Answering the Charge That George Washington was a Deist

George Washington's Christianity

This following essay was written and given to me by reknowned Author William J. Federer, in response to the charges from secularists who claim the Founders and George Washington were not Christians. It is an excellent study and chronicle to debunk the revisionism being engaged by the Secular Left to expunge from our history and heritage – the role the Christian faith played in our foundations and our liberties.

The essays following Federer’s are from the Reverend Peter Marshall on the same subject. I have the distinct pleasure of calling both of these fine men freinds and brethren. Their study, research, commentary and written works are valuable and indispensable in the battle to restore our true history and heritage in this nation.

George Washington & Christianity
By William J. Federer

As to the comment, “I do not necessarily believe that the Beneficent Being mentioned by President Washington, is exactly the same Christian God as is now generally believed,” the best place to go for an answer is to the writings of Washington himself and the first hand descriptions by those who knew him. Below is just a sampling of references regarding Washington and Christianity:

On the same day, in a personal letter to Colonel Benedict Arnold, September 14, 1775, regarding the advance into Canada, General George Washington enlarged:

“I also give it in charge to you to avoid all disrespect of the religion of the country, and its ceremonies. Prudence, policy, and a true Christian spirit will lead us to look with compassion upon their errors without insulting them. While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience of others, ever considering that God alone is the Judge of the hearts of men, and to Him only in this case they are answerable.”1

On July 9, 1776, upon receiving a copy of the Declaration of Independence from the Continental Congress, General George Washington issued the orders from his headquarters in New York authorizing the Continental Army to appoint and pay chaplains in every regiment.

“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 endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country. The Hon. Continental Congress, impelled by the dictates of duty, policy and necessity, having been pleased to dissolve the Connection which subsisted between this Country, and Great Britain, and to declare the United Colonies of North America, free and independent States: The several brigades are to be drawn up this evening on their respective Parades at six O’Clock, when the Declaration of Congress, shewing the grounds and reasons of this measure, is to be read with an audible voice. The General hopes this important event will serve as a fresh incentive to every officer, and soldier, to act with Fidelity and Courage, as knowing that now the peace and safety of his Country depends (under God) solely on the success of our arms.”2

On Sunday, October 19, 1777, in a letter to Major-General Putnam, General Washington wrote:

“The defeat of General Burgoyne is a most important event, and such as must afford the highest satisfaction to every well-affected American. Should Providence be pleased to crown our arms in the course of the campaign with one more fortunate stroke, I think we shall have no great cause for anxiety respecting the future designs of Britain. I trust all will be well in His good time…. I am exceedingly sorry for the death of Mrs Putman, and sympathize with you upon the occasion. Remembering that all must die, and that she had lived to an honorable age, I hope you will bear the misfortune with that fortitude and complacency of mind that become a man and a Christian.”3

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, pastor of the Lutheran church near Valley Forge and one of the founders of the Lutheran Church in America, noted concerning General Washington:

“I heard a fine example today, namely, that His Excellency General Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each and every one to fear God, to put away the wickedness that has set in and become so general, and to practice the Christian virtues. From all appearances, this gentleman does not belong to the so-called world of society, for he respects God’s Word, believes in the atonement through Christ, and bears himself in humility and gentleness. Therefore, the Lord God has also singularly, yea, marvelously, preserved him from harm in the midst of countless perils, ambuscades, fatigues, etc., and has hitherto graciously held him in His hand as a chosen vessel.”4

On May 2, 1778, General George Washington issued these orders to his troops at Valley Forge:

“The Commander-in-Chief directs that Divine service be performed every Sunday at 11 o’clock, in each Brigade which has a Chaplain. Those Brigades which have none will attend the places of worship nearest to them. It is expected that officers of all ranks will, by their attendance, set an example for their men. While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian. The signal instances of Providential goodness which we have experienced and which have now almost crowned our labors with complete success demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all good.”5

On May 12, 1779, General George Washington was visited at his Middle Brook military encampment by the Chiefs of the Delaware Indian tribe. They had brought three youths to be trained in the American schools. Washington assured them:

“Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethren of the United States…. You do well to wish to learn our arts and 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; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it…. And I pray God He may make your Nation wise and strong.”6

Washington’s Prayer for the United States of America appears on a plaque in St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City and at Pohick Church, Fairfax County, Virginia, where Washington was a vestryman, 1762-84:

“Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field. And finally that Thou wilt 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 were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”7

On February 8, 1785, George Washington wrote from Mount Vernon to the President of the Continental Congress:

“Toward the latter part of the year 1783, I was honored with a letter from the Countess of Huntington, briefly reciting her benevolent intention of spreading Christianity among the Tribes of Indians inhabiting our Western Territory; and expressing a desire of my advice and assistance to carry this charitable design into execution. I wrote her Ladyship….that I wou’d give every aid in my power, consistent with the ease and tranquility, to which I meant to devote the remainder of my life, to carry her plan into effect…. Her Ladyship has spoken so feelingly and sensibly, on the religious and benevolent purposes of the plan, that no language of which I am possessed, can add aught to enforce her observations.”8

On August 15, 1787, in a letter from Philadelphia to the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington wrote:

I am not less ardent in my wish that you may succeed in your plan of toleration in religious matters. Being no bigot myself to any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the church with that road to Heaven which to them shall seem the most direct, plainest and easiest, and the least liable to exception.9

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Churches in the United States, on May 26, 1789, wrote to President Washington:

“We derive a presage even more flattering from the piety of your character. Public virtue is the most certain means of public felicity, and religion is the surest basis of virtue. We therefore esteem it a peculiar happiness to behold in our Chief Magistrate, a steady, uniform, avowed friend of the Christian religion; who has commenced his administration in rational and exalted sentiments of piety; and who, in his private conduct, adorns the doctrines of the gospel of Christ; and on the most public and solemn occasions, devoutly acknowledges the government of Divine Providence.”10

In May of 1789, President George Washington replied to the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in The United States:

“Gentlemen: I receive with great sensibility the testimonial given by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, of the lively and unfeigned pleasure experience by them on my appointment to the first office of the nation. Although it will be my endeavor to avoid being elated by the too favorable opinion which your kindness for me may have induced you to express of the importance of my former conduct and the effect of my future services, yet, conscious of the disinterestedness of my motives, it is not necessary for me to conceal the satisfaction I have felt upon finding that my compliance with the call of my country and my dependence on the assistance of Heaven to support me in my arduous undertakings have, so far as I can learn, met the universal approbation of my countrymen. While I reiterate the professions of my dependence upon Heaven as the source of all public and private blessings; I will observe that the general prevalence of piety, philanthropy, honesty, industry, and economy seems, in the ordinary course of human affairs, particularly necessary for advancing and conforming the happiness of our country. While all men within our territories are protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of their consciences; it is rationally to be expected from them in return, that they will be emulous of evincing the sanctity of their professions by the innocence of their lives and the beneficence of their actions; for no man who is profligate in his morals, or a bad member of the civil community, can possibly be a true Christian, or a credit to his own religious society. I desire you to accept my acknowledgements for your laudable endeavors to render men sober, honest, and good citizens, and the obedient subjects of a lawful government, as well as for your prayers to Almighty God for His blessings on our common country, and the humble instrument which He has been pleased to make use of in the administration of its government.”11

In July of 1789, in writing to the Directors of the Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen, President Washington replied:

“Gentlemen: I received with satisfaction the congratulations of your society, and of the Brethren’s congregations in the United States of America. For you may be persuaded that the approbations and good wishes of such a peaceable and virtuous community cannot be indifferent to me. You will also be pleased to accept my thanks for the treatise you presented, (“An account of the manner in which the Protestant Church of the Unitas Fratrum, or United Brethren, preach the Gospel and carry on their mission among the Heathen,”) and be assured of my patronage in your laudable undertakings. In proportion as the general government of the United States shall acquire strength by duration, it is probable they may have it in their power to extend a salutary influence to the aborigines in the extremities of their territory. In the meantime it will be a desirable thing, for the protection of the Union, to co-operate, as far as the circumstances may conveniently admit, with the disinterested endeavors of your Society to civilize and Christianize the Savages of the Wilderness. Under these impressions, I pray Almighty God to have you always in His Holy keeping.”12

In response to the August 19, 1789, letter from the General Convention of Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, President Washington replied:

“Gentlemen: I sincerely thank you for your affectionate congratulations on my election to the chief magistracy of the United States…. On this occasion it would ill become me to conceal the joy I have felt in perceiving the fraternal affection, which appears to increase every day among friends of genuine religion. It affords edifying prospects, indeed, to see Christians of different denominations dwell together in more charity, and conduct themselves in respect to each other with a more Christian-like spirit than every they have done in any former age, or in any other nation. I receive with the greater satisfaction your congratulations on the establishment of the new constitution of government, because I believe its mild yet efficient operations will tend to remove every remaining apprehension of those with whose opinions it may not entirely coincide, as well as to confirm the hopes of its numerous friends; and because the moderation, patriotism, and wisdom of the present federal Legislature seem to promise the restoration of order and our ancient virtues, the extension of genuine religion, and the consequent advancement of our respectability abroad, and of our substantial happiness at home. I request, most reverend and respected Gentlemen, that you will accept my cordial thanks for your devout supplications to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe in behalf of me. May you, and the people whom you represent, be the happy subjects of the divine benedictions both here and hereafter.”13

On October 20, 1792, from Philadelphia, President Washington wrote to Sir Edward Newenham:

“Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy which has marked the present age would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see their religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”14

On March 15, 1790, President George Washington wrote to the Roman Catholics of the nation:

“I feel that my conduct, in war and in peace, has met with more general approbation than could reasonably have been expected and I find myself disposed to consider that fortunate circumstance, in a great degree, resulting from the able support and extraordinary candour of my fellow-citizens of all denominations…. America, under the smiles of a Divine Providence, the protection of a good government, and the cultivation of manners, morals, and piety, cannot fail of attaining an uncommon degree of eminence, in literature, commerce, agriculture, improvements at home and respectability abroad…. I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the establishment of their government; or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed…. May the members of your society in America, animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity, and still conducting themselves as the faithful subjects of our free government, enjoy every temporal and spiritual felicity.”15

While serving his Presidential term in New York, President Washington sent instructions to one of the overseers of his estate:

