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Greatest Man Who Ever Lived!
Was He the Greatest Christian Outside Biblical Heroes?
George Washington: was he a real Christian?
Jul 19th, 2010 | By Nathaniel Darnell
[NEWTONSTEIN NOTE: Below is a thesis on George Washington, BY a modern Evangelical Christian, declaring George Washington to have NOT BEEN an Evangelical Christian: that is declaring him a 'lukewarm believer' as Washington didn't "attend Wednesday evening church" . . .
. . . as if this modern tradition were a Biblical Command? As if Jesus, Peter, or Paul, "attended Wednesday evening church?"
We are sure the following write "meant well" but we are equally certain he has mis-judged George Washington, who was among the most dedicated Christians of all ages, perhaps the greatest who ever lived outside the Bible!
[Note from the Administrator: This post originally appeared on my blog in the spring of 2007. After a post featuring a Christian quote on President’s Day from George Washington, a debate arose on my blog about whether George Washington was a Christian. This post is a response to the debate.
George Washington, the Christian;
Jul 19th, 2010 | By Nathaniel Darnell
When we speak of the Christianity of George Washington, we should clarify both what we mean and what we do not mean. We do not mean that George Washington was a modern-day evangelical.
[NewtonStein Note: THANKFULLY! Washington was actually WORTH something to the Kingdom of God, made a REAL DIFFERENCE in his day, and didn't spend all of his time . . .
. . . hiding in his little elite-Church-Social-Club, singing little songs about "feel-good selfish stuff" with their - praying for Health-&-Wealth and clapping for prosperity, while phariseeically criticizing REAL CHRISTIANS like Washington and Jefferson who actually convert Indians, soldiers, and many others! END NOTE]
He (Washington) did not shop at Family Christian Bookstores. He did not attend Wednesday evening church. He did not listen to Steve Green or Michael W. Smith. He did not have fifty Bible translations to read. He did not listen to Christian talk radio.
We also do not mean that he was an evangelist or pastor. He was not a Billy Graham, a Dwight L. Moody, or a C.H. Spurgeon.
He wasn’t even a Jonathan Edwards, a George Whitfield, or a John Wesley-—contemporary evangelists to him.
A Man of His Times
George Washington, while an extraordinary man of his times, was still a man of his times.
He grew up in a time when the Anglican Church dominated the British colonies in America. Like a good Englishman, George’s father raised him to attend church every Sunday. 
Churches in those days were austere and raised money by leasing pew boxes to the wealthy in the community. In the Anglican Church, the King held the position reserved for the Pope in the Catholic Church.
Yet there was an increasingly Reformed Christian contingency in the Anglican Church known as the Puritans. Isaac Watts, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, and John Newton were among the preachers of this group.
This group stood against the idolatrous imagery of the Catholic Church, which had seeped into many Anglican Churches. They stood for sola Scriptura, the Scriptures alone. They stood for salvation by grace through faith alone.
The Puritans in the Established Church of England proclaimed the truths of the total depravity of man resulting from Adam’s fall into sin. They proclaimed the sovereignty of God over every area of life.
These two doctrines flew in the face of the current political system of Britain, and they would have a profound impact on Washington. He would make reference to these doctrines repeatedly throughout his life.
George Washington grew up in this religious setting.
His was a world slowly awakening to the inconsistencies between the accepted ecclesiastical and political order and the truths rediscovered from the Reformation.
He knew that it was taboo in his day for any person holding elected political office in the British colonies, especially in Virginia, to attend any church other than the official Church of England.
Even Patrick Henry, who was probably the most out-spoken Christian of the founding fathers, favored Presbyterianism but still attended an Anglican Church. 
Washington focused his education on preparing to be soldier, a farmer, and a statesman. Not a parson.[sic] With what he knew about the Bible, he knew that he could apply the Scriptures in normal, everyday life as a soldier, farmer, and statesman.
Freemasonry appears to have been new on the scene in the American colonies during the life of Washington.
[NewtonStein Note: Not true. Lodges had been in Colonies for many decades. Ben Franklin's first published book was on Masonry].
The lodges of Freemasonry provided a new place for many politicians and farmers of that time to socialize, but little is known about how Freemasonry was practiced in the colonies.
[NewtonStein Note: Also false, much was knows as books, ceremonies abouded and it was very popular. Well over half of Washington's Generals and Founding Fathers were masons, as well as Germans and French who fought with him in the War].
Washington became involved for a while with Freemasonry. But during a correspondence with a concerned pastor, Washington stated:
>> that he did not believe the lodges of America had adopted the false doctrines of the Illuminati that English lodges followed.
>> Furthermore, he wrote that he had not personally visited a lodge more than once or twice in a period of thirty years. 
While a man of his times, Washington demonstrated his Christian faith in three ways: (1) His confession of Christ; (2) His confession of other foundational Christian doctrines; (3) The fruits of the Spirit in his life.
Although it is impossible for us to know the heart of another man, the Bible provides us with some tests upon which we may evaluate one’s spiritual condition. In John 4:2–3, the Apostle John provided us with one of these tests when he wrote:
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
In John 4:2–3,
Similarly, in Matthew 10:32, Jesus Christ said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Likewise, in Luke 12:8 Jesus said, “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God”.
So the first test the Bible provides us for whether someone is a believer is whether they confess Christ.
Throughout his lifetime, Washington wrote and said many things that were recorded by historians. Several of those quotes either explicitly or implicitly confess the Lord Jesus Christ, and they are an evidence of his genuine faith. Below are a few examples.
• Washington’s Commendation to the Delaware Indian Chiefs
While encamped on the banks of a river, Washington was approached by the Delaware Indian chiefs who desired that their youth be trained in American schools. Washington commended the chiefs for their decision, saying:
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.” 
This is an example of Washington making an explicit confession of Christ. He could not be accused of playing to the crowd because his audience was a group of pagan Indians who had no reason to be impressed by his recommendations of Christianity.
