The Righter Report

Was George Washington a Christian?

by David Barton, Wallbuilders.com

This is a question often asked today, and it arises from the efforts of those who seek to impeach Washington’s character by portraying him as irreligious. Interestingly, Washington’s own contemporaries did not question his Christianity but were thoroughly convinced of his devout faith–a fact made evident in the first-ever compilation of the The Writings of George Washington, published in the 1830s.

That compilation of Washington’s writings was prepared and published by Jared Sparks (1789-1866), a noted writer and historian. Sparks’ herculean historical productions included not only the writings of George Washington (12 volumes) but also Benjamin Franklin (10 volumes) and Constitution signer Gouverneur Morris (3 volumes). Additionally, Sparks compiled the Library of American Biography (25 volumes), The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (12 volumes), and the Correspondence of the American Revolution (4 volumes). In all, Sparks was responsible for some 100 historical volumes. Additionally, Sparks was America’s first professor of history–other than ecclesiastical history–to teach at the college level in the United States, and he was later chosen president of Harvard.

Jared Sparks’ decision to compile George Washington’s works is described by The Dictionary of American Biography. It details that Sparks began . . .

. . . what was destined to be his greatest life work, the publication of the writings of George Washington. [Supreme Court] Justice Bushrod Washington, [the nephew of George Washington, the executor of the Washington estate, and] the owner of the Washington manuscripts, was won over by an offer to share the profits, through the friendly mediation of Chief Justice [of the Supreme Court, John] Marshall [who from 1804-1807 had written a popular five volume biography of George Washington], who also consented to take an equal share, twenty-five per cent, with the owner. In January 1827, Sparks found himself alone at Mount Vernon with the manuscripts. An examination of them extending over three months showed that years would be required for the undertaking; and with the owner’s consent, Sparks carried off the entire collection, eight large boxes, picking up on the way to Boston a box of diplomatic correspondence from the Department of State, and the [General Horatio] Gates manuscripts from the New York Historical Society. Not content with these, he searched or caused to be searched public and private archives for material, questioned survivors of the Revolution, visited and mapped historic sites. In 1830, for instance, he followed [Benedict] Arnold’s [1775] route to Quebec. The first of the twelve volumes of The Writings of George Washington to be published (vol. II) appeared in 1834 and the last (vol. I, containing the biography) in 1837.

In Volume XII of these writings, Jared Sparks delved into the religious character of George Washington, and included numerous letters written by the friends, associates, and family of Washington which testified of his religious character. Based on that extensive evidence, Sparks concluded:

To say that he [George Washington] was not a Christian would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty. Of all men in the world, Washington was certainly the last whom any one would charge with dissimulation or indirectness [hypocrisies and evasiveness]; and if he was so scrupulous in avoiding even a shadow of these faults in every known act of his life, [regardless of] however unimportant, is it likely, is it credible, that in a matter of the highest and most serious importance [his religious faith, that] he should practice through a long series of years a deliberate deception upon his friends and the public? It is neither credible nor possible.

One of the letters Sparks used to arrive at his conclusion was from Nelly Custis-Lewis. While Nelly technically was the granddaughter of the Washingtons, in reality she was much more.

When Martha [Custis] married George, she was a widow and brought two young children (John and Martha–also called Patsy) from her first marriage into her marriage with George. The two were carefully raised by George and Martha, later married, and each had children of their own. Unfortunately, tragedy struck, and both John and Patsy died early (by 1781). John left behind his widow and four young children ranging in age from infancy to six years old.

At the time, Washington was still deeply involved in guiding the American Revolution and tried unsuccessfully to convince Martha’s brother to raise the children. The young widow of John was unable to raise all four, so George and Martha adopted the two younger children: Nelly Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, both of whom already were living at Mount Vernon.

Nelly lived with the Washingtons for twenty years, from the time of her birth in 1779 until 1799, the year of her marriage and of George Washington’s untimely death. She called George and Martha her “beloved parents whom I loved with so much devotion, to whose unceasing tenderness I was indebted for every good I possessed.”

Nelly was ten years old when Washington was called to the Presidency, and she grew to maturity during his two terms. During that time, she traveled with Washington and walked amidst the great foreign and domestic names of the day. On Washington’s retirement, she returned with the family to Mount Vernon. Nelly was energetic, spry, and lively, and was the joy of George Washington’s life. She served as a gracious hostess and entertained the frequent guests to Mount Vernon who visited the former President.

On Washington’s birthday in 1799, Nelly married Washington’s private secretary, Lawrence Lewis. They spent several months on an extended honeymoon, visiting friends and family across the country. On their return to Mount Vernon, she was pregnant and late that year gave birth to a daughter. A short few weeks later, on December 14, General Washington was taken seriously ill and died.

Clearly, Nelly was someone who knew the private and public life of her “father” very well. Therefore, Jared Sparks, in searching for information on Washington’s religious habits, dispatched a letter to Nelly, asking if she knew for sure whether George Washington indeed was a Christian. Within a week, she had replied to Sparks, and Sparks included her letter in Volume XII of Washington’s writings in the lengthy section on Washington’s religious habits. Of that specific letter, Jared Sparks explained:

I shall here insert a letter on this subject, written to me by a lady who lived twenty years in Washington’s family and who was his adopted daughter, and the granddaughter of Mrs. Washington. The testimony it affords, and the hints it contains respecting the domestic habits of Washington, are interesting and valuable.”

