Thursday, April 7, 2016

4 REASONS YOU SHOULD EMBRACE THE COMING RESTORATION OF THE 8-FOLD MINISTRY

NOTE: This is a satirical lampoon  directed at the outlandish logic and hermeneutic too often on display in the modern charismatic/prophetic movements

And God has appointed these in the Church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues (1 Cor. 12:28).
The passage above, 1 Cor. 12:28, clearly teaches an 8-Fold Ministry. God is about to restore this ministry to the Church. This will be the final stage of the restoration that has been going on since the time of Martin Luther, and will bring the church into an incredible place of maturity and power.
Many, no doubt, will do a disservice to the body of Christ by continuing to promote the old, traditional 5-fold ministry, for it is still true today as it was when Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day, You reject the commandment of God in order to keep your traditions (Mk. 7:9). Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, many will reject the present, revelation truth of the 8-Fold Ministry in order to cling to their old, traditional 5-fold ministry. But for those who are willing to embrace this final work of restoration, they will experience a new and unprecedented release of God’s glory and power in their lives.
In this article I will share 4 compelling reasons why the 8-Fold Ministry should be recognized and implemented in the Church today. The reasons are: (1) God’s Prophetic Timetable indicates that 2016 is the year the restoration of this ministry will begin; (2) The 5-Fold Ministry may not have been Paul's idea; (3) The prophetic significance of 8 is far superior to that of 5; and (4) The 8-Fold Ministry will generate more power than a 5-Fold Ministry. I will also discuss the unique characteristics of the 8-Fold Ministry.
Reason #1
God’s Prophetic Timetable
The prophetic significance of the number 8 strongly suggests that the restoration of the 8-Fold Ministry will begin this year. God works through times, seasons and numbers. This is the year 5776 on the Jewish calendar. If you multiply the number 8 by 470 and subtract it from 5776, you get 2016. Is this a mere coincidence? I don’t think so! This is God’s prophetic timetable for restoring the 8-Fold Ministry to the Church in 2016.
Reason #2
The 5-Fold Ministry May Not Have Been Paul’s Idea
There is a good chance that Paul never wrote about the 5-fold ministry, but that someone using his name came up with the idea. For example, Paul was very close to the believers in Ephesus, having founded the church there and many or most of them being his converts. But none of them are ever mentioned in this very generic letter to the church at Ephesus.
To see what I mean, just look at Acts 20:36-38 where Paul is about to depart from a meeting with the elders of the church at Ephesus. As he makes preparations to leave, they all start crying and hugging and kissing him. What a sight! That Paul would write a letter to these same people and never mention any of them is kind of far-fetched, and has led some scholars to conclude that Paul didn’t write this letter.
So, right up front, there is a question whether Paul himself ever knew of a 5-fold ministry. On the other hand, nobody questions that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 12:28. So, we are on much safer, Biblical ground if we let go of the 5-fold ministry and go with the 8-Fold Ministry.
Reason #3
The Prophetic Significance of 8 is Far Superior to that of 5
Are there any significant 5s in the Bible? The best I have heard for 5 is that the 5 smooth stones that David took out of the brook, when he went out to face Goliath, represents the 5-fold ministry. David, however, only used one of these stones to kill Goliath.
To use this example, we would have to conclude that God has set 5 ministries in the Church, but He only uses one of them to defeat the enemy. So, if we go this route we are eventually left with only a 1-fold ministry. But maybe this has validity and actually confirms the many churches today that are functioning with a 1-fold ministry.
Nonetheless, there is much more prophetic significance to the number 8. Eight is the number of “new beginnings.” Jesus arose on the 1st day of the week, which is the 8th day—the day following the 7th day. Some are talking about the Church being in the 3rd day. They are obviously lagging behind. This is the time of the 8th day Church--the Church of new beginnings.
We recently entered a “new century” and a “new millennium.” Only the 8-Fold Ministry, the ministry of “new beginnings” can lead us into the “new thing” that God has for us in this new century.
Reason #4
The 8-Fold Ministry Will Generate More Power
We see from Scripture that in the realm of the spirit there is a multiplication of power when there is an increase in numbers. For example, Deut. 30:30 says that one chases a thousand but two puts ten thousand to flight. From this we can see that the 8-Fold Ministry will be far more powerful than a mere 5-Fold ministry.

The 8-Fold Ministry of the Apostle

In his 8-Fold Ministry list, Paul lists the apostle first. We should not make too much of this since in 1 Cor.4:9 he thinks God has put the apostles last and says they have been made as the scum of the earth. And in 1 Cor. 13:13 Paul lists faith, hope and love, these three, and then turns around says that love, which he listed last, is the greatest of the three.
So, it is not always that easy to tell what Paul thinks about something by the lists he makes. Sometimes the very thing he esteems the most, he puts at the end of the list; and the thing he thinks least of, he puts at the top of the list. And sometimes he puts something on one list and then leaves it off another list.
Pastors & Evangelists Not Part of the 8-Fold Ministry
For example, in the 8-Fold Ministry there is no mention of a pastor or evangelist. Paul obviously did not see these as being important or he would have listed them here. This is confirmed by the fact that in all his letters to churches, Paul never addresses a pastor or evangelist, or even refers to one. In a personal letter to Timothy, he tells him to do the work of an evangelist, but that is about it in regards to pastors and evangelists. This is because the 8-Fold Ministry brings the Church into a place of maturity where these ministries are no longer necessary.