• Washington’s Supplications in His Prayers
On April 21-–23, 1891, several descendant relatives of George Washington sold a remarkable collection of Washington’s personal belongings in a Philadelphia auction. Among them was a manuscript book written in Washington’s handwriting entitled “Daily Sacrifice.” One of the prayers Washington had recorded in that book read:
O most glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving Father, . . . remember that I am but dust, and remit my transgressions, negligences, & ignorances, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of thy dear Son, that those sacrifices which I have offered may be accepted by thee, in and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me; for his sake, ease the burden of my sins, and give me grace that by the call of the Gospel I may rise from the slumber of sin into the newness of life. . . . These weak petitions I humbly implore thee to hear accept and ans. [sic] for the sake of thy Dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. (emphasis added) 
Dozens of testimonies have been recorded in history books by people who attest that they heard Washington pray similar prayers with such piety and devotion.
• Calling for “Christian” Behavior
Washington directed those under his command to behave as “Christian” soldiers. In so doing, he implicitly demonstrated his own assent to Christianity. If Washington did not think Christianity a good thing, he would not have referred to it as an ideal.
In an order to his soldiers, Washington wrote: “The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.” (emphasis added) 
In a letter to Colonel Benedict Arnold on September 14, 1775, Washington wrote: “Prudence, policy, and a true Christian spirit will lead us to look with compassion upon their errors without insulting them.” (emphasis added) 
• Referring to Christianity as “Our Blessed Religion”
When writing a letter to the governors of the states at the end of the War for Independence, Washington referred to Christianity using the possessive “our” in the phrase “our blessed religion.” If he himself were not a Christian, he would have said “your religion” or “some people’s religion.” But he referred to it as his religion as well.
I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would . . . most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which are the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. 
Proclamation of Foundational Christian Doctrines
Throughout his lifetime, rather than in one concentrated sermon, Washington commented on the truth and application of various doctrines of Christianity in his personal experience. Here are a few examples.
• The Divine Inspiration of Scripture, the Identity of God, & the Lordship of God
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” 
In this quote Washington linked God to the Bible. By so doing, he made in clear that when he spoke of “God” he was speaking of the God of the Bible, not the gods of other religions. Second, he was pointing out the wisdom of the Bible is for all the world. Third, he was affirming that the principles of Scripture have modern application to civil government, for it was in the context of civil government that he spoke.
Believing in the Bible, Washington took care to ensure his step-children each had Bibles. In October of 1761, Washington ordered “[a] small Bible neatly bound in Turkey, . . . [and a] neat small Prayer Book” for his stepchildren John and Patsey. 
• The Sovereignty of God, & the Effectiveness of Prayer
In a letter written to Joseph Reed during the war, General Washington wrote:
“If I shall be able to rise superior to these, and many other difficulties which might be enumerated, I shall most religiously believe that the finger of Providence is in it, . . .” 
Writing to Major-General Armstrong on March 26, 1781, Washington’s words were:
Our affairs are brought to a perilous crisis, that the hand of Providence, I trust, may be more conspicuous in our deliverance. The many remarkable interpositions of the Divine government in the hours of our deepest distress and darkness, have been too luminous to suffer me to doubt the happy issue of the present contest; . . . 
In his first inaugural address, President Washington proclaimed:
No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. 
In the first Thanksgiving Proclamation, President Washington wrote:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God — to obey his will — to be grateful for his benefits — and humbly to implore his protection and favour: And whereas both Houses have, by their joint committee, requested me ‘to recommend to the people of the United States, a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness . . . 
• The Holiness, Wisdom, and Goodness of God
When sending a circular to the major and brigadier generals, from the Camp at Cambridge, September 8, 1775, Washington asked for their recommendations and proposed an attack on the British at Boston. “The success of such an enterprise depends, I well know, upon the All-Wise Disposer of events, and it is not within the reach of human wisdom to foretell the issue.” 
Thanking a pastor for a sermon he preaching, Washington wrote: “[I]t will ever be the wish of my heart to aid your pious endeavors to inculcate a due sense of the dependence we ought to place in the all-wise and powerful Being, upon whom alone our success depends.” 
In an order issued at Valley Forge, May 5, 1778, Washington wrote: “It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the Universe to defend the cause of the United American States, . . . it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the Divine Goodness, and celebrating the event, which we owe to His benign interposition.” 
By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them
Another test the Bible gives us for evaluating whether someone is a true believer is his fruits. That is, his actions, habits, or lifestyle. In Matthew 7:15-17, Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
The Apostle Paul expounded upon this metaphor in Ephesians 5:9 when he wrote, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Paul used it again in Galatians 5:21–23, writing: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
James 2:14–18 adds, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
These passages show us that a person of genuine faith will demonstrate the fruit of good works from the Bible in his life. When we look at the life of Washington, we see a man whose life exemplified a close adherence to the commands of Scripture.
We could speak of his church attendance, his participation in communion, his donations, his prayers, his self-sacrifice, his standfastness, his treatment of his slaves, or his faithfulness in paying his debts. We could cite how he applied the Law of God as the General of the Continental Army, forbidding profanity, drunkenness, adultery, and sodomy. We could reference his many writings of humility and thanksgiving to God for his blessing. We could observe his submission to authority and his lack of greed for power particularly at the end of the war with Britain.
If I had a book, I probably would cite all of those marks of Washington’s behavior as evidences of the Spirit of God in his life. However, here are a few special examples that are worth highlighting.
• Bringing Chaplains into the Continental Army
Today we take the practice of having chaplains in the military for granted. But in the War for American Independence, Washington was not just following the crowd when he executed the practice of chaplains in his army. He and the Continental Congress set the precedent.
In his orders, requiring chaplains to serve the army, Washington wrote:
The Hon. Continental Congress having been pleased to allow a Chaplain to each Regiment, with the pay of Thirty-three Dollars and one third pr month—The Colonels or commanding officers of each regiment are directed to procure Chaplains accordingly; persons of good Characters and exemplary lives—To see that all inferior officers and soldiers pay them a suitable respect and attend carefully upon religious exercises. The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger—The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country. 
