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A Message to the American Church

Marlin Detweiler Written by Marlin Detweiler
A Message to the American Church

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Should the church involve itself in politics? How did the great Christian leaders of our past handle difficult political situations and what were the ramifications of those decisions? Author and media personality Eric Metaxas shares how historic evidence proves an emphatic “Yes!” to the church playing a key role in today’s politics.

Also, book lovers, be forewarned! This episode is chock-full of book recommendations that you’re going to want to read right away. Have your book wish list handy to write down these thought-provoking titles. Or, visit Eric’s website at

Episode Transcription

Note: This transcription may vary from the words used in the original episode for better readability.

Marlin Detweiler:

Hello and welcome again to Veritas Vox, the voice of classical Christian education. Today we have Eric Metaxas, who hails in New York City but is coming to us today from a conference that he is speaking at. Tell us a little bit about the conference that you're at right now.

Eric Metaxas:

I don't know nothing about this conference! I'm kidding. I'm in Lynchburg, Virginia, at one of my favorite universities on the planet, Liberty, and it's a conference on faith and freedom, which are two things I think are inextricably intertwined, which leads us to a lot of the things that I write about and care about, the idea that those things are inextricably intertwined being faith and freedom. But that's why I'm here in Lynchburg, Virginia, today.

Marlin Detweiler:

Yeah, very good. Before we jump into your mission in ministry, tell us a little bit about yourself. Educational background, family, how he ended up in the city.

Eric Metaxas:

Well, it's it is interesting. I wrote a book which is the story of my life until I came to faith, kind of the story of how I came to faith. And it's called Fish Out of Water. It's kind of a literary memoir. I meant it kind of as an evangelistic book to give to people who like to read literary memoirs but might not read a Christian book.

But in it, I tell the story of my upbringing. Basically, my mom and dad came from Europe. My dad came from Greece in the early 50 mid-fifties. My mom came from Germany by way of communist East Germany. So I am Greek and German. My parents met in an English class in New York City. And I always joke around if you're raised by a Greek and a German, that means you'll be raised Greek.

So I went to that growing up, part of the Greek community. We moved to Danbury, Connecticut, but started, as many immigrants do in New York City. And it wasn't really– I you know, the kind of the American dream, especially for working class European immigrants, to have a son go to an Ivy League school. So I went to Yale University.

I was an English major, but I drifted away from whatever rudimentary faith that I had. I had some faith which I write about in the book Fish Out of Water. But the milieu at places like Yale already in the early eighties was pretty woke political correct, secular humanist, hostile to Christians, hostile to conservative, traditional American values. So I really drifted away from the kind of roots that I had because my parents raised me to love this country.

And I didn't I didn't race away, but I drifted away. And it wasn't until around my 25th birthday that the Lord very dramatically drew me to himself. Miraculously, he's the only time you can use spoke to me in a dream that I write about. If you go to my website, there's a video where I tell a really short version of it, but it was a completely miraculous conversion to Jesus.

There's just no way around it. And I just flipped overnight from darkness to light, from doubt to faith, deep faith. And I, by his grace, have been walking with him ever since. And of course it informs everything. Or I want it to inform everything that I do and all that I am. But it didn't happen to me until around my 25th birthday.

It's really kind of an amazing story is why I said I've got to put it in a book. And I mentioned it's called Fish Out of Water because in many ways I've always been a fish out of water, not quite fitting in. And that's a whole other story. But the dream itself involves a fish out of water. So that's why I gave it the title.

Marlin Detweiler:

Did that then cause a career change as well? Or were you still in school at 25?

Eric Metaxas:

Oh, no, no. I graduated Yale when I was 20, and I was already drifting around for four years trying to –

Marlin Detweiler:

Oh ok I didn’t know if you were in graduate school or something like that.

Eric Metaxas:

I knew I wanted to be a writer. But what does that even mean? Nobody really knows. And so I kind of drifted and floated. And when I had this conversion, I knew, number one, that I needed to just turn my life and career over to the Lord, which I did. And the Lord, I can say again, rather miraculously, it doesn't seem just to be fortuitous, but or providential in the in some vague sense, but really miraculously led me along a path which again, I write about in the book Fish Out of Water, but led me along this strange, circuitous path.

It took a long time. I ended up writing. I wrote many, many children's books. I wrote a lot of humor. The one children's book I might be most famous for is a Thanksgiving book called Squanto and The Miracle of Thanksgiving. But it really kind of set me on this strange, eclectic, peripatetic path so that, you know, I now find myself where I am.

