You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:"'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" -- Matthew 15: 7-9 (ESV)
As a discernment minister I love perusing Charisma News' website. Whenever heresy tends to slow down a bit I can always count on the crazy cast of characters ranging from Sneaky Squid Spirit Jennifer Leclaire to NAR gatekeeper Michael Brown. I know I can always rely on someone to write or say something so wildly unbiblical it deserves a discerning response. Today's winner is Eddie Hyatt. For the past few weeks we have highlighted Mr. Hyatt three times as he was trying to prop up sales of his book disagreeing with God about the roles women can have in the church. Thankfully the clip above is not about that topic but his sheer lack of biblical understanding returns nonetheless. Now the video in this link is an hour long but we are primarily concerned with about ten minutes worth of it. It occurs before the 20 minute mark and is a breathtaking tale of what happened at a church service when someone stood up to prophesy. The story and response from Eddie Hyatt is such a stark example of what is wrong with this wicked heart driven Pentecostalism we see today. Please listen to the story and let us reason together.
First Eddie Hyatt sets the stage. He tells of a church service where towards the end of it the entire congregation was left in a Charismatic stupor. Hyatt speaks about everyone feeling as if God had "drawn closer" to them and there was a "spirit of love and acceptance" and a "sense of God's closeness to us." Those of us who spent any time in Charismaniacal churches know what this scene looks like. Just check out any YouTube clip from a Bethel Church service if you want to see it. It is moderately controlled emotional chaos being sold as a move of the Holy Spirit. I remember once at my last church the worship leader went into a 15 minute mantra chant of "jump in the river if you want a hug form Jesus." I kid you not. Folks were jumping in this imaginary river the entire time. One elder was screaming "I'm soaked! I'm soaked!" This kind of hyper-emotional-spiritualism is not actually from God of course. It is from our wickedly deceitful hearts. It is part of the sloppy agape experiential Christianity that we see spreading like a cancer through churchianity today. Now I was not there the night that Hyatt is speaking about but it sure sounds like this scene we all know too well.
Then something funny happened. A woman stood up and declared a bold prophecy. She exclaimed what she believed God was speaking to her for the congregation. She said that God was saying that these people draw near to me with their lips but their hearts remain far away. That they needed to repent and He would hear their cries. Wow. Powerful. Not according to Eddie Hyatt however. Laughing in the video, Hyatt said the prophecy was harsh, legalistic and not from the Holy Spirit. This embodies one of the largest problems within experiential Christianity. Anything that disagrees with the way people feel is dismissed out of hand as not being in alignment with the Spirit. If so many people there were feeling all of this love and acceptance, how could this woman be speaking for God with a rebuke? The possibility that what they are "experiencing" may not actually be from God is never given any serious consideration. Thus anything that agrees is confirmation and anything that disagrees is "religion." I hope we see the problem with that as a foundational premise. It means that correction can never be offered. Now I was not there but it seems to me that her prophesy may have actually been true and from God. It certainly is appropriate if so and one can easily see the correlation. A congregation that plays church but ignores doctrinal truths is in need of a rebuke that says they must repent. It is in need of a correction that says they need to draw near with their hearts in not their lips. Hyatt however did not see it that way because it went against how everyone was feeling. Not only that but he felt he had to address it because he saw looks of confusion on the faces of those in the crowd. Perhaps Eddie was misconstruing looks of conviction with confusion or perhaps the people there had never heard a word of correction to consider before. Either way his summation of accusations was not accurate. This prophecy was not harsh. If it was then so was the ministry of Jesus and John the Baptist because it is the same message -- repent! In fact it is the central message of the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ. The message was hardly legalistic, a term many simply do not understand. Legalism is placing rules on top of salvation. It is standing on grace but saying one must comply with this or that from the law in order to be saved. That was not what this woman said, other than repent which is needed for the unsaved and saved alike. The last accusation is that this prophecy was not from the Holy Spirit. What Hyatt meant is that it was not in line with the spirit that was infecting the congregation that night. It was in disagreement with the touchy-feely Kumbaya spirit that the church was so enjoying.
So Eddie Hyatt rebuked the woman in front of the congregation. He said that while God uses this woman to bring prophecy, this one was not from God. You can ignore it, and go back to worshipping God. I hope we consider this for a moment too. What if it was from God Eddie? What of those looks of confusion were really looks of conviction? What if this congregation was ready to repent until you told them the prophecy was false and they could ignore it? The woman was understandably upset and went after service to ask him why he did that. Eddie now claims a "word of wisdom"; which is essentially claiming direct revelation from the Lord in pointing to two scriptures for her:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2Timothy 3: 16-17 (ESV)
On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. -- 1Corinthians 14: 3 (ESV)