“I shall not close this letter without exhorting you to refrain from spirituous liquors; they will prove your ruin if you do not. Consider how little a drunken man differs from a beast; the latter is not endowed with reason, the former deprives himself of it; and when that is the case, acts like a brute, annoying and disturbing every one around him; nor is this all, nor, as it respects himself, the worst of it. By degrees it renders a person feeble, and not only unable to serve others but to help himself; and being an act of his own, he falls from a state of usefulness into contempt, and at length suffers, if not perishes, in penury and want. Don’t let this be your case. Show yourself more of a man and a Christian than to yield to so intolerable a vice, which cannot, I am certain (to the greatest lover of liquor), give more pleasure to sip in the poison (for it is no better) than the consequence of it in bad behavior at the moment, and the more serious evils produced by it afterwards, must give pain. I am your Friend, George Washington.”16

John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who had previously fought with Washington in the Revolutionary War and served with him at Valley Forge, said of Washington:

“Without making ostentatious professions of religion, he was a sincere believer in the Christian faith, and a truly devout man.”17

Jared Sparks, a historian and professor of history at Harvard, was known for his studies of George Washington. He analyzed Washington’s character and gave this summary:

“A Christian in faith and practice, he was habitually devout. His reverence for religion is seen in his example, his public communications and his private writings. He uniformly ascribed his success as to the beneficent agency of the Supreme Being.”18

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, stated:

“Washington was constant in the observance of worship, according to the received forms of the Episcopal Church.”19

The inscription at Mount Vernon describes Washington as:

“The hero, the patriot, the Christian. The father of nations, the friend of mankind, Who, when he had won all, renounced all, and sought in the bosom of his family and of nature, retirement, and in hope of religion, immortality.”20

Washington’s Bible was donated by his adopted son, George Washington Parke Custis, to the Pohick Church, Truro Parish, where Washington served as a vestryman, October 25, 1762 to February 23, 1784. The dedication stated:

“Presented to Truro Parish for the use of Pohick Church, July 11, 1802. With the request that should said church cease to be appropriated to Divine worship which God forbid, and for the honor of Christianity, it is hoped will never take place. In such case I desire that the vestry will preserve this Bible as a testimony of regard from the subscriber after a residence of 19 years in the Parish. George Washington Parke Custis.”21

In 1745, at thirteen years of age, George Washington copied some verses on “Christmas Day”:

“Assist me, Muse divine, to sing the Morn,
On Which the Saviour of Mankind was born.”22

In 1747, at the age of fifteen years old, George Washington fulfilled the role of being a godfather to a child in baptism. The next year, 1748, he served as the godfather in baptism to his niece, Frances Lewis. In 1751, George again was the godfather to his nephew, Fielding Lewis, and in 1760, he sponsored his nephew, Charles Lewis.23

On January 6, 1759, George Washington was married to Martha Dandridge Custis by Rev. David Mossom, rector of Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, New Kent County, Virginia. After having settled at Mount Vernon, George Washington became one of the twelve vestrymen in the Truro Parish, which included the Pohick Church, the Falls Church, and the Alexandria Church. The old vestry book of Pohick Church contained the entry:

“At a Vestry held for Truro Parish, October 25, 1762, ordered, that George Washington, Esq. be chosen and appointed one of the Vestry-men of this Parish, in the room of William Peake, Gent. deceased.”24

On February 15, 1763, the Fairfax County Court recorded:

“George Washington, Esq. took the oath according to Law, repeated and subscribed the Test and subscribed to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England in order to qualify him to act as a Vestryman of Truro Parish.”25

Being in communion with the Anglican Church, serving for over twenty years as a vestryman (trustee), and on at least three different occasions serving as churchwarden, Washington would have regularly repeated the Apostle’s Creed, which begins:

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”26

In his diary, George Washington recorded his attendance at numerous Church and Vestry meetings:

“1768 – May 8th – Went to Church from Colonel Bassett’s.
May 22d – Went to Church at Nomini.
May 29th – Church at St. Paul’s.
June 5th – to Church at Alexandria.
June 12th – at Pohick.
July 16th – Went by Muddy Hole and Dog Run to the vestry at Pohick Church – stayed there till after 3 o’clock and only four members coming, returned by Captain McCartys and dined there.
August – Nomini in Westmoreland.
September 9th – proceeded [through Alexandria] to the meeting of our Vestry at the new Church [Payne's] and lodged at Captain Edward Payne’s.
Nov. 15th – at Pohick.
Nov. 28th – Went to Vestry at Pohick Church.
1769 – March 3rd – Went to the Vestry at Pohick Church and returned at 11 o’clock at night.
Sept. 23rd – Captain Posey called here in the morning and we went to a Vestry.
1772 – June 5th – Met the Vestry at our new Church [Payne's] and came home in the afternoon.
1774 – Feb. 15th – I went to a Vestry at the new Church [Payne's] and returned in the afternoon.
Sept. 25th – Went to Quaker meeting in the forenoon, and to St. Peter’s in the afternoon; dined at my lodgings.
Oct. 2d – Went to Church, dined at the new tavern.
Oct. 9th – Went to the Presbyterian meeting in the afternoon; dined at Bevan’s.
Oct. 16th – Went to Christ Church in the morning; after which rode to and dined at the Province Island; supped at Byrn’s.”27

On June 19, 1773, George Washington returned from Williamsburg to find his 16-year-old stepdaughter, Martha “Miss Patsey” Custis, dying. She was the daughter of Mrs. Martha Dandridge Custis Washington by her first marriage to Daniel Parke Custis, who had died when the girl was young. George Washington, being the only father Martha “Miss Patsey” Custis knew, knelt by her bed at prayed, only to have her die shortly thereafter. He wrote:

“The sweet, innocent girl entered into a more happy and peaceful abode than she had met in the afflicted path she had hitherto trod.”28

On June 1, 1774, Wednesday, the same day the British blockade of the Boston Harbor was to begin, the Colonies called for a Day of Fasting and Prayer “…to seek divine direction and aid.”29

George Washington’s diary entry that day was:

“Went to church and fasted all day.”30

On November 15, 1862, from his Executive Mansion in Washington, President Abraham Lincoln quoted General George Washington in his General Order Respecting the Observance of the Sabbath Day in the Army and Navy:

The President, Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in the military and naval service. The importance for man and beast of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, and a due regard for the Divine Will demand that Sunday labor in the Army and Navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity. The discipline and character of the national forces should not suffer nor the cause they defend be imperiled by the profanation of the day or name of the Most High. “At this time of public distress,” adopting the words of Washington in 1776, “men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.” The first general order issued by the Father of his Country after the Declaration of Independence indicates the spirit in which our institutions were founded and should ever be defended: “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.”Abraham Lincoln.31

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1.Footnote: Washington, George. September 14, 1775, in a personal letter to Colonel Benedict Arnold. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. III, p. 91. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 71. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Media Book, 1987, 6th printing 1993), p. 122-123.

2.Footnote: Washington, George. July 9, 1776; previously $20.00 a month, approved July 1775. American Army Chaplaincy – A Brief History (prepared in the Office of the Chief of Chaplains: 1946), p. 6. Anson Phelps Stokes and Leo Pfeffer, Church and State in the United States (NY: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1950, revised one-volume edition, 1964), p. 35. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944), Vol. V, pp. 244-245. Washington, George. July 9, 1776, order issued to the army in response to the reading of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. III, p. 456. Writings of George Washington, (Sparks ed.), Vol. XII, p. 401, citing Orderly Book; also orders of August 3, 1776, in ibid., IV, 28 n. Abraham Lincoln quoted this order of Washington’s on November 15, 1862, to have his troops maintain regular sabbath observances. Abraham Lincoln, Letters and Addresses and Abraham Lincoln (NY: Unit Book Publishing Co., 1907), p. 261. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 83. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944), Vol. V, p. 245. William Barclay Allen, ed., George Washington – A Collection (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, Liberty Fund, Inc., 7440 N. Shadeland, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250, 1988; based almost entirely on materials reproduced from The Writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799/John Clement Fitzpatrick, editor), p. 73. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944). John F. Schroeder, ed., Maxims of Washington (Mt. Vernon: Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, 1942), p. 299. Saxe Commins, ed., The Basic Writings of George Washington (NY: Random House, 1948), p. 236. Anson Phelps Stokes and Leo Pfeffer, Church and State in the United States (NY: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1950, revised one-volume edition, 1964), p. 35. Norman Cousins, In God We Trust – The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the Founding Fathers (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 50. Paul F. Boller, Jr., George Washington and Religion (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963), p. 69. Frank Donovan, Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration (New York: Dodd Mead & Co., 1968), p. 192. A. James Reichley, Religion in American Public Life (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institute, 1985), p. 99. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and The Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Media Book, 1987, 6th printing 1993), pp. 120-121. Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987), p. 108.

3.Footnote: Washington, George. Sunday, October 19, 1777, in a letter to Major-General Putnam. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. V, p. 105. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 100.

4.Footnote: Washington, George. Theodore G. Tappert and John W. Doberstern, trans. and ed., Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, The Notebook of a Colonial Clergyman (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975), p. 195. Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977), p. 323.

5.Footnote: Washington, George. May 2, 1778, orders issued to his troops at Valley Forge. George Washington, General Orders (Mount Vernon, VA: Archives of Mount Vernon). Henry Whiting, Revolutionary Orders of General Washington, selected from MSS. of John Whiting (1844), p. 74. Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution (1886), Vol. II, p. 140. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944), Vol. XI, p. 343. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 112. Norman Cousins, In God We Trust – The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the Founding Fathers (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 51. Peter Marshall & David Manuel, The Glory of America (Bloomington, MN: Garborg’s Heart ‘N Home, 1991), 9.5. D.P. Diffine, Ph.D., One Nation Under God – How Close a Separation? (Searcy, Arkansas: Harding University, Belden Center for Private Enterprise Education, 6th edition, 1992), p. 8.

6.Footnote: Washington, George. May 12, 1779, from his “Address to Delaware Chiefs Indian Chiefs,” John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources: 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, DC: Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1907), 1:64. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944), Vol. XV, p. 55. William Barclay Allen, ed., George Washington – A Collection (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, Liberty Fund, Inc., 7440 N. Shadeland, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250, 1988; based almost entirely on materials reproduced from The Writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799/John Clement Fitzpatrick, editor), pp. 132-133. Saxe Commins, ed., The Basic Writings of George Washington (NY: Random House, 1948), p. 356. Norman Cousins, In God We Trust – The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the American Founding Fathers (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 51. Paul F. Boller, Jr., George Washington and Religion (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963), p. 68. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Media Book, 1987, 6th printing 1993), p. 120. Gary DeMar, The Biblical Worldview (Atlanta, GA: An American Vision Publication – American Vision, Inc., 1992), Vol. 8, No. 12, p. 8. Gary DeMar, America’s Christian History: The Untold Story (Atlanta, GA: American Vision Publishers, Inc., 1993), p. 76. Stephen McDowell and Mark Beliles, “The Providential Perspective” (Charlottesville, VA: The Providence Foundation, P.O. Box 6759, Charlottesville, Va. 22906, January 1994), Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 8.

