The devout Quaker, professor of philosophy and insightful thinker, the late Dr. David Elton Trueblood, wrote a book entitled: Abraham Lincoln: Theologian of American Anguish in which he reflected upon the role of religion in Lincoln’s life. (Chuck Colson, after his conversion, gave a copy of it to President Nixon after he had left the White House as President.)
There has always been a debate about Lincoln, whether he believed in God or not. But a man cannot go through the sufferings of Job (Lincoln’s favorite Biblical book and one he was often seen reading), without doing some at least some serious thinking about life and the anguish caused by the war.
Trueblood writes about one occasion in which Lincoln spoke of the Bible:
“In the Fisk University Library, Nashville, Tennessee, is a copy of the Bible inscribed as follows: ‘To Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, the Friend of Universal Freedom, from the Loyal Colored People of Baltimore, 4th July 1864.’ The actual presentation of the Bible was made in Washington, September 7, 1864, the donors employing a memorable phrase as they presented the handsome Bible. ‘Since our incorporation into the American family,’ they said, ‘we have been true and loyal.’
“Lincoln’s response to this moving presentation afforded him the best opportunity he ever had to state clearly his respect for the Holy Scriptures. ‘In regard to this Great book,’ he replied, ‘I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man.’ Then, as though seizing the opportunity to make his meaning even more clear, he concluded, ‘All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. To you I return my most sincere thanks for the elegant copy of the great Book of God which you present.'”
Lanny Tanton is the Pastor at The Bible Church of the Lakes in Horseshoe Bay, Texas – just outside of Marble Falls. Pastor Tanton welcomes you to our website and hopes that you’ll enjoy reading these insightful blog posts. Please contact us if you have further questions!!