Woodlawn, 26 February, 1833.

Sir,

I received your favor of the 20th instant last evening, and hasten to give you the information, which you desire.

Truro [Episcopal] Parish is the one in which Mount Vernon, Pohick Church [the church where George Washington served as a vestryman], and Woodlawn [the home of Nelly and Lawrence Lewis] are situated. Fairfax Parish is now Alexandria. Before the Federal District was ceded to Congress, Alexandria was in Fairfax County. General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ Church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed [supported and contributed to] largely. His pew was near the pulpit. I have a perfect recollection of being there, before his election to the presidency, with him and my grandmother. It was a beautiful church, and had a large, respectable, and wealthy congregation, who were regular attendants.

He attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles [a one-way journey of 2-3 hours by horse or carriage]. In New York and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition [sickness]. The afternoon was spent in his own room at home; the evening with his family, and without company. Sometimes an old and intimate friend called to see us for an hour or two; but visiting and visitors were prohibited for that day [Sunday]. No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect. My grandmother, who was eminently pious, never deviated from her early habits. She always knelt. The General, as was then the custom, stood during the devotional parts of the service. On communion Sundays, he left the church with me, after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back for my grandmother.

It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or ten o’clock where he remained an hour before he went to his chamber. He always rose before the sun and remained in his library until called to breakfast. I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them. I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, “that they may be seen of men” [Matthew 6:5]. He communed with his God in secret [Matthew 6:6].

My mother [Eleanor Calvert-Lewis] resided two years at Mount Vernon after her marriage [in 1774] with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs. Washington. I have heard her say that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother before the revolution. When my aunt, Miss Custis [Martha’s daughter] died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they could realize the event [before they understood she was dead], he [General Washington] knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery. Of this I was assured by Judge [Bushrod] Washington’s mother and other witnesses.

He was a silent, thoughtful man. He spoke little generally; never of himself. I never heard him relate a single act of his life during the war. I have often seen him perfectly abstracted, his lips moving, but no sound was perceptible. I have sometimes made him laugh most heartily from sympathy with my joyous and extravagant spirits. I was, probably, one of the last persons on earth to whom he would have addressed serious conversation, particularly when he knew that I had the most perfect model of female excellence [Martha Washington] ever with me as my monitress, who acted the part of a tender and devoted parent, loving me as only a mother can love, and never extenuating [tolerating] or approving in me what she disapproved of others. She never omitted her private devotions, or her public duties; and she and her husband were so perfectly united and happy that he must have been a Christian. She had no doubts, no fears for him. After forty years of devoted affection and uninterrupted happiness, she resigned him without a murmur into the arms of his Savior and his God, with the assured hope of his eternal felicity [happiness in Heaven]. Is it necessary that any one should certify, “General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?” As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, “Deeds, not Words”; and, “For God and my Country.”

With sentiments of esteem,
I am, Nelly Custis-Lewis

George Washington’s adopted daughter, having spent twenty years of her life in his presence, declared that one might as well question Washington’s patriotism as question his Christianity. Certainly, no one questions his patriotism; so is it not rather ridiculous to question his Christianity? George Washington was a devout Episcopalian; and although as an Episcopalian he would not be classified as an outspoken and extrovert “evangelical” Founder as were Founding Fathers like Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman, and Thomas McKean, nevertheless, being an Episcopalian makes George Washington no less of a Christian. Yet for the current revisionists who have made it their goal to assert that America was founded as a secular nation by secular individuals and that the only hope for America’s longevity rests in her continued secularism, George Washington’s faith must be sacrificed on the altar of their secularist agenda.

For much more on George Washington and the evidences of his strong faith, examine the following sources:

⦁ George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, Publisher, 1838), Vol. XII, pp. 399-411.
⦁ George Washington, The Religious Opinions of Washington, E. C. M’Guire, editor (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836).
⦁ William Johnson, George Washington The Christian (1917).
⦁ William Jackson Johnstone, How Washington Prayed (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1932).
⦁ The Messages and Papers of the Presidents, James D. Richardson, editor (Published by the Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, pp. 51-57 (1789), 64 (1789), 213-224 (1796), etc.
⦁ George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States, Late Commander in Chief of the American Army, to the People of the United States, Preparatory to his Declination (Baltimore: George & Henry S. Keatinge, 1796), pp. 22-23.
⦁ George Washington, The Maxims of Washington (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1855).