But I can say bluntly I know the Lord has led me along this path. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, always knew I wanted to be also in show business, communicating via TV, radio, whatever it is. And so but, but it's something that it's taken many decades, you know, to get where I am today. And it was not easy; I'll say that much.

It's been tough, but the Lord walks with you through the tough stuff. That's the point. And here we are.

Marlin Detweiler:

So as I understand it, there are three major aspects. You've got your own podcast, you write and you do a lot of public speaking. Are there any other aspects to your work that would be notable in the same way those three are?

Eric Metaxas:

Well, I have a side business in upholstery. Just kidding!

Marlin Detweiler:

I need some upholstery work done!

Eric Metaxas:

Right. I think everything I do is kind of a piece, you know, the books, the radio, and it's also TV, really, because not only does a lot of what I do on the radio program air on TBN but a lot of it, it all airs on Rumble.

Some of it's on YouTube. It's kind of a long story, but I have a presence, you know, in TV and radio, in broadcasting, and there's a lot more to that. I do something called Socrates in the City, especially for classical education and Christian education, called There's a lot of videos that I've done, conversations with people.

They are not necessarily conversations about faith or theology. Sometimes they are, but I kind of mix it up on purpose because I think that we have to be talking about truth, not Christian truth. There's no such thing as Christian truth. There's just truth. And by the way, Jesus is the truth. And so if we're talking about truth, that can be helpful to people to find their way toward the one who is truth.

So I do Socrates in the City which we air in various venues. But yeah, if you look me up online, there's just all kinds of pieces to it. The books, you know, I've been writing, I think my 14th book is the one that just came out called Letter to the American Church.

Marlin Detweiler:

That's what I wanted to talk to you about today.

Eric Metaxas:

Yeah, well, that's my 14th book. That's not a kid's book. I mean, I've written 30 children's books, I've written a couple of humor books, but most people know me from my biographies on Bonhoeffer, Wilberforce, and Martin Luther, and I've written a number of other books – apologetics, Is Atheism Dead? which came out last year. The memoir, which came out at the beginning of last year. So I've been a little busy recently.

Marlin Detweiler:

Good for you. Would it be fair to describe you– I know people don't like to be categorized to a single description – but would it be fair to call you a cultural apologist?

Eric Metaxas:

Sure. I think that that's as good as it could get. If I'm to be pigeonholed, that would be part of it. I mean, it always depends on to whom I am speaking, you know, because I think that we but I mean, a cultural apologist, cultural evangelist, a cultural commentator, I care about culture. And the reason the word culture comes into it is, I think, part of the problem with conservatives and Christians in America has been that we've over-focused either on theology or on politics.

Both of those are obviously hugely important. But if you neglect the culture, you undermine your efforts in theology and in politics. Just as if you ignore politics, you know, you make it impossible to be able to have theology or evangelism if you don't care about freedom. So all these things are related. And I feel like for sure culture is important to me.

And I think that that's where it's like can be said to differ from a lot of people that I respect and work with. It would be that I'm more focused probably on culture than anything else.

Marlin Detweiler:

If there's ever been a time where that seems significant to rhetorical effectiveness, today's the day that it really is an important connection. I want to ask you about a book that I read a few years ago, If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promises of American Liberty. I had never really been able to succinctly describe to someone else, meaning I could grasp the definition myself of American exceptionalism.

And it, by its tone, sounds a little bit like a collegiate football team, “We're better than you.” And what you did in that book was so moving to me to describe what is really meant by that term, that I want you to really unpack it here for the listeners. I suspect it will motivate people to read the book.

I thought so much of that book, I don't know if you know this, but as a business at Veritas, we gave away more than a hundred copies to the headmasters that showed up at the Association of Classical Christian Schools Conference one year as a way of saying to them, “You need to read this book because of what you do for a living.”

Eric Metaxas:

Well, it's always gratifying to me when somebody like you really gets it because trust me when I tell you, I am very happy to confess my ignorance. Before I wrote that book, before I read a book by Oz Guinness called The Free People’s Suicide, Guinness is a friend and just an amazing man of Christian faith.

Marlin Detweiler:

Remarkable good guy. Yeah.

