Culture > Q&A

Sacred Fire fight

"Sacred Fire fight" Continued...

Issue: "Between Hell and Hope," Feb. 12, 2011

Would Washington leave? Before the Revolutionary War in a low-church Virginian setting, those who have wisdom and have looked at the evidence say that Washington always communed. He was a church warden and as a church leader made it a point before the Revolution always to commune. But something happened when the American Revolution came. The argument is that Washington fell into the Enlightenment spirit of the American Revolution, ceased his Christian testimony, and fell into the deistic mold-but that's a very poor explanation of historical facts.

What's your explanation? George Washington began to be abused by his own pastor for breaking a vow that Anglicans had taken with the king. A church leader vowed to enter into a covenant not only with Christ but with the king of England-yet Washington decided that King George was a tyrant and that he would break covenant with him. George Washington's pastor openly attacked Washington as a man who had broken his covenant and was no longer a follower of the Christian teaching of loyalty to the king. He was no longer welcomed into his home church to take communion.

Did Washington commune in other places? There are many fascinating eye­witness accounts: One of the best, from New Jersey, is that Washington partook in a worship service at a Presbyterian church.

Why there? The Presbyterians had sided with the American Revolution-it was often called a Presbyterian uprising.

Did Washington take communion when he was inaugurated as president? After he took his oath of office, he went to a little chapel for a two-hour worship service. Mrs. Alexander Hamilton recalled, "I had the privilege of kneeling and taking Communion with the newly inaugurated President of the United States." This was in a no-longer Anglican chapel but an Episcopal chapel-it had become an American church.
Listen to Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Peter Lillback.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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