Acknowledgements and thanks for permission to reprint this article go to Wallbuilders: http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=127

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October 29, 2014 Posted by | America, God, History, Human Interest, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

God’s Little Troublemakers

By Pete Righter

Some years back if you’d been watching any sports events on TV, you probably saw this one commercial for Lite beer. And there was this one guy – I think his name was Bob Eucker – who always liked to go up into the stands at baseball and football games and stir up trouble. He’d sit down between two guys who were drinking Lite beer and nudge one of them in the ribs and say something like, “That guy sitting on the other side of me says that Lite Beer tastes great.” Well that would get the first guys attention and he’d say, “Oh yeah?” Then he’d turn to the other guy and tell him the first guy said that Lite beer is less filling. And that guy would then get up and look at the first guy and yell, “Tastes great!” And the other guy would yell back, “Less filling!” And the war would be on. The whole stadium would be in an uproar. Then the camera would pan back at Bob Eucker and he would just be sitting back there yucking it up at all the trouble he’d caused.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that God has his own little troublemakers. Wherever the full gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached, God’s little troublemakers are at work. But their mission is to save lives, not stir up unnecessary trouble. Keep that story about Bob Euker in mind as we read from the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Acts:

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin (the members of the Jewish ruling council who were trying to sentence Paul to death) and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this, the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to Ananias, “God will strike you – you white-washed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourselves violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees (who didn’t believe in the resurrection and afterlife), and the others Pharisees (who did believe in it), called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, and I stand on trial today because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he had said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. And there was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who spoke out who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously…..The dispute became so violent that the Roman commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and rescue him by force, and take him back to the barracks. The council was in an uproar.”

One of God’s little troublemakers had struck! Less filling! Tastes great! That’s the kind of thing you sometimes run into when you’re preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some years ago, an old English preacher by the name of Smith Wigglesworth remarked, “If you leave people as you found them, God is not speaking through you. If you are not making people either mad or glad, there is something wrong with your ministry. If there’s not a (spiritual) war going on, you’re not doing your job.”

Another commentator, a gentleman by the name of Arthur Wallis, speaking on the apostolic style of preaching that we see in the Book of Acts, said, “Such preaching makes indifference to the word of God impossible – it sets the hearers into one of two camps. It’s calculated to either produce a revival or a riot.”

Whether we like it or not, God’s people are sometimes called on to “rock the boat,” and to preach a confrontational gospel. And just what is a confrontational gospel? It’s any message that preaches the entire gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message that not only tells the world that Christ is the only way to salvation and eternal life, but it’s also a message that confronts unrighteousness, exposes ambivalence, and challenges people to reexamine their lives to see if they have made Christ not only their Savior, but also the Lord of their lives. The Bible doesn’t say that Jesus is our Lord or Savior. It says he is our Lord and Savior! And when you acknowledge that and advance his gospel with all the dedication, vigor and passion that you can possibly muster, then you too will have become one of God’s “little troublemakers.”

America today is at a crossroads. We have traded in the “tastes great” gospel of Jesus Christ for one that is “less filling.” We have sought to make ungodly people godly without converting them from their sin. We have taught grace without godliness, salvation without repentance, and tolerance in lieu of moral outrage. And as a nation, we have strayed far from the commandments of God.

As Carl Henry so eloquently noted, “America has turned its back on God. It mocks God. Instead it worships a twentieth century Baal, incarnated in sensuality, materialism, and immorality of every kind.”

We see this even in some of our mainline churches today. Over one hundred years ago, Catherine Booth remarked, “It is a bad sign for the Christianity of this day when it provokes so little opposition from the world. When the Church and the world can jog along together side by side comfortably, you may be sure there is something wrong.”

America has gone from a righteous, Christian nation to a predominately pagan, “anything goes” moral sewer of a society, where in the name of tolerance and appeasement we ordain practicing homosexual ministers, engage in the genocide of millions of unborn children, and then we go home and quietly lay down on our couches because we don’t want to give anyone the appearance of being judgmental or intolerant. Do we hate God so much that we will let these outrageous deeds pass without so much as even raising our voices for what’s right in his eyes? Are we so fearful of mortal man and public opinion that we no longer fear the wrath of the Almighty and Invincible King of Kings and Lord of the universe? Are we so gutless and timid about speaking out that we can ignore the righteous blood of Christ and his apostles, who cry out to us from heaven to take a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God? Is this what our faith has come to?

God’s “Little Troublemakers” are a peculiar breed of individuals. They exemplify the notion that once a person is “born from above” and regenerated with the burning fire of God’s Holy Spirit, they then become the instruments of God’s divine plan. God’s word is indelibly inscribed on their hearts and souls. They are incensed when people twist and distort the scriptures in an effort to justify their worldly passions. They start loving the things that God loves and hating the things God hates. Issues of legality and morality are seldom shaded in gray. Matters of conscience become crystal-clear, black and white, good or evil. They have a burning and unquenchable desire to win souls for Christ. The Spirit of Christ compels them. Christianity ceases to become some warm and fuzzy once-a-week Sunday side-show. Instead, it is now a 24 hour-a-day, God-wrought crusade against evil and deception for the salvation of souls. They know that heaven and hell are real, and that we are daily involved in eternal life-and-death struggles for the redemption of mankind. They see worldliness, materialism, and self-gratification as Satan’s time-consuming distractions that only result in more and more people arriving in hell each day. They marvel that the rest of the world is so caught up in it that it hasn’t figured this out yet.