7.Footnote: Washington, George. June 8, 1783, original source of prayer is the concluding paragraph in Washington’s farewell circular letter sent to the governors of the thirteen states from his headquarters in Newburgh, New York. This version is used at Pohick Church, Fairfax County, Virginia, where Washington was a vestryman from 1762-1784. It also appears on a plaque in St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City. Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Publishers, Inc., 1987), pp. xi-xii. John F. Schroeder, ed., Maxims of Washington (Mt. Vernon: Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Associations, 1942), p. 299. Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987), pp. 108-109. George Otis, The Solution to the Crisis in America, Revised and Enlarged Edition (Van Nuys, CA.: Fleming H. Revell Company; Bible Voice, Inc., 1970, 1972, foreword by Pat Boone), p. 55.

8.Footnote: Washington, George. February 8, 1785, in a letter written from Mount Vernon to the President of the Continental Congress. William Barclay Allen, ed., George Washington – A Collection (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, Liberty Fund, Inc., 7440 N. Shadeland, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250, 1988; based almost entirely on materials reproduced from The Writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799/John Clement Fitzpatrick, editor), pp. 298-299. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944).

9. Footnote: Washington, George. August 15, 1787, in a letter written from Philadelphia to the Marquis de Lafayette. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. IX, p. 262. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 153-154.

10. Footnote: Washington, George. May 26, 1789, in a letter received from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Jedediah Morse, D.D., Biographical Sketch of General George Washington, December 31, 1799. William S. Baker, Character Portraits of Washington, 1887, p. 77. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 166-167. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Media Book, 1987, 6th printing 1993), pp. 121-122.

11.Footnote: Washington, George. 1789, in a letter to The General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in The United States. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. XII, p. 152. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 167-168. William Barclay Allen, ed., George Washington – A Collection (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, Liberty Fund, Inc., 7440 N. Shadeland, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250, 1988; based almost entirely on materials reproduced from The Writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799/John Clement Fitzpatrick, editor), p. 533. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944). Norman Cousins, In God We Trust – The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the Founding Fathers (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 59.

12.Footnote: Washington, George. In writing to the Directors of the Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. XII, p. 160. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 168-169. Paul F. Boller, Jr., George Washington and Religion (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963), pp. 163-194. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Media Book, 1987, 6th printing 1993), p. 121.

13. Footnote: Washington, George. August 19, 1789, in a letter to General Convention of Bishops, Clergy and the Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Norman Cousins, In God We Trust – The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the Founding Fathers (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 59. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. XII, pp. 162-163. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 169-171.

14. Footnote: Washington, George. October 20, 1792, in a letter written from Philadelphia to Sir Edward Newenham. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. X, p. 309. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 211.

15.Footnote: Washington, George. March 15, 1790, in addressing the Roman Catholic Churches in America. Paul F. Boller, Jr., George Washington and Religion (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963), pp. 163-194. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Media Book, 1987, 6th printing 1993), p. 121. William Barclay Allen, ed., George Washington – A Collection (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, Liberty Fund, Inc., 7440 N. Shadeland, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250, 1988; based almost entirely on materials reproduced from The Writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799/John Clement Fitzpatrick, editor), pp. 546-547. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944).

16.Footnote: Washington, George. In a letter of instruction to one of the overseers of his estate while serving his Presidential term in New York. Mrs. C.M. Kirkland, Memoirs of Washington (1857), p. 208. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 200-201.

17.Footnote: Washington, George. John Marshall, The Life of George Washington Abridged Edition, 2 vols. (1832; first edition in 5 vols. 1804-7), Vol. II, p. 445. (John Marshall was chosen by the Washington family to write the biography of George Washington.) William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 260. John F. Schroeder, ed., Maxims of Washington (Mt. Vernon: Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, 1942), p. 274. Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987), p. 102.

18.Footnote: Washington, George. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. I, p. 535. William H. McGuffey’s Eclectic Sixth Reader (NY: American Book Company, 1907, revised 1920), pp. 42-43. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 261.

19.Footnote: Washington, George. James Madison’s comments regarding Washington. Doctor Randolph H. McKim, New York Tribune (May 26, 1902), p. 7. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 257.

20.Footnote: Washington, George. Inscription at Mount Vernon. Charles Fadiman, ed., The American Treasury (NY: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1955), p. 477.

21.Footnote: Washington, George. July 11, 1802, inscription that his adopted son, George Washington Parke Custis, wrote in George Washington’s Bible at the occasion of its donation to the Pohick Church in Truro Parish.

22.Footnote: Washington, George. 1745, in some verses copied on “Christmas Day,” at thirteen years of age. W. Herbert Burk, Washington’s Prayers (1907), p. 12. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 21.

23. Footnote: Washington, George. 1747, 1748, 1751, 1760, serving as a godfather in baptismal ceremonies. John Stockton Littell, D.D., George Washington: Christian (1913), p. 7. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 21.

24.Footnote: Washington, George. October 25, 1762, in an entry in the vestry book of the Pohick Church in Truro Parish, Virginia. W.M. Clark, Colonial Churches (1907), p. 126. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 49.

25.Footnote: Washington, George. February 15, 1763, in the records of the Fairfax County Court. W.M. Clark, Colonial Churches (1907), p. 126. (Washington’s position as a vestryman was again recorded on a leaf from the Pohick Church record, August 19, 1765; manuscripts in the library of the New York Historical Society. Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution, 2 vols. (1860), Vol. II, p. 215). William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 49-50.

26. Footnote: Washington, George. Paul F. Boller, Jr., George Washington & Religion (Dallas: Southern Methodist University, 1963), p. 27. A. James Reichley, Religion in American Public Life (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1985), p. 94. Pat Robertson, America’s Dates With Destiny (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986), p. 108.

27. Footnote: Washington, George. 1768-1774, attendance at various Church and Vestry meetings recorded in his diary. W.M. Clark, Colonial Churches (1907), pp. 121-126. Rev. Randolph H. McKim, D.D., Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Washington, D.C., New York Tribune (May 26, 1902), p. 7. E.C. M’guire, The Religious Opinions and Character of Washington (1836), p. 143. (E.C. M’Guire was the son-in-law of Mr. Robert Lewis, Washington’s nephew and private secretary.) William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 51-57, 66-67.

28. Footnote: Washington, George. June 19, 1773, at the death of his stepdaughter, Martha “Miss Patsey” Custis. Paul Leicester Ford, The True George Washington (1903), p. 29. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), pp. 60-61.

29.Footnote: Washington, George. June 1, 1774, in a Day of Fasting and Prayer issued by the Colonies, following the Committee of Correspondence report of the passage of the Boston Port Bill. Verna M. Hall and Rosalie J. Slater, The Bible and the Constitution of the United States of America (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1983), p. 31.

30.Footnote: Washington, George. June 1, 1774, in an entry in his diary. E.C. M’guire, The Religious Opinions and Character of Washington (1836), p. 142. (E.C. M’Guire was the son-in-law of Mr. Robert Lewis, Washington’s nephew and private secretary.) William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 62. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and The Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Baker Book House, 1987), p. 136.

31.Footnote: Lincoln, Abraham. November 15, 1862, from his Executive Mansion in Washington, D.C., issued a General Order Respecting the Observance of the Sabbath Day in the Army and Navy. James D. Richardson (U.S. Representative from Tennessee), ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, published by Authority of Congress, 1897, 1899; Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1789-1902, 11 vols., 1907, 1910), Vol. VI, p. 125. [see General George Washington’s July 9, 1776, order issued to the army in response to the reading of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. III, p. 456. Writings of George Washington, (Sparks ed.), Vol. XII, p. 401, citing Orderly Book; also orders of August 3, 1776, in ibid., IV, 28 n. William J. Johnson, George Washington – The Christian (St. Paul, MN: William J. Johnson, Merriam Park, February 23, 1919; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1976; reprinted Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 502 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois, 60004, 1992), p. 83. John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944), Vol. V, p. 245. William Barclay Allen, ed., George Washington – A Collection (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, Liberty Fund, Inc., 7440 N. Shadeland, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250, 1988; based almost entirely on materials reproduced from The Writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799/John Clement Fitzpatrick, editor), p. 73. John F. Schroeder, ed., Maxims of Washington (Mt. Vernon: Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, 1942), p. 299. Saxe Commins, ed., The Basic Writings of George Washington (NY: Random House, 1948), p. 236. Anson Phelps Stokes and Leo Pfeffer, Church and State in the United States (NY: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1950, revised one-volume edition, 1964), p. 35. Norman Cousins, In God We Trust – The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the Founding Fathers (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 50. Paul F. Boller, Jr., George Washington and Religion (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963), p. 69. Frank Donovan, Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration (New York: Dodd Mead & Co., 1968), p. 192. A. James Reichley, Religion in American Public Life (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institute, 1985), p. 99. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and The Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Media Book, 1987, 6th printing 1993), pp. 120-121. Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987), p. 108.

Was George Washington a Christian?

By Reverend Peter Marshall

Much of the decades-old cultural battle over whether America was founded as a Christian nation has centered on the question of the Founding Fathers’ Christian faith – or lack of it. Were the men that we have come to call Founding Fathers Christians? And, because the best-known Founding Father is George Washington, much of the controversy about them has focused on him: Was George Washington a Christian?

The accusation that Washington and the rest of the Founding Fathers were Deists, and not believing Christians, has been endlessly repeated by academics and historians to the point that it has become an accepted article of faith about American history – akin to the “of course” status awarded to the doctrine of Darwinian evolution. Except that it simply isn’t true. The historical evidence, when it is carefully and properly examined, will not allow the label of Deist to be pinned on the huge majority of the Founding Fathers.

The reason all this matters is that the secularists would love to prove that the Christian faith did not influence the Founding Fathers during the time of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, and the establishment of our Constitution. This is a hugely important element of their campaign to try and convince modern Americans that our nation was not founded on the Christian faith.

I am writing on this subject today because I have been spending the entire winter working on a major revision and updated version of our first book, The Light and the Glory. The publisher has wanted a second edition of the book for some time, and it now looks as if that will become a reality by the spring of 2009. In the course of adding sizeable chunks of material I have been doing quite a bit of new research into the life of George Washington, and particularly the issue that furnishes the title for this commentary – was he a Christian?