• Leading in Scripture Reading and Prayer
At times, when Chaplains were not available in the army, Washington was known to fill in the gap. “I have often been informed by Colonel B. Temple, of King William County, Virginia, who was one of his aides in the French and Indian War, that he was ‘frequently known Washington, on the Sabbath, [to] read the Scriptures and pray with his regiment, in the absence of a chaplain;’ and also that, on sudden and unexpected visits to his marque, he has ‘more than once, found him on his knees at his devotions.’” 
• Fasting for God’s Blessing
Washington personally fasted before the Lord, and led those under his authority to so as well. On June 1, 1774, Washington recorded this in his diary:
“June 1st, Wednesday.—Went to church, and fasted all day.” 
On May 15, 1776, Washington issued the following order to his army:
“The Continental Congress having ordered Friday the 17th instant to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please Him to pardon all our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the arms of the United Colonies, . . .” 
• A Life-Long Testimony Observed by Others
Jared Sparks was the most voluminous biographer on the life of George Washington, compiling twelve volumes on the writings of Washington. Sparks wrote:
To say that he [George Washington] was not a Christian would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty. Of all men in the world, Washington was certainly the last whom any one would charge with dissimulation or indirectness [hypocrisies and evasiveness]; and if he was so scrupulous in avoiding even a shadow of these faults in every known act of his life, [regardless of] however unimportant, is it likely, is it credible, that in a matter of the highest and most serious importance [his religious faith, that] he should practice through a long series of years a deliberate deception upon his friends and the public? It is neither credible nor possible. 
Sparks went on to illustrate:
I shall here insert a letter on this subject, written to me by a lady who lived twenty years in Washington’s family and who was his adopted daughter, and the granddaughter of Mrs. Washington. The testimony it affords, and the hints it contains respecting the domestic habits of Washington, are interesting and valuable.
Woodlawn, 26 February, 1833.
I received your favor of the 20th instant last evening, and hasten to give you the information, which you desire.
Truro [Episcopal] Parish is the one in which Mount Vernon, Pohick Church [the church where George Washington served as a vestryman], and Woodlawn [the home of Nelly and Lawrence Lewis] are situated.
Fairfax Parish is now Alexandria.
Before the Federal District was ceded to Congress, Alexandria was in Fairfax County. General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ Church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed [supported and contributed to] largely.
His pew was near the pulpit. I have a perfect recollection of being there, before his election to the presidency, with him and my grandmother. It was a beautiful church, and had a large, respectable, and wealthy congregation, who were regular attendants.
He attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles [a one-way journey of 2-3 hours by horse or carriage]. In New York and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition [sickness].
The afternoon was spent in his own room at home; the evening with his family, and without company. Sometimes an old and intimate friend called to see us for an hour or two; but visiting and visitors were prohibited for that day [Sunday]. No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect.
My grandmother, who was eminently pious, never deviated from her early habits. She always knelt. The General, as was then the custom, stood during the devotional parts of the service. On communion Sundays, he left the church with me, after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back for my grandmother.
It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or ten o’clock where he remained an hour before he went to his chamber. He always rose before the sun and remained in his library until called to breakfast. I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them.
I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, “that they may be seen of men” [Matthew 6:5]. He communed with his God in secret [Matthew 6:6].
My mother [Eleanor Calvert-Lewis] resided two years at Mount Vernon after her marriage [in 1774] with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs. Washington. I have heard her say that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother before the revolution.
When my aunt, Miss Custis [Martha's daughter] died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they could realize the event [before they understood she was dead], he [General Washington] knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery. Of this I was assured by Judge [Bushrod] Washington’s mother and other witnesses.
He was a silent, thoughtful man. He spoke little generally; never of himself. I never heard him relate a single act of his life during the war. I have often seen him perfectly abstracted, his lips moving, but no sound was perceptible. I have sometimes made him laugh most heartily from sympathy with my joyous and extravagant spirits.
I was, probably, one of the last persons on earth to whom he would have addressed serious conversation, particularly when he knew that I had the most perfect model of female excellence [Martha Washington] ever with me as my monitress, who acted the part of a tender and devoted parent, loving me as only a mother can love, and never extenuating [tolerating] or approving in me what she disapproved of others.
She never omitted her private devotions, or her public duties; and she and her husband were so perfectly united and happy that he must have been a Christian. She had no doubts, no fears for him. After forty years of devoted affection and uninterrupted happiness, she resigned him without a murmur into the arms of his Savior and his God, with the assured hope of his eternal felicity [happiness in Heaven].
Is it necessary that any one should certify, “General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?” As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, “Deeds, not Words”; and, “For God and my Country.”
With sentiments of esteem, I am, Nelly Custis-Lewis
George Washington’s adopted daughter, having spent twenty years of her life in his presence, declared that one might as well question Washington’s patriotism as question his Christianity. Certainly, no one questions his patriotism; so is it not rather ridiculous to question his Christianity?
 E.C. M’Guire, The Religious Opinions and Character of Washington, p. 40 (1837).
 William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence and Speeches, (originally published in 1891), chapter 1.
 The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931), Vol. 36, notes 7–9. See link to first letter here, and link to second letter here.
 George Washington’s Speech to Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XV (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 55.
 W. Herbert Burk, Washington’s Prayers, p. 13 (1907).
 The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931), Vol. 5, p. 244-245, July 9, 1776 Order.
 Jared Sparks, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. III, p. 86 (1834-1837).
 Sparks, Vol. VIII, pp. 440–452.
 THREE SOURCES:
(a) Walker P. Whitman, A Christian History of the American Republic: A Textbook for Secondary Schools, (Boston: Green Leaf Press, 1939,1948),42.;
(b) Henry Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1927, 1965), p.18;
(c) Gary DeMar, America’s Christian History: The Untold Story (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, Publishers, Inc., 1993), p.58.
 C. M. Kirkland, Memoirs of Washington, pp. 198-199 (1857).
 David McCullough, 1776, ch. 3, page 79.
 Sparks, Vol. VII, p. 462.
 The First Presidential Inaugural Address on April 30, 1789.
 The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789, Number 9, of Vol. 12.
 Sparks, Vol. III, p. 80.
 Sparks, Vol. V, p. 276.
 Colonel John Whiting, Revolutionary Orders of General Washington, Henry Whiting, editor, p. 77 (1844).