Once anointed with the Holy Spirit, “God’s Little Troublemakers” no longer have a fear of mortal man. They would just as soon walk up to the antichrist and read him the riot act as look at him. They are God’s little spiritually-impassioned wrecking-balls of evangelism and conviction. Though imperfect in the flesh, they are emboldened by the Spirit. Though looked upon as so much self-righteous, despicable rubbish by unregenerate men, they are seen as precious in the eyes of the Lord.

And the paradox of the Old and New Testament prophets and disciples is this: Ultimately, they gave their lives so that others might have the words of eternal life. Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for another.

Now there’s absolutely no doubt that when a confrontational message is preached, there will come those from the pews of our churches and from society at large who will say, “Judge not and you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). In reality, their sole intent is to stifle the messenger so they won’t be convicted of their iniquity.

People today are so afraid to speak out on an issue and be labeled as judgmental and intolerant that they’re not speaking out at all. They’re allowing our nation to be utterly destroyed by all manner of iniquity. People who are starting to feel the heat of the conviction of the Holy Spirit for their sins, and who are uncomfortably squirming in their seats, love to quote that verse about not judging just to try to shut you up. They can’t stand the heat. Jesus is not saying that we cannot make judgments about sin – he is saying that we should not be hypocrites if we do. In Matthew 7:5 he says, “You hypocrite, FIRST take the plank out of your own eye, AND THEN you can see clearly TO REMOVE the speck that is in your brothers eye.” Note that it’s okay to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Just make sure that first there’s not a plank in your own eye.

Now I want to remind you that the world generally despised and rejected Jesus Christ. He was looked upon as a radical extremist and a troublemaker of the first order. Today, the unregenerate world looks upon him simply as either a myth or a minister of love, peace and tolerance. But love is often confrontational. It speaks the truth even when the truth is unpopular. Regarding peace, Jesus said (Matthew 10:34-36), “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (the sword of the Spirit – the word of God – note Hebrews 4:12). For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s own enemies will be members of his own household.” Preaching the entire word of God will do just that. And as for tolerance, Jesus was anything but tolerant. Not once did he compromise God’s word for man’s. He rebuked hypocrisy, exposed sin, and regularly confronted the scurrilous and demonic doctrines of the corrupt religious leaders of his day.

You may remember another one of God’s little troublemakers, Stephen. You see him in Acts chapters six and seven. Stephen was “a man full of God’s grace and power, and he did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” But the Bible says that opposition arose against him. Why? Because his message was a threat to the religious establishment of his day – an establishment that rejected Jesus Christ and those who proclaimed his message. Here again was a man who would not compromise God’s word for the doctrines of the world. He was wholly and totally committed to God. He was on fire for the Lord. And he was brought into the council of the Sanhedrin to account for his testimony. And here’s what happened next: After a long litany of historic review about the nation of Israel, Stephen looked at the members of the Sanhedrin and cried out,

“You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears!
You always resist the Holy Spirit. Was there ever a prophet
your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who
predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you
have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the
law that was put into effect through angels, but have not
obeyed it!’ When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this
they were furious, and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen,
full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory
of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’
he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at
the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears, and
yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed him….and
they dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death.”
(Acts 7:51-58)

They were furious! They gnashed their teeth and screamed at the top of their lungs! The council was in an uproar.

One of God’s little troublemakers had struck again! So much for “tolerance.” And look at what happened when Stephen rebuked those obstinate people for their sins – the Glory of God appeared! Imagine, if Stephen were standing here today and spoke out against the backslidden and the unregenerate, and he said:

“You stiff-necked and rebellious people – you, who continue to resist the Holy Spirit, reject Jesus Christ, and live for yourselves. What hope can there possibly be for you? When, if ever, are you going to get yourselves right with the Lord?”

How popular would that be?

Why was John the Baptist beheaded? Was he a reed swayed by the breeze of political correctness? Was John one of those guys who wanted everyone to be his buddy? Was he someone who sought after his own well-being and personal indulgences? John the Baptist spoke out strongly against the corrupt religious leaders of his day. He went after King Herod and reminded him of his adultery. He called the Sadducees and Pharisees a “Brood of Vipers!” He wasn’t playing the world’s game and looking out for his own welfare and popularity. He wasn’t practicing “tolerance” and preaching a watered-down gospel that sends people to hell. He was preaching the word of God, trying to turn someone to repentance and salvation, and for that he was labeled a troublemaker and eventually put to death.

Why was Paul beaten and persecuted? Why was James put to death with the sword? Why were the prophets and the apostles martyred? They didn’t go after these guys for preaching love and tolerance. They went after them because they exposed sin, corruption, and idolatry, and took a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God. They were God’s little troublemakers, and the world couldn’t handle it. The world stood convicted of its sin, and in order to justify its own worldliness and unrighteousness it chose instead to kill the messengers. Sound familiar?

And herein lies the crux of this message: Exposing sin and confronting apathy and unrighteousness are critically essential to salvation. Without conviction there is no need for a savior. And if the world has no need for a savior, then Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has absolutely no relevance or significance.

