Every Tribe, tongue, and people – A story of the Creek Indian Nation.
Re 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
As I study the Cherokee history course, I find myself learning much about the United States, the five civilized tribes, and the state of Oklahoma.
As many of you know, my heart has been torn to shreds in tears, as I have studied the plight of the North American Indian tribes, the host peoples of this nation we call the United States of America.
I am convinced that the only reason that the Indian tribes have not been totally eradicated from the United States, is because God Himself, has preserved for Himself, a remnant of each tribe, a people of destiny, alive on the earth in this hour, for such a time as this!
As I look at what has happened, as a Christian leader, I am in the face of God in prayer constantly, asking Him for understanding, mercy, and constructive solutions to the plight of my Indian brothers, and I have become convinced of several things:
1. God, the Creator, has been visiting the Indian tribes, for thousands of years before the white man was ‘discovered’ upon their land.
2. That there has been a direct demonic attack on the North American Indian tribes directly, that has occurred in two forms: a. plagues and sickness b. Genocide resulting from a false doctrine taught in the traditional Christian churches of the day, called ‘manifest destiny.’ I further believe that satan did this specifically, and intentionally, because the innate spirituality of the Indian tribes, was a great threat to his work in the earth.
3. That many Indian peoples have been visited personally by Jesus, or had revelation clearly from the Holy Spirit, designed to bless them, and prepare them for the coming gospel, hundreds of years before the first missionaries visited this land.
4. That many denominational attempts to convert the Indians were erroneous, in that they had no understanding of the ways that God was already at work in the tribes, and no platform or willingness to learn and understand the ways of the red man. In the words of David Stannard in his book ‘The American Holacaust’, he refers to the attitude of European and American historians as ‘stubbornly determined ignorance.’
5. That judgment first begins in the house of the Lord, that the healing and restoration of the tribes, must come from the church, walking in depth of consecration, humility, and increased understanding of the movements of God both historically and presently among the tribes.
6. That the current fate of the United States of America, directly hinges upon this particular ministry, that not only are the eyes of all of heaven upon the North American Indian tribes presently, but that this particular mandate of the church, is the number one priority on the heart of the Father, currently, that will determine the restoration, or destruction of the United States as we know it.
7. That the day of Indian reservations being merely a ministry of humanitarian aid (receiving aid), has ended. That God requires us to deliberately, intentionally, train, equip, recognize, and respond to First Nations leaders as equals. That leaders raised up, be responded to in respect, honor, and equality, that the voice of the red man finally be heard in this critical chapter of US history.
8. Finally, as these host peoples are recognized and responded to, their particular contribution, wisdom, revelation, grace and anointing will release the move of the Holy Spirit in America we have all sought for many years now, and that they hold specific keys of revelation and knowledge, to actually, practically see and know, exactly what must be done, to heal the land.
As I have studied, prayed and meditated upon these thoughts, I read this particular account of a reflection of the native church, among the Creek nation, described by Angie Debo, ‘The Road to Disappearance’ in her book, and it really touched me:
“The native church formed another expression of the Creeks’, community life. During the first hard years after the war the buildings were windowless log huts daubed with clay, with stick fireplaces, earthen floors, and clapboard roofs; but in time frame buildings like those of the white man were erected. In 1878 the Tuskegee congregation near Eufaula, with a technique learned in the old communal fields, planted and tended eight acres of cotton and applied the proceeds to the building fund. On the church grounds were numerous camp houses for the storing of cooking utensils or the use of individual families, and in the summer several large brush arbors were commonly erected for holding the meetings and serving the meals; and there was a tendency to arrange these structures in the familiar form of the town square with the church building forming one side.
There was probably some conformity to denominational requirements, but in practice each congregation selected one of its own members to serve as pastor as long as he lived. Some of the Creeks formed the pleasant habit of rotating their services among four neighboring towns, each town entertaining the other three in its own church once a month. Such services usually lasted for three or four days, and during the summer there were frequent camp meetings lasting for a week or longer and bringing people together from a large area. Careful preparations were made for these meetings, and the members of the local congregation worked together in cutting the weeds, cleaning the grounds, repairing the camp houses and arbors, and sometimes painting the church. The men hunted game and killed beeves and hogs, and the women cooked great pots of food to be distributed among the various camps. The services were almost continuous throughout the day and often during the whole night, and the conduct of the worshippers was reverent and devout. They used the Creek version of the Bible; their sermons were preached in Creek, but sometimes translated into English as a courtesy to visitors; and they sang Creek translations of English hymns and, as one Creek woman expresses it, “other songs about nature; that is, the flowers, etc., that they made up.”
The Creeks had found in Christianity a means of expressing the strong community ties, the moral aspiration, the mystic communion with nature, the deep sense of reverence that had once been expressed by the native ceremonials. Even its forms were native: the arrangement and care of the church grounds, the feasting, the camping, the community labors, the continuous day and night services.”
Why does this account make my heart leap?
1. It was Christianity embraced by the Creek, practiced and lead by their own pastors, elders, traditions, and leaders.
2. Preaching, singing, and teaching, were in their own language.
3. Though I am sure they love white people, and other Christians, they were not asked, nor forced to embrace the white man’s culture, only our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They had Bibles, and songs in their own language and ways.
4. It is a beautiful expression of community, as each village celebrated and worshipped with other villages, in love.
5. They required no financial support from white churches. They planted their own cotton, built their own buildings, and led themselves.
I would have loved to hear a translated message from some of these pastors on topics like: love, respect for elders, community, faith, hearing God in creation, and discerning vision.
As I walk with my son, in his required Oklahoma State History textbook, I find the following account relevant here:
“An example of the movement of the gospel from eastern to western Oklahoma was the activities of men like Reverend John McIntosh, a Creek Indian convert to Christ, who moved we to evangelize the Wichitas and Caddo peoples. He was the son of Creek leader Chilly McIntosh.” (from Oklahoma History in Light of the Cross, Kenneth C.Davis,3rd Ed, p 66)
I’m sure they could teach me a few things.
Red men and women are being visited personally by Jesus, in this generation. Many are having open visions of heaven, the glory of God, and deep revelations as to the times and seasons of America, that we, the traditional church, desperately need to embrace, and walk with them in.
Mt 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Mt 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
‘Father, wash our hearts, unstop our ears, cause the scales to fall from our eyes, that we might truly hear with our ears what You are saying, see Your heart, plan, and purposes You wish us to walk in and unfold, and give us hearts to obey, in humility and love, free from pride that blinds and binds, that we might be agents of healing, restoration, change, reconciliation, wisdom, power, and peacemakers to this generation. We humble ourselves and ask in sincerity and truth, in Your name Lord Jesus, Amen’