Many Christians on the west coast of Canada or in the Ottawa Valley will know the names of Rev. Dr. Ed Hird and Rev. David Kitz. I have gotten to know both, by living, at different times, in both aforementioned communities, and by observing their respective influences in the field of Christian writing. Those influences have taken shape in their work with The Word Guild, one of two fine Christian writing groups.
In addition to long time pastoral work in British Columbia, in a couple of streams of Anglicanism, Hird has encouraged the development of many Christian renewal movements and retreats, on at least three continents.
Kitz, board chair of The Word Guild, is ordained in the Foursquare Church of Canada. His most notable writing achievement, The Soldier, The Terrorist and the Donkey King, is now into its second extended run. It is a fine example of creative non-fiction centred on a soldier whose life was changed by his encounter with Jesus at the time of his crucifixion and resurrection.
It is arguably fortuitous and timely that the two authors were able to collaborate on The Elisha Code. In the book’s introduction, they note (in part):
At the darkest time, in the darkest region, Jesus appeared on the scene. There he began his ministry. In these dark and divided times, as the truth of the Elisha code is brought to light, we too will see Jesus revealing his grace and power among us.
Throughout the centuries-long history of the church, biblical truths have been lost – lost through sin, unbelief, and neglect – later to be rediscovered by thirsty souls searching for transformative change in dark times. Martin Luther triggered the reformation with his rediscovery of the truth of salvation by faith through grace. The truth of sanctification triggered the Great Awakening and the Methodist renewal with revival-fire starters such as the Wesley brothers, George Whitefield, and John Newton. The twentieth century began with a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the truths of Pentecost were brought to the fore through the globe-spanning Welsh revival and the Azusa Street outpouring.
When biblical truth is restored, revival often follows. A harvest of souls is swept into the Kingdom of God, as surely as the morning dawns on a new day…By studying his earthly ministry, we can discover the blueprint (Jesus) was following to launch and establish the church of the first century. It is a blueprint that is patterned after the prophetic Old Testament ministries of Elijah and Elisha.
Having been involved in faith-based writing and journalism, myself, for around 60 years, I would hasten to point out that cracking a spiritual code or encouraging a spiritual revival is not confined to any one part of the Christian community. And I expect both Kitz and Hird agree, all the while effectively telling the stories that have shaped their particular faith communities.
During the time of preparing this review, the death of television’s 700 Club founder Pat Robertson at age 93 took place. In the obituary Christianity Today magazine ran on Robertson, he was cited thusly:
Robertson saw himself as an evangelical with a charismatic gift and ecumenical outlook, once saying, “As far as the majesty of worship, I’m an Episcopalian; as far as a belief in the sovereignty of God, I’m Presbyterian; in terms of holiness, I’m a Methodist … in terms of the priesthood of believers and baptism, I’m a Baptist; in terms of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I’m a Pentecostal, so I’m a little bit of all of them.”
In getting to the point of their revival prognostications, Kitz and Hird cite the examples of two Canadians – Alliance founder AB Simpson and Foursquare founder Aimee Semple McPherson. They note:
Have you noticed that most revivals in the last hundred years involved a renewed emphasis on the healing ministry. Aimee Semple McPherson and AB Simpson were two Ontario-raised Canadians who challenged that assumption. Both asserted that spiritual gifts are still available today, including the gifts of healing. While both valued the role of medical doctors, they helped many discover that Jesus Christ our healer is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)…Both Semple McPherson and AB Simpson helped people rediscover the prayer of faith in James 5:15 where we read that if anyone is sick, they are to call the elders who will lay hands on them, anoint them with oil, and exercising the prayer of faith will heal the sick.
Word Alive Press announced The Elisha Code and the Coming Revival is the winning manuscript for the 2023 Braun Book Awards.