Don’t Settle For An Old Sock
Charismatic Credulity on Display in Contemporary Revivalism
Eddie L. Hyatt
“What is she doing with that old sock under her pillow,” exclaimed the pastor to his mother who had just found one of my socks under the pillow of his seventeen-year old sister. I was a young, single preacher at the time and had preached in this church several times; and each time I stayed in the home of the pastor who lived with his parents and four siblings. Apparently, his younger sister had developed a crush on me and had found a sock that I left behind, which she then arranged under her pillow. During a return visit, the pastor’s mother, with a chuckle, told me about this incident.
Sue is Not Enamored With My Socks
Now, Sue does not sleep with my socks under her pillow. She is not impressed with my socks. Why? She has me. Because this young lady did not have me, my sock was very important to her.
The Disciples Were Not Enamored With Jesus’ Socks
Do you realize that the disciples never carried Jesus’ socks around with them, slept with them, or had special showings of his socks? Why? They had Jesus Himself. They knew He was alive and, by His Spirit, was living in them. Why would they have any interest in His socks when He Himself was with them?
Think about it! There is absolutely no evidence that the disciples tried to preserve Jesus’ grave clothes, nor any of his clothes or possessions. They never chipped any rocks off the stone where He lay and from which He was resurrected and sent them out for love offerings. (I am being a little fastidious here) They never held special impartation services at the tomb or on the Mt. Olives from which Jesus had ascended into heaven. Why? Because they knew He was alive and was living with them and in them.
Socks Took the Place of the Real Presence of Jesus
It was only after several generations, when the church had lost the knowledge and awareness of His real abiding presence, that emphases began to be put on His clothing, pieces of the cross, and the bones and relics of the saints. When the crusaders returned to western Europe from Jerusalem they (supposedly) brought with them Christ’s seamless garment, the iron head of the spear that pierced his side, the cross, multiple pieces from the cross, straw from the manger, John the Baptist’s head, vials of milk from the virgin Mary, the finger that Thomas thrust into the side of Jesus, and countless other bones and relics from the early saints. These were publicly paraded with great fanfare and miracles were reported everywhere they were taken, including the raising of the dead.
Defenders of such superstitious activity pointed to Paul in Ephesus and the handkerchiefs and aprons that were taken from him and placed on the sick and diseased (Acts 19:11-12). It should be noted, however, that this was an isolated incident recorded by Luke and Paul never mentions it (or anything similar) in all his letters. It was obviously something he did not want to perpetuate. It is also obvious from Luke’s account that the initiative for taking these handkerchiefs and aprons (normal apparel in the ancient world) did not lie with Paul but with others. Can you imagine Paul sending out pieces of his clothing or a prayer cloth in return for a seed-faith offering? I can’t! His revelation of the reality of Christ living in and through God’s people left no room for such self-serving credulity.
Pentecostals Have Not Been Free From Such Superstition
I grew up in a Pentecostal pastor’s home during the time of the famed healing revival of the 1950s. I recall as a child attending the giant tents of the healing evangelists. I remember claims of bloody crosses appearing on people, sometimes in the forehead and sometimes in the palm of the hand. There were frightening prophecies of the end of the world and that this revival was God’s final call before the return of Christ. There were also claims of miracle oil, miracle billfolds (that would never be empty of money), miracle cloths, blessing kits, and all sorts of gimmicks that could be obtained for a love offering to the evangelist.
There was one well-known pastor/evangelist in our area who had a miracle chair in which he would have people to sit who needed a miracle. He also gave out prayer cloths that were color coded for different kinds of demons and sicknesses. He also had a red string for those to wear who needed to lose weight. A cousin went to him and was miraculously healed of terminal cancer. Two years later the cancer returned and she died. The miracle chair and the colored cloths would not work their magic the second time around. If she (and we) had known the reality of Christ within and the faithfulness of His word, she could have been healed through faith in Him and not have fallen prey to such credulity.
Superstition in the Contemporary Revival Movement
Sadly, I see this same sort of superstition in the charismatic revival movement today. For example, a few days ago, a pastor friend shared with me about an acquaintance of his who located A. A. Allen’s grave in Miracle Valley, AZ and went and lay on the grave for several hours hoping to “soak up” some of the anointing from Allen’s bones. Another person lay for hours on the grave of John G. Lake hoping for similar results. Parallel with this is the popular idea that that certain geographic locations hold some sort of special anointing that can be tapped into and that this anointing can be carried around and imparted to others. This sort of thinking also opens the door to credulous, unbiblical thinking about angels who supposedly hold sway over different areas of geography, commerce, healing, revival, etc. This is medieval superstition rearing its head in the current revival movement and it is leading people away from the knowledge of Christ Himself.
Let Go of the Sock and Take Hold of Jesus
The early disciples of Jesus never did this sort of thing. They were not interested in Jesus’ socks or any part of his clothing. They felt no need to lie on the slab from which He had risen or stand on the spot from which He had ascended. Collecting relics and establishing shrines never entered their thinking. Christ Himself was living in them and everything else paled in comparison to that wonderful reality.
Christ is also with you and in you. You don’t have to travel to Tulsa, Toronto, Lakeland, or anyplace else to have an encounter with Him. Right where you are, you can know and experience the most wonderful reality in all the universe–Christ in you the hope of glory (Col. 1:26). Anything less is nothing but an old sock.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt welcomes response in the form of questions and comments to this article and any others that he has written. Send all questions and comments to
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