Now for those in the church who say we shouldn’t “rock the boat,” I ask: “What kind of baptism and faith do we have that calls for almost no separation from the world, produces no personal sacrifice, and breeds practically no animosity towards sin? What kind of born-again experience is it that makes Christ our Savior, but fails to make Him Lord of our lives? And what kind of faith is it that permits us to follow the dictates of this world, and pursue our own pleasures, wants, and feelings, rather than the commandments of God?” What kind of faith is that? James calls it “dead faith.” Where is the evidence of our salvation and new birth if we’re not trying to follow God’s word? We say, “Just confess Jesus and you’re saved.” Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father.” We say, “Just say this simple prayer and you’re in.” He says, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

A man by the name of Thomas Kempis once wrote, “Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion.”

Now would you like some sound, scriptural proof that the compromised Church of Jesus Christ has been inundated by the worldly doctrines of tolerance and appeasement? Simply put, there is little or no persecution of Christians in America. Persecution arises when the Gospel of Christ becomes a threat to a perverse and degenerate society. Persecution is evidence that Satan’s demonic empire is being threatened – that sin and corruption are being exposed, and that Satan and his people are starting to feel the heat. Persecution is evidence that one of God’s little troublemakers has smashed the foundations of a self-righteous society, and by God’s righteous Spirit, has brought conviction to the masses. Yet today, the confrontational gospel has yet to shake the foundations of the church, much less the world.

Contrast that with the confrontational message of the early prophets and apostles. King Herod and his “wife” were so incensed by the impassioned discourse of John the Baptist that they had him imprisoned and beheaded. Paul’s teachings so enraged the idol makers of Ephesus that the silversmiths and craftsmen stirred up an enormous riot that almost resulted in Paul’s death. And Stephen’s message before the Sanhedrin so infuriated the Pharisees that they gnashed their teeth and turned into a raging mob. Time after time, from the Old Testament to the New, God’s little troublemakers spoke out against the scourges of political correctness and condemned evil and iniquity. Time after time, they were alienated, branded as troublemakers, and were beaten and put to death for exposing lies, greed, and deception. The world was not worthy of them. They were the ancient gladiators of truth and justice, and they served God with humility and honor. Great are their rewards in heaven. I, for one, am grateful and envious of their passion, courage, and perseverance.

So let this lesson serve you well. Come out of the world and into the faith. Dare to recognize that your eternal rewards are far more encompassing than your earthly desires. Realize that you cannot be a friend of this world and serve Christ too. You will only love the one and hate the other. And understand that in serving your earthly passions you will not only fail to bring the word of salvation to those who tomorrow may pass from this earth into hell, but you will also ultimately antagonize your Creator, to whom you must someday give a full and honest accounting for all you’ve done, or failed to do in this life.

Acknowledgments to Dr. Michael L. Brown and his book, “It’s Time to Rock the Boat,” which formed the backbone of this message.

– The Righter Report

September 27, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Were the Founding Fathers Deists?

Were the Founding Fathers Deists, and why does it matter?

by Pete Righter

One might be surprised at how many people today believe the mantra that the founding fathers were deists, in spite of the historical evidence to the contrary.   What’s not surprising in our culture today is that very few people have done their due-diligence on the subject to the point where (1) they understand what deism is, and (2) why it’s important that we understand its influence – or lack thereof – in the founding of our nation.

First, what is Deism?

Deism, the religious attitude typical of the Enlightenment, especially in France and England, holds that the existence of God can be only proved based on the application of reason and the world can be discovered through observation experience and reasoning. A Deist is defined as “One who believes in the existence of a God or Supreme Being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.” Deism was often synonymous with so-called natural religion because its principles are drawn from nature and human reasoning. In contrast to Deism there are many cultural or revealed religions, such as Judaism, Trinitarian Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and others, which believe in supernatural intervention of God in the world; while Deism denies any supernatural intervention and emphasizes that the world is operated by natural laws of the Supreme Being. – Wikipedia, “Deism in England and France in the 18th century.”

“Deism has come to denote the theological belief that God created the universe according to scientific laws, but does not interfere in its daily operation.”  – The New World Encyclopedia

 Deism: “[From Latin Deus, God Deity] The doctrine or creed of a Deist.” “One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being, but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.” – Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1941.

Deism is not a religion, but a religious philosophy. It advances the theory that God exists, that He created the universe, but does not intervene in the affairs of humankind. – ushistory.com.

Deism, as it came to be known in Colonial America, was largely advanced by the French philosopher and historian Voltaire, who believed during the “Enlightenment” that God was little more than a watchmaker who wound up the universe and then sat back and did not further involve himself in the affairs of men and nations.  This movement, if you will, was part and parcel of an effort to de-Christianize French society and replace Christianity with rationalism and pagan philosophies.  The movement was critical of traditional institutions and essentially sought to discard long-revered moral principles and beliefs.

 Based on the definitions above and elsewhere, the two principle beliefs of Deism were:

 1. Although God created the universe, he did not intervene in the affairs of men and nations.  He did not guide men into the founding of nations, or do miracles, or answer prayer, or provide providential protection to his followers.