I thought it might be of interest to my readers to share a bit of what is involved in the kind of research and writing I do on the subject of God’s hand in American history.

When researching the question of George Washington’s Christian faith, the first issue that emerges is whether or not he was a Deist. What was a Deist? Noah Webster (who was an evangelical Christian believer) defined a Deist in his original 1828 American dictionary as “one who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion; one who professes no form of religion, but follows the light of nature and reason, as his only guides in doctrine and practice; a freethinker.” Deists emphatically rejected the divinity of Jesus Christ, the authority and inspiration of Holy Scripture, and the personal nature of God, among other things. They believed that God created the world but then ignored it, and was never involved in human affairs. In 1963 Paul Boller, Jr. published a major work entitled George Washington & Religion in which he accused our first President of being a Deist. But, does this fit what we can discover about George Washington? Hardly!

George Washington was a low-Church Virginia Anglican, who subscribed in all points to orthodox Christian doctrines. His mother, Mary Ball Washington, was a devout Christian who taught her son by example and word the importance and efficacy of prayer. In our 1977 work, The Light and the Glory, David Manuel and I quoted some prayers supposedly written by Washington in his own handwriting which were titled “Daily Sacrifice.” They had turned up in Philadelphia in 1891 among some items offered for auction by descendants of Washington. These prayers were couched in orthodox Christian language – for example, “Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb” – and were made up of whole sentences from the original Anglican prayer book. We had used these as proof of Washington’s Christianity, since Deists didn’t believe in the blood atonement of Christ. However, these prayers will not be in the new edition of The Light and the Glory, because Peter A. Lillback, in his recent magnificent study of Washington’s spirituality, entitled Sacred Fire, quotes historian Rupert Hughes’s point that the tone of these prayers is quite contrary to Washington’s writing style, “as foreign as if they were written in Greek. There is not a misspelled word, not a touch of incorrect grammar, not a capitalized noun or other emphatic word except the titles of the deity.” (This is unlike Washington in every respect). Of greatest importance is the fact that the handwriting doesn’t match Washington’s. Rupert gives the details, saying “The impossibility of the work being in Washington’s hand should be apparent to the most casual comparison.”

But the fact that George Washington didn’t write these prayers has no bearing on the question of whether he was a man of prayer. He was. Lillback has counted more that one hundred written prayers from his public and private letters! It is true that some of the public prayers were composed by aides, but Washington would never have signed them unless he agreed with their sentiments. Further, they express Christian beliefs.

By the way, never once, in all of his voluminous writings, did George Washington ever use the words Deist or Deism.

During the five years of the War for Independence the Continental Congress issued at least sixteen separate calls for days of prayer and humiliation or thanksgiving, depending on how the war was going. (There were more of the former than the latter!) And they were explicit in their Christian doctrine. The one dated November 27, 1779 includes “our gracious redeemer,” the “light of the gospel,” “the light of Christian knowledge,” and the “Holy Spirit.” None of these phrases would have been used by Deists, yet this language was employed by the supposedly Deist Founding Fathers of the Continental Congress! As a matter of fact, Deists never saw any value in prayer, since they believed that God was impersonal and uninvolved with His creation anyway. Washington happily signed these and passed them on to the army’s chaplains to be put into practice.

When aide Alexander Hamilton drafted a letter for Washington’s signature to the Comte de Rochambeau on February 26, 1781, he wrote: “This repetition of advices justifies a confidence in their truth” to which the General added “which I pray God may be confirmed in its greatest extent.”

One fairly reliable testimony to Washington’s prayer life comes from a letter from a General Lewis of Augusta County, Virginia, dated December 14, 1855, relating a conversation with former Continental Army General Robert Porterfield shortly before his death. In recounting some of his experiences during the New Jersey campaign and the army’s crucible of suffering at Valley Forge, he had said that his duties as a brigade-inspector brought him in frequent contact with General Washington. In an emergency he had once gone directly to Washington’s lodgings and found him on his knees in prayer. When he mentioned this to Alexander Hamilton, the General’s aide replied that “such was his constant habit.”

In E.C. M’Guire’s early 1800’s biography of Washington, when some of his sources were still alive, he quotes the recollections of a Colonel B. Temple, an aide to Washington during the French and Indian War. Temple said that in the absence of a chaplain Washington would read the Scriptures to his troops and lead in prayer. He also said that “on sudden and unexpected visits into his (Washington’s) marquee, he has, more than once, found him on his knees at his devotions.”

To me, one of the strongest pieces of evidence of George Washington’s Christianity is his extensive knowledge of the Bible and his frequent use of Biblical phrases. Again, Deists had no use for the Bible – they rejected its authority. In a personal letter to the Marquis de Lafayette (whom Washington loved as a son) he makes seven separate references to Biblical passages. This was pure Washington – no aide wrote this. In another letter, this one to the Hebrew congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, he employs nine Biblical allusions.

According to Lillback’s count, throughout Washington’s writings he uses over 200 different Biblical phrases of passages or allusions to Biblical passages. Some of them he quoted often, such as his favorite Bible verse, Micah 4:4: “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”

He referred to the Bible as only a Christian would – as the Word of God. In April 1789 he said: “The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institutions may be abused by human depravity…” (Note that Deists rejected the doctrine of human depravity!)

In one of his most famous letters, his Circular to the States, written after the end of the War for Independence, he listed several developments that had blessed America, and then he wrote: “and above all, the pure and benign light of Revelation (emphasis mine), have had ameliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of society.” (Remember that Deists didn’t believe in revelation).

Boller smugly writes that “there are astonishingly few references to the Bible in (Washington’s) letters and public statements.” But in an appendix Lillback lists about two hundred! As he points out, perhaps Boller expected Washington to write down the Biblical chapter and verse, or perhaps Boller simply didn’t know his Bible well enough to spot Biblical references when Washington used them. I suspect the latter. This kind of claim from Boller shows you what we have normally been up against in academic circles.

When Washington took the oath of office as our first President, he revealed his reverence for the Bible by kissing it. And, he added to the oath at the end, “So help me God,” establishing a precedent which every subsequent President has, of course, followed.

Tobias Lear, President Washington’s secretary notes: “While President, Washington followed an invariable routine on Sundays. The day was passed very quietly, no company being invited to the house. After breakfast, the President read aloud a chapter from the Bible, then the whole family attended church together.” In the afternoon Washington tended to his personal correspondence, “while Mrs. Washington frequently went to church again, often taking the children with her. In the evening, Lear read aloud to the family some sermon or extracts from a book of a religious nature and everyone went to bed at an early hour.”

Was George Washington a Christian? – Part Two

…The issue of Washington’s Christianity is pivotal in the current moral and spiritual civil war for our nation’s soul, for if these secularists can make a convincing case that the Founding Fathers were not Christians it would be a huge boost for their campaign to undermine the Biblical foundations of America.

Last week, to define Deist for my readers I quoted Noah Webster’s original 1828 American dictionary: “one who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion.” I added that the Deists emphatically rejected the divinity of Jesus Christ, the authority and inspiration of Holy Scripture, and the personal nature of God, among other things. They believed that God created the world but then wandered off and ignored it, and has never been heard from since.

In examining carefully the voluminous research that objective historians have done on our first President, his spiritual life and character, and in doing my own research into his letters and speeches, I can say that there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that George Washington was not a Deist. He was not even close to being a Deist.

Washington was a thoroughly Christian, low-Church Virginia Anglican, who subscribed in all points to orthodox New Testament doctrine.

Last week we took up several important proofs of Washington’s Christianity: First, I shared some of the evidence that he was man of prayer, and pointed out that most Deists never bothered with prayer. They didn’t think God cared, and besides, since they didn’t believe in sin, there was nothing to pray about, anyway! Second, I made the important point that Washington was quite familiar with his Bible. In Peter Lillback’s magnificent book on Washington’s Christian faith, Sacred Fire, he has listed in an appendix over 200 different Biblical phrases or passages, or allusions to Biblical passages. Many of these Washington used over and over in his letters and speeches. It is really quite remarkable how often Biblical passages or incidents cropped up in his thinking and writing. This man knew the Word of God.

And he reverenced it, as well. Last week, I quoted from his famous Circular to the States, written to the thirteen State Governors right after the end of the War for Independence. In that letter, he listed several developments that had blessed America, and then he wrote: “and above all, the pure and benign light of Revelation (emphasis mine), have had ameliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of society.” The word “Revelation” back then generally referred to the Bible, and more specifically to the Gospel of Christ revealed in the New Testament. Notice that he capitalized it, which though standard usage at that time, reveals his acceptance of the inspiration of Holy Scripture. And remember, Deists didn’t believe in revelation, because they didn’t think that God revealed anything about himself.

Let’s look at the secularists’ claim that the Father of our country never used the names “God” or “Jesus” – which to them is evidence of his supposed Deism. For example, in 1926 historian Rupert Hughes wrote that, “there is no direct allusion to Christ, and the word Christ has been found in none of Washington’s almost countless autographs.”

This is sloppy history writing. Mr. Hughes didn’t do his homework! In 1779, some Delaware Indian chiefs came to General George Washington’s encampment, bringing three of their sons that they wanted the whites to educate. In his prepared speech the General said to them: “You do well to wish to learn our arts and our way of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ (emphasis mine). These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.” That’s putting it rather bluntly! No Deist would have been caught dead telling anyone that the most important thing they could learn was the religion of Jesus Christ. They simply didn’t believe it.

Granted, Washington hardly ever used the name of Jesus, either in speech or in writing, and he only referred to God by name about one hundred times. But, does this make him a Deist? Hardly. What it makes him is a typical devout 18th Century Virginia Anglican. In Washington’s time Anglicans were very reticent about using the names of Jesus or God. As odd as it sounds to our modern ears, they were very concerned not to profane the sacred names by casual reference to them. Of course, because the Nicene Creed was regularly recited by Washington in the Anglican worship service on Sundays, he would have often professed the names of Jesus and God out loud. But that was sacred usage, with which he would have been totally comfortable.

Martha Washington, who was a very strong Christian believer herself, almost always used indirect and honorific titles in place of the names of Jesus and God. Also, in Washington’s personal sermon collection, there is a July 4, 1793 anniversary message from a Presbyterian minister named Samuel Miller who refers to God as: “the supreme Arbiter of nations,” “the grand Source,” “the Deity himself,” “the Sovereign Dispenser of all blessings,” “the Governor of the universe,” and so forth. Mr. Miller was certainly no Deist. So, this was common practice at the time, even for ministers of the Gospel.

