God’s Power for God’s Purpose
Stephen, the Man God Crowned
Dr. Jim Denison
I recently taught a course titled, “The Faith of the Presidents.” Week three was devoted to Abraham Lincoln, the consensus choice of historians as the greatest president in our nation’s history. Many believe that his genius and courage were more responsible for the preservation of the Union than any other single factor.
Given the veneration extended to Mr. Lincoln across the generations since his tragic assassination, I was surprised to learn of the vilification he faced during his lifetime—from critics in the North. I expected to find Southern opposition to his leadership and character, but was not prepared for the degree of persecution he experienced from those on his side of the conflict.
For instance, the Baltimore Sun editorialized on his actions between his election and his inauguration: “Had we any respect for Mr. Lincoln, official or personal, as a man, or as President-elect of the United States, his career and speeches on his way to the seat of government would have cruelly impaired it. We do not believe the Presidency can ever be more degraded by any of his successors, than it has been by him, even before his inauguration.”