In his book Forged in Faith, Rod Gragg brings to light the deep Christian influences that shaped the dawn of America. Today, our nation is distancing itself from its godly heritage, and many individuals seek to distort or deny our country’s spiritual history. Gragg, an award-winning historian, seeks to counter these skeptics with blunt historical facts, which clearly show that Christianity was the driving force in the founding of the United States.
Forged in Faith focuses on the spiritual foundations of colonial America from 1607 to 1776. It begins by examining how the Christian faith influenced the colonies of Jamestown, Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In each of these chapters Gragg introduces the key players involved in the origin of the colony and demonstrates how faith bore them up in the struggles that they faced. The book then takes a look at the Great Awakening and how it prepared early Americans for their fight for independence. Finally, the examination wraps up with an in-depth study of how the principles of Christianity informed and sustained the founding fathers through such trials as the Intolerable Acts, the battles of Lexington and Concord, and the challenges of both Continental Congresses.
Central to the book is the idea that “America was constructed, one colony at a time, on two pillars – faith and freedom.” To that end we are shown the deep personal faith of such great men as William Bradford, Roger Williams, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Patrick Henry, and Samuel Adams. Throughout the book, Gragg emphasizes the importance of the local church in every facet of life in colonial America. We are shown time and again how the colonies rallied against oppression from Britain not because of political activism but because of the power of the pulpit. Most of all, the book does an admirable job of highlighting the effects of the Puritans’ Christian lifestyle on America’s view of family, church, government, virtue, justice, and liberty.
Forged in Faith ends its historical examination at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, so readers interested in the effects of Christianity on the Constitution and American government should look elsewhere, but readers seeking knowledge of the earliest influences of faith in America will find this book well suited to their purposes. There are admittedly some slow reading sections to this book, and a few chapters seemed unnecessary to the overall case the book presents. Generally, Gragg does conclusively show that America was “forged in faith,” but he leaves unanswered the question of whether America should remain grounded in faith today. Perhaps he doesn’t have to; founding father Samuel Adams speaks well enough for himself when he is quoted in the book saying, “While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued, but when once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties.” Adam’s words have proven all too true, and we can only hope that our nation returns to the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – Aaron Johnson, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
This fascinating history, based on meticulous research into the correspondence and documentation of the founding fathers leading up to and encompassing the crafting of the Declaration of Independence, sheds light on how the Judeo-Christian worldview motivated America's founding fathers, influenced national independence, inspired our foundational documents, and established the American nation. Written with the pacing and drama of an enticing drama, Forged in Faith is crafted for popular appeal with a compelling mix of dramatized story and action-driven narrative, yet with the authenticity and academic verity of historian Rod Gragg.