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Despite his trials - or perhaps because of them - Lincoln yearned for comfort beyond the mortal world. He took counsel with ministers. He read voluminously. And he prayed. Still, it is not easy to number Lincoln among the saints. He never joined a church and he seldom spoke of Jesus Christ. Even during his lifetime, his religious statements were greeted with skepticism. And yet the evidence indicates that Lincoln did indeed struggle to find a life-changing faith, to follow the deathbed charge of the mother he adored: “Worship God.” He struggled, too, with God’s will in the great war, the war between brothers Lincoln was unable to prevent. These wrestlings led to his benevolent treatment of his former enemies and ultimately to the sentiments he expressed in the greatest of American sermons, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
Lincoln’s Battle with God will challenge both of the accepted views of the great man’s faith: the atheist Lincoln and the passionately religious Lincoln. Stephen Mansfield presents a Lincoln ever on a journey of faith, a journey cut short by an assassin and obscured by scholarly bias and conflicting evidence. Abraham Lincoln’s spiritual journey offers profound insight into the man who is today perceived as nearly the soul of America. His spiritual battles are not unlike those of our nation, which makes Lincoln’s story of faith as told in this marvelous book a story vital for our times and perhaps vital for our souls, as well.
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By Kevin S Lucas on 06-21-16
Revealing Lincoln's Soul
As a Christian and a pastor, I have long chaffed under the historical illiteracy which attempts to wrap the cloak of sainthood around the brooding figure of Abraham Lincoln. Well-meaning people have attempted to make Lincoln a Christ-like figure, loving, forgiving, kind, wise, and godly. This is the first work I have read that gets the story right. The author is frank and honest to admit that Lincoln was "the village atheist" in New Salem, having rejected the 'hard shell" Calvinism of his father, and the wild excesses of the Baron Stone Camp Meetings.
But Lincoln's story proves infinitely more complex. Through the death of two of his sons, his own mental condition of depression which left him suicidal, and his wife's mental instability, Lincoln gradually moved toward the Christian faith.
With great historical skill the author pulls back the cover on a very complicated man's troubled struggle with the fact his mother was illegitimate and the fact that he could not to bring himself to understand the deity of Christ. In the end, the bullet of Booth shattered his brain and ended his battle with God. From the author's research we find tantalizing hints of what might have been Lincoln's intention to profess faith, but the truth is we shall never know until this life is ended. To anyone who wants to know the truth, I commend this excellent little work.
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