An Appeal To Heaven: What Would Happen If We Did It Again by Dutch Sheets
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is the first Dutch Sheets book I've read. He's in the charismatic movement, which puts it outside my usual reading list.
Let's dispense with the disagreements first, before moving to the message we can take from the book. Sheets asserts or assumes many things I disagree with.
- God can’t do something until we agree with an idea or pray a certain way.
- Agreement in prayer multiplies its power.
- Prayer automatically makes us stronger spiritually.
- The Spirit speaks directly and verbally to us in new revelation.
- The United States Constitution was inspired by God!
Sheets relies on secret knowledge, dreams from God we need to interpret, and God hiding messages to us only the author can unlock. He predicts a 3rd great awakening if we connect to God, and believe He will save our country instead of judge it. Sorry, but our believing doesn’t make it so.
On the positive side, filtering out the above, Sheets is right that
- no nation or culture is too far gone for God to revive. We should always moderate pessimism in a declining culture with the hope of a reviving God.
- God wants us to build on the spiritual work of previous generations. History matters and is not separate from us. As everlasting God, He can heal past sins.
- Intercession connects us to one another. When we pray sincerely for others, our lives are intertwined with them. Praying for God to heal the past and present sins of your nation will endear your heart to your nation. This is fine, as long as we aren't putting our nation too high in importance. No nation is indispensable to God's plan.
- Merit based revival is out – we don’t deserve it. (Sheets often functionally contradicts this, though, asserting that if enough people pray hard enough God will revive us.)
I enjoyed the history. When George Washington commissioned some ships in the Revolutionary War, before Old Glory came about, he directed a flag to fly on the ships. The words say "An Appeal to Heaven." The phrase is from John Locke, who said we always have that appeal when earthly rulers deny us our God-given rights. Historically, the evergreen tree was used for ship masts, and there was a regulatory dispute with Britain over their use. Sheets uses the evergreen to show God’s cross-generational action - He is the everlasting God. We need to step into our national history and appeal for God to continue his work begun in past generations, and work with future generations in mind.
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