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George Washington's Sacred Fire Paperback – July 24, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0978605261 ISBN-10: 0978605268 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1208 pages
  • Publisher: Providence Forum Press; 1st edition (July 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978605268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978605261
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


An enlightening, engaging, and long overdue correction of the falsehood that Washington lacked faith. --Rodney Stark, Baylor University

. . . . Dr. Lillback burries the myth that Washington was an unbeliever - at most a "deist" - under an avalanche of facts . . . . --Robert P. George, Princeton University

Secular historians ignore George Washington's ward Nelly Custis, who wrote that doubting his Christian faith was as absurd as doubting his patriotism. But they cannot ignore this mountain of evidence suggesting Washington's religion was not Deism, but just the sort of low-church Anglicanism one would expect in an 18th century Virginia gentleman. His "sacred fire" lit America's path toward civil and religious liberty. --Walter A. McDougall, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

About the Author

Peter A. Lillback, Ph.D., is the President of Westminster Theological Seminary, where he is also Professor of Historical Theology. He is also President of The Providence Forum and Senior Pastor at Proclamation Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He is the voice of "Proclaiming the Word," a daily syndicated radio program, as well as the "Proclamation Worship Hour." Dr. Lillback received a Ph.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from Cedarville University in Ohio. He is the author of "The Binding of God: Calvin's Role in the Development of Covenant Theology" (Baker), "Freedom's Holy Light - With a Firm Reliance on Divine Providence" (Providence Forum Press) and "Proclaim Liberty: A Broken Bell Rings Freedom to the World" (Providence Forum Press).

More About the Author

Peter A. Lillback, Ph.D., is the president of The Providence Forum, the non-profit scholarly organization committed to preserve, defend and advance the faith and values of America's founding and founders. He is also the president of Westminster Theological Seminary, one of the world's leading institutes of higher reformed theological education. He has also been Professor of Church History at Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia.

Dr. Lillback holds degrees from Cedarville University (B.A.), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Westminster Theological Seminary (Ph.D.). He is the author of the USA Today, Washington Post, and #1 national bestseller "George Washington's Sacred Fire," representing the culmination of 20 years of primary-source research and scholarship on the life of George Washington. He is most recently the author of the children's book "Lessons on Liberty - A Primer for Young Patriots," which has received a Silver Medal from the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards; as well as the bestselling "Wall of Misconception - Does the Separation of Church and State Mean the Separation of God and Government?," a Finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. He is also the author of "The Binding of God: Calvin's Role in the Development of Covenant Theology," co-author of "The Theological Guide to Calvin's Institutes," and the editor of and contributor to "The Practical Calvinist: An Introduction to the Presbyterian and Reformed Heritage." He has published many articles, including as a contributor to The Washington Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Bulletin.

In July 2005 Dr. Lillback became only the fourth president of Westminster Theological Seminary in its rich 80-year history. He is a tenured Professor of Historical Theology and has taught courses through the whole range of church history, with a special interest in the Reformation and early modern era.

Living between Philadelphia and Valley Forge for many years, Dr. Lillback has pursued an avid interest in the history of the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United States. He has performed research and study on the founding and founders of America through examination of original source documents in countless libraries and archives worldwide. Among the outgrowths of his research are the books "Freedom's Holy Light...with a firm reliance on Divine Providence," and "Proclaim Liberty... a Broken Bell Rings Freedom to the World."

Beyond his historical interests, Dr. Lillback is a very popular speaker and writer on many worldview issues, and has participated in many highly popular debates with Christians, atheists, government, and secular leaders and personalities. He is a leading expert on the foundational history of the United States, the intersection of faith, politics, and government, and the separation of church and state, and is a frequent guest and spokesperson on television, radio, and in the mass media. His unparalleled scholarship, warm disposition, and unique style have made him a much sought-after speaker at secular, religious, historical, and academic events and venues around the world.

