The George Washington Society
News

January 16, 2012 - Sponsor a Painting

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, admonished the generations following him to "Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set." This is why George Washington Inn seeks to become a one-of-a-kind Revolutionary War art gallery and museum on the west coast. Fine art that depicts God’s providential hand in the development of our nation is being sought for this endeavor. The proprietors, Dan and Janet Abbott, have found a need for this reminder in Washington's namesake state. You can sponsor a piece of art as an individual, as a business or in memory of a loved one which will serve as a reminder of God's hand in our history. The George Washington Society Blog provides a sampling of this historical art. Call 360-452-5207 to contribute or to obtain more information.


December 24, 2011 - Revolutionary War Art Museum to be Developed

Plans have been announced to develop a Revolutionary War art museum at the George Washington Inn and Estate, a world-class replica of George Washington's Virginia home and a destination that has become known as "Mount Vernon West." Donations will be used to acquire museum-quality reproductions of significant paintings and sculptures that depict historical scenes from the Revolutionary War and early formation of the United States. The inn with its ten foot high walls will make an ideal art gallery for visitors and guests alike.

Prayer at Valley Forge by Arnold Friberg

For every $1,000 donated, a donor automatically becomes a member of the George Washington Society and can experience a night's stay at this unique Mount Vernon replica on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula (subject to room availability) in appreciation of his or her gift. For gifts of $50 or more, a 10% discount is offered on purchases made from the inn's gift shop or online store.


Peter Lillback at George Washington Inn

Noted author, Dr. Peter Lillback, speaks at George Washington Inn

Peter Lillback seminar on George Washington at George Washington Inn, Port Angeles, Washington

March 18, 2011 - Author of "George Washington's Sacred Fire" to Speak

No living person today has more insight into the life and 

faith of the father of our country than Dr. Peter A. Lillback, 

author of the #1 bestseller, “George Washington’s Sacred

Fire.” In a very unique program exclusive to George

Washington Inn, Dr. Lillback will be presenting three 45 minute sessions at the Inn on March 24, 2011. For more information, please see the
press release.


July 20, 2010 - Regular Membership Is Now Available

You can now become a regular member of the George Washington Society for an annual membership fee of $50. A beautiful lapel pin will be sent to you in appreciation of your membership. Click here to submit your membership request.



June 10, 2010 - Levels of Membership To Be Offered

Inquires about less expensive membership than the current charter lifetime memberships have initiated an effort to make membership more affordable. Various levels of membership will be offered in the near future. More information to follow.



May 15, 2010 - Follow the George Washington Society on Social Media

You can now follow the George Washington Society on Facebook, and also daily quotes from the life and faith of George Washington are posted on Twitter.



March 27, 2010 - Historical Drama at George Washington Inn?

The proprietors of George Washington Inn held a meeting on site initiated by 3 local business people. Initial discussions were held about developing a historical drama at the inn with vignettes of George Washington & other founding fathers discussing America's founding principles. The unique setting of the inn is a natural draw and our country has grown thirsty for a return to its roots and core beliefs. It's exciting to see other people catch the vision of the George Washington Society.




January 23, 2010 - Lapel Pins Designed For Charter Members

The George Washington Society has designed a lapel pin which will be given as a token of appreciation to all charter members. A limited number of these pins have been cast for the charter membership. See membership details under previous news release.



November 25, 2009 - Charter Memberships Are Now Available

We are now accepting charter lifetime memberships in the society. Each investment in membership will be used to promote George Washington's faith and legacy through various venues at George Washington Inn & Estate. For your gift of $500, you will receive a certificate of charter membership and a lifetime 25% discount on reservations at George Washington Inn.

August 17, 2008 - Washington & His Faith Examined



May 28, 2008 - An Enlightening Essay Worth Reading

Why Have Scholars Underplayed George Washington’s Faith?

By Peter A. Lillback

Historian Peter A. Lillback, Ph.D., is president of The Providence Forum, president of Westminster Theological Seminary, and senior pastor at Proclamation Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He is the author of the bestseller George Washington’s Sacred Fire (2006, Providence Forum Press).

The faith of our founding father, George Washington, has been the source of debate among scholars throughout the 20th, and now into the 21st century. Prior to that, it was generally the case that very few questioned the strength or validity of the claim that George Washington was a Christian. It was not until around the time of the bicentennial of Washington’s birth, in 1932, that the consensus began to shift to the view that Washington was a Deist, that is, one who is generally non-religious, believing merely in a very remote and impersonal God.

