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The Foundation Was Established

Psalm 12:6-7 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

It has long been asserted by those in the best position to know, that General Washington insisted on being baptized by Chaplain Gano.

George Washington’s Baptism - The Circumstantial Evidence

Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2011 Richard St.James

God In American History

George Washington's Baptism

By L.C. Barnes - Richard St.James, Editor

Research performed by Richard St.James at William Jewell College Library in Liberty, Missouri, March 21, 2008
The following is intended by this editor to be a copy [except for spelling update and/or conversion corrections] of the Bulletin of William Jewell College, Series No. 24, September 15, 1926, No. 1, By L.C. Barnes, "Entered April 2, 1909, at Liberty, Missouri, as second-class Matter under Act of Congress of July 16, 1894."

The John Gano Evidence of George Washington’s Religion

The Circumstantial Evidence -  Part 1

This proves nothing although eminent jurists can be quoted insisting that circumstantial evidence may be more convincing than direct evidence, being less subject to impeachment. All that need be said in the present case is that a comprehensive view of pertinent circumstances removes completely one’s first thought of utter improbability as to the alleged fact.


It will be recognized at once (that the improbability would be far greater than it is, if he had been reared in almost any of the other Pedobaptist churches, e.g., the Presbyterian. But immersion continued to be the common practice of the Church of England till within less than one hundred years of the birth of Washington.

Washington’s own prayer book taught him that baptism is preferable to any substitute for the act. Its rubric read and still reads, not only in the order for ’the baptism of children, but also in that for “such as of riper years; ---. And then shall dip him in water or pour water upon him.” At another point it says, “After the immersion or pouring of water.” Seven times over, arid always as the first choice, is placed the New Testament act, the substitute being named only as an alternative. In one place the substitute is not even mentioned, the only thing spoken of being ”dip-ping,” In our own day has not a Dean of the Church of England shown so convincingly what the act of Apostolic baptism was, that his article has been published as a Baptist tract? It is within the range of individual observation that more than one thoughtful Episcopalian has been baptized as a result of reading that article.

Washington speaks in one of his letters of the fact that his stepson had begun the study of the Greek New Testament with a tutor at Mt. Vernon. Is it possible that, at meal time, or of an evening in that farmer’s mansion, the actual meaning of the word strong>“baptize” may have been discussed. At any rate, Washington doubtless knew enough of his English Bible to know that it spoke of “one baptism” only, and did not contain the “or pour” of his prayer book. It may not have needed the instruction of a Dean or even of a Baptist minister, to convince his well-balanced, conscientious and fearless mind that he must himself obey the command, ”Repent and be baptized,” and that it would not answer to change it into a command, “Repent and have been baptized (in infancy) or poured.” We have reasonably gathered that the Episcopalian atmosphere which Washington breathed may have been, if not favorable, at least not hostile to a correct view as to that was the primitive act of baptism.

But if we knew the actual opinion on the subject in the church circles in which he moved, should we be likely to find it as we have supposed. Happily we know what was his intimate church circle arid what it had to say about the matter in question. During the various periods of Washington’s residence in Philadelphia he had for rector in Christ Church, which he attended, Rev. William White, a man of almost angelic face, as portrayed in the engraving at the beginning of Volume V of Sprague’s Annals of the American Pulpit. Mr. White was one of the exceedingly few ministers of the Church of England in America who stood true to the American cause. It is said that he was the only one in Pennsylvania. He offered the prayers for the King and Royal family, until the Sunday immediately preceding the Declaration of Independence, but he then ceased to do so and took the oath of allegiance to the United States.” The next year he was chosen Chaplain of Congress, to which service he was continually reelected till the removal of the seat of government to the District of Columbia.

Mr. White’s only sister was the wife of Robert Morris, the financier of the patriot cause, Washington’s adopted son, George Washington Park Curtis, in his ”Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington,” says, ”if I am asked,– ‘Did not Washington unbend and admit to familiarity and social friendship some one person to whom age and long interesting association gave peculiar privilege, the privilege of the Heart? I answer, that favored individual was Robert Morris.” William White, who had become the first regularly ordained Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America, himself says, “The Father of our country, as well during the revolutionary war, as in his presidency, attended divine service in Christ Church.” ”I was often in company with this great man, and had the honor of dining often at his table.”” He was pleased to express himself gratified by what he had heard from our pulpit.”

What had he beard from that pulpit? Among other things, very likely the following opinion, which Bishop White declared to the world in his ”Lectures on the Catechism of the Protestant Episcopal Church”published in Philadelphia in 1813. Speaking concerning the question as to immersion or sprinkling, he says, “The result, in the estimation of him who now writes, is that the present general practice is a deviation from what it was originally which it is desirable to restore to the standard of the Rubrics as they were framed in the Church of England, and as they continue to this day in the liturgy of that and of the American Church, although fallen by universal custom into neglect.”