An interesting point is that the Deists were much more inclined to use the names of Jesus and God, precisely because of their lack of reverence. Thomas Paine, whom Lillback calls a “soft” Deist, used the name of God often, although he also used “Creator,” and “Almighty.”

Profaning the holy names of Jesus and God, especially in cursing, was something that George Washington hated. In a General Order to his soldiers dated July 29, 1779, he deplored the fact that in spite of the “many and pointed orders (that) have been issued against that unmeaning and abominable custom of swearing…with much regret the General observes that it prevails, if possible, more than ever; his feelings are continually wounded by the oaths and imprecations of the soldiers whenever he is in hearing of them. The Name of that Being…is incessantly…profaned in a manner as wanton as it is shocking.” He goes on to say that he hopes that “for the sake of religion, decency and order” the officers will put a stop to it. Note that he is personally hurt by the swearing – obviously because of what the name of God means to him. And, in an order meant to stop the profane use of God’s name, he refers to God indirectly, not wanting to use the name himself.

Other typical examples of Washington’s use of indirect titles for Jesus include “our gracious Redeemer” and the “Divine author of our blessed religion.” No Deist would ever use those titles! Among his many indirect titles for God (about 95 of them!) we find “the Lord, and giver of victory”; the “Giver of Life”; the “Judge of the hearts of men”; the “great Lord and Ruler of nations”; and his favorite – “Providence,” with a capital “P.” He used this one over 270 times!

There are other minor, but nonetheless significant refutations of George Washington’s supposed Deism. For example, he was a faithful vestryman (lay leader) in the Truro Parish of northern Virginia in the years prior to the War for Independence. In the eleven years of his active service, he attended 23 of the 31 meetings. Of the eight meetings he missed, he was sick once, at the House of Burgesses meetings twice, out of the county three times for sure, and possibly the other two as well. Washington took his vestry responsibilities very seriously. In order to be a vestryman, one had to affirm the creeds of the Anglican Church, and they were most definitely orthodox Christian! Also, at different times he was asked to be a godfather for a total of eight children, which also required one to publicly affirm the creeds of the Church in a service. Washington did this cheerfully. But when Thomas Jefferson was asked to do the same thing, he declined the honor, because he could not honestly affirm the doctrines of the Anglican Church!

What about the secularists’ accusations that George Washington hardly ever attended church, and refused to take Holy Communion when he did? Do they have a case here? Not really.

Before the War for Independence, the Washington family probably attended church on the average of about once a month. That doesn’t sound like much of a commitment to public worship for a Christian believer, but one has to take into account the fact that they had to travel about nine miles over wilderness roads to get to the Pohick Church – the nearest Anglican church to Mount Vernon. Not only was the church unheated, but because it was a rural parish, the minister himself would only show up about once a month, if there was one available.

During the war, the General was insistent on his soldiers attending divine services. His first General Order, when he took command of the Continental Army, dated July 4, 1775 states: “The General most earnestly requires, and expects, a due observance of those articles of war, established for the Government of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swearing and drunkenness (the first of a number of orders he would issue concerning this); And in like manner requires and expects, of all Officers, and Soldiers, not engaged on actual duty, a punctual attendance on divine Service (emphasis mine), to implore the blessings of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense”.

When there was no church service in the camp, he was not always able to get to church himself, but apparently he made efforts to do so. Biographer E.C. M’Guire reported that “one of his secretaries, Judge Harrison, has often been heard to say, that ‘whenever the General could be spared from camp, on the Sabbath, he never failed riding out to some neighboring church, to join those who were publicly worshipping the Great Creator.’ ” I

noted in last week’s commentary the evidence that George and Martha Washington often attended church together during his Presidency. For about a year after his retirement back to Mount Vernon, the Washingtons apparently didn’t attend church services. Why, we don’t know. Then they resumed, shifting their churchgoing to Christ Church, Alexandria, which by this time was having weekly services.

Washington always observed the Sabbath – he never worked on Sunday, except for personal letter writing. He always gave his staff, his servants, and his soldiers the day off to attend church. He would not fox hunt on Sundays, though he sometimes traveled to fox hunts on Sundays. If the family didn’t go to church, Washington would lead in devotions and read aloud one of the sermons that he had collected.

The testimony of Nelly Custis, the Washington’s adopted granddaughter, in regard to their church attendance is interesting. “He (Washington) attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles. In New York and Philadelphia (when he was President) he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition… No one in church attended to the service 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.”

The accusations that George Washington never took Holy Communion have been common, and began to be leveled not many years after his death. It has become a significant part of the controversy over Washington’s religious belief and practice. In response, let me point out that the custom in colonial Virginia was to only offer the Sacrament at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide (Pentecost Sunday), so many Anglicans only received it once a year. In addition, as Bishop William Meade pointed out, “there was a mistaken notion, too prevalent both in England and America, that it was not so necessary in the professors of religion to communicate (receive Communion) at all times, but that in this respect persons might be regulated by their feelings… Into this error of opinion and practice General Washington may have fallen…” Support for this theory is afforded by Nelly Custis, who wrote of her childhood at Mount Vernon: “On Communion Sundays he (Washington) left the church with me, after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back for my grandmother” (Martha Washington). Since at that time the Communion services were as long as the service they had just attended, it was not unusual for two-thirds of the congregation to leave before the Communion service began. Washington’s practice, though regrettable, was common for believers in his day.

There are several testimonies of those who observed him take Holy Communion during the war. General S.H. Lewis of Augusta County, Virginia, in a letter dated December 14, 1855 quoted General Robert Porterfield as saying that “he had known General Washington personally for many years… I saw him myself on his knees receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.” There is also a story that Washington took Communion in the Presbyterian Church while the Continental Army was at Morristown, New Jersey for the winter of 1778-79. Dr. James Richards, who followed Rev. Timothy Johnes, the pastor when Washington was in Morristown, noted that “the report that Washington did actually receive the communion from the hands of Dr. Johnes was universally current during that period, and so far as I know, never contradicted. I have often heard it from the members of Dr. Johnes’ family, while they added that a note was addressed by Washington to their father, requesting the privilege…”

Lastly, there is what I believe is a very credible story from the pen of the Rev. Alexander Hamilton, Mrs. Alexander Hamilton’s great-grandson. In 1854, the Hamilton family held a reunion in New York City. Mrs. Hamilton, a young woman of thirty-one, was Continental Army General Phillip Schuyler’s daughter. She took her great-grandson, who was only seven at the time, to see St. Paul’s Church, along with other family members. She told him that she had been present in the church on George Washington’s inauguration day in 1789, when he had received Holy Communion. She made it clear to him that she wanted him to know that she had personally witnessed Washington receiving the Sacrament, so he could tell others. Rev. Hamilton recollected that her words were: “If anyone ever tells you that George Washington was not a communicantof the Church, you say that your great-grandmother told you to say that she had knelt at this chancel rail at his side and received with him the Holy Communion.”

There are more points that I could make on the issue of whether George Washington was a Christian, for if one is willing to do the research into his life the evidence is there to be discovered. However, the proof of Washington’s Christianity is not easily discovered, because he was an intensely private person. Historian Benson Lossing writes: “It was a peculiar trait of his character to avoid everything, either in speech or in writing, that had a personal relation to him.” Many years after Washington’s death, Bishop William White, who knew him personally, wrote: “I knew no man who so carefully guarded against the discoursing of himself, or of his acts, or of any thing that pertained to him.” He added: “His ordinary behavior, although exceptionally courteous, was not such as to encourage obtrusion on what he had on his mind.”

But, suffice it to say in sum that there is plenty of conclusive proof that George Washington was a Biblically literate, Trinitarian and orthodox Anglican Christian believer. A man of prayer, and a firm believer in the providential sovereignty of God, he was unafraid to publicly and frequently acknowledge his gratitude for the “signal instances of providential Goodness which we have experienced.” May we follow his example!

51 responses to “Answering the Charge That George Washington was a Deist

  1. EasyE

    Romans 13:1: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resist authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

  2. Hello I Cindy was a professing christian I do see much more life and less separation than in Deity.
    As the point saying GW was a Christian not a Deist why separate, as I see now God is for ALL. Why this is even written should not matter. to a Deist or Christian if God is God why try to prove anything.
    Deist has helped me to see the religious philosophy I lived with was outright wrong.

  3. I suppose that all the slaves he owned appreciated his Christian spirit as well.

  4. The follow prayer is false, not one of Washington’s:

    “Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field. And finally that Thou wilt 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 were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    The only time GW was ever recorded uttering the words “Jesus Christ” was in his address to the Delaware Indians, where he point-by-point restated what they requested; i.e., they wished to learn about the religion of Jesus Christ, and he supposedly replied with his admonition that the Indians learn the religion of “Jesus Christ.” At other times when speaking to unconverted Indians who had no desire to convert he used their term “the Great Spirit” for God, suggesting their pagan religion was in his eyes a valid path to God.

    And GW was not in communion with the Anglican/Episcopal Church. He systematically avoided the Lord’s Supper in those churches leading his own minster, Dr. Abercrombie, to term him a “Deist” or otherwise not a “real Christian.”

    GW may not have been a Deist, but neither was he a “Christian” as this site articulates that term.

  5. invar

    William J. Federer’s mountains of sources, facts and quotes of Washington’s Christianity trump your own personal opinion.

  6. Note I said “supposedly replied” because the address given in Washington’s name was not signed in his hand. In none of GW’s private letters does either the name or the person of Jesus Christ appear. Yet he used generic terms like “Providence” hundreds of times.

    GW supported “Christianity” because he supported “religion” in general. To be Christian in GW’s eyes, meant, to be good and moral. No convincing evidence shows he believed in the fundamentalists (i.e., the Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Original Sin, infallibility of the Bible). There were folks like Muhlenberg who expressed wishful thinking that GW was a “real Christian,” but had no real evidence from his own mouth to back it up. I can marshall just as many quotations from for instance, Thomas Jefferson, or the Rev. Samuel Miller, that GW’s silence on these matters shows he wasn’t a “real Christian” in the orthodox Trinitarian sense of the term.

    Even the following quotation of James Madison’s:

    “Washington was constant in the observance of worship, according to the received forms of the Episcopal Church.”19

    is taken out of context. If you read the rest you’d see Madison admitting that on doctrinal matters (i.e., the Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Original Sin, Infallibility of the Bible, etc.) Washington seemed agnostic.

  7. It’s not my opinion, if you check out my resources you’ll see I answer everything put forth by the likes of Federer et al.

    Most real historians — folks with actual PhDs in history (unlike Barton or Federer) who have done their homework support my assessment.

  8. Yikes this must have been a Freudian slip. It should have read, “No convincing evidence shows he believed in the fundamentals” of Christianity.