Restoring the 8-Fold Gift of Steering

One 8-Fold Ministry gift that is desperately needed today is that of “steering.” The NKJV calls it administrations. The Greek word is kuberneseis and it originally referred to a steersman who guided a ship. In his Greek-English Interlinear, Alfred Marshall translates the word as governings and it obviously refers to steering, guiding and giving direction.
This gift is greatly needed to steer the other ministry gifts in the proper direction. Many thought that with the recent restoration of apostles and prophets everything would be fine. Instead, things have gotten worse because the new apostles and prophets have had no one to steer them in the right direction. As we see a restoration of the kuberneseis, and the other ministry gifts becoming aligned with it, we will see a release of power in the Church unknown since the 1st century.
To get the restoration of this gift moving, I am considering calling myself “Steersman Eddie Hyatt,” or maybe “Governor Eddie Hyatt.” But since others will also be using this as a title once the restoration gets under way, I will probably use “Senior Steersman” or maybe “Presiding Steersman.” I would use the Greek word, but I don’t think “Kuberneseis Eddie Hyatt” sounds impressive enough--and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
The Sum of it All
If you feel challenged in accepting my argument for the 8-Fold Ministry, don’t feel badly. I have the same problem with much teaching that is being propagated today in charismatic/prophetic circles. Nonetheless, I think I have presented a pretty convincing argument. Maybe there is something to this 8-Fold Ministry after all. (smile)
Finally, on a more serious note, here are 5 points I hope you take way from this essay.
(1) Avoid building a doctrine on one passage of Scripture. Like a house of cards it will come crashing down. We must compare Scripture with Scripture and have the overall testimony of God's word underneath our feet.
(2) Avoid “sensationalism,” which is defined as “the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement.” This happens too often in charismatic circles.
(3) Avoid spiritualizing and making predictions based on the Jewish calendar that dates the present year at 5776. This AM ("in the year of the world") calendar was unknown to Jesus and the New Testament writers. It was codified by Maimonides in the 12th century based on earlier rabbinic deliberations and speculations.
(4) Stay away from numerology. There are numbers with symbolic meaning in the Bible, but numerology projects spiritual and even magical powers to certain numbers and certain arrangements of particular numbers.

(5) Never forget that the goal of Scripture is relational--to bring people into a closer relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Paul’s stated goal in life was, that I may know Him . . . (Philippians 3:10).

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, Bible teacher and ordained minister. To read about his vision for another Great Awakening in America and around the world, go to his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. His books on the church renewal and Spiritual awakening are available from Amazon and from his website. His latest book is entitled The Faith & Vision of Benjamin Franklin.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

HOLY WEEK: A TIME OF ANGER, PURIFICATION & POWER

 “Holy Week,” leading up to Easter Sunday, was a time of anger and purification. When Jesus entered Jerusalem early in the week, He immediately went to the temple and began a work of purification, driving out the money changers and all those who bought and sold in the temple (Matthew 21:12).
Money-Driven Religion
The temple of Jesus’ day had become a center of unethical business practices and underhanded dealings. Because Jewish pilgrims who came to worship at the temple needed animals for sacrifices, local businessmen with $$$ in their eyes had set up shop selling the required animals and doves at exorbitant prices.
Since purchases and offerings at the temple could not be made with foreign coins with pagan images, other entrepreneurs with similar monetary motives had set up shop and were ripping off foreign worshippers of the Diaspora with exorbitant exchange rates.
The religious leaders, who oversaw the temple worship, were getting their cut of this flow of tainted money. It was a repulsive and nauseating situation.
This Made Jesus Angry
Jesus was obviously incensed at how the temple worship had been turned into a money-making enterprise. The unreal picture of a “gentle Jesus” who would never oppose or condemn anyone dissolves before our eyes in this stunning gospel account. This situation obviously made Him angry.
With a whip in His hand and eyes blazing, Jesus entered the temple area and began turning over the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold sacrificial offerings. He drove them all out of the temple and said to them, It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you have made it a den of thieves (Matthew 21:13).
I am here reminded of a startling statement made by Rios Mont, former president of Guatemala, that should concern every Christian in America. Looking on as an outside observer, He said;
"The Romans made a good religion out of Christianity. The Germans made a good theology out of Christianity. Americans have made a good business out of Christianity."
Purity Leads to Power
 Many years ago, I heard Larry Lea point out that after Jesus cleansed the temple and it became a place of purity, it became a place of power. Matthew 21:14 says, Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. After the temple became a place of power, it became a place of praise with small children crying out in the temple, Hosanna to the Son of David (Matthew 21:15). I believe it can be so today.
Persecution then came from those of the religious establishment who were unwilling to suffer the loss of money and power. Mark 11:18 says, And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
May He Come and Cleanse His Temple Once Again
I encourage every Christian to take this week as an opportunity to set aside time and invite Jesus to come once again and purify His temple, which you are, of every motive, attitude and action that is displeasing to Him. Utilize the prayer of David in Psalm 139:23-24 who prayed, Search me, O God, and know my heart . . . and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
For those who will protest “we are under grace,” let me point you to Paul, the preacher of grace, who in his second letter to the Corinthian believers, informed them that they are now God’s temple, both corporately and individually (2:17; 6:19). After then reminding them of God’s promises to dwell with them and be their God, he exhorted, Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Corinthians 7:1).
As His temple becomes a place of purity, we can expect it to become a place of real power and true praise, both corporately and individually. We can also expect the persecution, but we will have the inner peace and satisfaction knowing that we have submitted ourselves to the Risen Lord and He is ruling and reigning in our hearts and lives.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, historian, Bible teacher and ordained minister. To invite him to speak at your church, conference or group, send an email to dreddiehyatt@gmail.com. His books are available from Amazon and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