The definitive change in scholarly attitude seems to have occurred in 1963 when Professor Paul Boller wrote his book entitled George Washington and Religion. Professor Boller wrote, “Broadly speaking, of course, Washington can be classified as a Deist.” Most recent scholars have accepted Boller’s thesis and have developed this perspective. Thus recent works on Washington’s faith describe our Founding Father as: “A lukewarm Episcopalian,” “a warm Deist,” “not a deeply religious man,” “not particularly ardent in his faith,” “one who avoided, as was the Deist custom, the word ‘God.’” If these evaluations of Washington’s faith are accurate, then it would seem appropriate to minimize the role of faith in Washington’s life.

The question is, however, why so many scholars have uncritically followed Boller’s viewpoint on the question of Washington’s faith. It is tricky business to assign motives to scholars, although the maxim that the living can make the dead do any tricks they find necessary comes to mind. Obviously no scholar can divine the reasons for the selection and weighing of evidence by another historian, so my remarks here must be viewed merely as suggestive.

The reasons for the scholarly minimizing of Washington’s faith seem to be due to factors related to three reasons: the uniqueness of Washington himself, the perspectives of recent historians, and the nature and availability of the relevant evidence.

The uniqueness of George Washington as well as his historical milieu make the task of discovering Washington’s personal faith a challenge. He was an inward man who prided himself on non-self-disclosure. Indeed, his motto was “deeds not words.” His public and political life sought to unite a very diverse group of colonial soldiers in the military and competitive bodies of citizens in early federal America. This process of unification was facilitated by seeking the largest common denominator. This meant that personal religious concerns were normally subordinated in his public life. Moreover, his more private life as a Virginian gentleman in a distinctively Anglican historical context did not require him as a non-theologian to be overtly expressive of his faith. The evangelical fires of the Great Awakening with its open evangelistic zeal had not impacted Virginian culture as much as they had other colonies. Washington’s evangelism was far more expressive when it touched the need for Native Americans to be reached through missionary outreach. His outreach to his fellow Americans, however, was typically through example and providing leadership and contributions. His Christian “deeds” included the provision of ministers, chaplains, church buildings and sacramental items, as well as liturgical involvement for the spiritual growth of his family, neighbors and soldiers.

The perspectives of recent historians also help to account for why they have underdeveloped the importance for faith in Washington’s life. Simply put, Washington has been caught in the crosshairs of the culture wars. If the recent zeitgeist has been a conscious move toward secularism in the academy and in the courts, then it stands to reason that Washington would begin to take on a more compatible secular image in the hands of such authors who so significantly shape our American culture. If the separation of Church and State is a fundamental tenet of our view of American culture, then the scholarly shaping of Washington’s life to fit this view is an inexorable result. After all, everyone would like to have Washington on their side!

Moreover, historians on all sides of this debate over Washington’s true faith would agree that the sheer greatness of Washington makes him liable to hagiography and exaggeration. The unsubstantiated legends of a previous era had to be subjected to the rigorous canons of critical historiography. While some of the testimony for Washington’s faith falls in the arena of unsupportable legend, there is a temptation simply to dismiss all evidence of his faith by assuming that there is only hagiographical and apocryphal testimony to support it. So self-evident did Washington’s Christian faith seem to prior generations, that they only slightly felt the need to establish a scholarly case. Thus when this earlier case for Washington’s Christian faith was examined under the microscope of serious scholarship, it was unable to withstand the assault.

However, that did not mean there was no evidence for the claim of a strong faith life in Washington. Rather, it meant that the case had to be built by a careful return to original sources and historically sound arguments. Thus there has been a significant need to reassess this whole debate by an in depth analysis of the relevant data. That, of course, is what I have sought to do in George Washington’s Sacred Fire. It has simply been too easy for all parties in this debate to rely on secondary sources. Ultimately, Washington’s own words and his own actions in his own context establish the truth about his own faith.

The character of the extant historical evidence also in part explains why scholars have missed the importance of faith in Washington’s life. So much of what is essential for this debate is not available for study. For example, very few ecclesiastical records remain from the early years of Washington’s life. The war years were a period when many records were inevitably lost or never kept. With the passing of over two centuries since Washington’s death, the likelihood that such records will come to light is very small.

