Saturday, October 31, 2015

Reviewing Doubting Thomas

Doubting Thomas? The Religious Life and Legacy of Thomas Jefferson

Doubting Thomas? The religious life and legacy of Thomas Jefferson, Mark A. Beliles , Jerry Newcombe, Morgan James Publishing, Release date: Oct 31, 2015,  ISBN 978-1-68045-150-7, $29.99.

I’ve been getting really selective about accepting books for review—it’s like getting your name on a list of donors and hearing from groups you knew nothing about.

But, if you’re an American history buff, or you’ve been wondering about all the leftist and progressive propaganda about our founders’ faith, then you’ll like this book.  Every page has something I could quote, with good citations. (Bibliography has hundreds of sources.) For instance:

One time, John Adams was ruminating on the overall thrust of American independence.  Here’s what he wrote to Jefferson in 1813 (p. 195):

“The general Principles, on which the Fathers Achieved Independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen would Unite, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their Address, or by me in my Answer.  And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all those Sects were united:  And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence.”

From the download page: “While Jefferson may seem to be the Patron Saint of the ACLU, his words and actions showed that he would totally disagree with the idea of driving God out of the public square. Doubting Thomas documents that. . .

* Jefferson said that our rights come from God. God-given rights are non-negotiables.

* At the time that he wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom---major contributions to human and religious rights―Jefferson served diligently as a vestryman (like an elder and a deacon rolled into one) for the Episcopal Church.

* In 1777, he wrote up the charter for the Calvinistical Reformed Church in his town with an evangelical preacher, the Rev. Charles Clay--with whom he had a lifelong friendship. Jefferson was the biggest single contributor to this fledgling congregation.

* Jefferson had nothing but the highest praise for Jesus’ teaching, which he studied religiously (even in the original Greek), in order to pattern his life after that which he called “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”

* As president, he attended church on a regular basis at the US Capitol building, even sometimes recommending preachers to fill that pulpit.

* He had many positive relationships with orthodox clergymen and active lay Christians.

* He actively supported Christian causes, financially, in ways that would put the average Christian to shame.

* He set out to create a non-denominational college that accommodated Christian groups of different stripes.

Historical revisionism has distorted the religious views of Thomas Jefferson, making him far more skeptical than he was.  But there is no doubt that by the end of his life, he seemed to privately embrace Unitarian views of the Christian faith, while outwardly supporting and attending his local Trinitarian church.

Academicians tend to quote each other in their peer review journals.  Time to take a fresh look, and get off the anti-America train.

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