Eric Metaxas:

But it was Oz's book of The Free People’s Suicide that turned me on to some ideas that, you know, the wheels began to turn in my head. And when I really understood this, this happens to me a lot with things. And I was so astonished at my ignorance. I said, How is it possible I've gotten this far in life that I didn't really understand the connection, the unavoidable connection between self-government or what we call freedom or liberty and faith and virtue.

How did I not really get that? And once I got it, once I understood that it could be gotten, once I understood that there is a connection that is clear and can be communicated, I just went crazy. I thought, “I've got to write about this. I've got to communicate this to the world.” And if I could give a book, you know, to every 10th or 11th or 12th grader in America, I would give this book to them.

I would do a curriculum with them. I would say this is at the heart of everything. If you care about what does it mean to be an American, if you care, what does it mean to be a Christian? How is that worked out in terms of the world in which we live? America is the best example by far of that, and if we understand how it works, we can help America from going wrong, which of course it's been going dramatically wrong, at least in the last couple of years.

And but of course, it's a long process that goes back at least 50 years, or to how we've been in how we how we've been kind of drifting away mission drift from what the founders gave us. And so when I understood that and understood what American exceptionalism really is and how simple how allied it is to what we call the gospel, I thought this is like groundbreaking, even though it's been there for all along.

Sometimes people have to rediscover things and then once you discover it, you go crazy, and you say, everybody needs to rediscover this. This is at the heart of all of our problems. And if we understand this, it will be at the center of our ability to solve these problems. And so I guess the nutshell version of it, the book is titled If You Can Keep It, because Benjamin Franklin, in 1787 when he's walking out of the Constitutional Convention, was asked by a Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia, “Dr. Franklin, what have you given us, a monarchy or a republic?”

And I always think that's a little bit hard for us to comprehend that in 1787, a republic that we have in America this kind of self-government had never been done before. It had never, ever, ever, ever, ever been done before. In the history of the world. We take it for granted today. Shame on us. When this woman asked him, What have you given us, they literally didn't know. Was it possible to pull this off? Can people govern themselves? You've been in the Constitution, in Independence of Philadelphia for 100 days, arguing all the members of these 13 no longer colonies, now states; what have you come up with? Maybe they came out of there and said, listen, the reason people have never governed themselves before is because it can't be done.

We can't figure it out. So we've got a monarchy, not a republic. It's kind of a soft monarchy. George Washington will be the first king. You'll be a nice king. We've got some constitutional guards against tyranny so that we're not going to have something like George III. But Franklin doesn't answer that. He answers when she says, What are you giving us? A monarchy. A republic? “He says, A republic, madam if you can keep it.”

Marlin Detweiler:

It's sort of dramatic.

Eric Metaxas:

He said off the cuff, and it was recorded. I mean, I write all this in the book, If You Can Keep It. I give the details, but it was just kind of an off-the-cuff comment. But the point is what they had come up with is that the heart of the concept of freedom is that freedom is free.

You can't force freedom. You cannot force freedom on people. Otherwise there is no freedom. So how do you maintain freedom? How do you keep a republic where people govern themselves? Well, you can't do it by laws. The Constitution doesn't keep itself. The people have to keep the republic. So there's a conundrum and a paradox at the heart of freedom.

That's what the book is about. But Oz Guinness has a helpful way of understanding this paradox. He calls it the Golden Triangle of Freedom. And this is what really lit me up was that when we talk about American liberty, freedom, self-government, we're talking about something that Oz Guinness sums up in the Golden Triangle of Freedom, I'll say it quickly, then I'll explain it.

The Golden Triangle of Freedom is that freedom requires virtue. Virtue requires faith, and faith in turn requires freedom, and around and around it goes. What does that mean? It means that freedom is self-government. It means we govern ourselves. How do we govern ourselves? How do we govern ourselves and not be governed from some other source, a tyrant, a king, a bureaucracy?

How do we freely govern ourselves? Well, the founders said it can only be done if the people have virtue. If you govern yourself when nobody's looking, you don't need a lot of cops. You don't need a lot of bureaucracy. See, if people want to govern themselves, they have to have virtue. Every single one of the founders wrote some place and I quote have for them some someplace, said that there's no way this can work if the people are not basically virtuous, which is a huge thing.

That is what the founders said. You can't have freedom. You can't have liberty and self-government unless the populace, the citizenry, are mostly virtuous or have a culture of virtue. Now, that's what the founders all said. They all said that that's the only way it works. But they then said that freedom requires virtue, but virtue requires faith. In other words, we don't know where virtue is going to come from if it doesn't come from faith.