 The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931), Vol. 5, p. 244-245, July 9, 1776 Order.
 Mason L. Weems, The Life of General Washington, p. 182 (1808).
 M’Guire, p. 142.
 Sparks, Vol. IV, p. 26.
 Sparks, Vol. XII, pp. 399-411.
Other Books on Washington’s Faith:
• Peter A. Lillback & Jerry Newcombe, George Washington’s Sacred Fire, Providence Forum Press (2006). Available for sale at Vision Forum.
• William J. Johnson, George Washington the Christian (1919, reprinted Christian Liberty Press, 1992).
• Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987), p. 103.
• William Jackson Johnstone, How Washington Prayed (The Abingdon Press, 1932).29 commentsLeave a comment »
Stephen Stallard April 23rd, 2007 9:35 pm :
Nathaniel – Excellent job with the research! I didn’t actually read it all, because I didn’t need any convincing. After the issue was brought up on your blog many moons ago, I also studied and reached the same conclusion. Good job! Jon Lee April 23rd, 2007 11:24 pm :
Great post – I really enjoyed the read. Eric April 24th, 2007 11:56 am :
Thank you for addressing this issue. Just some quick thoughts, because I haven’t had time to read the post in detail…
The letter from Nelly Custis-Lewis provides by far the most compelling evidence that George Washington did NOT trust Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. Here is his step-granddaughter and adopted daughter publicly admitting that her father never once shared the Christian faith with her. She is also tacitly admitting that she never personally witnessed his communion in the sacrament, but relies on the testimony of her mother that this had once been his regular habit. Thomas Fleming, in his book Washington’s Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge, says that during his presidency Washington attended church regularly, but refused to kneel with the rest of the congregation for the confession of sins and refused the sacrament. When his priest rebuked him for the poor public example he was setting before the congregation he promptly transferred his membership to another parish.
It should be noted that the Commendation to the Delaware Indian Chiefs is NOT actually a public confession of Jesus Christ. It is a recommendation of the Christian religion as an instrument for civic happiness and improvement.
The prayer sold to the public in 1891 and allegedly penned by our first president does confess Christ, but privately and not “before men.” The prayer, if authentic, shows that he did in private what he very publicly refused to do in the open – confess his sins before God. Furthermore, it remained hidden for about 100 years, and was then revealed by his relatives. A person’s relatives generally have a personal interest in polishing the public reputations of their kin. This alleged journal entry could easily serve that purpose.
Calling for “Christian” behavior and referring to Christianity as “our blessed religion” are not means of confessing Jesus Christ before men. Supporting Christianity and a moral lifestyle is NOT confessing Jesus Christ.
The “foundational” doctrines of the Christian faith are misidentified here. The head of Christian doctrine is Christ, and the fact that He went to the cross to take the sin of the world upon Himself. The heart of Christian doctrine is the fact that we receive salvation through faith alone. A person can very easily affirm the existence of God, the divine origin of Christian Scripture, God’s sovereignty, the power of prayer, God’s holiness, God’s wisdom, and God’s goodness, without trusting or even affirming the atoning work of Jesus Christ. None of the quotes in this section do anything to demonstrate Washington’s alleged saving faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ.
By the way… if Washington was such a firm believer in the power of prayer and the providence of God, why didn’t he support Ben Franklin’s proposal to begin each day at the Constitutional Convention with prayer? Many Christians who loudly publicize Franklin’s move in this matter don’t seem to realize that it failed to pass, receiving support from only a small handful of delegates (about five). Could it have possibly failed if it had enjoyed Washington’s support? I don’t raise this to prove anything, but one has to wonder why all those “evangelical Christians” (as David Barton has famously called them) refused to begin their sessions with prayer.
Washington’s support for the establishment of a chaplaincy says more about his wisdom and concern for the well-being of his army. It really says nothing of his faith in Jesus Christ. It should be noted that Commanders-in-chief do not usually have their own regiments, so his filling in for the chaplain must have taken place prior to the Revolution, before he stopped receiving the Lord’s Supper.
Jews, Muslims and hypocrites also fast. It is a common spiritual exercise. Fasting proves that Washington was a disciplined man, but I can’t think of anyone who disputes that. Fasting does nothing to demonstrate Washington’s alleged saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Summary… Of the many quotes proffered here, only ONE demonstrates anything resembling saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is poorly attested, and it directly contradicts Washington’s public behavior where confession and Communion are concerned. (You would need a rudimentary understanding of catholic theology and liturgy to fully appreciate that last point.) The letter by Nelly Custis-Lewis does more to undermine George Washington’s Christian testimony than to establish it. Not only did the General fail to share his alleged faith with his daughter, but he also left her with the impression that his devotion to Christ could be proved by his marriage to a Christian woman, by his civic morality, and by his regular church attendance. What a truly pathetic spiritual legacy that is! Given the state of the evidence, I am not convinced that George Washington was a true Christian in the sense that he trusted Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins. Stephen Stallard April 24th, 2007 12:26 pm :
Eric: I went through a time when I was convinced that Fanny Crosby was never saved. I read her conversion testimony, and came away feeling like something was missing. I operated under that belief for a while, until a few truths crystallized in my mind.
First of all, a person does not have to measure up to my standards of Christianity in order to be a Christian. I can say, “By your fruits you shall know them.” By that standard, I could reject Luther, Calvin, Augustine, Spurgeon, and many other mighty men of God. Why? Because they were all flawed. They were not perfect Christians. Thankfully, I am not the standard, nor the judge.
Second, I realized that I was expecting too much from Fanny Crosby in the way of her communication of biblical truth. I have been professionally trained in the study of God’s Word. And I was subconsciously expecting her to relate truth in a fine tuned, deeply theological manner. The problem was, she had never received that training, nor did she have the experience. She was, a woman of her times. While I would like to hear every new convert give a theologically precise, doctrinally sound conversion testimony, that may be too much to ask. They don’t know the right words, or even how to express themselves. So the rest of us should lighten up, and not be so demanding.
