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The Christian Testimony of General Robert E. Lee
FROM THE BACK COVER
“A biographical sketch of the boyhood, intellectual achievements and military adventures of Robert E. Lee is interesting, informative and exciting, but it was his Christian character that gave supreme meaning and depth to his life.”
Charles A. Jennings
Truth in History Publications
“No picture of Robert E. Lee would be complete that did not portray the religious side of his character. It was the basis upon which all else rested. It was the source of strength, the law of his life, the guide for his every act, and the support upon which he leaned in every trial.”
William J. Johnson
By Dr. Larry Lilly
Editor of Braveheart Magazine
The Christian Testimony of General Robert E. Lee is a must read for anyone interested in General Lee, the Christian faith, or the building of character. You may search the entirety of Christian history and be hard pressed to find a better example of faithfulness and virtue. When looking up the definition of "Integrity" in a dictionary I wouldn't be surprised to be instructed to, "See Robert E. Lee." Friends and enemies alike attest to his gigantic character.
Dr. Edward R. DeVries has performed a service to all people of faith who aspire in times of severe testing to rise above petty humanness and be true to Christ and heavenly ideals. He has searched and researched the bulk of extant literature on General Lee. The sources listed in the endnotes, if read, would qualify the reader as an expert on the life and heritage of Robert E. Lee.
Dr. DeVries has not attempted to deify the General. Rather, he has used his wordsmith power to paint a cameo of rare beauty paying tribute to one of Americas grandest Gentlemen.
February 19, 2003
I begin my book A Symbol of Hate? or an Ensign of the Christian Faith?: The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag, by telling the story of my life journey from “died in the wool” Yankee to Southern Patriot. So I was not always an admirer of Robert E. Lee. In fact, throughout my childhood and well into my adult years I considered him, and all southern men of his era, to be traitors. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why General Grant didn’t just shoot them all at Appomattox.
Having been born in Hammond, Indiana, the closest I had ever come to “Southern Culture” was having been raised on the SOUTH SIDE of Chicago. I was educated in “Yankee” schools to believe that the North rightly won the “Civil War.” I grew up believing that Abraham Lincoln was a great president and Jefferson Davis was a traitor. I also grew up believing that Ulysses S. Grant was a hero and Robert E. Lee was not.
During my Sophomore year at Hyles-Anderson College (an Indiana school) I was called to a ministry position in Texas. But still, I managed to maintain my Yankee pride for several years while living in Texas.
Then having been asked to teach a college level course on American History I decided that I had better “brush up” on the “Civil War.” It was during this study that, to my shock and surprise, I came to the conclusion that the South was Right.
About 18 months later, I invited my good friend, Dr. Roy Branson (a preacher from Tennessee), to come and preach a revival in the church I was pastoring. The interesting thing about Dr. Branson is that he can never make it through a sermon without drawing an illustration from the life of General Douglas MacArthur. However, during one of his sermons he didn’t make his usual observation from the life of the great WWII General. Instead, he commented on the Christian character of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
“So Lee was a Christian?” I said to myself. The next week I began to research the life of General Lee. I was so impressed with what I read about the life of Lee that I quickly found that he was becoming one of my heroes. So much so that shortly after Dr. Branson left I obtained a portrait of the General which is the first thing a visitor will see when he comes into my office. Through the years since that revival meeting I have read 37 biographies of General Lee, including the 707 page Memoirs of Robert E. Lee.
Some of those 37 biographies were written by admirers of Lee. Others were written by men who wanted only to criticize him. But in every biography, regardless of whether or not it was written by friend or foe, two things stood out:
1- His Christian Character. Even his critics were forced to admit that Robert E. Lee was a man of sincere Christian faith. Even his critics were forced to admit that there was no immorality or religious hypocrisy in the life of Lee.
2- His admirers wrote of his virtues and, because his life, letters, and speeches were totally free of vice, malice, or impropriety of any kind his critics had nothing to criticize him for except those same virtues. It speaks highly of a man when he is criticized for virtue. While many critics said he was “too religious” or a “religious fanatic” none of his critics called him a hypocrite or accused him of any impropriety. One critic said the General was, “too great a gentleman and that is why he lost the war.”1 That may be true but I could hardly look down upon a man for being a “gentleman.” I also fail to see how any man could be “too great a gentleman.”
So while none of the 37 biographers had set out to write a book about the Christian testimony and religious character of General Robert E. Lee, his character and faith were strongly evident in all 37 biographies.
So I have set out to write such a book. Would to God that the project had been undertaken by a better writer than myself. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified in the retelling of Lee’s life, as I know He was glorified in the General’s life.
Edward R. DeVries
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword (by Dr. Larry Lilly)
Part One - The Christian Testimony of
Robert E. Lee as Evidenced by his:
Chapter One: Early Life and Student Record
Chapter Two: Relationship with his Family
Chapter Three: Faithfulness to Religious Service
Chapter Four: Tenure as President of Washington College
Chapter Five: Efforts to Seek the Conversion of Souls
Chapter Six: Expressed Joy Over the Conversion of Souls
Chapter Seven: Prayer Life
Chapter Eight: High Esteem of the King James Bible
Chapter Nine: The Way He Lived the Scripture
Chapter Ten: A Man without Vice
Chapter Eleven: Conscience, Duty, and Financial Integrity
Chapter Twelve: Prayerful Decision to Join Confederacy
Chapter Thirteen: Restraint and Compassion in Combat
Part Two - The Christian Testimony of
Robert E. Lee is Evidenced by:
Chapter Fourteen: Otherâ€™s Comments About his Faith
Chapter Fifteen: The Eulogies Given in his Memory
Part Three - The Christian Testimony of
Robert E. Lee as Evidenced by the:
Chapter Sixteen: Personal Testimony of General Lee
Part Four -
Chapter Seventeen: Conclusion
Appendix One: Misc. Quotes About Robert E. Lee
Appendix Two: Meet General Lee in Heaven