D James Kennedy the Historian?

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Martin, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    In reading through a 2003 publication of Coral Ridge Ministries called "What They Believed" I have found several statements worth noting. D James Kennedy, of course, is the author of this booklet.

    For example on Washington he said:
    "It is without question that, as a result of this training, George Washington came to a living faith in the Divine Savior. He came to trust in the shed blood of Christ, the perfect life of Jesus Christ, in which he was robed and in which he stood before God."-14

    In my mind, having studied Washington's faith, I think that statement maybe going too far. While it is certainly true that Washington was a religious man I don't know that there is solid evidence that he was a born again Christian. Also if one just does a basic review of the literature on Washington's faith one will quickly discover that his faith is not "without question".

    More troubling than the above statement is the way it is followed up:
    "There are those who say, 'Well, he may have been virtuous, he may even have been religious, but he was not even a Christian. He was a deist.' Tragically that lie is repeated over and over again. Unfortunately, the people who make that statement wouldn't know the difference between a deist and a Zoroastrian if they tripped over one, or else they know next to nothing about George Washington." -14

    Kennedy goes on to say that "I know of no historical character in the history of America who gives more frequent testimony to his belief in the providence of God than does George Washington." (15). Considering men like Roger Williams, Obadiah Holmes, George Whitefield, Patrick Henry, John Jay, and Johnathan Edwards, that is a strange thing to say.

    Another thing that concerns me about this publication is that quotes of Washington's prayers are given without a footnote (etc). The result of this is that I have no clue where these quotes are being pulled from. What is the source of these very evangelical quotes? Certainly if these are truly the private words of Washington then there can be no doubting his evangelical Christian faith. However the booklet contains no footnotes or source notes. This practice is very sloppy mainly when such quotes are being used to support the claim that Washington was a born again believer.

    Myself, I have no doubt that Washington would have considered himself a Christian. I have no doubt that Washington was a religious gentleman who believed in God. I do not believe that Washington was a full blown deist, in fact he very well may not have been a deist at all. However to come to the conclusion that Washington was "beyond question" a born again believer is simply not something I can do based on the evidence I have seen.

    As I read through this booklet I am amazed at how often Kennedy takes shots at people who disagree with him on Washington. For example at one point he calls people that he refers to as historical revisionists "termites in the timber of civilization" who "can't stand greatness" and who "have been very busy destroying the foundations of this country." (11). I don't consider those type of attacks to be the writing of serious historian. The booklet does not seem aimed so much at education as much as it is aimed towards defending a pre-determined view.
     
  2. dwmoeller1

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    Ack! I can't stand such revisionism from the Christian community.

    Washington's belief in God is without question...but thats true of any deist. What cannot be shown with any satisfaction is that he had what would be considered by any evangelical to be 'faith in Christ'. There is no direct evidence for this faith beyond a prayer written when he was a boy. Most indirect evidence comes from partisans of his made after his death, but is also contradicted by the pastor of the church he attended while president. But Washington made no profession of faith in *Christ* (the essential for being considered a Christian as opposed to merely a believer in God) as an adult either in public on in his writings.

    What amazes me is the number of what are often solid men in most other aspects, who equate statements of faith in Providence as statements of faith in Christ or Christian doctrine.

    Parson Weems? Barton? :)

    Agreed on all points. However, his statements of faith and doctrine (what little there were) would point much more to deism than to Christian faith. Statements of faith in Providence are not uncommon, but statements of faith in Christ and His work are not present at all. IF one were to make an assessment of his religious beliefs (assuming he even had any well formed ones), then deism would be a much more supportable conclusion than Christian faith.
     
  3. Martin

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    ==I agree. Kennedy's little book is filled with very evangelical prayers that he claims were written in Washington's own hand. I am not sure where he got these prayers from because he does not provide any footnotes or end notes (etc). If he turned that book into any of my graduate professors he would recieve a great big "F". If he turned it in to me, well, I would hand it back and tell him to put some source information on it. Then I would subtract points for turning it in late and incomplete.

    I did, and continue to, suspect that Parson Weems is the source of the prayers he provides. However I have not had a chance to do a comparison.

    ==Correct. Washington's writings/speeches make no reference to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact his language seems often very formal and somewhat distant. I am sure Washington thought of himself as a Christian, and I am sure he believed in God, but that does not mean he was a born again believer in Jesus Christ. I know people like that today, I suspect we all do. They attend church, they believe in Jesus, but they are not born again.

    ==I think there are two factors at work here. (1) The person does not know that there is a difference. (2) The person wants to think that they will meet George Washington in heaven. As for me, I want the facts of history to lead me in the right direction. I don't want to believe something about Washington (etc) simply because I want to, I want to believe it because it is true.

    ==I agree but with Washington the problem is that he is very vague. His language is very deistic but we don't have any doctrinal statement (etc) from him (as we do with Jefferson). So it is my conviction that Washington was, what one historian called, a Christian deist.

    ==I tend to agree.
     
  4. quidam65

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    If one applied to the Founding Fathers what is applied to some today, GW would not qualify as a Christian since GW was an active Freemason. The original cornerstone of the US Capitol was given by the local Masonic lodge in honor of GW, one of its members.

    There are those who claim that an active Freemason cannot be a Christian since Freemasonry and Christianity are not compatible (though usually this charge is not leveled against the average Mason, but only against those at the 32nd level and higher). If this is true (and that's a whole other topic) then shouldn't GW be judged on the same platform?
     
  5. Mexdeaf

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    This is almost as much a waste of time as trying to convince a KJVO otherwise.

    We will know for sure if GW was a Christian or not when we get to Heaven.

    Personally, I think he was saved. He had fruit to that effect although he was not vocal about it. My late grandfather was not a very emotional person, he had a hard time saying "I love you" due to his upbringing, yet we knew he loved us.
     
  6. Magnetic Poles

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    Kennedy's historical revisionism has less to do with the founding fathers, and more to do with his reconstructionist goals of merging church & state.
     
  7. ASLANSPAL

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    Spot on!


    He has an agenda and it is fundamentally deceptive ...he is counting on sheeple to buy it in mass thus start a myth with some power.
     
  8. saturneptune

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    So does all this mean Washington really did not chop down the cherry tree, and was covering for his brother?
     
  9. dwmoeller1

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    Notice that nothing about freemasonry has been mentioned on this thread. The doubts concerning Washington's Christianity is the simple fact that no adult statements can be found which could be attributed to saving faith in *Christ*.

    Not so with GW Bush. Or Clinton or Carter for that matter...which is ironic since many who would claim Washington is a Christian would deny the same to these two.

    a) What fruit? Fruit of the Spirit is more than simply good character.

    b) He was more than simply 'not vocal', NO adult mention of faith in Christ can be attributed to him either in private conversation, private journals/writing, much less public statements.

    If we are to make Washington a Christian on such slim evidence, then we would logically turn all decent and 'good' people into such as well.
     
    #9 dwmoeller1, Feb 16, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2007

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