Benjamin Franklin is certainly a historical figure and he accomplished some useful things. But, is he worthy to be raised as a "hero" to Christian's children? Even more, should he be called a "Christian"? Certainly not!
Benjamin Franklin was a deist in religious matters. (Very simply put, deists believe there is a God in a general sort of way, but think that He is not interested in the affairs of men.) Franklin had the mercy of the Lord in his friendship with George Whitefield, for that great minister had a burden for Franklin's soul. Whitefield wrote to him:
"I find that you grow more and more famous in the learned world. As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent unprejudiced pursuit and study the mystery of the new-birth. It is a most important, interesting study, and when mastered, will richly answer and repay you for all your pains. One at whose bar we are shortly to appear, hath solemnly declared, that without it, "we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven"...My respects await your whole self, and all enquiring friends, and hoping to see you yet once more in this land of the dying, I subscribe myself, dear Sir..." (What Hath God Wrought!, William P. Grady, pp.104-105.)
This witness and the mighty preaching of Whitefield, Franklin rejected, stating 10 years after Whitefield's physical death,
"Mr. Whitefield used, indeed, to pray for my conversion, but he never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard. Ours was a mere civil friendship, sincere on both sides, and lasted to his death." (What Hath God Wrought!, William P. Grady, p. 108.)
Of course, Franklin had no concept of the fact that a Christian's prayers are always heard whether the answer is "yes," "no," or "wait." Whitefield's desire for Franklin's salvation was thwarted in Franklin's rejection of the Gospel. He exercised his free will, which, incidentally, Franklin himself did not believe in, and refused to be saved.
In 1786, Franklin encouraged the speaking of a man named Benjamin Rush at the American Philosophical Association's Annual Oration. This Benjamin Rush "...endeavored to show that physical causes such as size of the brain, heredity, disease, fever, climate, diet, drink, and medicines among others can affect the exercise of the moral faculty." Benjamin Franklin had reason to want to hear these doctrines of devils (1 Tim. 4:1), as we will see. He was also a vegetarian. (Yes, the book at left is actually a collection of essays written by Benjamin Franklin!)
Benjamin Franklin was also a fornicator and adulterer. In his twenties he fathered his son, William, by fornication through his pursuit of whorish women. At the same time that this son was on the way, he took Deborah Read as his wife. She, however, was married to another man who had abandoned her and disappeared. Franklin's marriage is described as "common-law" by the Encyclopedia Britannica (1963, p. 692). Before his "wife" died, he took up correspondence with two younger women. Later, after his "wife" was dead, he is said to have been "in love" to one extent or another, with a Frenchman's wife. (Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.) He also wrote an exceedingly vile letter to a young man instructing him to either marry or get a mistress; and detailing how and why to choose an older woman as a mistress.
Franklin was also a Freemason. He was elected the Grand Master of Pennsylvania in 1734. He also helped with the initiation into the Masons of the wretched Voltaire (the bold and arrogant atheist who longed for the destruction of Christianity). Franklin had the dubious honor of being "...elected the Venerable Master of La Loge des Neuf Soeurs.." in France. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1963, p. 692) His private life was obviously in keeping with his high ranking role in this order.
Is this man worthy of being raised up as a "great man" in the eyes of your children? What saith the scriptures?
Psalms 15:1 Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart...4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD...
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
--by Mary Van Nattan
most graphics by Mary Stephens