Now, they didn't say what kind of faith, but for most of them it was a robust Christian faith of some kind of evangelical variety. But it need not be. It's just that that's probably going to be at the heart of it, because other faiths might take you toward theocracy, which cancels out freedom. But the bottom line is, without going into it, I go into it in the book, they knew that once people get faith, once people get excited about God and worshiping the God of the Bible and obeying the God of the Bible, they tend to be virtuous.

They tend to do the right thing. And so people like Benjamin Franklin observed that when revival breaks out, because there's a chapter in the book on George Whitfield, the evangelist in the 18th century, preaching evangelistically. And when people get Jesus, somehow crime goes down, alcoholism goes down, and domestic abuse goes down. The ability to govern ourselves goes up. They notice this.

And so even if you're an atheist sociologist, you look at the situation and you go, well, this is interesting where people get religion, they get virtue and they can govern themselves. Okay. So then the third part of the triangle is of freedom requires virtue. Virtue requires faith, but faith, in turn, requires freedom. In other words, the government cannot force faith.

Once the government forces faith, says you've got to go to that mosque, you've got to go to that church, or you've got to have no faith. You've got to be an atheist. Once the government gets involved in that, the whole thing breaks apart. The government has to be technically agnostic. It has to sit back and say, you are free. You, the people, choose what faith you want, and if you choose the right faith, it'll go well. If you don't, we can't do much about it. We're just the government. We have to stay out of this. We believe in the free market of ideas, the free. We believe in freedom of religion. We believe in freedom. So we have to stay out.

So if you, the people, are free to choose what faith you want and you happen to choose the right one, or enough of you do, this whole thing will work. So religious liberty is at the absolute heart of everything. If the government starts sticking its nose in, it starts telling people what they can and can't believe in; by the way, this has been happening in the last two years when a government says –

Marlin Detweiler:

I feel like I'm living in Fahrenheit 451 at the moment.

Eric Metaxas:

Well, yeah, there's no doubt that all of this has been under attack in the last two years. And unless people understand how it works, which is why I wrote the book, If You Can Keep It, unless people understand this, they're not going to push back. When the government starts to impinge upon its religious liberties because they don't even understand what that is or why that's important.

And so I wrote the book, If You Can Keep It as a primer for every American. And here's the other thing, is that the beauty of America and of what we call American exceptionalism is just like the gospel. It's meant for everybody. It's not meant for our tribe. So even when we say “America First,” It’s not “America first and last.” It’s that we’ve got to take this seriously.

It's kind of like our church has to be on fire with faith. Why? Not for the church. Because we want to spread these ideas beyond the church. And in America, we want to spread our liberty and our ideas about liberty beyond America. We want the whole world to understand that they can have these things. So that's something really beautiful.

And obviously, the image that Jesus refers to, which is famously quoted by John Winthrop and subsequent American leaders, “a shining city on a hill.” It's meant to be something people look toward and say, “What do they have there? That's beautiful. I want that.” And what that is, is people who govern themselves, people of virtue, obviously, people of Christian faith, who are so living out their faith that people say, “That's really attractive to me. I would like to live like that.”

Marlin Detweiler:

But that is so good, and I appreciate you expounding on it because it was your epiphanal moment that became my epiphanal moment about exceptionalism. That was just it'll never be the same. I didn't understand it before. And now, I have some level of understanding, and it is so motivational to think in world terms and not just American terms, but rather having been blessed by God to take what we've been given and see that the world has opportunity to enjoy it as well.

Eric Metaxas:

Well, it's like if people said to us, “Don't be excited about the gospel, shame on you. What about people who don’t have the Gospel?” Wait a minute. That's the whole point. The reason I'm excited is because I want the whole world to have what I have. But if I'm not excited about it, if I don't understand the beauty of it, if I pretend that it's equal to other ideas, why would I share it?

So we ought to be proud to be Americans because what we've been given is an inestimable gift. We don't deserve it. We are not better than other people. But we've been given this gift, and God gives us gifts to share those gifts as we're able, our faith, anything that's good, God gives it to us to share with those who don't have it.

That's why He gives it to us. So it's really a beautiful idea. And once you realize how much it makes sense, you kind of go crazy thinking, I need to get this idea out there. So the book, If You Can Keep It, is my humble version of doing that. We want to produce a streaming TV series that unpacks these ideas as well.