Conclusion: I believe you are expecting too much from George Washington. It seems that you feel compelled to cling only to evidence which supports your position. I have no problem admitting that Washington was a flawed Christian. Aren’t we all? That’s what’s so amazing about grace! Eric April 24th, 2007 1:31 pm :
Thanks Stephen, I appreciate what you say about allowing people to express personal creeds in their own words according to their individual ability, but I don’t think I am demanding very much of George Washington. All I really care about on this question is the meaning of the word “Christian.” When evangelicals call Washington a “Christian” I think they momentarily forget what the word actually means. This is demonstrated by the so-called “evidence” they appeal to. I believe the word “Christian” in its most basic sense means a person who believes that Jesus Christ died for his or her sins. The only thing in Nathaniel’s post linking George Washington to that profoundly simple definition of “Christian” is the prayer allegedly written by Washington in a personal journal sold at auction by his family in 1891, almost 100 years after Washington died. There are two possible motives for forgery: A) profit, and B) improving the public image of a famous relative. There is also evidence (even evidence presented by Nathaniel) conflicting with the testimony of that quotation. And this prayer doesn’t even meet Nathaniel’s own criteria for a public confession of Jesus Christ.
I will be perfectly happy to admit that Washington was a flawed Christian when I receive credible evidence to that effect. Despite all the research, Nathaniel really hasn’t given us much to go on. Nathaniel the Darnell April 24th, 2007 4:24 pm :
I hope to address your various concerns at a later time, but there was one thing I thought I should point out now.
During my research I came across a web page by David Barton where he quite plainly says that he does not believe all the founding fathers—and particularly George Washington-—were modern day evangelicals. He writes: “George Washington was a devout Episcopalian; and although as an Episcopalian he would not be classified as an outspoken and extrovert “evangelical” Founder as were Founding Fathers like Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman, and Thomas McKean, nevertheless, being an Episcopalian makes George Washington no less of a Christian.”
You can find this quote by Barton near the bottom of the page at http://www.wallbuilders.com/resources/search/detail.php?ResourceID=13/.
Thus, Eric, you appear to be factually incorrect on that point.
ND Eric April 24th, 2007 5:43 pm :
Hi Nathaniel, The URL did not work, but I am vaguely familiar with the statement you are referring to. I think I read it during our last discussion of this topic, and it struck me then as a retraction.
If you Google “David Barton, Founding Fathers, Evangelical Christians” you will find on the Wallbuilders website under the heading “Sample Letters to the Editor” a statement where Mr. Barton characterizes a “huge number” of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and framers of the Bill of Rights as “thoroughly evangelical Christians.” If his critics are credible, Mr. Barton appears to be backtracking. It is said that he once claimed 52 of 55 “founding fathers” as “orthodox evangelical Christians.”
You say that David Barton does not claim all the founding fathers were Christians. Okay, but he does say a “huge number” of them were; and thus my point, irrelevant though it was, was not “factually incorrect.”
In the future I will try to refrain from making gratuitous comments about Mr. Barton, but please be aware that for a variety of reasons he has almost no credibility with me. Nathaniel the Darnell April 25th, 2007 1:34 am :
Stephen, thanks for your comments.
I appreciated your analogy of Fanny Crosby, and its similarity to this discussion. The fruits of the Spirit may manifest themselves in many different ways in a person, and yet at times that same person will fail in his human fraility.
I have met quite a few modern-day people who will profess Christ and yet have never explained salvation to their children. While I think that state of affairs is deplorable, I do not doubt their genuine faith.
For example, my grandparents on both sides of my family never explained the plan of salvation to either of my parents when they were growing up, but they took them to church, gave them Bibles, prayed, etc. When I asked my grandparents why they believed they were going to heaven when they died, they gave me a straight yet unpolished response. They said, in so many words, that they were trusting in Christ’s atoning work on the cross to cleanse them from their sins.
I cannot doubt the faith of my grandparens because they may have ignorantly or self-consciously felt inadequate or unresponsible for sharing the plan of salvation with their children. Likewise, I cannot doubt the faith of Wahsington because he did not personally lead a step-daughter in the plan of salvation during the thiry year period that he was also saving his country from Britain, helping establish a Constitution, serve as President, and manage a large farming household.
While the fruits of the Spirit are perfect, the vessels they often manifest through are imperfect. Amen to your reminder that we are all imperfect Christians.
ND Nathaniel the Darnell April 25th, 2007 1:35 am :
I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for commenting. Blessings!
ND Nathaniel the Darnell April 25th, 2007 1:59 am :
I won’t belabor the point about David Barton with you. But I will point out that if I am to provide detailed bibliographies to support each historical claim I make, and you are operating as if you can refute each cited evidence with the mere mention of a book title, or an intsruction for a google search, or a speculative appeal to silence, then please be aware that you will lose credibility with me and others.
As soon as I have time, I will send you another list of historically documented (complete with bibliogrpahy) evidences of Washington’s faith that address several of your concerns. The well really is not very shallow when looking for such evidences. You would have had a much easier time if you had questioned the faith of somone like Ben Franklin. :-)
ND Eric April 25th, 2007 6:49 am :
Nathaniel, Ben Franklin explicitly denied either the atonement or the divinity of Christ (I forget which) in a letter to his friend, the president of Yale, just shortly before his death. The state of his soul is really not a mystery to Christians. Washington, on the other hand, very carefully avoided opening such a window on his soul to the world. He rarely did anything without considering how it would effect his public image.
You are treating this as a battle between someone who wants the world to believe Washington was a Christian (you), and someone who wants the world to believe that he was an infidel (me). Not true! I am officially agnostic concerning Washington’s faith in Christ. I am not here to prove he lacked faith, but to ensure that your evidence actually supports the claim. Your last effort, with the exception of one solitary quotation, was pure smoke and mirrors, in that none of the evidence actually pointed toward faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It demonstrates how for many if not most Christians today what it means to be a Christian in wrapped up in many other things besides simply the cross. Eric April 25th, 2007 11:22 am :
Nathaniel, The point you and Stephen are making, about how Washington’s failure to communicate his faith to his children does not prove a lack of faith on his part, is very well taken. None of my own grandparents have ever confronted me with the Evangelism Explosion question, but my grandmothers both communicated their faith to me in other verbal and non-verbal ways. I am not saying the letter from Nelly Custis-Lewis to Jared Sparks proves Washington an infidel. But examining the letter as whole one must ask whether it points toward genuine Christian faith or a lack of faith on Washington’s part?
