Can anyone make a good argument Lincoln was clearly a Christian?

Yesterday I changed the Wikipedia article at to remove a reference to Lincoln being a devout Christian, and altered his religious affiliation from Christian to “Uncertain, possibly Deist”. Ironically, that article already had a link to which makes a fairly compelling argument Lincoln was almost certainly a Deist. In particular, note this:

“The last witness quoted by Colonel Lamon is Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the martyred President. She says of her husband’s religious views: “Mr. Lincoln had no hope, and no faith, in the usual acceptation of those words.” (Life of Lincoln, p. 459.) She also made the following statement to Mr. Herndon: “Mr. Lincoln’s maxim and philosophy were: ‘What is to be, will be, and no prayers of ours can arrest the decree.’ He never joined any Church. He was a religious man always, I think, but was not a technical Christian.” (Herndon, Religion of Lincoln.)”

Unless this was a flat out lie about what Mary Todd Lincoln said about Lincoln after his death, surely she would have known if Abraham Lincoln was a Christian. That page also lists a number of apparently credible sources that while Lincoln believed in god, he wasn’t clearly a believer in Christ.

Would anyone here like to make the argument that Lincoln at any time in his adult life firmly was a Christian?

I don’t think it’s fair to call Lincoln a Deist. As I understand it, Deists believe in a hands-off God who doesn’t interfere in human affairs. Lincoln spoke of a God who governs the world and has purposes of his own, which are not necessarily those of any particular side or group of people.

But no, I don’t think that anyone can argue that Lincoln was a Christian in a conventional sense. I’m no expert, but from what I’ve heard/read about him, I think

is a fair statement. (When he lived in Springfield, he attended services at the First Presbyterian Church sometimes but was not a member, IIRC.)

"Deism is defined in Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1941, as: “[From Latin Deus, God.Deity] The doctrine or creed of a Deist.” And Deist is defined in the same dictionary as: “One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.”

“Do Deists believe that God created the creation and the world and then just stepped back from it? Some Deists do and some believe God may intervene in human affairs.”

It isn’t necessarily true that all Deists believe in a hands-off God who doesn’t interfere in human affairs. However, you are right the vast majority did. I think it might be better for that Wikipedia article to say Lincoln definitely believed in God, but followed no specific religion. And, doing some checking it is dubious that George Washington and Jefferson were truly Christians. Certainly the believed in God; however they sure weren’t openly professing they were devout Christians.

I’m pretty sure he was a regular attender, if not a member. Signs outside the door to that church proclaim that the church still contains the “Lincoln Family Pew.”

Whatever that means.

Mary Todd Lincoln, his wife, had become a member of that Presbyterian church. Abraham never became a member. That he did this out of respect for his wife explains this adequately.