Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Adele egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Black Friday Deals Black Friday Video Game Deals Outdoor Deals on DOTD

Format: HardcoverChange
Price:$39.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

932 of 1,011 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2006
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.
3434 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
72 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2010
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.

In terms of content, the book does well at providing a good amount of source material which allows Washington to speak for himself when he can. The difficulty here is that Washington doesn't always speak for himself, and it becomes the role of historical scholarship to fill in the gaps with speculation - hopefully informed and responsible speculation. Lillback is no exception to this, although he perhaps could have demonstrated more scholarly humility in this fact. For as much as he charges other Washington scholars (most notably Boller and Flexner) for their theorization, he does not always accomplish a greater method.

My point in challenging Lillback is this: The argument he presents should have (and could have) been presented better, seeking a more sound case for the faith of George Washington. There are many points at which I think Lillback gets it right, and a few places where his assertions wear thin and are not supported by the evidence in front of us. Although I am a biblical scholar, I do know how to evaluate an argument, consider evidence and understand the historical method. Hence, I believe that my comments are justified here - there is a better case to be made.

Lillback succeeds in making the case for George Washington to be separated from the Deists. Simply, this can be done by setting him next to Hume and Jefferson and watching the worldviews quickly part ways. Many look to the context of the Age of Reason and dismiss the impact which it held on the entire world, even the church. I learned a long time ago that every age has its impact on the faith of those who live through it, and the Founders are more apt to look like Deists from our perspective than from their own. We are examining Christianity in conversation with the Age of Reason, a world that we do not experience.

The words and deeds that survive George Washington (along with the testimonies of those who knew him well) give us a strong probability that he was a Christian in his belief, though a few disappointing unanswered questions linger. Perhaps the strongest conclusion which Lillback makes is the founding of the United States as a whole, with a figure like George Washington leading the way: A nation with these values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, defined in the manner which the Founders have demonstrated in their own work could not have come about by people who believed that God was not present in the daily affairs of the world.

George Washington's words captured this often throughout his life as he demonstrated a strong faith in Divine Providence for the forging of this new nation. Overall, I recommend this book - even with its shortcomings and disappointments - to those who would be interested in understanding Washington's faith from the inside, as we see his own words exhibit a deeply rooted and embedded faith.

[grasshoppersdreaming -dot- blogspot -dot- com]
66 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
196 of 230 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2010
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
120 of 144 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2009
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!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2010
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
86 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2008
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.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
101 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2007
Dr Lillback gives us a masterful display of Christian historiography.

Thesis: George Washington was neither a Deist nor a modern Fundamentalist Evangelical. Rather, he was an orthodox Latitudinarian within the Anglican church. This means that while he did not have the outward, expressive, emotional zeal of 20th century counterparts, he did have a real faith in a Personal Triune God, and sucha faith did inform his public policies and inspire commitments.

Critics object that Washington never referred to Jesus; refused to partake of the Lord's Supper, and among other things, used Deistic language. Lillback skillfully rebuts all claims:

(1) Washington did refer to Jesus, and those who say otherwise just ignore several letters where he recommends "the author of our Faith" (a reference to Christ in the book of Hebrews), and the religion of Jesus to the Indians. Also, Washington didn't like to speak of himself at all. It is not the case that he refused to speak of his Faith. Rather, he refused to speak of Washington.

(2) It is true at times that Washington refused to take communion, but a number of points need to be made: a) this was not like the modern, high church Episcopalism. Due to the lack of ministers, and the frontier nature of the church, congregations would celebrate communion only a few times a year. Given that other evidence shows Washington took communion, this objection is actually a strong argument for Washington's faith: it is only a few times that Washington actually missed communion!

(3) Did Washington use Deistic language? I think we can answer no on two counts. Dr Lillback shows that terms that Deists use were actually Christian terms that were subsequently stripped of their orthodox meaning. Therefore (2) if he used Deistic language, his lifestyle and other references indicate that he did not mean by it the same thing Deists meant by it.

Over 200 pages of valuable endnotes. Reading Washington's letters is quite devotional and reading of his struggles is inspiring. Was Washington a practicing Christian? I leave on the following count: Given the nightmare and stress of Valley Forge, wouldn't it make sense if Washington indeed got down on his knees and prayed? In fact, that is the only explanation that explains the historical data.

EDIT: Several years later I feel i have to qualify my initial praise. I'm still judging the book in terms of Lillback's aims and goals: if you are wanting to see what Washington said concerning religion, and what he could and could not have meant by them, Lillback gives you close to 1,000 pages. While Lillback is correct to point out Washington was not a Deist, he does not rescue Washington from the Masonic charge--and given the diabolical nature of masonry from masonry's own testimony (see below). While some of the openly satanic writings appear after Washington, and one shouldn't commit the anachronistic fallacy, one is safe to presume continuity between 18th century freemasonry and Hall.

Further EDIT: I had quoted in my review Masonic authority Manley Hall where he states Masons worship Lucifer. People got angry. Either Masonic sources speak authoritatively and represent Masonry, or they don't. If the latter, then why do they bother writing? Also, and this point is routinely ignored by critics/defenders of Washington/defenders of Lucifer, is that I realize Washington probably didn't believe the same type of devil-worship that Hall and Pike believe. I am simply pointing out his legacy is in brotherly communion with such people.