The sheer magnitude of Washington’s writings and correspondence makes it difficult to get a handle on his faith given that it was not the central point of his daily work. Only recently has this question been made easier to address. The digital revolution now makes searching Washington’s vast corpus possible from the comfort of one’s personal computer simply by accessing the sources through the University of Virginia and the Library of Congress. Similarly, the letters to which Washington was responding have only recently been published or been put online, finally making them readily accessible to scholarly research. These letters are important for this debate in particular since they give added depth and insight to Washington’s words as he expresses his faith and religious concerns.

Even the physical location of the relevant data enters into this question. For example Washington’s library is difficult to access since it is in a limited access archive at the Boston Athenaeum. Yet Washington’s personally bound collections of now mostly out of print sermons as well as his correspondence to the clergymen who wrote them provide a treasure trove for understanding his religious thinking.

Within this vast collection of Washington’s own words and writings, we now have a remarkable ability to uncover what earlier scholars were unable to access. And when we let Washington’s own words and deeds speak for his faith we get quite a different perspective than that of most recent modern historians. Washington referred to himself frequently using the words “ardent,” “fervent,” “pious,” and “devout.” There are over one hundred different prayers composed and written by Washington in his own hand, with his own words, in his writings. He described himself as one of the deepest men of faith of his day when he confessed to a clergyman, “No Man has a more perfect Reliance on the alwise, and powerful dispensations of the Supreme Being than I have nor thinks his aid more necessary.”

Rather than avoid the word “God,” on the very first national Thanksgiving under the U.S. Constitution, he said, “It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.” Although he never once used the word “Deist” in his voluminous writings, he often mentioned religion, Christianity, and the Gospel. He spoke of Christ as “the divine Author of our blessed religion.” He encouraged missionaries who were seeking to “Christianize” the “aboriginals.” He took an oath in a private letter, “on my honor and the faith of a Christian.” He wrote of “the blessed religion revealed in the Word of God.” He encouraged seekers to learn “the religion of Jesus Christ.” He even said to his soldiers, “To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.” Not bad for a “lukewarm” Episcopalian!

Historians ought no longer be permitted to do the legerdemain of turning Washington into a Deist even if they found it necessary and acceptable to do so in the past. Simply put, it is time to let the words and writings of Washington’s faith speak for themselves.

from "George Washington's Sacred Fire" by Peter A. Lillback, Ph.D., with Jerry Newcombe


Amazon Description:
What sets "George Washington's Sacred Fire" apart from all previous works on this man for the ages, is the exhaustive fifteen years of Dr. Peter Lillback's research, revealing a unique icon driven by the highest of ideals. Not only do George Washington's own writings, journals, letters, manuscripts, and those of his closest family and confidants reveal the truth of this awe-inspiring role model for all generations. Dr. Lillback paints a picture of a man, who, faced with unprecedented challenges and circumstances, ultimately drew upon his persistent qualities of character - honesty, justice, equity, perseverence, piety, forgiveness, humility, and servant leadership, to become one of the most revered figures in world history. George Washington set the cornerstone for what would become one of the most prosperous, free nations in the history of civilization. Through this book, Dr. Lillback, assisted by Jerry Newcombe, will reveal to the reader a newly inspirational image of General and President George Washington.

Amazon Book Reviews:
An enlightening, engaging, and long overdue correction of the falsehood that Washington lacked faith. --Rodney Stark, Baylor University 

Dr. Lillback buries the myth that Washington was an unbeliever - at most a "deist" - under an avalanche of facts. --Robert P. George, Princeton University

Secular historians ignore George Washington's ward Nelly Custis, who wrote that doubting his Christian faith was as absurd as doubting his patriotism. But they cannot ignore this mountain of evidence suggesting Washington's religion was not Deism, but just the sort of low-church Anglicanism one would expect in an 18th century Virginia gentleman. His "sacred fire" lit America's path toward civil and religious liberty. --Walter A. McDougall, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

Click here to order your copy.





May 26, 2008 - Memorial Day Patriotic Music Links

Courtesy of the Library of Congress and the USAF Band


April 8, 2008 - Formation of the George Washington Society and Foundation

A grassroots effort to form the George Washington Society has been initiated. People, with like mind and vision, who would like to become directors are being sought in the society's formation. 501(c)(3) status is also being pursued. Anyone desiring to participate as a charter member or as a director is encouraged to email us.

Dan Abbott, Proprietor
George Washington Inn
939 Finn Hall Rd.
Port Angeles, WA 98362