Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “George Washington's Sacred Fire” as Want to Read:
George Washington's Sacred Fire
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

George Washington's Sacred Fire

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  613 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
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. Only do George Washington's own writings, journals, letters, manuscripts, and those of his closest family and confidants reveal the truth of this awe-insp ...more
Paperback, 1187 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Providence Forum Press (first published July 24th 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about George Washington's Sacred Fire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about George Washington's Sacred Fire

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 03, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Karen by: a respected friend
I'm unsure how to review this book. While reading, Washington, the man became very personal to me. I now know why he is called "The Indispensable Man". This book made George Washington, alive to me. So, I say read this book. Introduce yourself to George Washington. Maybe he will speak to you too.

This is my favorite book on Washington because it made reading him easy. It is his words, given structure. The last 1/4 of the book is a glossary of his views on issues that effect us today. You want to
Feb 03, 2010 Ethan rated it really liked it
After reading this book you will never again be able to accept that George Washington was a deist.
Neil McKinlay
Jun 28, 2012 Neil McKinlay rated it it was amazing
The American people are experiencing a grass-roots level rediscovery of who they are as a nation. It turns out that the people have been discovering that the text books from which they were taught at school had been tampered with, to the point that relatively few of them now know very much that’s factual about the beliefs held by their founding fathers.

The good news is that there is now a hunger for truth sweeping America. Her people have a renewed interest in the beliefs of those who signed th
Jul 10, 2013 Steve rated it it was ok
This 2006 release and national best seller from Peter Lillback and Jerry Newcombe was written for just one purpose: to answer the question, “was George Washington a Christian or not?” The authors remind us of that purpose in every chapter, if not every page. Enough already! We get it!

It took Lillback and Newcombe 725 pages to answer the question. That’s not counting the 458 pages of appendix, end notes and index. This is a monster book to read! Not only is its mere size intimidating to the casu
Deborah Sloan
Oct 31, 2010 Deborah Sloan rated it it was amazing
George Washington's Sacred Fire
Every American needs to read George Washington's Sacred Fire by Peter A. Lillback for a valuable understanding on the beginnings of our nation and how truly a historic moment in time this was. Showing the "Providence of God" in the start up of this new country and the man who was chosen to lead us all.

Get in touch with the language of the day, the honor and principles expected and know how George Washington was absolutely the best possible choice of men ever to le
Tim Chavel
Aug 28, 2011 Tim Chavel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book for those who want to know more about our first President's faith. It is very long but worth the read. The author does a great job using first source documents. I am very happy to report that without a doubt President George Washington was a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ! The book has ten appendixes and the endnotes start on page 959 and go through 1155. The author, Peter A. Lillback, did much research for this fantastic book! I highly recommend it.
Sean McGowan
Jan 13, 2017 Sean McGowan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, biography
Almost halfway through this tomb of a book. I must say, this work really leaves no stone unturned and dismantles the claims by modern scholars that Washington was a Deist like Jefferson or Franklin. Lillback makes an excellent case that Washington was in fact in the tradition of Low Church Anglicanism and was very active in his service of the church. One intriguing fact I had not known before was that Washington served on the Religion Committee (along with Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee) wh ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This was a great history of George Washington. It's too bad that its not in print anymore. I had to get an employee at Borders (when it was going out of business) to go in a back room and check their remaining stock for it. I got lucky!

Anyway, the book was very accurate and helped me to pass the Revolutionary War part of my APUSH class last year. I though it was very well-written. It takes a while to read simply because it is so long. Totally worth the time, though! :)
Christopher Smith
Sep 01, 2011 Christopher Smith rated it really liked it
This is an important book, which shows that George Washington was not a Deist as some have claimed, but rather an orthodox Anglican with Latitudinarian tendencies.

One of the more persuasive arguments in the book, which the authors probably don't emphasize enough, is that Washington served as a godfather for some eight children and served as a very active lay-leader in his church, both of which required subscription to the Church of England's 39 Articles of Religion. Subscription was where unort
Jacob Aitken
Sep 05, 2011 Jacob Aitken rated it it was ok
Lillback rescues Washington from the charge of Deism, but not Masonry.