    Much of this relates to what it means to be a Christian. Is anyone who calls himself a “Christian,” one? What about someone who denies the Trinity? Eternal damnation? It’s likely that GW disbelieved in eternal damnation, thought that good people merited Heaven by works, the bad temporarily punished, eventually redeemed. In the following post, I find a primary source where GW praises a Universalist Church (i.e., that denied eternal damnation) as a valid religion, or at least one that supported republican government.

    http://www.positiveliberty.com/2007/08/george-washington-praised-infidel-church.html

  9. Anonymous

    I believe that GW was a devout christian by what all the letters he and others wrote. Obviously he was smart enough on what he wrote not to offend anyone but to also get what he wanted across. Washington is defidently a christian man and stated that with his writings.

  10. There is little explicitly “Christian” content in GW’s writings. In his personal letters he never mentions Jesus by name or example as though he has no personal relationship with Him.

    Only in two public addresses — the one to the Delaware Indians and the Circular to the States — does GW mention Christ, only once by name and the other by example. And neither of those addresses was written in GW’s hand, but they were signed by him.

    The historial record clearly shows GW believed in “Providence” it does NOT show him to be a devout orthodox Trinitarian Christian.

  11. Also keep in mind that historians have proven the following prayer to be spurious.

    Washington’s Prayer for the United States of America appears on a plaque in St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City and at Pohick Church, Fairfax County, Virginia, where Washington was a vestryman, 1762-84:

    “Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field. And finally that Thou wilt 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 were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”7

    These were not Washington’s words but someone else’s writings.

  12. Tyler June ( Anonymous )

    You can believe what you want to believe about GW but if you are trying so hard to disagree with a president of ours having righteous morales and leading this country in the right way at a difficult time then i would have to question what you believe in. The Lord Jesus Christ has done so much in my life and he is the only way to have eternal life. There is no other way. I was born with only one kidney and i was born with stomach and esophagus problems. My esophagus did not reach my stomach and the doctor told my parents that i was going to die. With prayer and the healing power of Jesus Christ I am still alive. In the Bible it says lay hands on the sick in the name of Jesus and they will be healed and that is what my family did. I also had a kidney problem and I followed what the Bible says by laying hands on the sick and I did it. I believed I was completely healed and had faith about it. I went to get an x-ray a couple weeks later and by Jesus Christ there was a brand new kidney there!!! I remind you I was born with only one kidney and the lord healed me miracuouslly!!! Alot of people say that its hard to believe but i don’t lie and this is something you don’t lie about. That is why when I hear that a president of ours claimed to be a christian its absolutely awesome. The lord is savior of my life and is the one and only way to be saved from your sins. Hell is a real place and it says in the Bible that there is no escape once there. That is why Jesus died on the cross to save us. I truly believe in my heart that GW was a christian man and my mindset won’t change. GW laid a foundation of what this country should be like and what kind of leader we should have. Our country has kind of fallen away but I believe if we pray for our country and leaders it can be turned around.

  13. “You can believe what you want to believe about GW…I truly believe in my heart that GW was a christian man and my mindset won’t change.”

    You pretty much admitted that evidence won’t change your mind. I reach my conclusions only after exhaustively pouring through the historical record. And I never said GW didn’t appear to be a man of great moral leadership. But as I understand the Christian religion; it’s not about being moral or honorable, but rather about believing in certain doctrines like Christ’s Atonement. And the record does not show that GW was an orthodox Trinitarian Christian in this regard. GW never testified to the personal relationship with Jesus as you just have.

  14. invar

    So what is your point and purpose then to come onto a site that is explicitly Christian and honors the Christian culture and heritage that served this Republic for it’s betterment?

    If it’s to insist that Christianity had no role in our Foundation or in it’s blessings of liberty, then I daresay sir, this is not a blog for you.

    Because I tell you now that my own studies, research and those of Federer and Barton trump those of the secular elitist snobs with worthless Phd’s that you so value.

    Because for all the silly and ridiculous argumentations the Secularists and Atheists make in slandering our Founders’ in the continuing efforts of historical rewrite to make this nation into something it was never intended, they have not a shred of wisdom.

    Just the vain imaginings of men who think themselves gods in their own minds.

    And that stuff gets cut down quick here.

  15. Tyler June

    I was wondering if Jesus is Lord and Savior of your life. If not it is easy to get saved. But being saved is not a cake walk. You have to live your life for the lord and you have to watch what you do and say because people are always watching you even when you think they aren’t. When I turned my life to Jesus it was the best thing that ever happened to me!! When turning your life to the lord you have to be baptized in water soon after as well. In Acts 2:38 in the Bible it says repent and let everyone of you be baptized in Jesus name for the remission of sins. Christianity calls for self dicsipline as well. When you get saved you cant keep doing the same sinful stuff you did when you weren’t saved. If you aren’t saved and are interested in being saved which I highly recommend, let me know and I will get you some scriptures and I will be able to help you out. The question I always ask myself is if I died today would my soul be right with the Lord or would I not be able to go to heaven. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Live your life right today. Thats what I always try to do. Everone does make mistakes but Jesus is there to forgive us. That is why he died on that cross. It was to heal the sick( which he did with me!!!) and save the lost.

  16. Tyler June

    I also truly believe that thiscountry was founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is what this country needs now more than ever. I am very patriotic and will never bash my own country but Jesus is what we need.

  17. Invar,

    My purpose here is the “get to the bottom” of things and promote historical TRUTH, not to promote any kind of agenda. I’m not an atheist and don’t consider myself part of the secular left or the religious right and in fact have written for national print publications that are not at all “secularist” or “leftist.” Scroll down to the 4th review; it’s mine. And I’m generally considered an expert on this issue on the blogsphere:

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8013.html

    There are lots of great scholars sympathetic to your side including James H. Hutson (whose book I reviewed for First Things) Daniel Dreisbach, Philip Hamburger, Phillip Munoz, Gary Scott Smith.

    Barton and Federer are NOT on the that list. Their research trumps nothing. They are pseudo-scholars and hacks.

    BTW: I think I’ve cautioned you before on this, watch your use of the possessive for “its.” “It’s” is always a contraction like “it is.”

  18. Tyler,

    I am not an orthodox Christian or a “born-again” Christian; but let me caution you that you do YOUR religion a disservice if you conflate Christianity with Americanism. The principles of American civil government most certainly were NOT “founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ,” and when you try to make something authentically Christian that is not, you just bring down your own religion.

    It’s like Invar trumpeting Ben Franklin’s “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” It sounds nice but is hardly biblical. Romans 13 seems to say the opposite. And in Ancient Egypt, God, the story goes, liberated his people not to give them political liberty, but to burden them with the yoke of the law of Moses which is one of the most politically unfree codes that one can image.

    Delete or ignore me if you’d like, but you’ll have a hard time cutting me down.

  19. invar

    It’s like Invar trumpeting Ben Franklin’s “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” It sounds nice but is hardly biblical. Romans 13 seems to say the opposite.

    If that same argument of the Quakers was upheld by the Christian colonists who wrestled with that question, then we would still remain to this day, a province of the Crown.

    But you see, the Colonists did not play Bible-bingo. They took the rest of scripture into consideration and recognized the fact that resisting tyranny when Christ granted them liberty was a duty and subjecting themselves to the tyranny of men was breaking the First Commandment.

    The cry and slogan “No king but Jesus!” had meaning in the days just prior to the Revolution.

    And in Ancient Egypt, God, the story goes, liberated his people not to give them political liberty, but to burden them with the yoke of the law of Moses which is one of the most politically unfree codes that one can image.

    Well, it’s clear you posess no true wisdom except your own self-reasoning and the folly of men. Making yourself wise in your own eyes, you make yourself a fool and trade the glory of God for the corruption of men.

    Jefferson had the Hebrews in mind when penning the Declaration of Independence.

    Delete or ignore me if you’d like, but you’ll have a hard time cutting me down.

    You go ahead and think that.

    Pride always goeth before the fall, and I possess a weapon far sharper than the wisdom and reasoning of men.

  20. But you see, the Colonists did not play Bible-bingo. They took the rest of scripture into consideration and recognized the fact that resisting tyranny when Christ granted them liberty was a duty and subjecting themselves to the tyranny of men was breaking the First Commandment.

    The Bible teaches the liberty Christ granted was freedom from sin not political liberty. Paul teaches one could be a chattel slave (as in “slaves obey your masters”) and still totally “free” in Christ. There is no biblical admonition to resist tyranny, but the opposite in Romans 13. You are whoring the Christian religion to suit your political purposes.

    Well, it’s clear you posess [sic] no true wisdom except your own self-reasoning and the folly of men.

    In case you haven’t noticed, or if anyone else is reading this: You aren’t countering with God’s Word, but your own reasoning, which is leading you to explain away God’s word like Romans 13. That American Revolution might have been sinful doesn’t trump the Bible’s dictates.

    The point about the Ancient Jews first made not by me but by a conservative Catholic, and Republican NEH scholar. He’s a much more learned, and apparently mature Christian than you. You should read his book on the matter. Here he is featured on I guess what you might consider a “secular leftist” website:

    http://www.marshillaudio.org/resources/guest_detail.asp?ID=315

  21. And by the way, if you can show me where Jefferson said he “had the Hebrews in mind when penning the Declaration of Independence” I’ll give you a million dollars. Jefferson listed the ideological sources for the Declaration and they were “Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c. …” not the Bible or the Hebrews.

    http://www.ashbrook.org/constitution/henry_lee.html

  22. invar

    The Bible teaches the liberty Christ granted was freedom from sin not political liberty.

    Wrong. This is why intellectuals like yourself, who are so proud of your academic acumen, are fools in God’s sight.

    Christ did not grant us freedom from sin. Christ granted us the freedom from the PENALTY of sin upon repentance, the penalty of sin being death.

    Sin, if you had not noticed – is still very much with us. If Christ set us free from Sin itself, Christians would be perfect people. Alas, we are not. We are free from the penalty of sin, and through Christ we can be free from the bondage of sin. But we are not free from sin itself.

    Americans should be suspect of your estimations sir, given the fact of your unscriptural application illustrated above. One would be in his right to estimate that the application of the study of our American Christian heritage and history is as erroneous as your proper application of scripture.

    Paul teaches one could be a chattel slave (as in “slaves obey your masters” and still totally “free” in Christ. There is no biblical admonition to resist tyranny, but the opposite in Romans 13. You are whoring the Christian religion to suit your political purposes.