2. God did not give divine / revealed revelation to man (i.e. the Bible, prophecy, etc.)

 I think one would be hard pressed to find many our founding fathers who fit those descriptions.

Why is all this important?

Today we have a “progressive” movement in America which seeks to expunge or minimize any mention of God, along with his moral values and teachings, from the public square and from American’s traditional Godly heritage.  Their thinking is if they can eliminate the Judeo-Christian God and his influence from America’s historical writings and from the public square, it will be easier to promote their godless agenda into American life.  And if there has to be a god, then it will be one who has no moral agenda and one who will not interfere in the affairs of men and nations – i.e. the god of deism.

The dangers in that kind of thinking are obvious:  First, it’s historical revisionism.  And second, it negates the providence and moral foundations of God in our American culture and historical foundations.

How widespread was deism among America’s Founding Fathers?

Dr. M. E. Bradford of the University of Dallas conducted a study of the Founding Founders to look at this question (whether the Founding Fathers were deists or Christians). He discovered the Founders were members of denominations as follows: twenty-eight Episcopalians, eight Presbyterians, seven Congregationalists, two Lutherans, two Dutch Reformed, two Methodists, two Roman Catholics, and three deists. – Reference: M. E. Bradford, A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution (Marlborough, NH: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982), iv–v.

 That’s correct – only three deists.

I think if one is skeptical of what was just presented then all one needs to do is perform a comprehensive study of quotations from the founders, keeping in mind the two main principles of deism:  no divine revelation to man and no influence or interaction in the affairs of men and nations.  A good reference source for study is the book in the photograph at the top of this article – “America’s God and Country” – Encyclopedia of Quotations, by William J. Federer. All quotations are referenced.

With this in mind let’s take a look at four of the Founding Fathers most often claimed to be deists by the progressive movement.

 Benjamin Franklin

In his younger years, Franklin was influenced by the writings of Robert Boyle, a 17th Century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor.  As a defender of the Christian faith, Boyle made a series of arguments against deism, but it was the arguments of deists in Boyle’s writings which appeared to have made a more lasting impression with Franklin, and for a time Franklin embraced deism.  These influences did not have a lasting effect on Franklin, though, and by the time of the American Revolution, Franklin had done a “180” and was a firm believer in the divine revelation and providence of the Biblical God.

On June 28, 1787, after much gridlock in the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin spoke the following:

“In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.

I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that “except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.”

It’s pretty obvious that Franklin believed in a God who did involve himself in the affairs of men and nations, and Franklin also alludes to the New Testament as “Sacred Writings,” which also reveal God’s revelation to man.   Franklin was no deist.

George Washington

He (Washington) was an open promoter of Christianity. For example, in his speech on May 12, 1779, he claimed that what children needed to learn “above all” was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and that to learn this would make them “greater and happier than they already are”; on May 2, 1778, he charged his soldiers at Valley Forge that “To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian”; and when he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the military on June 8, 1783, he reminded the nation that “without a humble imitation” of “the Divine Author of our blessed religion” we “can never hope to be a happy nation.” Washington’s own adopted daughter declared of Washington that you might as well question his patriotism as to question his Christianity. (David Barton, Wallbuilders.com)

In addition, the inscription on Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon is this:

WITHIN THIS ENCLOSURE REST THE REMAINS OF GENL. GEORGE WASHINGTON.” Over the door of the inner tomb is inscribed: “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.”

Thomas Jefferson

 Thomas Jefferson was hardly speaking from a strict deist standpoint when he said:

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”  (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781)

Now, why should Jefferson tremble for his country if God does not involve himself in the affairs of men and nations?

And then there’s this:

“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all  the necessities and comforts of life.” (Monday, March 4, 1805, in his 2nd Inaugural Address)

Another oblique reference to the Bible.  Remember, a strict deist was one who believed God was like a watchmaker, who wound up the universe and thereafter did not involve himself in the affairs of men and nations.  Jefferson obviously believed otherwise.

James Madison

James Madison trained for ministry with the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, and Madison’s writings are replete with declarations of his faith in God and in Christ. In fact, for proof of this, one only need read his letter to Attorney General Bradford wherein Madison laments that public officials are not bold enough about their Christian faith in public and that public officials should be “fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.” And while Madison did allude to a “wall of separation,” contemporary writers frequently refuse to allow Madison to provide his own definition of that “wall.” According to Madison, the purpose of that “wall” was only to prevent Congress from passing a national law to establish a national religion.  (David Barton, Wallbuilders.com)

Miscellaneous Quotations

Concerning the outcome of the American Revolution, John Quincy Adams noted, “The highest glory won from the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

In a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated June 28, 1813, John Adams wrote: “The general principles on which the (founding) fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity.”

Founding father Noah Webster proclaimed much the same message when he said, “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles…This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”

Time after time, the founding fathers declared similar beliefs. From the archives of Patrick Henry’s personal notes (handwritten on the back of his copy of the “Stamp Act Resolutions,” made public after his death) we read:

“Whether this (new government) will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation.”

https://righterreport.com/2011/07/16/the-moral-foundations-of-america-2/

Concluding Remarks:  And so it goes, from one Founding Father to the next.  The most frequent and most  dominate influence among the founders was the Bible (divine revelation to man) which was referenced in some 34% of the founding father’s quotations.  The vast majority of the founders believed in an active God who not only gave divine revelation to man, but who was also providential in the affairs of men and nations.