WHEN GOD RESURRECTS A VISION

At one of the darkest moments of my life, I learned that God’s resurrection power is at work even now on behalf of the believer. In my situation, a God-given vision had died and I could see no way of it ever coming back to life. It was at that critical moment that I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “DON’T BE AFRAID OF DEATH BECAUSE I AM THE RESURRECTION!”
A God-Given Vision Dies
It was the first year of our marriage and after months of prayer and fasting we had begun a new congregation and ministry in Sue’s hometown. We experienced growth and things seemed to be going well when suddenly everything seemed to begin going wrong. Through a series of unforeseen circumstances, we lost everything, including the building in which we were meeting, most of our congregation and a place for us to live.
It was a very trying and humiliating time. In the midst of it all, I received word that my brother back in Oklahoma had been killed in an accident. I flew out to preach my brother’s funeral, leaving behind another kind of death. The small group I left behind was discouraged and so the meetings stopped while I was gone. My mother-in-law, Chris Stubbs, later reminisced, “That was when it all died.”
I returned home still determined to trust God, even if I did not understand all that was happening. One young couple who had remained loyal through it all asked to meet to talk and pray.  We met at an outdoor picnic area where we sat at picnic tables and talked and then entered into a time of prayer.
The Holy Spirit Brings Hope of Resurrection
Sitting on a picnic table with my feet on the bench, I heard Cara, their 5-year-old daughter, praying nearby in tongues. Suddenly, like a gusher breaking forth, I sensed the Holy Spirit flowing up out of my spirit and I too began praying in tongues. It was a surreal experience for all the time I was praying in the Spirit I was hearing the words, “DON’T BE AFRAID OF DEATH BECAUSE I AM THE RESURRECTION.”
I knew it was the Lord speaking to me about the vision that had died. For the first time I realized that the resurrection is more than a doctrine about a past or future event, but is a present reality personified in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth.
The words of Jesus to Martha in John 11:21-25 were suddenly alive to me. You will recall that Martha said to Jesus concerning her brother Lazarus, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died, expressing faith in what He could have done in the past. When Jesus replied, Your brother will rise again, Martha then put her faith in a future event, saying, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus then brought her back to the present by speaking those amazing words, I Am the Resurrection, and then raising Lazarus from the dead.
Resurrection Life Bursts Forth
Filled with fresh faith from that experience, I acquired a meeting room at a nearby community center and announced a “charismatic” meeting on Thursday nights.  In the second meeting a Catholic brother came up to me and told me he was there on business from another city and that in his hotel room God had instructed him to come to our meeting.
As we fellowshipped further he revealed that he was managing property in that area for a large national corporation. I shared that we were looking for a place for our meetings and the next day he took us to a building that had been the offices for a construction company that had gone belly-up.
It was obviously a God-thing and we agreed to rent it. He gave us the first month rent-free and had the tanks completely filled with heating oil to get us through the winter. The resurrection was beginning!
We had our first meeting the next Sunday with a handful of people sitting on old office chairs that had been left behind. Shortly thereafter a roommate from Bible school, Larry Hill, came for a two-week visit and a powerful revival broke forth.
Without any advertising the building filled with people. Many stood around the walls because there were no seats available. They came because of the presence and power of God that was being manifest. The resurrection life and power of Jesus was flowing.
It was the first time I saw people fall “forward” when overwhelmed by God’s power. These were no “courtesy drops” and some fell without anyone praying for them. I smile when I think how such manifestations would cause confusion for today’s “catchers” who have been trained only in catching people who fall backward. Real revival from heaven is not always so easy to manage for God does not confine Himself to our carefully prepared channels of protocol and order.
His Resurrection Life is With You Today
That was almost 40 years ago, but it was a life-changing moment that helped me to begin living in the realization that the resurrection power of Jesus is at work in our lives here and now. Resurrection power has been personified in the Person of Jesus Christ and He is with and in His people today.  
If, therefore, you have a dream or a vision that has died, take heart. The resurrection life and power of Jesus is flowing today, and He would say to you, “DON’T BE AFRAID OF DEATH BECAUSE I AM THE RESURRECTION!”


Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and Biblical scholar. who has a vision for another Great Awakening in America and around the world. His books on church history and Spiritual awakening are available from Amazon and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.



