By Faith Alone
One Family's Epic Journey Through 400 Years of American Protestantism
By Bill Griffeth
(Harmony, Hardcover, 9780307337283, 304pp.)
Publication Date: December 31, 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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"The first photo I took of St. Nicholas Church [in Great Yarmouth, England] . . . is still my favorite of all the pictures I took. It is difficult to describe adequately what I felt standing before the church my ancestors had called home four hundred years ago. This was where it had all begun for my family ten generations ago, and I was in awe."
Bill Griffeth had been a TV journalist covering Wall Street and the world of high ﬁnance for a quarter of a century. But when he made the startling discovery that his eight-times great-grandmother was convicted and executed during the Salem witch trials of 1692, he began to research the biggest story of his life: the four-hundred-year history of his family and of our country’s Protestant roots. It was a history that dated back to the seventeenth century and the English Puritans and Separatists who fled to North America for an uncertain future.
His travels took him to the fishing village in England where his earliest ancestors lived and worshipped; to the Netherlands where they sought refuge from persecution; and to the sites in New England and New York where they were members of colonial villages with legendary names: Salem, Plymouth, and New Amsterdam. They were Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Methodists, and they had a surprising connection to the founder of the Mormon Church.
Griffeth’s account includes not only the stories of his long-forgotten relatives but also of some of their neighbors and colleagues whom history still remembers, including Plymouth’s great governor William Bradford, New Amsterdam’s swashbuckling director general Peter Stuyvesant, the infamous Salem witch trial judge Colonel John Hathorne, and the stouthearted Methodist bishop Francis Asbury.
By Faith Alone is a rich history of our country’s Protestant heritage. It is also one man’s journey of more than ten thousand miles and four centuries, and it captures his personal desire to understand the courage and faith of his distant family members and to better appreciate how religion and the context of history shape his own life even today.
BILL GRIFFETH, the veteran CNBC-TV anchor, lives with his wife and children in New Jersey. Visit him at BillGriffeth.com.
“Bill Griffeth’s story is America’s story. By Faith Alone offers an unexpected and fascinating tour through some of the epic events of American history—the Pilgrims, the Salem witch trials, the founding of New York—from a completely fresh point of view. Reading this book is like watching the slide show of an old friend—a friend who knows what he’s talking about, has done his homework, enjoys telling a good story, and was transformed by his own journey. I cheered his extraordinary family and was moved by their faith.”
—Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born
“Enthralling . . . Bill Griffeth shows directly how his own four-hundred-year family history is a microcosm of American Protestant history.”
—John Dominic Crossan, author of God & Empire
“Weaving history, faith, and family, By Faith Alone is a work of love that is equally inspirational and educational and, not least, a fascinating journey from beginning to end.”
—Jeremiah J. Park, resident bishop, New York area, United Methodist Church