References: 

America’s God and Country” – Encyclopedia of Quotations, by William J. Federer.  All quotations are referenced.

“The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible. David Barton. May 2008. http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=8755

– The Righter Report

 

June 15, 2014 Posted by | America, Human Interest, Opinion, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Three Bells, by the Browns

June 1, 2014 Posted by | America | Leave a comment

Paul Harvey’s Warning to America

“If I were the Devil I would…”

May 26, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Opinion, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , | Leave a comment

Ossuaries of First Christians

The first century catacomb, uncovered by archaeologist P. Bagatti on the Mount of Olives, contains inscriptions clearly indicating its use, “by the very first Christians in Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem Burial Cave Reveals: Names, Testimonies of First Christians

by Jean Gilman

Like many other important early Christian discoveries in the Holy Land, these major finds were unearthed and the results published many decades ago. Then the discoveries were practically forgotten. Because of recent knowledge and understanding, these ancient tombs once again assume center stage, and their amazing “testimonies in stone” give some pleasant surprises about some of the earliest followers of Jesus.

The catacombs were found and excavated primarily by two well-known archaeologists, but their findings were later read and verified by other scholars such as Yigael Yadin, J. T. Milik and J. Finegan.

The first catacomb found near Bethany was investigated by renowned French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau. The other, a large burial cemetery unearthed near the modern Dominus Flevit Chapel, was excavated by Italian scholar, P. Bagatti.

Both archaeologists found evidence clearly dating the two catacombs to the first century AD, with the later finding coins minted by Governor Varius Gratus at the turn of the millenium (up to 15/16 AD). Evidence in both catacombs indicated their use for burial until the middle part of the first century AD, several years before the New Testament was written.

The first catacomb was a family tomb investigated by archaeologist Clermont-Ganneau on the Mount of Olives near the ancient town of Bethany. Clermont-Ganneau was surprised to find names which corresponded with names in the New Testament. Even more interesting were the signs of the cross etched on several of the ossuaries (stone coffins).

As Claremont-Ganneau further investigated the tomb, he found inscriptions, including the names of “Eleazar”(=”Lazarus”), “Martha” and “Mary” on three different coffins.

The Gospel of John records the existence of one family of followers of Jesus to which this tomb seems to belong: “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick)…” (11:1,2)

John continues by recounting Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. Found only a short distance from Bethany, Clermont-Ganneau believed it was not a “singular coincidence” that these names were found.

He wrote: “[This catacomb] on the Mount of Olives belonged apparently to one of the earliest [families] which joined the new religion [of Christianity]. In this group of sarcophagi [coffins], some of which have the Christian symbol [cross marks] and some have not, we are, so to speak, [witnessing the] actual unfolding of Christianity.”

Bagatti also found evidence which clearly indicated that the tomb was in use in the early part of the first century AD. Inside, the sign of the cross was found on numerous first-century coffins.

He found dozens of inscribed ossuaries, which included the names Jairus, Jonathan, Joseph, Judah, Matthias, Menahem, Salome, Simon, and Zechariah. In addition, he found one ossuary with crosses and the unusual name “Shappira” – which is a unique name not found in any other first-century writtings except for the Book of Acts (5:1).

Additional photos and information in the story Here at LeaderU

– The Righter Report

November 11, 2013 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, News, Theology, Theology Articles | Leave a comment

Dangerous Myths: Astrology

By Chuck Missler

It seems astonishing that in our “enlightened” culture, despite our space-age sophistication, many people still believe in astrology!  A Gallup poll concluded that 55% of teenagers believe in astrology; 1220 of the 1750 newspapers include a horoscope column of some kind to serve their readers.  Many simply dismiss this as a harmless form of entertainment, feeding their curiosity. However, in the Old Testament it was a form of divination and a capital crime: practicing astrology was punishable by death!1

Empirical Results: It Doesn’t Work

  • Marital compatibility: Psychologist Bernard Silverman of Michigan State University analyzed birth dates of 2978 couples who were getting married and 478 who were getting divorced. There were no correlations with predicted compatibility.
  • Shawn Carlson of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory provided horoscope information and a standard California Personality Inventory for groups of volunteers to 28 professional astrologers (procedure approved in advance) to match each horoscope to one of three profiles submitted.  The random expectation of 34% was achieved.2
  • French statistician Michel Gauquelin sent the horoscope for one of the worst mass murderers in French history to 150 people and asked how well it fit them. 94% said they recognized themselves in the description.
  • Geoffrey Dean, an Australian researcher, reversed the astrological readings of 22 subjects: 95% identified themselves with the reversed readings.
  • Astronomers Culver and Ianna tracked the published predictions of well-known astrologers and astrological organizations for five years. Out of 3000 predictions, only 10% came to pass.