Saturday, March 12, 2016

WOMEN LEADERS IN THE BIBLE & AN AMAZING WORD FROM GOD

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I am here presenting a sampling of women in the Bible who functioned in all kinds of leadership roles. My motive in presenting this is two-fold: First of all, I pray that it will affirm those women who sense a call of God but are hampered by doctrinal questions about the validity of such a call because of their gender. Secondly, I hope to influence others to rethink their theology that would put restraints on the ministry of women in the church. I am convinced that we will not see the great, Spiritual awakening for which many are praying apart from the full participation of the female members of Christ’s body.
Deborah – Prophetess and Judge
Before the institution of the monarchy beginning with Saul, Israel was ruled by a series of judges. Perhaps the most celebrated of these judges was a woman named Deborah, who is referred to as both a prophetess and a judge. In other words, she exercised both spiritual and civil authority. She had such respect from the people that even the military commander, Barak, refused to go out to battle unless she accompanied him. She accompanied him to battle and God gave them a great victory over the Canaanites.
Deborah had a husband named Lapiodoth, but he is mentioned only in passing. She was obviously the one called of God to be the out-front leader and deliverer of Israel at that time in history. There is not the slightest hint that her example was out of order or even exceptional. The Assemblies of God are, therefore, correct when, in their official position paper on women, they say, “The instances of women filling leadership roles in the Bible should be taken as divinely approved pattern, not as exceptions to divine decrees.”
Miriam – God-Sent Leader to Israel
In Micah 6:3, God speaks through the prophet and says, I sent before you, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Of the three leaders God sent to bring Israel out of Egypt, one of them was a woman. Note that in this passage God says, I sent . . .. The word “apostle” literally means “sent one,” which means that Miriam, along with Moses and Aaron, were the “apostles” sent by God to bring deliverance to Israel.
This is confirmed by the Septuagint, which uses the word ekapisteila, the verb form of apostolos with the prefix ek, meaning “out.” It literally means “sent out.” Miriam was “sent out” by God along with Moses and Aaron. Could it be that that God is still calling and “sending out” women today? Will the church be open to receiving these women?
Mary Magdalene – Apostle to the Apostles
Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection. The emphasis that the Gospel writers give to this fact make it clear that this was no chance or accidental appearance, but that Jesus appeared first to Mary in order to make a statement.
We must remember that in the first century neither Roman or Jewish courts of law would allow the testimony of a woman as evidence. Jesus confronts this cultural bias head-on by appearing first to Mary and sending her to bear testimony to the most significant event of human history. He could have just as easily appeared first to the men, but he required that they hear the news of His resurrection for the first time from the lips of a woman. 
His words to Mary, Go and tell . . . identify her as a “sent one” who receives the first apostolic commission from the risen Lord to go and proclaim the Good News of His resurrection. This is why, throughout history, Mary has often been referred to as “the Apostle to the Apostles.”
My father was converted as a result of a young “Mary” (her actual name) responding to the voice of the Lord to “go and tell” and then conducting powerful revival meetings in SE Oklahoma and NE Texas. I have no doubt that there are a host of Marys in the world today who are hearing the voice the Lord instructing them to “go and tell.”
Phoebe – Minister & Church Leader
In Romans 16:1, Paul refers to Phoebe as a servant of the church in Cenchrea. The word “servant” in this passage is translated from the Greek word diakonos, which literally means “servant,” but was used as a general designation for Christian leaders. For example, in I Corinthians 5:5 where Paul says, Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, “ministers” is a translation of diakonos. Where diakonos was used of men, the translators chose to translate it as “ministers,” but where it was used of a woman, they chose to translate it as “servant.” Phoebe was, therefore, a “minister” and leader in the church in Cenchrea.
Paul also said that Phoebe had been a “helper” to many and of myself also. It is unfortunate that the translators of the KJV and NKJV have translated the Greek word prostatis as “helper,” for it appears to be another case of translator bias. The word is feminine and literally means “to stand before.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon defines a prostatis as “a woman set over others; a female guardian, protectress, patroness, caring for the affairs of others and aiding them with her resources.” In other words, a prostatis had all the characteristics that we would expect in a modern day pastor.
This word prostatis identifies Phoebe as a leader from the church in Cenchrea who has Paul’s respect. Not only does he refer to her as a diakonos and a prostatis but he instructs the church in Rome to receive her with respect and to assist her in whatever business she has with them.
Does the church today show respect to the Phoebes that are in her midst?
Priscilla – Pastor & Co-Worker with Paul
When Paul mentions Priscilla and Aquilla, he always mentions them together and they were obviously a husband-wife team. Paul had lived, worked and ministered with them while in Corinth and when he departed, they departed with him (Acts 18:1-3, 18). He always uses plural pronouns—“they” and “them”--when referring to them.
In Romans 16:3-5 Paul sends greetings to Priscilla and Aquilla and the church that is in their house. Because Paul here goes against the normal cultural convention of always mentioning the man first, and mentions Priscilla first, many believe that Priscilla was the out-front one in the relationship—like Deborah—and the host and pastor of the church that met in their home. Paul obviously thinks very highly of them both saying that they had risked their own necks for my life.
Junia – An Apostle
In Romans 16:7 Paul greets Andronicus and Junia whom he says, are of note among the apostles. Junia is a feminine name and was recognized as a female apostle for the first several centuries of the church’s existence. The famous church father of the 4th century, John Chrysostom, declared of Junia, “O how great is the devotion of this woman that she should even be counted worthy of the appellation of apostle.”