First of all it should be noted that both Jared Sparks and Nelly Custis-Lewis were eager to affirm Washington’s Christian faith. And whether Mr. Sparks made that clear in his solicitation of Nelly’s opinion, or not, it is highly unlikely that she would think her father’s reputation enhanced by any other report. He wanted a particular answer for his reasons, and she wanted to give him the same answer at least for her own reasons and possibly to please Mr. Sparks. This casts some doubt on the credibility of that report right at the outset.
In her letter Nelly Custis-Lewis appeals to dubious evidence of Washington’s faith in Christ. He was instrumental in establishing a beautiful church with a wealthy and respected congregation. His own pew was near the pulpit. He went out of his way to attend church faithfully. He attended to the services with reverential respect. He was perfectly united and happy in marriage to an openly devout Christian woman, who showed no outward signs of distress or doubt at his death. These things might point toward genuine faith in Christ, but it is worth noting that when directly confronted with the question these insufficient tokens were the best George Washington’s daughter had to offer.
The letter also reveals that Washington never avowed himself a believer in Christ or Christianity to his daughter, and he never spoke of his faith in Christ with his daughter. The letter clearly confirms Washington’s refusal to receive Communion, and possibly his posture during confession and absolution. That she would even acknowledge those last two things in such a letter suggests that they were well known at the time. Individually and collectively these things by no means prove him an unbeliever, but they point more in that direction than in the direction of genuine faith.
I am surprised that Nelly Custis-Lewis’ letter reassures anyone of Washington’s faith in Christ. It has the opposite affect on me. And if it were written about anyone other than George Washington, I think it would have the same affect on most Christians. But today we are so eager to claim him for our own special interest group that we willingly overlook the obvious flaws and inconsistencies in her testimony.
Okay, I’ve probably written about half as much as your original article, and that’s way too much from me. I’ll try to shutup and listen for a while. Nathaniel the Darnell April 26th, 2007 3:46 pm :
I will first address several of your concerns about George Washington’s behavior and actions in particular instances. Then I will share quotes from men who personally knew Washington and were convinced that he professed Christ. Finally, will address your comments on what it means to be a Christian.
I. Washington’s Behavior & Actions
• Washington’s public recomendation of Christianity to the Delaware Indians
You wrote: “It should be noted that the Commendation to the Delaware Indian Chiefs is NOT actually a public confession of Jesus Christ. It is a recommendation of the Christian religion as an instrument for civic happiness and improvement.”
Your statement is certainly a bold spin on Washington’s statement. His quote to the Indians says nothing about “civics.” In fact, he directly uses the word “religion” when talking about the “religion of Jesus Christ.” He says that learning about the religion of Jesus Christ would result in their happiness, which is true. Washington knew that Christianity had social and cultural implications, but he still speaks of it first as a religion.
His word again were, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.”
So did Washington personally recommend the religion of Jesus Christ? Yes, he used those exact words. Was his statement public? Yes, it was before the Delaware Indians and others.
Confession of Christ + public statement = Public confession of Christ.
• Washington’s willingness to kneel in worship
You expressed some questions about Washington’s willingness to kneel in worship. Observe the following accounts.
- On September 1, 1774, the Continental Congress began a special meeting with a devotional and prayer by Pastor Jacob Duché. John Adams wrote to his wife that “Washington was kneeling, and Henry, and Randolph, and Rutledge, and Lee, and Jay, and by their sides there stood, bowed in reverence, the Puritan patriots of New England.” Washington Irving, The Life of George Washington,, Vol. I, p. 461 (1857).
- General Porterfield said, “General Washington was a pious man, and a member of your church [Episcopal]. I saw him myself on his knees receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in [Christ’s] Church, in Philadelphia.” Bishop Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, Vol. II, p. 490 (1872).
• Washington’s Faithfulness in Taking Communion
You expressed some concerns about Washington’s treatment of communion. Consider these accounts.
- “Washington had prayers morning and evening and was regular in attendance at church in which he was a communicant.” Merle Vernon, General Washington, the American Soldier and Christian, p.48.
- “He partook regularly of the communion until he entered the office of general in the American Army.” The Presbyterian Magazine,, Edited by C. Van Rensselaer, p. 70 (1851).
- “Mrs. Washington and himself were both communicants.” Irving, Vol. 1, p. 365.
• Washington’s Respose to Franklin’s Motion at the Constitutional Convention
You wrote: “If Washington was such a firm believer in the power of prayer and the providence of God, why didn’t he support Ben Franklin’s proposal to begin each day at the Constitutional Convention with prayer?”
- If we read the minutes to the Constitutional Convention as they were recorded by James Madison, then we will know why Washington did not voice his support for Franklin’s proposal.
First, George Washington was presiding over the Constitution Convention at the time of Franklin’s motion. His role was that of a chairman. He took motions but usually did not voice his opinion on any of the motions being made.
Second, the discussion between the delegates that ensued after Franklin’s proposal reveals that the reason Franklin’s proposal could not be enacted was because the Constitutional Convention had no funds to pay a pastor to lead in prayer.
Third, Mr. Randolph recommended that the Convention request a July 4th Sermon, followed by prayer. While the minutes show that that neither proposal was voted on, Washington led most of the delegates to voluntarily attend the event Mr. Randolph had suggested on July 4th. (See “Franklin’s Appeal”, fourth paragraph from the bottom and summary.)
II. Testimonies of Men Who Knew Washington
Note that these are not modern Christians like David Barton who could be accused of trying to make Washington out to something he was not. These are people who knew Washington in his day, and were convinced that he was a follower of Christ.
- Jonathan Mitchell Sewall wrote: “He was a firm believer in the Christian religion; and at his first entrance on his civil administration he made it known, and adhered to his purpose, that no [political] business could be transacted with him on the day set apart by Christians for the worship of Deity. . . . He constantly attended public worship of God on the Lord’s Day, was communicant at His table, and by his devout and solemn deportment, inspired every beholder with some portion of that awe and reverence for the Supreme Being of which he felt so large a portion.” Eulogies and Orations on the Life and Death of General George Washington, p. 37 (1800).