Thesis: George Washington was neither a Deist nor a modern Fundamentalist Evangelical. Rather, he was an orthodox Latitudinarian within the Anglican church. This means that while he did not have the outward, expressive, emotional zeal of 20th century counterparts, he did have a real faith in a Personal Triune God, and sucha faith did inform his public policies and inspire commitments.

Critics object that Washington never referr
May 18, 2010 goddess rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, own
A very comprehensive biography on Washington's Christianity. Quite extensive and thorough, this book should put to rest any false and ludicrous claims that Washington was a Deist. Quite the contrary. This book is well researched, extremely well documented, and very explicit on his love of and devotion to God. From quotes to experiences to personal accounts, there is ample proof that Washington prayed, attended religious meetings, was affiliated with a place of worship, and held deep convictions ...more
May 19, 2010 Adam rated it really liked it
The important thing about this book is that it certainly clears the air for those who think they understand separation of church and state but don't. The opportunity for our nation's leaders to pray in public, go to church, or make references to the providence and God is a completely different thing from persecuting people because of what they believe. Washington regularly deferred to the providence of God. Leading his soldiers in prayer, both of hope and thanks. Whether or not Washington went t ...more
Tweed Scott
Nov 26, 2010 Tweed Scott rated it really liked it
Since the opening decade of the 20th century a concerted effort has been made by historians to distort and rewrite history to make a case that Geo. Washington was not a Christian. They consider him a Deist. This book goes to great length to show that he was raised Christian and relied on Christian teachings, values throughout his life. He required there be Chaplains present with his army throughout the Revolution. The concepts presented in this book are supported by The first presidents own word ...more
Anthony Edridge
Jul 27, 2013 Anthony Edridge rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
The evidence presented by the authors is overwhelming - there can be no doubt that George Washington was a true Christian. Most certainly he was not a Deist, as other authors have claimed. If these dissenting authors had done 1% of the research done by Peter Lillback, they would have had to recant.

For some people, their agenda is more important than the truth, which is, unfortunately a sign of the times. It is comforting to know that a man of such importance to our country had impeccable princip
Steve Curll
Aug 04, 2011 Steve Curll rated it it was amazing
This is the most thoroughly researched book I have ever read. 1179 pages is a daunting task, indeed,, although the appendixes, footnotes and references take up 454 pages of small print. this book rewrites the recently rewritten history that has for many years claimed Washington was a Deist. The currently accepted research is looked at critically in great detail. All Deist arguments are refuted by Washington's own words. For a shortened but well researched version, read part I, about 63 pages,the ...more
Russ Bingaman
Apr 18, 2011 Russ Bingaman rated it really liked it
Over the years I have read many biographies of George Washington but I guess what sets this book apart from the others is the author’s research into George Washington’s religious views, personal history, and his personal writings. The author leaves no doubt that Washington was not only a god fearing Christian man but the only man worthy to lead a young nation out of the grips of the British Empire. It’s my opinion that this book should surely be a must read for anyone who wants to learn about on ...more
Stan Crader
Aug 20, 2012 Stan Crader rated it really liked it
After reading Lillback's tome on Washington, my wife and I made arrangements to him come and speak to students at Southeast Missouri State University. That's how much I thought of the work. Lillback leaves no stone unturned in his research regarding Washington's faith. It's a thick book, nearly 300 pages are devoted to references. Lillback spent ten years researching an writing this book. I only gave it four stars because my rule is to never give a book of over 1000 pages five stars. I guess tha ...more
Caitlin Wickliffe
Sep 23, 2016 Caitlin Wickliffe rated it it was amazing
Yes, it took me 2 years to finish this book. I kept going back to reread a chapter or to check something Peter Lillback wrote with things I had been taught about George Washington. This book will open your eyes to who George Washington was and what he meant to this country. There is bit of repetitive writing, but all in all this book is well written and not, not, not dry boring History.