We just have to get that funded. But I'll tell you right now, these ideas, every American needs to know these ideas. We used to know these ideas 100 years ago. Most Americans understood this stuff. We have allowed it to evaporate, and we need to get back to it.

Marlin Detweiler:

I am expecting, and I'm working on classical Christian education being a contributing factor to bringing that awareness back to the next generation. Good.

Eric Metaxas:

I know you are. And that's one of the reasons I'm such a big fan of classical Christian education, because that's for me, that is the hope of our future.

Marlin Detweiler:

It is. It really is. I want to move to the next book now. This one I haven't read. So you're going to have to help me here a little bit. The book that is out now, and it is, I'm going to give you a little plug here - This is a book that is a great gift. If you're looking for the right gift for somebody, this is it, a Letter to the American Church. Tell me why you wrote it. What were you trying to accomplish?

Eric Metaxas:

I have never written a book only for the church. Even though most of my books are read by Christians and bought by Christians, I write them hoping that they will give the book to non-Christians. This is the first book that I've ever written, which is directly aimed at Christians, specifically Christian leaders and pastors, but really at any thinking Christian.

And the reason I wrote it is I think it's the shortest book I've ever written. But I really felt the Lord lead me to write this book in a way that I've never felt before. I didn't have this on my plan. You know, this is a book I'd like to write someday. But in the last year, about a year ago, I had these ideas kind of bouncing around in my head.

I thought, “I have got to get this on paper and I've got to get it out.” I was going to self-publish it. I thought, I've just got to get this out, if only so that Christian leaders might read this. But eventually, I published it with Salem and it's basically this: some bad ideas have come into the church and have harmed America, which in turn harms the whole world.

At the heart of those bad ideas is this misconception. It's a theological misconception which is profound, and it is that we Christians are not supposed to be political. Christian leaders aren't supposed to touch on politics. And I thought that's the dumbest idea I've ever heard in my life. When William Wilberforce understood the Christian faith, when he became a Christian, he knew instantly that this meant he had to take his Christian faith into politics, had to take politics into the Christian faith.

He had to say that according to the Bible, the slave trade is evil, and we as Christians need to stand against it. That is, mixing faith and politics, just as God intended, is to take the truth of God's word into the whole world, not to say, Well, we're just going to keep it in our little churches, we're going to keep it in our pulpits.

We're not going to mix. I thought, where did the idea come from when Bonhoeffer saw the evil of the Nazis, he understood as a man of faith he had to speak against bad politics and for good politics. This lie that we're supposed to keep politics, you know, you think where does that come from? Part of it comes from the garbage of 501c3 for the pulpits.

We're not supposed to talk about politics. And he's like, Well, okay, where did that idea come from? Because it's historically nonsensical if you believe something is true, if you have two candidates, one of them is pro-slavery, the other one is anti-slavery. You can't mention vote for this guy. Don't vote for this guy. Where did we get this idea?

Eric Metaxas:

And what I say in the book is, I mean, ultimately, why I wrote the book, as I said, the silence of the church in Germany, what led to the rise of the Nazis, what allowed the Nazis to rise and gain power was the silence of the German church. It was the German churches that made a decision, a profoundly wrong decision, that we're going to stay out of politics.

This is not our business. That's a lie from the pit of hell. But they bought that lie long enough to allow the Nazis to gain power, and it led to hell on earth. And it's my contention in this book, and I say this very seriously, that it is the silence of the American church now that parallels the silence of the German church in the early and mid thirties.

It's exactly the same. We are no different and it is leading to similar evils and it will lead to far greater evils if the American church doesn't wake up and begin to speak loudly and to act and to get involved. And I know that by writing a biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I know how that happened in Germany, we often think, “Oh, it's a uniquely weird situation.These evil, stupid Germans abdicated their faith and allowed evil to rise up.” And I say no, no, no, no. They were exactly like the American church today. They were exactly many, many good men from pulpits made the decision, we're not going to go there. We're going to keep our mouths shut on that issue. We don't want to divide our congregations.

We may lose people. I don't want people walking out of my church because they disagree with me politically. They abdicated their role as prophets, as leaders, and they did it long enough so that they allowed the Nazis to take power. And when they finally realized some of these good men, what they had done or what they had allowed by their silence, it was too late.