- Chief Justice John Marshall wrote: “Without making ostentatious professions of religion, he was a sincere believer in the Christian faith, and a truly devout man.” John Marshall, The Life of George Washington,, Vol. 2, p. 445 (1807).
- Dr. George Thomas Chapman wrote in a volume of sermons he published in 1836: “He [George Washington] lived in a time when there was less verbal pretensions on the subject of religion, than have become exceeding fashionable in modern times, and the consequence is that in his life we have more substance than a parade of piety. Still he was an open and avowed follower of the Lord of glory.”
III. Washington & the Definition of a “Christian”
• You wrote: “I believe the word “Christian” in its most basic sense means a person who believes that Jesus Christ died for his or her sins.”
Where does the Bible support such a definition? I have listed numerous passages from Scripture where God reveals how we may detect the genuine faith of another. You have provided not a single passage to support your definition. If our reasoning is not rooted in Scripture, then what good is it?
The proper definition of a Christian is “a follower of Christ.” Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (See Luke 9:23; Matthew 16:24.)
Following Christ would certainly entail following Him to the cross and repenting of sin. It would include believing that Jesus died for your sins. But that is only one way that we follow Christ and not necessarily the surest test. For example, if a man claims to follow Christ in salvation, but refuses to follow Christ by providing for his family, then Scripture says, “[H]e hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (See I Timothy 5:8.)
While George Washington had moments of failing, he demonstrated a pattern of life that was consistent with Scripture. He demonstrated that he sought to live obediently to Christ as best he knew how.
His life of church attendance, participation in communion, giving to his church, famly harmony, reading of the Bible, public and private prayer, leading in devotions, providing chaplains, gratefully honoring God in his letters, guarding from sin in his camp, fasting, remaining patient in tribulation, and positively recommending Christianity, God, and the Bible together demonstrate a man who sought to follow Christ.
Most, if not all of these activities are exclusively a part of the Christian walk. These virtues repeatedly demonstrated in his life are ones that could only be produced by the power of God’s Spirit. (See Romans 8:6-11.)
While on his deathbed, struggling to breathe, Washington turned to those weeping nearby and said, “O no! Don’t! Don’t! I am dying gentlemen, but thank God I am not afraid to die.” Mason L. Weems, The Life of General Washington, p. 168 (1808).
When Washington died, his last recorded words were, “Father of mercies, take me to thyself.” Weems, p. 170. Washington used the name of God given in II Corinthians 1:3.
Could such a peace and resignation result from anything other than a genuine trust in the Christ who he had grown up voluntarily hearing preached again and again? If he had trusted in the God of the Bible to rescue him from war and to establish the nation, how could he not have committed his soul to God and lived as he did?
You have to grasp at straws to deny or cast any significant doubt on George Washington’s genuine Christian faith. Rejecting the abudant evidences would only solidify an impression of your own unreasonableness.
ND Eric April 26th, 2007 5:40 pm :
Nathaniel, Let me just reiterate one thing. I am not trying to cast doubt on Washington’s faith. I am simply trying to validate your proofs.
Let me also say thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and lead me to this discussion. It was unnecessary because I visit your blog almost daily. But I took it as a special invitation to leave a comment here, and I do appreciate that.
I do have questions, answers and arguments to share on many of the various references brought forward in this piece, and I am eager to do so. But because you choose to present this argument while also casting doubt on my personal intelligence and integrity, I will not be participating in this discussion any further. I am determined not let myself be drawn into the same sort of fight as our last one.
Lord, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Eric Nathaniel the Darnell April 26th, 2007 6:04 pm :
Eric, you are a curious man.
It’s okay to turn George Washington’s salvation and integrity into a topic of discussion. But if I suggest you are being unreasonable or unscholarly then you take that as an attack on your “personal intelligence and integrity”? I’m really puzzled.
Yes, I do appreciate your comments, and your perspective. I did want you to know about this post so that you could have an opportunity to express your thoughts (as you seemed rather eager to express them a couple of months ago). I don’t doubt your intelligence. I think you have a genuine desire to promote truth, but seem blind-spotted to some inconsistencies.
Foundationally, I’m glad to know we serve the same Lord, and we both hold the Scriptures as our ultimate standard. If we keep those things in mind I trust we can enjoy many challenging but edifying discussions to sharpen each other in the Lord.
ND Stephen Stallard April 29th, 2007 7:36 am :
Eric and ND: I thought of something interesting this morning. If Samson was not listed in the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11), I would maintain that he was unsaved. After all, he certainly did not act like a saint most of the time. Thankfully for him, I am not the judge. Kathleen May 1st, 2007 2:53 pm :
Our family has wondered about George Washington and many other founding fathers being Masons.
We would appreciate your comment on this.
Thank you. Nathaniel the Darnell May 1st, 2007 4:33 pm :
Hi, Stephen -
Yes, God is ultimately the only One who knows for sure the salvation of any other. We can only look to the signs God has revealed to us.
Thanks for pointing out Samson and Hebrews 11. That passage is a prime example where God emphasizes that faith is exhibited through external actions. For example: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.” (v. 8)
While Samson’s downfall was his lust, he demonstrated faith in his outward actions by “subduing kingdoms”, “stopping the mouths of lions”, “esaping the edge of the sword”, “turning to flight the armies of the aliens”, and finally “out of weakness being made strong.” (vv. 33-34)
ND Nathaniel the Darnell May 1st, 2007 4:36 pm :
That’s a good question. I addressed George Washington’s relationship to Masonry in this post under the first heading “A Man of His Times.” Read over that section, and check out the links on that issue in my bibliography. That should answer your question.
