the hills and trees and they heard a sound like a low rumbling thunder. As they drew closer they realized that the dust and sound were caused by a massive company of horses and riders that filled the road, all on their way to hear Whitefield preach.
No one made a sound and there was something surreal about the scene as every rider seemed somber and intent on their purpose. “It made me tremble to see the sight,” said Cole.
Cole and his wife finally reached Middletown covered with dust. There they encountered another amazing sight. He said,
When we got to the Middletown old meeting house there was a great multitude, which was said to be three or four thousand people assembled together. I turned and looked towards the great river and saw the ferry boats running swift bringing over loads of people. The land and banks over the river looked black with people and horses all along the 12 miles. I saw no man at work in his field, but all seemed to be gone. When I saw Mr. Whitefield come upon the scaffold he looked almost angelical; a young, slim, slender youth before some thousands of people with a bold undaunted countenance. And my hearing how God was with him everywhere he came along, it solemnized my mind and put me into a trembling fear before he began to preach, for he looked as if he was clothed with authority from the Great God, and a sweet, solemn solemnity sat upon his brow. And my hearing him preach gave me a heart wound. By God’s blessings, my old foundation was broken up, and I saw that my righteousness would not save me (Hyatt, Pilgrimsand Patriots, 101).
Benjamin Franklin & Philadelphia Are Impacted
Whitefield preached in Philadelphia and saw incredible results. Benjamin Franklin’s testimony of the impact of his preaching on the city is particularly significant since he did not profess to be a Christian at the time. In his Autobiography, Franklin tells of the incredible transformation that came over the city when Whitefield came there on his first 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. 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 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, The Faith & Vision of Benjamin Franklin, 33).
Whitefield and Franklin became close friends and business partners, with Franklin taking on the task of printing and distributing Whitefield’s sermons and journals. They kept up a lively correspondence until Whitefield’s death some thirty-one years later, and Whitefield stayed in Franklin’s home on at least one subsequent visit to Philadelphia. In a letter to his brother James, a printer in Boston, Franklin said, “Whitefield is a good man and I love him” (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 140).
Franklin admits that he was skeptical of reports of Whitefield preaching being heard by crowds of 25,000 and more. While listening to Whitefield preach from the top of the Philadelphia courthouse steps to a huge throng, Franklin, having an enquiring and scientific mind, retired backward to see how far Whitefield’s voice would reach. He then did some calculations and decided that Whitefield’s voice, which he described as “loud and clear,” could be heard by crowds of thirty thousand and more.
The Awakening Touches All Sects and Denominations
Although ordained with the Church of England, Whitefield did not have a denominational bone in his body. In England, he had been instrumental in spearheading the great Methodist Revival along with the Wesley brothers. 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.
In one of his sermons, as he was preaching in the open air to a great multitude representing various sects and denominations, Whitefield 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 Methodists in heaven?”
“No, there are no Methodists in heaven.”
“Are there any Presbyterians in heaven?”
“No, there are no Presbyterians 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!”
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, Pilgrims and Patriots, 104).
Cultural Change
The Great Awakening literally changed the moral climate of colonial America. Entire communities were transformed. Profanity, lewdness, and drunkenness almost completely disappeared, especially in some areas. Reports in New England alone show thirty thousand to forty thousand converts and 150 new churches. No one had a greater role in this transformation than George Whitefield.
By his incessant travels, Whitefield brought local and regional flames of revival together and made the Great Awakening one national event. It was the first time the scattered colonists of various, national, denominational and theological persuasions had participated together in a single event. 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.
The preaching of Whitefield also helped democratize the inhabitants of the colonies by showing no preference based on race, wealth, or social status. For Whitefield, everyone was on the same level, that is, guilty sinners before God, with only one solution for the sin problem, that being faith in Jesus Christ. He did not spare anyone because of their social status.
The preaching of Whitefield helped create a national identity and prepared the way for nationhood. This is why Harvard professor, William Perry, said, “The Declaration of Independence of 1776 was a direct result of the evangelical preaching of the evangelists of the Great Awakening” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 108).
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, Pilgrims and Patriots, 109).
Whitefield Flames Out for God
Whitefield loved America and made seven visits to this land. He died during his final visit to America at the age of fifty-eight, probably of congestive heart failure brought on by fatigue.
During his seventh and final visit in 1770, Whitefield was continuing his incessant travels even though he had been experiencing weakness, pain in his chest, and had been coughing up blood. On September 29 he preached to a large crowed in an open field near Newburyport, Massachusetts.
With night falling, he retired to the home of a friend, Reverend Jonathan Parsons, to spend the night. Hundreds, however, followed him to the home wanting to hear more of God’s love and power.
Although weak in body and night had fallen, Whitefield emerged from the house with a candle and announced to the multitude that he would preach and pray until the candle burned out. There were many tears and cries to God as he continued to pour out His heart to the people and to God. Finally, the candle burned down and went out. Whitefield bid the people a final farewell, returned to the house, and went to bed.
His sleep, however, was restless and he awakened in the middle of the night with an asthma attack. He then went back to sleep but awakened later with a tight chest and difficulty breathing. He finally stopped breathing altogether and despite a doctor’s attempts to revive him, he expired at 6 a.m. on September 30, 1770.
Offers to bury him came from New Hampshire and from Boston’s Old South Church. Parsons, however, quickly arranged for Whitefield’s interment in the vault of the Newburyport Presbyterian Church, where his remains still lie today.
Daniel Rogers, who had been converted under Whitefield’s ministry thirty years before and had remained a loyal friend, prayed at the funeral. He said that he owed his conversion “to the labors of that dear man of God, whose precious remains now lay before them.” Rogers then began weeping and crying, “O my father, my father!” The congregation melted into tears (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 107).
Condolences poured in from throughout the colonies and from Great Britain. Franklin was in London at the time of Whitefield’s death. When he received word of his friend’s passing, he wrote,
I knew him intimately upwards of thirty years; his integrity, disinterestedness, and indefatigable zeal in prosecuting every good work, I have never seen equaled, I shall never see exceeded (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 107).

Benjamin Franklin, the skeptical printer of Philadelphia, and America, would never be the same as a result of the “indefatigable zeal” of George Whitefield in preaching the Gospel to colonial America. This is why Thomas S. Kidd, Professor of History at Baylor University, has called Whitefield “America’s Spiritual Founding Father” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 107).

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. To read about his vision for another Great Awakening in America and around the world, visit his website at