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Eddie Hyatt: Pursuing Power

 

Eddie L. Hyatt, Pursuing Power: How the Historic Quest for Apostolic Authority & Control Has Divided and Damaged the Church (Grapevine, TX: Hyatt Press, 2014), 136 pages, ISBN 9781888435511.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is known in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles as a man who is passionate about the Word of God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and revival. These are major themes in his previous books. In his latest work he addresses what he believes to be a major hindrance to genuine spiritual renewal in the church. This hindrance is the church’s quest for power and control. Hyatt says that his studies have revealed that many, if not most, of the church divisions in history have not been primarily over doctrine but rather over the issue of power—ecclesial power. He substantiates his claim by citing specific examples of this occurring. The picture that emerges is not pretty. As Hyatt says “The pursuit of power has led to the darkest periods of the church’s history, resulting in heresy trials with imprisonments, torture, beheadings and burnings.” The author maintains that this quest for power, which has often been set forth as a means to secure unity, is contrary to the teaching and example of the Lord Jesus Christ. This book is not merely a critique of the past and present errors of the church, it tells us how to move forward into a more biblical and productive future.

A good portion of this book is given to showing that the church’s quest for power has often been rooted in an attempt to be apostolic. Hyatt defines apostolic for us, “‘Apostolic’ was the word used to claim that their faith was the same as that of those first apostles of the Lord, i.e. of the Twelve and Paul. ‘Apostolic’ thus took on the meaning of being ‘connected to’ or being ‘like’ the apostles.” Hyatt demonstrates that throughout history, various groups within the church have claimed to be apostolic in different ways. Some have claimed to be apostolic because their leaders had been taught by the original apostles, others claimed apostolic lineage based on a chain of church leadership that stretched back to the original apostles; still others based their claim on being part of one of the main churches mentioned in the New Testament, such as Jerusalem, Ephesus, or Antioch. Other grounds used to claim that a group was apostolic were a deep spirituality, a return to strong biblical doctrine, a commitment to the missionary mandate of the church, and an alleged return to the New Testament form of church government.

“If there is to be true Christian revival and unity, there must be a letting go of power.”

One of the most critical sections of this book is Hyatt’s biblical study of what it means to be an apostle. Some of the significant points in this section are that apostles are people who are sent, who represent someone other than themselves, who have no authority of their own, that women can be apostles, and that the ministry is a gift and a calling. One item of particular interest here is that Hyatt does not believe that apostle is an office in the church. He bases this in part on the fact that after Jesus chose twelve disciples to be apostles in Matthew 10:2 Matthew never refers to them as apostles again in his gospel he always calls them disciples. After citing a passage from the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Hyatt says, “It is best, therefore, not to think of an apostle as a church official. That concept is too narrow and rigid. Apostolic ministry, as a thing of the Spirit, is fluid and dynamic. An apostle will exercise authority and influence, but it is a mistake to relegate apostles to being CEO type leaders of churches and denominations.” He later says, “Whatever it may be, the apostle’s ministry must be carried out in a spirit of ‘service’ and not of ‘power.’”

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2014

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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