After you read this book, you will never be in doubt about what George Washington thought about God, the creat
Jul 26, 2010 Aaron rated it it was amazing
Excellently presented, providing a thorough look into a man for the ages. Washington's personal correspondence to close family and friends unveil the true character of the American icon and remove all doubt and speculation of the magnitude of this man. Understanding the drive and diligence behind those who helped to create, shape, and form the foundation of our nation helps me to strive to continue to contribute to their dream and progress the ideals and principles they sought to instill in this ...more
Jul 11, 2013 Bill rated it liked it
There's a fine balance between lots of detail and too much detail. This book crosses the line into too much detail. Lots of great information which really solidifies that Washington was not a deist, but the book goes into details about his life that are not necessary to make the case. The book could probably have been half as long while still making all of the essential points. Overall, however, if a person questions whether Washington was a Christian, this book gives a well-documented "yes."
I had no idea the efforts that have been made to prove that George Washington was a deist, but this book completely refuted it! Since I went into this book already believing he was a Christian it was a bit tedious. I prefer biographies that are more narrative & this was a lot of dry facts that made it harder for me to get through. I appreciate the subject, the author & recommend this to anyone who wants to go in depth into George Washington's Christianity.
Jan 05, 2011 Kirstie rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-bio
The authors did a great job of proving that Washington wasn't a Deist. They provide numerous textual support from Washington's own writing and from other documents of the time.

My only critique of the book is that it's long and becomes very repetitive after awhile. The book is great if you want to do some quick research, but it's not the best book for pleasure reading, in my mind. I had a hard time getting into it.
Aug 19, 2010 Aleena rated it liked it
As far as content I think this book had important information about George Washington and the Christian roots of the founding of America. The book was very long and quite redundant though which is why I didn't give it more stars. We had a fantastic book club discussion about this book though. It was a good read.
Jul 22, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I love this book, but I read it in doses, a chapter a week. It is FULL of primary source-based facts. I was taught in high school that he was a deist. Wow, how "history teachers" like to twist the facts. I will not be so gullible in the future. I am half-way through. May take a couple of months to finish up, but I enjoy savoring this one.
Adam Townsend
Jan 20, 2016 Adam Townsend rated it liked it
An extremely long book for my taste when he could have accomplished the same thing is a few 100 less pages. No complaints though regarding his research and arguments of why George Washington was a Christian. A lot of helpful information can be found in these pages, but sorting through it all may be a little more difficult.
i never really doubted whether Washington was a Christian or a Deist. Lillaback definately has done his research and proves over and over that Washington was for sure a Christian. very well researched. deep and theological at points at times

not quite what i was suspecting and I am thankful to have completed it.
Jan 23, 2011 SurRealistic rated it it was amazing
How can we understand our Present, if we don't know our Past? Mr. Lillback captured just that and more - he captured the essence of a great man during perilous times. We must continue to draw from this source of strength: Faith.
May 16, 2008 Brad rated it it was ok
I am very anxious to read this book, especially since it was written by a hard-core evangelical who believes that Washington was a devout Christian in every sense of the word. I don't buy the argument, so this should be a fun book to dissect.
Cristelle Beecroft
Jun 24, 2010 Cristelle Beecroft rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book. I've been on a history kick lately and have loved learning about some of our founding fathers. George Washington was truly a man of character and honor. I learned so much about him and his quiet, humble nature. This is a long book, but well worth the read.
Pastor Don
May 22, 2012 Pastor Don rated it it was amazing
If you want a great book to read and you love faith and history in whatever order, this is your book! Great facts backed up by over-extensive endnotes and apendixes. I'd read it again, and I don't do that often!
Christ's peace!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America's Philosopher of Freedom
  • Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion
  • The Real George Washington
  • A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror
  • Samuel Adams: A Life
  • Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies
  • Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
  • New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America
  • Wives of the Signers: The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence
  • The Original Argument: The Federalists' Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century
  • The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution
  • America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story
  • Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism
  • The Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson
  • The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World
  • Washington

BA, Cedarville College, 1974

ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1978

PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary, 1985


Professor, Philadelphia Theological Seminary, 1995–1999

Professor of Historical Theology and Church History, Westminster, 1981, 1986–


President, The Providence Forum, 1999–

Pastoral ministry, Delaware and Pennsylvania, including Proclamation Presbyterian Church, 1982–20
More about Peter A. Lillback...

Share This Book