Now, Lillback's book is 1200 pages long. Perhaps there is a section where Lillback clears Washington from the masonic charge. I can't remember it, though.

Still, as a research and resource guide, it is worth getting.
1515 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2010
Lillback achieves his purpose. He shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Washington was a believing, practicing orthodox Christian. Yes, Boller and Steiner are wrong, wrong, wrong. The bodies of both men should bear the marks of a kitchen sink having hit them. So, 4 stars for that.

The volume does have some weaknesses, which keeps me from suggesting 5 stars. Here are some...

1. Redundancy and repetition; repetition and redundancy.

2. Lillback is so singularly focused, that he simply ignores or glosses over outliers, such as Washington's reference to Elysium (rather than Heaven), or his reference to Judaism as a "denomination." The former he cites as a "classic" (vs. "pagan") reference; the latter doesn't seem to bother this seminary president. Yes, Lillback is careful not to try to paint Washington as a modern-day evangelical Christian, but he doesn't even seem curious about some of the references that smack of Masonic or Unitarian thinking.

3. Did I mention redundancy and repetition?

4. To his credit, Lillback does not totally ignore Washington's Masonic ties, and like David Barton, seeks to show that American Masons were quite Christian back then, but this important part of Washington's life and America's spiritual history certainly deserves more than 9 pages. Lillback futher provokes by saying what many call the "Eye of Horus," is actually the "Eye of Omnipotence/Providence" (part of the U.S. Great Seal), with no Masonic connection (actually the website given says that Masons adopted it in 1797, after the Great Seal was adopted. Is it Horus or God? Why would an evangelical seminary president's publishing group even mess with this? Puzzling. Of even greater concern is the seeming embrace of Noahide ethics by Washington/Freemasonry. That doesn't get serious treatment in this book. Templars/Masons seemed to abhor popes and kings. Did that fuel Washington's "sacred fire," or not? Don't know. Lillback seems incurious about such things.

5. Lillback is not immune to anachronisms of his own. For instance, he cites Benjamin Hart in asserting that at the beginning of the American Revolution, 99.8% of Americans were professing Christians, and yet Lillback speaks of Washington's "Judeo-Christian" worldview, a term that some have asserted was invented in the late 19th century. Though Washington never used the term, would it have had meaning to him? If so, why? Does the term even make sense to a Trinitarian Christian? Is it a term that is more Masonic (Blue Lodge, i.e., first 3 degrees) than New Testament? Lillback doesn't address this--he just throws around the term here and there.

All this makes one wonder if Lillback's purpose is Christian theology (his day job) or Americanist (see David Gelernter, Americanism:The Fourth Great Western Religion). His other books and all 1179 pages of this one seem to suggest the latter.

So, was Washington an orthodox Christian, pure and simple, or did he help set in motion a trajectory that would further the soft unitarian reaction to both Templar-perceived tyranny (popes and kings) and Cromwellian Puritanism that has now apparently blossomed into today's Americanist crippling of New Testament Christianity?

It will take others to answer this important question, since so many of today's neo-Puritan evangelicals are still fighting the historical battles that progressives, by definition, see as irrelevant, having evolved beyond all that.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2010
The contents of the book are wonderful and so informative and inspiring. However, I ordered the paperback version of this book for Father's Day along with Overton Window (in hardcover). The first time my husband started reading Sacred Fire, the pages started coming lose and falling out. The book was never handled roughly, but for whatever reason, the pages kept coming out so he eventually set it aside because it was too difficult putting pages back in place, etc. We do want to read this great book, and are hoping to get a hardback version from Amazon. We are very disappointed in the quality of this paperback.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
I've been working my way through Glenn Beck's reading list. Reading this book and American Progressivism at the same time has been an eye opener. I'm no longer impressed by academics with large vocabularies. If you have to stop after every paragraph to translate into English, it is because the author is trying to hide his intent: lie through his teeth, and he's hoping to snow you into agreeing because you are blinded by his "intelligence." George Washington didn't use big words. He didn't need to. He was an honest man and his honest deeds spoke louder than any long winded speech by an academic such as Woodrow Wilson. This was a beautiful man. Think about the incredible patience and persistence of a man fighting a nearly decade long war, under equipped and under manned against the best army and navy in the world, equipped with only his faith and his prodigious knowledge of the Bible. Think about the love of a man so revered and honored by his stepchildren and step grandchildren because he loved them as his own, and sacrificed for their care and education. Now I understand why he was so revered as the Father of his Country. He deserved that honor. What a nation we would be if every man in this nation read this book and emulated this man. This book should be required reading for every young man.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Customers who viewed this also viewed
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin (Paperback - September 11, 2010)

The Spiritual Journey of George Washington
The Spiritual Journey of George Washington by Janice T. Connell (Paperback - September 30, 2013)

Washington: A Life
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow (Paperback - September 27, 2011)

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.