And it's my contention in this book that there are many Christian leaders this minute, some of them wonderful people, some of them I've known for years who have abdicated their role as truth tellers, saying, Oh, we're just supposed to be preaching the gospel, not understanding. There's no such thing as preaching the gospel and not preaching the truth, not speaking the truth.

Whoever came up with this idea, it's kind of a bastardization of some of the things that Tim Keller was saying, which were correct. But it's kind of like they get twisted and shifted. And before you know it, all kinds of people are saying, well, we don't want to speak out against, you know, the Biden administration or we don't want to speak out against this issue.

And I think excuse me, when things have come to where they are now, if you do not speak out, God will hold you responsible. You don't get a pass because you're a pastor, because you're afraid of losing your 501c3 status. You have a moral obligation before God to speak the truth and to let God worry about your congregation.

Let God worry about your tax-exempt status. You need to be in the fight for truth, just as we expected the German church to be in the fight. And they were not in the fight. And we saw what happened. And so there are a host of issues.

Marlin Detweiler:

We should ask you. Here's your here's your opportunity. What are those issues about which we should be speaking out today?

Eric Metaxas:

Well, I mean, I think there are a number of like really controversial issues. One would be for I mean, when Trump was the Republican candidate in 2016, that's when I first got a glimpse of this nightmare. I saw all kinds of Christians say, oh, “I can't I can never advocate for him. He's vulgar, he's this or that.” And I thought, what? When did you ever get the idea that you're supposed to agree with a candidate on everything? You're nuts. Are you going to change your view of adultery or divorce? Because you know, you voted for Ronald Reagan or you've… I mean, where did you get this idea? But it's almost like the cultural bullies and the bullies on the left, they got Christian leaders immediately to go, “Oh, yeah, yeah, we don't anything to do with that guy.”

And I thought, “Oh, excuse me, you're supposed to be voting for we the people. We the people will be affected by the policies of a candidate that's elected and by their Cabinet and by the innumerable people that they have on their staffs.” And so you have to kind of put aside something you don't like or this or that.

And by the way, you better do that because human lives are at stake. The unborn, their lives are at stake. So you have to elect the candidate whom you believe might be able to have judges put in who believe that Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. You need to take that very seriously just as you take the slavery issue seriously.

But they were afraid even to go there. And I said to myself that this is really weird because, you know, here you have in the in the candidacy of Trump, you've got a fighter. You've got a guy who says he's going to appoint people who are constitutionalists and originalist, whatever, even if you don't like anything else about that, if you compare that to his opponent, there's nothing to discuss.

Marlin Detweiler:

No one can overestimate the significance of that one issue.

Eric Metaxas:

And that's just one issue. But the point is, even on that, people said, well, I want to be pure. I'm going to sit on my hands. I'm not going to vote in this election. That's when I knew we're in trouble, because I said to myself, Do you understand the evil that you're unleashing in America? If you allow someone like Hillary Clinton to become the president of the United States, do you have any idea that that's going to be on you guys going to judge you for that?

Because the policies that are going to be put in effect under someone like that, by the way, Roe v. Wade never would have been overturned. We know that. If you don't know that, you're very ignorant because that is the most clear thing you could say. You say nothing else is that Trump got three originalists appointed to the Supreme Court, without whom Roe v. Wade never would have been overturned.

Now, Roe v. Wade being overturned, that's just the beginning. Anyway, the point is, it's no Republican candidate whether George Bush, his father, or even Ronald Reagan, no one ever did a third as much as Donald Trump for the unborn in the cause of the unborn in America. So that alone is what we call dispositive, but it really kind of drifts over into all kinds of stuff.

People were really somehow cowed Christian leaders into talking about anything they didn't want to be divisive on a host of issues. And I thought to myself, “Well, wait a minute, this is your job. It's your job to judge when freedom is abrogated, when an election looks like it might have been stolen. Your job is not to say, Hey, everybody, get up, get with the program. There's no evidence, nothing to see here. Your job is to say, Wait a minute, wait a minute. We only want to know what the truth is. And if you have a problem with that, you've got a real problem.” We need to be able to be transparent and fearless.