Some have tried to argue that the name should be “Junias,” which is a male name. The problem with this claim is that, first of all, every ancient Greek manuscript, without exception, has the feminine form of “Junia.” Secondly, the name “Junias” is unknown in the ancient world while “Junia” is a common name. “Junias,” therefore, is a hypothetical name created by those who cannot accept that Paul would recognize a female apostle.
Commenting on why some translations have used “Junias,” Dr. N. Clayton Croy, Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, says, “It is hard to see any reason other than the translators’ bias against the possibility that a woman could be an apostle.” Faced with such overwhelming evidence, the NIV translators changed the word from “Junias” (1984 edition) to “Junia” in the 2011 edition.
Lydia and the Women Who Labored with Paul in Philippi
Paul began the church in Philippi with a group of praying women. His base of operations and the church’s meeting place was in the home of one of these women whose name was Lydia (Acts 16:13-15, 40). Jewish law required a quorum of ten Jewish men, who were heads of households, for establishing a synagogue in any community. Paul, however, had no problem beginning a Christian congregation with a group of praying women. As far as we know, this was the first church in Europe.
These women obviously functioned in leadership alongside Paul. This is borne out by the fact that in 4:3 of his letter to the Philippian church, he exhorted, Help these women who labored with me in the gospel. Gerald F. Hawthorne, in the Word Biblical Commentary, says that Paul, in this passage, uses a metaphor which means "to fight together side by side with," clearly indicating that Paul sees these women, not as peons under him, but as highly esteemed members of his team who have labored at his side in the cause of Christ.
This reminds me of the words of the noted, British New Testament scholar, F.F, Bruce, who said;
He [Paul] delighted in the company of his fellows, both men and women. The most incredible feature in the Paul of popular mythology is his alleged misogyny. He treated women as persons. The mainstream churches of Christendom, as they inch along towards a worthier recognition of the ministry of women, have some way to go yet before they come abreast of Paul.
Paul’s Spiritual Mother
Paul never mentions a spiritual father, but he does mention a spiritual mother. In Romans 16:13 he sends greetings to Rufus, and his mother and mine. This is obviously not Paul’s biological mother, but a woman who has been a spiritual mother to him. We know little about this woman but at some point in Paul’s spiritual journey she had offered encouragement and counsel to Paul and been like a mother to him.
The identity of this woman can perhaps be identified by comparing Paul’s words in this passage to Mark’s Gospel, which also mentions an individual named Rufus. Since Paul’s letter and Mark’s gospel were both written to the same Christian community in Rome, and within a few years of each other, it is likely that the Rufus mentioned by Paul and the Rufus mentioned by Mark are the same person.
In his Gospel, which was originally written to the church in Rome, Mark tells of Simon of Cyrene being compelled to carry the cross of Jesus. He notes that Simon is the father of Alexander and Rufus and obviously expects his audience to make the connection when they hear the names of the two sons. The Rufus of Paul, therefore, is most likely the Rufus of Mark, the son of Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross of Jesus.
So, although Paul never mentions a spiritual father in his writings, he does make a point to send greetings to his spiritual mother. His spiritual mother was likely an African woman from Cyrene (Cyrene is located on the north coast of Africa), the mother of Rufus and the wife of Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross of Jesus.
What About I Timothy 2:12
Some will surely quote I Timothy 2:12 as a counter to all the above Biblical passages. It reads, And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. First of all, the above passages about women must be given equal consideration with this passage. Many have made the error of making I Timothy 2:12 a canon within the canon when it comes to women, and forcing every other passage to fit their interpretation of this one passage. That is not good hermeneutics.
Secondly, it is obvious from I Timothy 1:3 that Paul wrote this letter to Timothy to address the issue of false doctrine that was being spread in the church in Ephesus. His concern is not women in leadership per se, but the propagation of false doctrine by both men and women. I Timothy was not written as a manual of church order to be observed by all churches at all times, but to address the unique situation that existed in Ephesus at the time.
This is borne out by the fact that “authority” in 2:12 is a translation of the Greek word authentein, a word that is found only here in the entire New Testament. If Paul was addressing the normal exercise of authority in the church, we would expect him to use exousia, which he and other NT writers use over 100 times. That Paul uses this strange Greek word that neither he nor any other NT writer ever use is a clear sign that he is addressing a unique and local situation in Ephesus, and is not giving instructions for all churches everywhere. (see my article “Who Says Women Can’t Pastor?”)
Those who would restrict the role of women in the church, cannot claim Paul as an ally or an authority for their stance.
An Amazing Word from God
Much of the Church has refused to recognize the gifts of its female members and has, thereby, violated Paul's command in I Thessalonians 5:19 not to quench the Spirit. As a result of this disobedience, many gifts have lain dormant while millions have perished without Christ and the Church has languished in defeat.
In 2010 I awakened very early one morning and not wanting to awaken Sue went into an adjoining room where I sat on a sofa enjoying the solitude and quietly communing with the Lord. At some point I sensed my heart become very quiet and then I heard, “I want you to be more identified with Sue and what she is doing,” a reference to her work for the full acceptance of the gifts and callings of women in the church and in the home.
There was a moment of quietness and I then heard the amazing words, “This message has the power to begin a mass movement from Islam to Christianity, beginning with the women.”


Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and Biblical scholar. His books are available from Amazon and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.comHe and his wife, Dr. Susan Stubbs Hyatt, are Executive Directors of God’s Word to Women, Inc. (www.godswordtowomen.org). More articles by the Hyatts are also available at www.godswordtowomen.blogspot.com.



Sunday, February 21, 2016

GETTING TO THE HEART OF "WORSHIP"

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
It's all about You. It's all about You!
I'm sorry for the thing I've made it.
It's all about You, It's all about You, Jesus. 
(Matt Redman)

Much of what is called "worship" in charismatic circles has deteriorated into an anthropocentric (human centered) religious exercise that is more concerned with the act of worship than with the object of worship. God is calling His Church to return to a christocentric (Christ-centered) expression of worship that focuses on the object of worship rather than the human act of worship.
Who Is This For?
This was made very real to me some time ago as I sat in a meeting and noted a troubling in my spirit during the praise and worship. Outwardly, everything was great. The musicians and singers were superb. The congregation was enthusiastic and some danced in the aisles while others waved banners. As I prayerfully pondered my experience, the question was posed to my mind, Who is this for? The answer then became clear. This was for them. They were having fun. They enjoyed doing this. They were reveling in their own excellence and feeling good about their expertise in "worship." They were more enamored with their act of worship than with the object of worship.

This experience reminded me of Gods rebuke to Israel for their anthropocentric worship. They too had lost their focus in worship and had become centered on themselves. They were doing the right things, but for the wrong reasons. Through the prophet Zechariah, God said, "During those seventy years of exile when you fasted and mourned, was it really for Me? And even now in your holy festivals, you dont think about Me but only of pleasing yourselves" (Zech. 7:5-6, NLT).
Music, Singing & Dancing Do Not Equal "Worship"
One mistake we have made as Spirit-filled believers is equating music and singing with worship. We thus have a time of "worship" before the preaching. Did you know that the great revivals in history did not have "worship teams" and "praise bands?" Frank Bartleman, a participant in the Azusa Street Revival, wrote, "In the beginning in Azusa, we had no musical instruments. In fact, we felt no need for them. There was no place for them in our worship--all was spontaneous." Don't get me wrong! Anointed music can be a wonderful means for expressing worship to God. True worship, however, encompasses all of life as can be seen from the meaning of the word itself. 
Worship Encompasses All of Life
"Worship" comes from the old Saxon word weorthscipe meaning "worthship" and referred to any activity utilized to recognize or describe the "worth" of a person or thing to which homage was being paid. Worship is thus synonymous with the whole of a reverent and devoted life. We ascribe "worth" to God by the way we prioritize and live out our lives. Listening to Gods word can be an act of worship as much as singing and dancing. In fact, even hoeing ones garden can be an act of worship, as is illustrated by the following story from the life of Francis of Assisi. 
Hoeing Ones Garden Can Be "Worship"
Francis was hoeing his garden one hot afternoon when a friend passing by stopped and posed a question. "Francis," he asked, "What would you do if you knew that at sunset you would be standing in the presence of Jesus Christ?" Francis replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden." Francis answer revealed how that, for him, every act was a sacred act done for the glory of God. Even the hoeing of his garden was an act of worship. We must get beyond the idea that worship is something we do for a half hour on Sunday morning. 
Our Life Must Become Integrated
Most Christians have segmented their lives into the sacred and the non-sacred, or secular. When we go to church and lift our hands and sing, that is sacred. But when we are sitting around the dinner table or when we are working at our job that is secular. This dichotomized approach to life has hindered us from becoming true worshippers of God.

To the contrary, we must see all of life as sacred, lived for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. As 1 Cor. 10:31 says, Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.


Remember how the Father spoke from heaven at the baptism of Jesus and said, This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17)? This was before Jesus had healed a single sick person, cast out a single demon or preached a single sermon. His life had been lived in the carpenter shop, making chairs, tables, plows, etc. Nonetheless, His was a life of worship because everything He did was for the glory and honor of God, and God was well pleased. Question: Are we living all of life for the glory of God--every thought, every word, every deed? That is worship!
We Must Repent for Our Wrong Approach to Worship
The third line in the worship chorus by Matt Redman says, "I'm sorry for the thing I've made it." What have we made it? We have made it a performance--a show. We have made it a religious exercise within a restricted time frame on a Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. We have shifted the emphasis from the condition of the heart of the worshipper to the expertise of the musicians, singers and dancers. My heart trembles when I think of it, but I am afraid that what we call "worship" is more about us than it is about Him. 
Let's Keep It Simple

In Exodus 20:24-25, God instructed Moses that when the children of Israel made an altar on which to offer their sacrifices to Him, it was to be a very, plain altar of earth. If they built an altar of stone, they were not to cut or hew the stones but to merely pile the stones, for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. The altars--the means of their worship--were to be plain and simple. Why?