Customer Reviews

This is an excellent book and is very well written.
This book should be required reading in all American history classes, both in High School and in the colleges.
Bill Hathorn
It is great to know what a Godly man George Washington was through his own writing.
Daniel Michael

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

924 of 1,001 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Harp on September 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Peter Lillback and co-author Jerry Newcombe, have hit a smashing home run with this extraordinarily powerful book on George Washington.

After spending over a decade of research going through all the original documents of George Washington, Lillback has exposed the myths about this true man of Christian faith, and proven without a doubt that Washington was a follower of Christ Jesus and not merely a Deist.

This must have book is broken up into seven sections that cover the controversy over George Washington, the historical background of Washington, Washington's life, and Washington as a churchman, and even the debate over Washington and communion.

My favorite part of the book was the ten appendices at the end that cover the rules of civility and decent behavior that Washington abided by, as well as representative biblical quotations and allusions that Washington used all of the time. The other appendices cover sermons, and other prayers by others that were impacting to Washington.

This book also has beautiful photographs within its pages and a few hundred pages of endnotes so that you can go directly to the source and see for yourself the truth about Washington.

In this day of revisionist history, where the liberals are trying to convince the world that faith was not a part of the founding of this country, Dr. Lillback's work is a two fisted punch in the nose to prove otherwise.

This is a much needed book in the public schools, universities, pulpit and church libraries and every patriot in America. Buy it today, you won't be disappointed.
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194 of 227 people found the following review helpful By Robert Douglas Creamer on May 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you buy one book on George Washington, get this one. The Real George Washington is a very good biography along with a section of topical quotes from George Washington but Sacred Fire goes beyond that and looks at the faith of the man. Its a faith that isn't found in politics today nor in society. A wonderful piece of work that is backed up by over 200 pages of footnotes. If you want to know what formed the outstanding character of the man that so many admired, this is the book to get.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Michael Thompson on July 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many who have asserted (academically), and many who have accepted the premise (popularly) that George Washington, along with the rest of the Founders, were Deists. Although this is true, and easily verifiable, for some of them (e.g., Thomas Jefferson), such a sweeping historical statement refuses to hold water. And that is where Lillback's volume comes into the discussion.

At first blush it is an impressive book: 725 pages of text, 228 pages of appendices, and 198 pages of footnotes (the print of which strains the naked eye). The weight of this volume has no doubt already sent many curious readers heading the other direction. But this is part of the problem one will encounter when publishing within one's own organization. Lillback is the the president of Providence Forum, and thus probably did not receive an honest and challenging editorial process for his own work (Providence Forum Press should be concerned with other volumes being produced, which would have helped this book become more solid and would have helped clear the air of editorial bias and charges of self-publishing).

Indeed, the writing style of this book is often redundant and repetitive. Often the primary source material is presented two or three times as though it were unique. Those who would wish to challenge the book's credibility could easily point to this as an attempt to make the source material appear more abundant than it actually is. Further, such writing style is frustrating to the reader who quickly begins to gloss over and lose portions of the argument. Certainly, a more strenuous editorial process would have caught and challenged this disappointing aspect of the book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Brian Smith on May 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting and thought-provoking book. While it's true that the presentation of the material and notes could have been better done the main point are the contents of this work. The large amount of information presented brings new insight into the innermost thoughts and beliefs of one of America's founding fathers and deserves to be read and carefully considered. Read this book and make up your own mind!

Other books I enjoyed that are related to religious history are The Life of Apollonius of Tyana and The Syrian Goddess: De Dea Syria.
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118 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Mark Fanning on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An absolutely amazing book, fifteen years of research! There are 200+ pages of footnotes! (You'll need two bookmarks, one for the reading section, the other for the footnotes, trust me on this!)

This is a thorough study of George Washington's public and private life and is a great critique of those who say that he was only a deist. Once the Hardback comes down in price, I'll purchase it also!
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85 of 107 people found the following review helpful By David J. Wallace on August 29, 2008
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This book clears the air from a lot of revisionist historians who are trying to blurr how Christianity shaped the foundation of the United States. This volume tells a compelling story about George Washington's faith during some of the most trying times individuals as well as our country faced. Provides the rest of the story.
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