    Rubbish and rot. Same arguments the Quakers and Pacifists made against seeking Independence from Britian, using the same scripture to justify their position of submitting to tyranny.

    Thankfully the Colonists and Founders understood that it is the ENTIRETY of scripture to consider, and not just one verse to make up an entire position or doctrine.

    Galatians 5:1 specifically states: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery”. This applies to both the spiritual and physical realm; both the slavery of sin, and the slavery of submission to men of sin and tyranny.

    The principle is applied in both Old and New Testaments. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were slaves and defied the orders of King Nebuchadnezzar himself in Daniel 3. Had they applied Romans 13 to their plight, they would be breaking God’s Commandment of having ‘No other gods before Me’.

    Unlike the Christians Paul was addressing in Rome, Americans were not born into oppressive slavery. Since the 1600′s, Americans were granted by Providence the freedom to live and worship God as He led them, without the persecution and leave of a monarch or tyranny of men. The Colonists understood God’s own Word in 2 Samuel 23:3 that “He who rules over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God”

    As soon as rulers no longer rule in fear of God, and set themselves above the law, and God, we have no religious obligation to submit to such tyranny – but to resist and oppose it as a solemn duty no different than God expects us resist Satan and oppose sin being imposed upon us.

    That American Revolution might have been sinful doesn’t trump the Bible’s dictates.

    If it was “sinful” as you suggest – then God would NEVER have blessed this nation as He has, and we would NEVER have become the nation we are today. God does not reward sin. Sin might prosper for a short season, but it does not endure – and a nation calling themselves God’s people would not have been blessed with Independence and ultimately Superpowerdom if this nation’s own foundations were rooted in sinfulness.

    And by the way, if you can show me where Jefferson said he “had the Hebrews in mind when penning the Declaration of Independence” I’ll give you a million dollars.

    I did not state Jefferson was quoted to have said he had the Hebrews in mind when penning the Declaration of Independence. I said he had them in mind when penning the Declaration.

    How can I make such a statement?

    Here:

    …all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    While there were historical examples to draw from, there is no greater illustration of Jefferson’s observation than the Hebrews and the nation of Israel itself in scripture. No sooner had they been led from Egypt, they complained to return to Egypt – thinking it better to die a slave than risk liberty in the wilderness.

    Given the arguments in Congress and the opposition to even the notion of Independence from noted Quakers like Dickenson and their Pastors preaching Romans 13 at the time, it is not a stretch to estimate that Jefferson’s choice of words in the context of suffering ‘evils’ and the unwillingness to ‘right themselves’ was influenced by the scriptural example of the Hebrews in conjunction with Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, et al.

    Studying the bible as an integral part of education was part and parcel of life at the time, it was not reserved only for seminary as even Yale and Harvard were begun as Theological Schools. It is silly to insist that scripture played no influence in the drafting of our Foundational documents, especially the Declaration itself. Given the choice to include his observation of mankind being willingly disposed to suffer evil, I contend Jefferson had to have the biblical illustration in mind.

  23. Christ did not grant us freedom from sin. Christ granted us the freedom from the PENALTY of sin upon repentance, the penalty of sin being death.

    What I said was shorthand for exactly this. Perhaps I could have chosen my words better. But your interpretation of my words is obviously uncharitable to say the least.

    Galatians 5:1 specifically states: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery”. This applies to both the spiritual and physical realm; both the slavery of sin, and the slavery of submission to men of sin and tyranny.

    Your argument only works in the world of liberal cafeteria Christianity. Paul says quite clearly “slaves, obey … your earthly masters” (Col. 3:22). If Galatians 5:1 meant Christ grants men political or civil liberty, then the Bible contradicts itself. The ONLY way to resolve the seeming contradiction is to conclude that the liberty Paul speaks of is “spiritual” liberty, meaning freedom from sin or as you would put it, from the consequences of sin, NOT political liberty.

    Again this is a point Robert Kraynak makes here on the following secular liberal website, the Family Research Council’s (I’m being facetious in case you can’t tell).

    http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WT04C02

    As Kraynak put it:

    Thus, when St. Paul spoke of Christian freedom, he meant inner freedom, not the external freedom from the state protected by natural rights. Thus, Paul could say (without contradicting himself) “for freedom Christ has set us free … do not submit to the yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1) and “slaves, obey … your earthly masters” (Col. 3:22). Paul is not endorsing slavery in his admonitions to obedience; but he is saying something that is hard for modern Christians to understand: Inner freedom from sin is more important than external freedom from oppression, making spiritual freedom a higher priority than claiming one’s rights.

  24. “Christ did not grant us freedom from sin. Christ granted us the freedom from the PENALTY of sin upon repentance, the penalty of sin being death.”

    You will not find this doctrine anywhere in Scripture. If anything, the Bible says the EXACT opposite. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said in Romans chapter 6:

    “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? CERTAINLY NOT! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

    And you can continue reading the rest of that chapter, or the whole New Testament for that matter, to understand how dangerous the heresy is that tells us that we are not freed from sin, only from the penalty of it. Jesus blood CLEANSES us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9); it doesn’t just cover our backsides. God would be unjust if He sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die merely to protect us from what we deserve. Rather God sent His Son to rescue us from the REAL problem — our SIN!

    We don’t need to participate in sacraments to receive forgiveness every time we sin (read Hebrews 10). That’s not what the sacrament is for. We don’t need a bunch of religious rituals to make us right with God — we only need to repent from our sins, accept Jesus’ atonement, and walk in the love of God.

    I think George Washington understood this principle. He didn’t need to make a show at the communion service, or make sure he added the indication “Yes, I believe in Jesus,” in his public writings. He was, as part of his personality, very reserved and private about his personal beliefs and sentiments of whatever kind.

    Kraynak (and Jon Rowe) also make the mistake that the kind of liberty which Paul speaks about in the Bible, and the political liberty are completely separated. Yes, they are two different things, but you cannot have civil liberty in a society without personal liberty from sin. Why? Because in a society of people who have been set free from the power of sin, they are no longer inclined to harm their neighbor. They also know how to do true good to their neighbor. Free societies (those who don’t have the government breathing down their neck all the time with endless regulations) require citizens of virtue and self-control in order to remain free.

    You see, in a free society, the same amount of government (or governing power) is necessary. The only difference between a free and enslaved society is WHO does the governing. In a free society, the people govern themselves by self-control. In an enslaved society, the government comes down with a hard and heavily-regulating hand, and forces law and order upon society, as it sees fit.

    Without this understanding, none of us, no matter how long we debate, will understand anything about our Founders, about their principles, or about true Christianity.

  25. If we are free from the bondage of sin, that means that we are no longer prone to obey it. Sanctification is a continual process; we do not stop sinning instantaneously.

    But if we are free from the bondage of sin, how is that any different than saying we are free from sin itself? In Ephesians 2, Paul says that “by grace we are BEING saved,” (if you accurately translate the literal Greek). God’s command to us is “You shall be perfect, for I am perfect.” Through salvation, and through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, we are being made sinless “so that we may be presented blameless and beyond reproach” (Colossians 1:22).

    If we are free from the bondage of sin, than we are free from sin. We do not have to sin. To say that we just can’t help it is a lie. We are obligated to be holy.

  26. invar

    You will not find this doctrine anywhere in Scripture.

    Oh really? Romans 6:23 is pretty plain.

    The heresy in doctrine here is one that some mainstream denominations preach, is that once ‘saved’, one is no longer capable of sinning. If they are of the mindset they can no longer sin, they adopt simple license to justify any sins they do commit.

    I know such people.

    There is a big difference in being a slave to sin, and committing sin itself.

    Plenty of Spirit-born Christians I know, still sin.

    I, still sin. I’m pretty sure YOU still sin.

    Pastors and brethren in the church, filled with the Spirit of God, still sin.

    We still live IN this world. Jesus’ prayer in the Garden was not that we would be taken out of this world, but only that we would be protected from the Evil One. (John 17:15)

    Christ in Revelation 3 tells us and the churches to “overcome” sin.

    If Christ has set us free from sin itself, and the ability to commit sin – we have deceived ourselves.

    Christ is free from sin. He has overcome it, and this world, and Satan. He has overcome the death penalty for sin for ALL MANKIND.

    However, Christ did not abolish sin. We are not free from either temptation, or from committing sins of both omission and commission. There are even hidden sins that we are unawares that Christ must show us, that we might overcome them (See Job).

    We are made sinless in the eyes of the Father through Christ’s Passover sacrifice that we must claim, so that none of us can boast, for it is Christ that not only covers our sins, but it is He that gives us the power to overcome.

    If we are free from sin, in the context Jon and others would suggest, why is there an admonition to overcome? Why are we told not to let sin reign in our bodies if we are already free from sin?

    Clearly we are not free from the ability of sin to again conquer our lives, nor are we free from sin choking off the Spirit of God in us (parable of the seed sower). We have been admonished to take heed of ourselves lest we fall.

    We are free from the bondage of sin only because we are not to allow sin to rule over us as it once did, but instead to let Christ rule over us.

    Even in that truth however, it is possible for us to allow sin to rule over us for a season. A habit, an unknown sin, a deep lust. We are not automatically made perfect. We are told to BECOME perfect.

    It is a dangerous arrogance to assume we are free from ever sinning, and blameless just because we claim to be Christ’s as some do. It is the foothold in the door Satan will use to again try to conquer what he has lost in your life. Pride, arrogance and self-righteousness often follow those that hold to that belief.

    And it is those brethren, that live a deceitful life, putting on a ‘church-face’ in the presence of others, but live a wicked life away from church.

    All sin and fall short of the glory of God. That understanding should inspire us to be humble, and to assist one another in the job of overcoming and growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  27. Wayne

    Washington was a Christian,,live with it.

  28. Jonathan

    Invar, you truly dont know what you are talking about. For one, and I only chose to say one of my many arguments, there is a such thing as a Christian Deist. You can ignore the facts, and that is fine, but at least that you are ignoring the facts. Yes, people may have lied to just screw with us christians. Yes, maybe they took the words that would make GW clearly Christian out of his speeches just to screw with us. They must have gone through a lot of trouble to do that.

  29. invar

    Invar, you truly dont know what you are talking about.

    Obviously you did not read any of the thorough evidence presented above with NOTES, which makes you a projectionist – being one who truly doesn’t know what you are talking about.

    I presented my facts above.

    You presented nothing but your own stupidity.