Ten Questions for the Astrologers 3

1)  What is the likelihood that 1/12th of the world’s population is having the same kind of day today?
2)  Why is the moment of birth, not conception, crucial for astrology? [Is that why identical twins always have the same personality?!]
3)  If the mother’s womb can keep out astrological influences until birth, can we do the same with a cubicle of steak?
4)  If astrologers are as good as they claim, why aren’t they richer?  (Ex: stock market, etc. How many foresaw Black Monday, October 1987? None.)
5)  Are all horoscopes done before the discovery of the three outermost planets incorrect (Uranus, 1781; Neptune, 1846; Pluto, 1930)?
6)  Shouldn’t we condemn astrology as a form of bigotry? (i.e., refusing to hire a Leo or date a Virgo, etc.)
7)  Why do different schools of astrology disagree so strongly with each other?  (…precession of the Earth’s axis, how many planets and celestial objects to be included, allocation of personality traits, etc.  No convergence of consensus.)
8)  If the astrological influence is carried by any known force, why do the planets dominate?  [The obstetrician who delivers the child turns out to have about six times the gravitational pull of Mars and about 2,000 billion times its tidal force (less mass, but a lot closer!)]
9)  If astrological influence is carried by an unknown force, why is it independent of distance? [The importance of Mars in a horoscope is identical whether the planet is on the same side of the sun as the Earth or seven times farther away on the other side, etc.]
10)  If astrological influences don’t depend on distance, why is there no astrology of stars, galaxies, and quasars? [Doesn’t the omission of Rigel, the Crab pulsar, and M31 render a horoscope incomplete?]

A Warning

Danger: don’t play around with things that are expressly prohibited in the Word of God. They are not just manifestations of ignorance, or harmless “entertainments.”  They are occultic and very dangerous. They are “entries” for malevolent influences that are out to destroy the very future you’re inquiring into! God means what He says and says what He means. You have access to far more powerful – and reliable – supernatural resources in the Holy Spirit, which has expressly been given to you if you are, indeed, in Christ. Do your homework.  Your eternity depends on it.

  1. Deuteronomy 18:9-15.
  2. Nature, December 5, 1985.
  3. Excerpted from Sky & Telescope, August 1989.

Reprinted with permission from Koinonia House

October 2, 2013 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | Leave a comment

The Bible – Is it wrong to judge?

“Judge not, and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

Jesus is not saying that we cannot make judgments about people’s actions, he is saying that we should not be hypocrites if we do. In Matthew 7:5 he says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brothers eye.”

God acknowledges the legitimacy of civil authorities to judge:

Romans 13:1-4: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For he (the reigning authority) is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of God’s wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (Also note Matthew 5:25; Acts 25:10-11)

God has commanded the church to make correct judgments:

John 7:24: “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”

Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (note Deuteronomy 19:15). If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector .”

I Corinthians 6:4: “Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church.”

God commands us to judge according to one’s ‘fruits’:

Matthew 7:17-20: “Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit…..every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

The Saints of Christ will judge the world, and angels:

I Corinthians 6:2: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?”

I Corinthians 6:3: “Do you not know that we will judge angels?”

Should no one ever be rebuked?

Jesus rebukes the teachers of the law and the Pharisees:

Matthew 23:27-28: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

John the Baptist rebukes King Herod for adultery and other sins:

Luke 3:19: “But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.”

Stephen rebukes the Jewish leaders:

Acts 7:51-53: “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”

God uses people to warn others to turn from their sins:

“When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.'” – Ezekiel 33

Also note all the Old Testament prophets who condemned sin and corrupt moral leadership, and who were persecuted for their discernment and duty.

Finally, when someone accuses you of being judgmental, are they themselves not being critical and judgmental in making that accusation?

But stay quiet, and evil will abound:

“The only thing required for evil to triumph is for good men to (say and) do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

July 29, 2013 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Opinion, Theology, Theology Articles | Leave a comment

“Victory,” performed by the Aussie / British band “bond”

Wikipedia notes: “Bond (often typeset as bond in deference to the owners of the 007 trademark) is an Australian/British string quartet that specializes in classical crossover music. Bond has been described as the best-selling string quartet of all time, selling over 4 million records.

This song is from the album “Best of bond.”

– The Righter Report

April 17, 2013 Posted by | America, Entertainment, Human Interest | Leave a comment

John Paul Jackson Perfect Storm Headlines

Video dated October 5, 2012

In the following video, Christian Prophet John Paul Jackson reveals prophetic “Headlines” the Lord gave him of future events. These start about 10 minutes into the video. Examples of prophetic headlines given include the North Pole shifting to northern Russia; GPS becoming unreliable; a ‘Solar Tsunami’ brings down aircraft; Mt. Fuji erupting in Tokyo with millions dead; “Flash Mobs” invading rich neighborhoods; and Kraft and SYSCO food companies considering hiring security guards to protect their food trucks.

Previous John Paul Jackson articles / video:

Perfect Storm Prophecy

Perfect Storm Prophecy Update

The Coming Perfect Storm

– The Righter Report

October 11, 2012 Posted by | America, Evangelical, Human Interest, News, Theology Articles | , , , , | Leave a comment