God was giving guidelines to protect Israel from the human tendency to become enamored with that which is outward and sensory. The means of worship must never eclipse or obscure the object of worship. This does not mean that God puts any premium on ignorance or crudeness in worship. It does mean that He looks on the heart and is not impressed with our pomp and circumstance.


What impresses God? Isaiah 66:2 says, This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. Many churches today would do well to dispense, at least for a time, with their elaborate means of worship and emphasize, instead, the inward condition of the heart in worship.


Simplify the means of worship and focus attention on the Object of Worship. The Fire of God will fall. His Presence and Glory will come. After all, worship is not about us, but about Him—JESUS. It’s time to get back to the heart of worship!
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Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, Biblical scholar and ordained minister with a vision for another Great Awakening in America and around the world. His books are available from Amazon and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html. To invite him to speak to your congregation, group or event, send an email to dreddiehyatt@gmail.com,





Wednesday, February 3, 2016

COULD AMERICA SUCCUMB TO ISLAM? A SOBERING WARNING FROM THE PAST

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

The thousand-year Byzantine Empire was one of the most powerful and vast empires the world has ever known, and it was Christian. During its lengthy reign, it produced a massive trove of Christian art, architecture, legal jurisprudence, theology and culture. It built, perhaps, the most magnificent church building ever built, the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, which is said to have changed the history of architecture.
Yet, the mighty Byzantine Empire fell to Islam in the 15th century and serves as a reminder to us that we must not trust in our advanced technology, stock market wealth, or military might, but our trust must be in the Lord. As David said in Psalm 20:7, Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
Why did the Byzantine Empire fall to Turkish Ottoman invaders in 1453? I will address three reasons in this article—three trends that weakened the church and Empire and made both vulnerable to the Islamic invaders. They are (1) The church’s preoccupation with political power; (2) the loss of personal faith to outward ritual and liturgical formality; and (3) theological rigidity and strife.
Reason #1
The Church’s Preoccupation with Political Power
The mighty Byzantine Empire began around a.d. 330 when Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to the small city of Byzantine near the eastern edge of the Empire. There may have been logistical reasons for making this major move, but ego was obviously involved for he renamed the city Constantinople after his own name and made it the capital of the Empire. Today, the city is known as Istanbul.
Constantine, though he had not been baptized, convened the famous Council of Nicaea in 325 in the nearby city of Nicaea. Although the stated reason was to address the Arian heresy that denied the full deity of Christ, many historians believe that Constantine had political reasons for calling this council.
With the Empire beginning to unravel, it is likely that Constantine saw Christianity as the cord by which he could pull the Empire together, for the one common thread running through all the varied people groups of the Empire was Christianity. If he could strengthen that cord, it would strengthen and bind together the Empire.  
Constantine thus began favoring the Christians, building them elaborate buildings and underwriting the salaries of their bishops whom he also exalted into positions parallel to the provincial governors of the Empire. Hans Kung, the most widely read Catholic theologian in the world today, says;
Constantine used this first council not least to adapt the church organization to the state organization. The church provinces were to correspond to the imperial provinces, each with a metropolitan and provincial synod. In other words, the empire now had its imperial church!
Christianity thus became politicized and this continued with increasing intensity with Constantine’s successors. This led to much political wrangling for church offices and power, often involving banishments and even death. At the Council of Ephesus in 449 physical violence broke out and the presiding bishop, Flavian, died of the wounds received at this council (Eddie Hyatt, Pursuing Power, 52).
It was these political pursuits of power that caused Gregory of Nazianzus (325-389), Bishop of Constantinople, to come to disdain church councils. He wrote;
For my part, if I am to write the truth, my inclination is to avoid all assemblies of bishops, because I have never seen any council come to a good end, nor turn out to be a solution of evils. On the contrary, it usually increases them. You always find there love of contention and love of power which beggar description (Eddie Hyatt, Pursuing Power, 52).
In such a politicized setting, it is no wonder that the power of the simple message of Jesus was overlooked. The church and its leaders relied on the political power of the state to advance its cause rather than the power of the message itself, which Paul said, is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
This preoccupation with political power and the divisions it produced weakened the Church and the Empire and made both vulnerable to the Muslim invaders. In this election year, let us remember that a politician will not save us. There must be a turning to God Himself. Let us remember the words of Isaiah 33:22, For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.
Reason #2
Personal Faith Replaced with Liturgical Formality
With the politicization of the church there came a corresponding loss of the personal aspect of the Christian faith. Instead of a heart relationship with God through faith in Christ, Christianity became institutionalized and formalized. Gifts of the Spirit that flowed freely in the New Testament Church were gradually replaced with outward form and ritual.
Constantine initiated the construction of church buildings to accommodate the religious gatherings of Christians, who had previously gathered primarily in homes. The architecture of these new buildings, with their elevated throne-like seating at the front for the bishop and rows of seating for the congregation, made significant congregational involvement impractical. In addition, the liturgy and worship style, once plain and personal, were now adorned with the pomp and practice of the Imperial court.
Bishops, inspired in part by both Old Testament and pagan precedents, began wearing distinctive clothing to indicate their superior rank. Kung says;
Bishops were accorded secular titles, insignia and privileges which up to then had been reserved for the emperor or high officials: candles, incense, a throne, shoes, the maniple, the pallium and so on (Hyatt, PursuingPower, 49).
How far the church had removed itself from Jesus! And the institutionalization continued resulting in the church becoming more and more a complex religious system with a multitude of offices, titles and regulations, all foreign to the New Testament.
The formalizing and ritualizing of the church’s worship marked the end of dynamic gatherings where Spiritual gifts would flow freely in the congregation. A. J. Gordon, Baptist pastor and founder of Gordon College in Boston, was correct when he wrote;
It is not altogether strange that when the Church forgot her citizenship in heaven and began to establish herself in luxury and splendor on earth, she should cease to exhibit the supernatural gifts of heaven (Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, 36).
Lacking a church with the strength and vitality of a personal, dynamic faith in Jesus, the Empire found itself weakened and vulnerable when Islam came with its armies. I confess that I am alarmed when I see how Europe and North America have dispensed with a Christian world-view and replaced it with a secularist mindset that denies objective truth and attempts to be accepting of everyone and critical of no one. Such a politically-correct mindset cannot withstand the millions of Muslims who are committed to an Islamic world-view and dedicated to imposing that world-view on the rest of humanity.
Reason #3
Doctrinal Rigidity & Strife
The church’s rise to political affluence and power marked the beginning of many fierce doctrinal battles. Free from the threat of persecution and enjoying the favor of the emperor, church leaders now gave their attention to theological questions that usually became litmus tests of one’s orthodoxy.
Many violent struggles ensued, producing sharp divisions in the church. Basil of Caesarea, bishop of Cappadocia (a.d. 370–379), likened it to a great naval battle being fought by men who “cherish a deadly hate against one another.” He wrote;
But what storm at sea was ever so wild and fierce as this tempest of the churches. In it every landmark of the Fathers has been moved; every foundation, every bulwark of opinion has been shaken; everything buoyed up on the unsound is dashed about and shaken down. We attack one another. If our enemy is not the first to strike us, we are wounded by the comrade at our side (Eddie Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, 36).
One of the most famous and destructive doctrinal controversies was over the filoque clause in the creed of the Roman (Western) Church. After Constantine removed the government apparatus of the empire to Constantinople, the Roman bishop (later known as the pope) filled the power vacuum that was left with claims of supremacy. There thus developed a rivalry between Old Rome and the New Rome of Constantinople, and this rivalry was expressed in conflicting claims of authority and in doctrinal controversies such as the filoque controversy.  
Filoque means “and from the Son” and the Western Church, centered in Rome, confessed the Holy Spirit to have proceeded from both the Father and the Son. The Eastern Church, based in Constantinople, insisted that the Holy Spirit proceeded only from the Father.
This seemingly trivial doctrinal difference became a major source of strife and division and eventually led (along with political strife) to a formal division of East and West when, in 1054, Rome and Constantinople formally excommunicated each other.
Both were drastically weakened by this separation but Byzantine would suffer the most from this division. When the Ottoman Turks began rattling their swords toward Constantinople in the fifteenth century, the city, in desperation, signed an agreement with Rome in which it agreed to recognize the authority of the pope in return for Rome’s help against the Turks.

