For that, I picked up and read John Wheelers book, "Abraham Lincoln, A Man of Faith and Courage: Stories of our Most Admired President," and my questions were answered. Wheeler makes the argument that Lincoln was a man of faith in whom divine providence played a key role. Wheeler suggests that apart from God's Providence in Lincoln's life, Lincoln would never be who he was nor accomplish what he did.
Throughout the book he gives examples of this providence. One such example is regarding Lincoln's father who was almost killed by an Indian who had just killed Lincolns grandfather. Saved by his brother, the author remarks that if Lincolns uncle had not taken the shot, there would have never been an Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's life and presidency is a story of providence.
Wheeler walks us through the life of Lincoln with a particular emphasis on Lincolns faith and how it affected his politics, convictions, words, and actions. One cannot deny the clear influence of Scripture and his faith had on his politics. And it is a reminder that despite what many argue today, a President who shapes his policy after his faith is not outside the bounds of the Constitution. In Lincoln's case, it enhanced his policy.
But one point stood out to me that relates more to modern Christianity than it does to Lincoln. The author pointed out that though Lincoln was never a member of a church, he was grounded in Scripture and could quote much of it. This should not surprise us. Most during this time period were never members of a church and yet knew, read, and understood Scripture simply because church's were at times far off with few pastors in the nation.
But Wheeler makes the point that the complete opposite today. Many attend church and yet are Biblically ignorant. And he is exactly right. Sadly, Americans have easy access to church's and yet we remain ignorant of the book that shapes our faith. This is an indictment of Christians and we should be ashamed. I praise God that we have the opportunity to choose our church and be involved, but the Biblical illiteracy is astounding.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Of all of the books I have read on Lincoln and the Civil War, this is perhaps my favorite. It is detailed, but not boring. The author not only offers a biography, but also insight into his spiritual life and how it shaped his life, his politics, and his presidency. It seems that we should pray for another Lincoln, and that new Lincoln should learn from our 16th President and know that God is provident and we must be faithful to Him.