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Lincoln's Battle with God: A President's Struggle with Faith and What It Meant for America MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
That accomplishment is the mapping of Abraham Lincoln's religious journey. The journey began in 1809 in Kentucky, whose frontier religion was shaped by the camp-meeting revivalism of Cane Ridge (1801). Lincoln's parents, Thomas and Nancy, were Hard Shell Baptists. Their religion was primitive, emotional, and fervent. Lincoln loved his mother, who died when he was 10. Whatever spiritual sensitivity he had seems to have come from her. But when he was emancipated from his father at age 21, Lincoln disavowed both the man and his God.
As Lincoln struck out on his own in New Salem, Illinois, he fell in with a group of freethinkers, devotees of Paine, Volney, and Burns. He was known as an "infidel" who referred to Jesus Christ as a "bastard" and delighted to point out the Bible's seeming contradictions in public debate. He went so far as to write a "little book on Infidelity" that his freethinking friends had the foresight to burn. This is the Lincoln secularists love and the religious loathe.
But infidelity was not Lincoln's final take on religion. A change of view began when Lincoln moved to Springfield, the capital of Illinois.Read more ›
Based on contemporary accounts from the first part of his life I have no reason to doubt that he wasn't a Christian at that time. Neighbors in New Salem said he would read a Bible aloud for the sole purpose of showing it's error. And one neighbor heard him despair that he didn't think there was an afterlife after the death of his beloved Ann.
Now the picture painted by many current scholars goes something like this: in the desperation of Willie's death and the horror of the civil war Lincoln returned to the hyper-Calvinistic view of his childhood and admitted that God was controlling these events and he surrendered himself to this bleak reality and tried to make the best of it he could.
The major problem I've always had with this view is what I read in the writings and speeches of Lincoln himself during his White House years. I know that Lincoln was a politician and all politicians "play to the crowd" to some degree or another. But still something didn't seem to fit. I couldn't see how a man who wrote the Second Inaugural in which both Jesus and the Old Testament are quoted in the way that they are could at the same time not believe those words to be divinely inspired.Read more ›
The greatest benefit of reading this book is that I will never hear the words of Lincoln with the same ear. I now understand the voice of this man and appreciate the life that formed those words. My respect is deeper than ever for a man who was not just a fine statesman but an honorable person.
Not coincidentally, Stephen Mansfield has released a fresh biography of Lincoln's Battle With God (Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2012) intended as a counterweight to previous works which portray Abe as a skeptic or freethinker in matters of faith.
Lincoln never joined a church during his lifetime. During his Springfield years, he was part of a debating society where he seemed to support the views of Tom Paine and other deists of the Enlightenment. He once called Jesus a bastard and Christ's mother a base woman. In an Illinois congressional race, he was dogged by charges of atheism and impiety. These facts are not disputed.
Mansfield, who is an alumnus of Oral Roberts University, doesn't deny that Lincoln rejected organized religion as a young man. But he argues that under the assault of life-changing losses (the death of two sons and the carnage of war) Lincoln experienced something close to a complete conversion: to belief in a personal God accessible through prayer. He opens his book with widow Mary Todd Lincoln's remembrance, years after the fact, that her husband's dying wish as he bled to death from an assassin's bullet was to walk in the footsteps of his savior. All the other tangled threads of Lincoln's lifetime lead to this uplifting finale.
To his credit, Mansfield realizes that first person accounts of Lincoln's religious life--whether from Mary, his law partner William Herndon, or the various Protestant ministers who sought to befriend him and claim the President as one of their own--need to be taken with a grain of salt. Sources are not always reliable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An insightful read. Our 16th President was a man of faith while he wouldn't allow himself to a single religion.Published 2 days ago by David A
Carefully researched and well written. It provides an in-depth look not only at Lincoln's struggle with faith, but also the societal and religious forces in play at this point in... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Jacob Meyer
This is a great book. We are all on a journey to find the truth, and so was Abe Lincoln, in the worst of times. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Stephen A. Anderson
It was a great and accurate account of his private life. It was very educational.I recommend to anyone interested in history.Published 10 days ago by Kindle Customer
Well researched. Bringing out facts not covered by other authors, at least that I have read. He paints a portrait of Lincoln that raises my admiration for him even higher than it... Read morePublished 10 days ago by gerhart richter
Informative history of Lincoln and his struggle with God. I learn some new things and enjoyed the book.Published 11 days ago by D.B. McBrierty
As a Doctor of Ministry and pastor of a historical congregation, Stephen Mansfield did an excellent job at showing that the building of faith for an individual (in this case... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Mark