In the particular now under consideration, therefore, the ascertained facts do more than to simply remove any improbability that Washington could have looked with favor on immersion. They show that in the circle of highest Episcopalian authority in the land, the very circle in which Washington was personally intimate, immersion was advocated as the original, the correct and the “desirable” act of baptism, Washington never broke connection with the church of his birth.

We can easily understand how be may have believed that change of ecclesiastical relation might impair confidence in his judgment and his influence as the leader of the people in those bitterly partisan and troublous times especially as the few Baptists were surely devoted to the Republic anyway and on principle while some of the Episcopalian leaders were not.

There would appear to be nothing in the least disingenuous in his being privately immersed and yet remaining an adherent of the Episcopal church, if, on the one band Bishop White advocated immersion, and on the other, Chaplain Gano was ready and glad to baptize every one who wished the ordinance, of whatever Pedobaptist church he might be and continue to be a member.

Under the first question of probability, it must be concluded that it is not improbable that Washington, though sprinkled in infancy, bred in the Church of England, and continuing to the end in the Episcopal Church, may have seen it to be his duty to be baptized.


Such certainly would not be the ordinary method of procedure. Exceptions however have always been sanctioned in emergencies. During the war of 1861- 65, hundreds of soldiers were baptized by Baptist chaplains, many of them during active campaigns, far from settled quarters and formalities, some of them in plain sight and range of the pickets on the opposite side. But apart from exceptional emergencies, there have been some Baptist ministers who have habitually baptized every one who applied and gave evidence of being a genuine Christian, whatever his former or subsequent church relations might be.

We have no direct evidence as to the views of John Gano on this subject. But it is, at least, interesting to note the views and practice of his son Rev. Stephen Gano, M. D., who was for thirty-six years pastor of the First Baptist church in Providence, R. I. In a pamphlet register of members of that ancient church, published in 1832, four years after his death, is a biographical sketch of Pastor Gano. It contains this paragraph,

“As to his denominational views and attachments, Dr. Gano was a Baptist of the o1d school, of the true, regular and orthodox cast, be was also a thorough-going adherent to all the peculiarities of his favorite sect, with the exception of the treatment of persons baptized by immersion in other communities. He had no scruples at administering the ordinance of baptism to all in whom he could recognize the characteristics of genuine discipleship to our blessed Lord, whether they were about to become church members with his own denomination or to unite in other communities. He was also fully settled in the belief that Baptist churches ought, in consistency with their principle, to admit to their communion table all real Christians who have been baptized by immersion on a profession of their faith, to whatever denomination they might belong. Many were the cases of his performing the baptismal rite to members of Pedobaptist churches.”

When we remember that all the theological training Dr. Stephen Gano had, was under the tuition of his father, Chaplain Gano, it is certainly no violation of probabilities to suppose that Chaplain Gano could have baptized General Washington without scruple, leaving him to remain without disturbance in the church wherein he was born. One might even go further, and wonder whether the unusual view which the genial Stephen Gano so tenaciously held in opposition to most of his brethren, is not best accounted for by supposing some such distinguished fact behind it as the baptism of Washington by his father. But the opinion and practice of the son is brought forward, not to establish a probability, but simply to remove any improbability, that Washington may have been privately baptized by the father, the fact being cherished as an entirely worthy family secret.

Next: The Circumstantial Evidence Part 2   - The John Gano Evidence of George Washington’s Religion


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Men Never Learn From History!

It is a heart problem!

 Men refuse to learn the lessons afforded by the light of HISTORY:

 the recorded historical events which occurred as fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Now, these are the basic truths with which we all must deal with one way or another!

Two Basic Reasons For Our Failing Our History Lesson!

The Removing Of The Anchoring Landmarks
We have steadily almost imperceptibly at times removed one by one the great principles that were part of the formulation of the United States of America.

We have been busy for generations removing the anchoring landmarks that came as a result of the revivals God blessed this country with in its early years by the preaching of the word of GOD.

We have disobeyed the commandment in Proverbs 22:28- Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set.

The Departure from the BIBLE
What was the catalyst or reason for this downward spiral? Are you ready! The eyes of men everywhere had been clouded over with cataracts because of our apostasy or departure from the BIBLE … God’s word (and more exactly including the multiplicity of translations and corruption's to God's written word).
This apostasy began in America in the BIBLE SCHOOLS early in the last century (1901) when Philip Schaff (with other rank liberals who had rot-gut unbelief in God's word within their hearts) colluded with the English RV committee of 1885 (Westcott and Hort) to produce the American Standard Version (ASV), also known as the Rock of Bible Honesty by the scholars, or more accurately, by Bible believers, as a prime example of a new age version of a corrupted bible.

Baptist Heritage

It is to the Baptists ... that we owe primarily ... our religious freedom, and it is Roger Williams [of Rhode Island] in particular, that is the most important contributor of our religious freedom we enjoy in the United States of America.
The Bloody Tenet of Persecution for Cause of Conscience is the primary document, which provided the underlying principles for religious freedom, which in turn gave rise to the then future documents of The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and The Bill Of Rights.