Cedarville Magazine Summer 2014 - page 20

Cedarville Magazine
Washington’s sweeping contributions
Securing American independence as
General in the Revolutionary War
Presiding over the framing of the
U.S. Constitution
Protecting and advancing religious
liberty for all, inclusive of minority
Establishing the precedents of the
American presidency
Modeling the orderly and peaceful
transition of power
Any of these would have sufficed to
be remembered by history. Washington’s
constellation of accomplishments caused
his contemporaries to call him “the Father
of his Country.” In prior generations, he was
the national colossus towering as “first in
war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of
his countrymen.” Seemingly, today’s leaders
could still learn a thing or two from “His
Contemporary analysts, however,
focus on debunking traditional stories
about Washington or emphasizing his
flaws and imperfections. Such efforts to
cut Washington down to size nevertheless
underscore his abiding influence.
But a key element of Washington’s
leadership often remains unacknowledged
or unrecognized: how the Bible shaped
him as he shaped America. Washington’s
biblical knowledge ranged from Genesis
to Revelation, with well over 200 biblical
allusions or citations in his writings
including numerous references to
Christianity, God, heaven, prayer, and
the Ten Commandments, to name a few.
Consider a letter he wrote in April 1789.
Its classic style bristles with biblical and
theological concepts:
The blessed Religion revealed in the
word of God will remain an eternal
and awful monument to prove that
the best Institutions may be abused
by human depravity; and that they
may even, in some instances be made
subservient to the vilest of purposes.
Washington’s leadership often reflected
scriptural emphases. Consider three
examples of biblical ideas that impacted
Washington’s leadership: providence,
perseverance, and humility.
In his first inaugural address 225
years ago, Washington declared, “… the
republican model of government [is]
justly considered as deeply, perhaps as
finally, staked on the experiment entrusted
to the hands of the American people.”
This experiment was possible due to
“that Almighty Being who rules over the
Universe, who presides in the Councils of
Nations, and whose providential aids can
supply every human defect.”
Newly inaugurated President
Washington believed providence was the
“invisible hand” behind America’s success:
No People can be bound to acknowledge
and adore the invisible hand, which
conducts the Affairs of men more than
the People of the United States. Every
step, by which they have advanced to
the character of an independent nation,
seems to have been distinguished by
some token of providential agency.
The Invisible Hand in
by Peter A. Lillback ’74
Our era is marked by political correctness and
efforts to downplay Western civilization. Yet
Americans still recognize George Washington
as a great leader.
History is filled with examples of men
and women who based their leadership
on biblical principles. This topic is of
particular interest to Dr. Peter Lillback
’77 whose scholarship has focused on
America’s first President. His 2006
national best-seller,
George Washington’s
Sacred Fire
, distills 15 years of research
on Washington’s life, leadership, and
letters. It reveals a man guided by faith
and grounded in Scripture.
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