ND Kathleen May 2nd, 2007 10:15 am :
Thanks for the response. I read your thoughts and links. We have read elsewhere that President Washington was involved in English based lodges that were active in the States, but not the newer American lodges, as he referenced in the second letter that you quoted. Our family is by no means experts on Freemasonry, George Washington, or American history. Yet, we take very seriously the people which we place before our children who are truly worthy of veneration– the issue of the founding Fathers and Freemasonry is a huge one for us. George Washington was a very principled man, and his character does not support that he would just “join the Club because the other guys were doing it” So this elevates his involvement Masons to a level that warrants much further study on the Masons themselves, and how Christians could freely choose to swear oaths supporting the doctrines of this non-Christian organization? Just some additional thoughts. Nathaniel the Darnell May 2nd, 2007 10:52 am :
Thank you, Kathleen. I understand you concern. I would just urge you to base your determination on a research in historical facts. I gave the links with Washington’s quotes because those were his own words from the 1700′s writing on the subject of Masonry. We know what he wrote and how explained it.
Keep in mind that much of what is said of about the Founding Fathers is hearsay that has passed down second-or-third-hand. The Founding Fathers’ involvement in Free Masonry was popularized and sensationalized in the movie National Treasure a few years ago. Just as I doubt there is a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence, I doubt the Fouding Father’s involvement in Free Masonry was as extensive as some people claim.
When you can get an actual documented quote from Washington’s mouth or pen, your evidence is far more reliable. The courtroom understands this principle and uses it all the time. Another principle the courtoom applies is “innocent until proven guilty.” I would be hesitant to assume Washington lied about his involvement in Masonry unless I had other historically documented evidence before me that proved it.
ND Nathaniel the Darnell May 2nd, 2007 11:57 am :
By the way, Kathleen, where did you read that Washington “was involved in English based lodges that were active in the States”? I would like to check that resource for my own study, and I would like to see what the author’s historical support was for that claim. Thank you.
ND Kathleen May 2nd, 2007 1:46 pm :
It was not our intension assume that George Washington was lying. The letters were very helpful. We greatly value source documents- and appreciate your research on Washington. I do not know of the movie of which you are speaking, and we have known for years that the Freemasonry was a part of the early American culture. Perhaps I would need to ask if you think that Freemasonry is simply a social organization and not wrong for a Christian to be a member?
Our personal experience is having extended family members who were involved, were very upright people, and called themselves Christians. But much of their understanding of Christianity was from the Masons doctrine not the Creed and Biblical doctrines of Christ.
Our question about Washington is not whether he was a Christian, it is why he didn’t find it a conflict to be apart of the Masons as a Christian and why he would not end his membership, especially since he said he very rarely attended Lodge? But perhaps you do not see this as a conflict.
My reference to the English lodges was not footnoted. One of the great weaknesses of the internet is the unsupported words–I will heartily confess falling pray to reading soundbites without doing the proper research into their support. Although by Washington’s own words it was something he was being accused of in his lifetime. So forgive us if you think we were trying to challenge your paper, that was not the intent. Nathaniel the Darnell May 2nd, 2007 2:40 pm :
Not to worry. I didn’t see you as challenging this post at all. I realize you’re just seeking answers for a difficult question. Often, articles on the internet without bibliographies are not the best places to get these kinds of answers.
I have not studied Free Masonry as extensively as I have the life of George Washington, but I do believe the doctrines of the Illuminati are false, as apparantly did Washington, regardless of where they are found.
Based on the limited historical study I have done on the subject, it seems to me that Free Masonry in the United States has changed a lot sincce the time of Washington. Furthermore, Washington’s Christian profession seems to go well beyond the Mason’s doctrine of today.
ND Jonathan July 1st, 2007 8:31 pm :
Two big factual errors in your post.
First GW never said:
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Check out Barton’s “unconfirmed quotations” article where he notes this to be one of them.
Second the “Daily Sacrifice” prayer journal has been debunked as inauthentic.
In 20,000 pages of his public speeches and private writings the words “Jesus Christ” have only been recorded as coming out of his mouth once, in the to the Delaware Indians you reproduced.
BTW, that speech wasn’t even written in Washington’s hand and it was a point-by-point restatement of what the Indians wanted. They requested to “learn the ways of Jesus Christ,” and GW responded with “you would do well to….”
Years later when speaking to unconverted Indians who expressed no desire to convert to Christianity he used the term “The Great Spirit” to describe God. “The Great Spirit” is not the Jehovah of the Bible but a pagan God.
There is also no credible evidence that GW communed from the time of the Revolution until his death, suggesting that he didn’t believe in the basic Christian doctrine of the Atonement. There are first hand accounts showing this to be the case. All other evidence of GW’s supposed communion during this time is unreliable 2nd and 3rd hand hearsay.
GW may have been an orthodox Christian (I doubt he was) but that evidence certainly isn’t clear from the historical record.
Jon Rowe Nathaniel the Darnell July 1st, 2007 10:28 pm :
Thanks for your interesting comment. As I understand your it, you are making several claims of historical fact without citing a single historical resource. Even your reference to an article by David Barton is not really a citation because it does not give a title, a publisher, or a link to a web site.
You have asserted that various facts about President Washington presented in this article are hearsay, but they are each supported by citations to documented historical resources. In actuality, your assertions are hearsay because you do not cite a single resource to support your arguments.
All of the quotes I gave in this article are documented, cited, and thoroughly listed in the bibliography. Logically speaking, you cannot say that something is hearsay when it is documented from first-hand accounts. Futhermore, you cannot logically say that some evidence in hearsay unless you have other evidence to prove that it is hearsay.
If you expect us to take your comments seriously, I would recommend you do not do what you what you are accusing others of doing – even as you are accusing them.
Perhaps you could present a more logical argument sometime.
ND Nathaniel the Darnell July 1st, 2007 10:30 pm :
This discussion has run its course for the time being. It has been engaging and for the most part enjoyable. I hope we’ve all learned and grown together throughout it.
Since I am finite, I will not be able allow this discussion to proceed indefinitely. I am closing the discussion for now. Looking forward to interacting with all of you in future discussions.
ND Melinda July 22nd, 2010 1:53 pm :
Thanks so much for reposting this as I didn’t see it the first time. I really appreciate your effort to write this; it is very thorough and insightful. Disillusioned with Heroes - Persevero! August 2nd, 2010 7:30 pm :
[...] the recent reposting of George Washington, the Christian, a young man sent me this thoughtfu
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