We're supposed to be, you know, the home of the brave. We're supposed to be brave. We're supposed to evince courage. We're supposed to believe Jesus defeated death on the cross or in fearless. But I saw a lot of fear. I saw a lot of political calculation, a lot of us a lot of people saying, well, we don't want to lose people in our congregation if we bring up any of these issues. These are divisive issues. The way the church shut down and allowed, you know, most of these blue state governors, but allowed them to dictate church policy. I thought this is really sick. This is if you want to know how ripe we are for the destruction of the church and the destruction of liberty in America, response of the church to these overreaches, I thought, “Wow, where are the heroes now?”

There were handfuls of heroes, especially in places like California. But many Christian leaders misunderstood their mandate as Christian leaders. And they said, well, the right thing to do is, you know, just to comply. Romans 13 It's very simple. And I'm here to say, no, it's not very simple. Many German pastors cited Romans 13. That is the misunderstanding of Romans 13.

It's a misunderstanding of scripture. You are to be heroic. You are to stand up for what is right and true. If the governing authorities tell me slavery is legal, it is my job to fight them with everything I have on that issue. If they tell me killing the unborn is legal, it is my job to speak out with every decibel I can muster against that idea.

Romans 13 is just used as a fig leaf, and in the book Letter to the American Church, I talk about it. In the book Letter to the American Church, I talk about how we often use these ideas as fig leaves to try to fool ourselves, to fool God. Nothing you see here, Romans 13, we're just going to, “preach the gospel.”

And then guess what? You're allowed to preach that gospel in China. If you don't speak against the lies and the evil, even in places like China, they’ll say “Yeah, preach your little gospel.” Hitler didn't have a problem with pastors, “preaching their little gospel.” But once they said something that affected the power of the state, that's when they got in trouble. And that's exactly what the job of the church is to be the conscience of the state. As Bonhoeffer said. So there's a lot there. It's all in a Letter to the American Church. It's a very short book, but I don't think I've ever written anything that could compare in terms of seriousness. This is serious, and timeliness.

Marlin Detweiler:

Yeah, it is such an important message. We know Jesus is going to win. I just want to be part of experiencing it here and now.

Eric Metaxas:

Yeah. And living it live, being a part of, you know, he calls us to help him to do that. We're the church. We're supposed to live out our faith. It doesn't just win because he wins. He wins because he's deputized us and given us the power of the Holy Spirit. And theoretically, he's given us a lack of fear of man.

He has given us a lack of fear of death because he's defeated death. We are to be his army, speaking the truth, praying the truth, living the truth. And I wrote this book because I think a lot of Christian leaders have missed that. I was going to title the book Faith Without Works is Dead because I think that's kind of what happened.

We kind of got caught up in this idea of faith. Faith. Then we forgot like, excuse me, if you don't live out your faith, maybe you actually have no faith. Maybe you're just talking about faith. And that's really a scary place.

Marlin Detweiler:

Yeah. Faith in faith is not faith in a biblical sense. In faith in God. Faith in the right thing, the right way by the grace of God and the chips fall where they may, but we are called to be faithful. Eric, thank you so much. This has been remarkable. I am a great fan of yours. It is so great to have you be part of this.

Thank you for your support of classical Christian education. Thank you for the work that you do. If we can ever do anything for you, don't hesitate to let us know.

Eric Metaxas:

Well, I'll tell you the truth. Half of what I do, my books wouldn't sell if it weren't for classical Christian education. In other words, I know that part of God's mandate on my life is to produce these books, these biographies, my books, Seven Men, Seven Women, Seven More Men to arm classical Christian schools with materials that tell the truth about our history, tell the truth about Christian history, tell the truth about heroes.

Because if we do not have these stories and know this is true, we're lost. And I realize, in retrospect, that God called me to write most of these books, really to arm the church and to arm Christian educators, to say, look, we've drifted from this. I didn't mention my book Is Atheism Dead? which is pure apologetics. But the level of evidence for God, I put it, you know, most of it in the book Is Atheism Dead?

But the level of evidence from God for God, from science, from archeology, I just thought this is amazing evidence and somebody needs to kind of pull it together in a book because we need to arm the faithful knowing that what we believe is true, the one in whom we believe is truth. He's given us a mandate to march forward with joy and courage, you know, not just courage with joy and courage.

So, you know, it's exciting to know that folks like you are out there. And I really do believe that homeschoolers and Christian classical schools, they are just they are the hope of the future. So I'm just excited it's happening.

Marlin Detweiler:

It's been fun to be a part of it. Folks, you've been with us on Veritas Vox, the voice of classical Christian education. Thank you for joining us.