But when the Muslim invaders attacked the city, Rome did not send help and after a long siege the great city of Constantinople fell to the Muslim invaders. For three days the city was plundered and many of its inhabitants slaughtered. Priceless art and manuscripts were destroyed. Magnificent churches were turned into mosques and all Christians who were unwilling to convert to Islam were placed under a heavy tax known as the jizya. The great Byzantine Empire came to an end after a thousand years of existence. The region--now present day Turkey—is under Islamic control to this day.

How We Must Respond
I do not write this to create fear, but to inculcate a seriousness and soberness about the time in which we live. I write that we might learn from the past and not repeat the same mistakes and suffer a similar fate. I write this to hopefully inspire Christians to rise up and be the church. It is not enough to “find” a church or “go” to church; this is a time when we must “be” the church. Only a strong and vibrant Christianity will save America and the world

This is why the need is not bigger church buildings and better programs. Byzantine had magnificent church buildings and beautiful liturgies, but these things did not suffice in the day of trouble. We must have a genuine Spiritual awakening that restores sanity and truth to the churches and the nations. Only the truth will set us free and only the truth presented in the power of the Holy Spirit will change the hearts of Muslims all over the world for whom Christ died and rose again. Join with me and others in praying for such an Awakening in America and around the world.

This article was derived from the books 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity and Pursuing Power, both by Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt and available from Amazon and from his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html. Learn more about his ministry and his vision for another Great Awakening by visiting his website at  www.eddiehyatt.com

     

      Drs. Eddie & Susan Hyatt







Drs. Eddie & Susan Hyatt