  30. Boomer

    If we went by the constant comments of someone then we should not have separated from the crown for it would be a sin against God and the Lord Jesus.
    I just love how some try to tell you what the Bible mean from their own philosophical point of view while some seem not even being Christian themselves. Kind of like the European Union dictating Law and policy to the United States while not being American.
    So Romans 13 says to be subordinate to authority but what if it is evil? Just roll over and let them walk all over you? What if they are not “just” in their up holding of Law? What if they chose to uphold it with one individual but chose not to with another?

  31. Boomer,

    You may not like the fact that I am a non-Christian interpreting Romans 13, but what I have said is both John Calvin’s AND John MacArthur’s position on submission to authority. MacArthur is the leading evangelical-fundamentalist theologian in America. His bona fides in this regard are beyond reproach. All governments, because they are run by fallen men, commit evil. Romans 13 still says submit to them.

  32. invar

    Then American Christians sinned against scripture and the Lord by going to war to free themselves from the tyranny of the crown if such interpretation were valid.

    And God too – would have blessed a breaking of scripture by prospering this nation to Superpowerdom if such an interpretation were biblical.

    It’s not.

    The Colonists understood Galatians 5:1 in the context of liberty and fighting against the tyranny of men who would force them to break the First Commandment.

  33. Invar,

    Your comment is an UTTER non-sequitur. You CAN’T possibly claim to know the mind of God. The Bible (and history) is replete with examples of using the SINFUL actions of men to accomplish His Providential will.

    And nothing in the record shows that Britain was forcing America to break the First Commandment. If anything American law was FOUNDED on the unalienable RIGHT to break the First Commandment as we granted religious liberty to all even those who worship in Jefferson’s words, no God or twenty gods.

    Though if you claim to know the mind of God, maybe you can answer me this: Why did God choose Jefferson, J. Adams and Franklin to write the Declaration of Independence? These were three militant unitarians who bitterly MOCKED the doctrine of the Trinity, Incarnation and Atonement. Further why did God choose J. Adams and Jefferson (explicit unitarians) to be 2nd and 3rd Presidents and Washington and Madison (whose words NEVER affirmed the Trinity or infallibilithy of the Bible) to be 1st & 4th Presidents?

    You seem to care more about making American history “fit” with “Christianity” than you do about understanding what the Bible actually says.

    Again I would suggest reading John MacArthur on Romans 13 for why the American Founder sinned by revolting against Great Britain.

  34. invar

    Again I would suggest reading John MacArthur on Romans 13 for why the American Founder sinned by revolting against Great Britain.

    And yet this nation was blessed by God because the Founders sinned by revolting against Great Britain – to the point of becoming the most powerful nation on earth.

    So God rewards sin according to this author and yourself.

    Such proceeds from the presumption that America is illegitimate from it’s beginning.

    Which I utterly reject and am not affording such nonsense a debate or reply, other than calling it what it is.

    As to your earlier questions – the answers lie in the plain language and words of what the Founders wrote and why. God chose them because they sought truth by the plain reading of the scriptures – not because they were beholden to the traditions and doctrines of men.

    They never affirmed the doctrines of the Trinity and other such doctrines because they are not found in scripture – rather they are traditions of men grafted into Christianity over the centuries via popery.

    The Founders rejected popery in all it’s forms.

    If liberty was rooted in Catholic catechism – what we would understand as freedom today would be very different than what the Founders intended.

    And again – The Romans 13 argument stayed the militant desire for rebellion for over a decade, before the sound reasoning of both Paine’s Common Sense and the proper application of Galatians 5:1 to the Colonial situation – prevailed the Founders to risk everything for liberty in the face of abject despotism.

  35. So you are 1) citing Thomas Paine (a man who believed none of the Bible was divine) as authority, 2) associating the Trinity with Roman Catholicism (and you are right insofar as this is exactly what the American Founders did), and 3) acting like the Mormons and ADDING to scripture when you make such statements like “God chose them because….”

    Further you are wrong when you state:

    [T]he answers lie in the plain language and words of what the Founders wrote and why….[T]hey sought truth by the plain reading of the scriptures – not because they were beholden to the traditions and doctrines of men.

    You correctly understand their anti-creedal, anti-Roman Catholic, anti-doctrine theology. However, you incorrectly attribute such to Sola-Scriptura. If you ACTUALLY read, in detail (not at the superficial level) what they and the ministers, philosophers and theologians they followed, wrote, you’d see that it wasn’t “the Bible alone,” rather, the Bible plus “NATURE,” which defines as what man discovers from REASON alone. When the Bible appeared to say something they didn’t agree with, they simply argued the “natural law” as a way of superseding or explaining away passages like Romans 13 that conflicted with their Whig agenda.

    Ironically this is also what the Roman Catholic Church DID and still does to this day.

    Also, your comment, “So God rewards sin…” is just your own spin. Biblical Christians understand that “the Lord works in mysterious ways,” or as Washington put it, Providence was “inscrutable.”

    For men who believe the Bible alone as the final authority, the ultimate question is NOT, why would God seem to reward sin? (there are all sorts of seemingly hard cosmic questions) but what does the Bible ACTUALLY say regarding rebellion? And it is clear: revolution is SIN.

  36. ldyboxtrkr

    I really wonder what Jesus would tell us all right now. Can no one see the obvious? Only in doctrines are there differences in Christianity , (FALLEN mans ideal of what faith should be). Has Christianity fallen through men so far that alls we do is question HOW we should follow the Lord?
    I don’t think that’s what He wants from us.
    The more time we spend arguing amongst each other , the easier it is to let the devil get his foothold. Arguing about what this scripture means or that scripture says is not what the author of the Bible intended. GOD does not need us!!! We need Him!!!
    By the way , if the version of the Bible you read includes the Old Testament , God was in the center of many rebellions against evil. I know this whole thing started with the George Washington being a Christian( or not )- but what the hell does it matter now. This is TODAY. These arguments are dead and stinking in the grave. Why is everyone so absorbed in what WAS? It don’t matter anymore. WE CAN’T CHANGE IT !Arguing as Christians is idiotic if you understand the writings of the New Testament. We ain’t living in Washingtons day. And you ought to be grateful we aren’t. We’re living now .. in the last days – shouldn’t we be more focused on that?

  37. invar

    ldyboxtrkr,

    Mr. Rowe is simply on a crusade to argue his secularist agenda among Christians in the continued hope to get us to believe this nation is not, nor ever was founded upon biblical/Christian principles.

    The effort to get us to hate Christian perspective, or sow doubt about the history of our foundation by clearly devout Christian men as ‘sinfully rebellious’ is simply another in a long use of tools the secularist uses to deconstruct those principles to have any existence or influence in society.

  38. I have written an article on hubpages that refutes the deism of George Washington. You can find it at

    http://hubpages.com/_wrb2009/hub/Washington-Deist

  39. Pingback: 1832: Commemorating George Washington’s Birthday « YesterYear Once More

  40. Pingback: Does God care about national day of prayer being cancelled - Christianity - Page 5 - City-Data Forum

  41. Anonymous

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and just about all of the rest of the US presidents have been Masons, not right wing Christians. They would have had nothing to do with your narrow interpretation of Christianity, and in fact would probably have opposed it.

  42. invar

    Either your historical acumen on the religiosity of the Founders is lacking, or you reside in blissful ignorance of the kind of Christianity that the majority of the Founders (especially Washington) observed – and in fact, make modern evangelical (right wing) Christianity feel like tepid and stagnant water in comparison.

    As to a ‘narrow’ interpretation – wide is the gate that leadeth to destruction. I’ll take the narrow path thank you.

  43. “And in Ancient Egypt, God, the story goes, liberated his people not to give them political liberty, but to burden them with the yoke of the law of Moses which is one of the most politically unfree codes that one can image.”

    Mr. Rowe the people chose the Law not GOD as a matter of fact Moses did not choose the Law either. Jehovah wanted Relationship but the people foolishly and stubbornly wanted a mediator between them and GOD so they got Law. Also you keep calling Christianity wrongfully a religion, mans way to GOD or LAW. If you knew Truth you would understand Gods Heart for Relationship. There is only one true religion

    Jas 1:27 Clean and undefiled religion before the Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

    Also if GW wanted to separate the Christianity Faith from Governance he had a strange way of doing it. He may not have used the Name Jesus Christ in abundance but he did use the word Christianity also as a President of all the people he just might not have wanted to have alienated some of his benefactors including the Jews that participated in the revolution?

    Since you really have no clear window into his heart its debatable.. It is not debatable as far as I can tell that he promoted Christianity more than any believe except in GOD the father. I am sure you know more than I about this.

  44. Naeem John

    A new command I give you, Love one another. as I have loved you, so you must love one another. by this is all men will know that you are my disciplles, if you love one another.

  45. Naeem John

    George Washington against about great freedom nations for peace America? This is great love

  46. Anonymous

    This blog shows the obvious, The obvious being that athiest and others who do not truly want to see the truth as is presented. I.E. being G.W. faiths wich btw was never in question. His faith as well the founding fathers albeit 2 all were know to be and wrote respectfuly as members of the faith. Not being of priestly stature most men did not take the name of Jesus lightly, and were poised and respectful as not to offend other beliefs in hopes that if they were not would soon be Christian. Therin lies the political aspect. LOOK AT GWS LETTERS TO BEN ARNOLD. People who have their self deluded visions some brought out by corrupt society and changing history just “grab the earliest text books” or read their writings for truth. The fact is you spend yer time here trying to preach anti-truth to people who know better . Its sad.

  47. The charges that George Washington and MOST of the founders were not Christians does not come exclusively from the “secular” nor the “left.”

    Anyone with a background in history, willing to do the research and to exchange a faith in the USA for a faith in Jesus Christ has to objectively make the same judgment–however much it goes against the constant programming to which Americans are exposed.

    However, belief in the myths of the founders’ Christianity are just that: a belief. And no amount of proof, evidence, history, and/or logic will change something a person chooses to believe. The hardest deception to overcome is self-deception.

    Beliefs such as this one are encouraged because it makes Americans not familiar with history or the Bible more likely to wrap a flag around God’s Word, confusing both.

    A deceived people are so much easier to lead to the slaughter.

  48. Pingback: End Times Prophecy Headlines: July 16, 2013 | End Times Prophecy Report

  49. NME

    Jesus Was Not A Jew!
    The Bible Is Not A Jewish Book Because None Of Books In The Bible Was Written By A Jew!
    And George Washington Was Not Deist!

  50. invar

    Your biblical ignorance is beyond astounding.
    “NONE” of the books in the bible were transcribed by Jews?
    What was Moses? Presbyterian?
    King David? Methodist?
    Jesus – born of the House of David, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah –
    I guess that makes him a Southern Baptist?

  51. From the same ROOT that tells us Hitler didn’t do it!

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