John Lathrop interviews Eddie Hyatt about revival and his book Revival Fire.
John Lathrop: The word “revival” means different things to different people. How would you define “revival?”
Eddie Hyatt: Revival is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in response to the prayers of God’s people, breathing new life into His people and bringing a new passion for the honor and glory of God and a desire to see His name honored throughout the earth.
Lathrop: What prompted you to write the book Revival Fire?
Hyatt: As a new believer many years ago, I had the privilege of participating in a genuine move of the Holy Spirit that impacted many lives and an entire community. In contrast, especially recently, I have observed so-called revivals where there was so much hype, exaggeration and manipulation. This has grieved me deeply. I have a passion to see genuine Spiritual awakening but I know it must be based in Scriptural truth. I hope, through this book, to point people, who have a passion for revival, back to the Bible as their foundation for genuine Spiritual awakening.
Lathrop: What can be done to help Christians, especially Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, to be more biblically knowledgeable?
Hyatt: We need to emphasize the foundational nature of God’s Word and show the transforming power the Word of God will have in our lives. We need to encourage people to have a personal daily time of prayer and reading the word. We need to encourage our people to memorize Scripture; for example like writing a Biblical passage on an index card and carrying it throughout they day, and at the end of the day you will have it memorized. We need to offer structured Bible studies for our people and more formal opportunities for Biblical studies.
Lathrop: Do you think that we give too much attention today to outward manifestations like shaking and falling?
Hyatt: It depends on the location. I have ministered in Pentecostal churches where they were, for one reason or another, opposed to outward manifestations and needed to be more open. Sometimes it is a fear of facing manifestations that may be fleshly or demonic and, instead of being willing to discern and confront, they reject all manifestations.
On the other hand, there are those who are off the deep end in the other direction—chasing manifestations and anything sensational, and not taking seriously the Biblical admonition to “test the spirits.” I have preached in churches where people had been trained—subtly of course—to fall when prayed for. In one particular church, I recall praying for a man who looked over his shoulder to make sure the catcher was there before he fell backward as I was praying for him. The bottom line is that we need to be focused on Jesus and His Word, not on manifestations.
Lathrop: What causes these manifestations?
Hyatt: There are three possible origins: God, Satan, or human—and it could be a combination of the human and God or the human and Satan. In a true revival, many of the manifestations are human responses to the presence of God. I think the cases are rare where a person is so overwhelmed by the Spirit (as Paul on the Damascus Road) that they have no control over their behavior. Wise leaders who desire revival will give room for people to respond—even intensely—to the presence of God while not tolerating fleshly and demonic manifestations.