If you missed the Illinois Family Institute’s annual fall banquet back in September you missed an important keynote speech by bestselling author Eric Metaxas. Combining encouragement and a call to action, Metaxas emphasized that “it is time for us to be all in” when it comes to the political and cultural battle.
This speech by Metaxas is now available on DVD, and I highly recommend that IFI supporters listen to it and then share it with as many people as possible.
Eric Metaxas first came to the attention of many after his speech about religious liberty at the National Prayer Breakfast in early 2012. Others know him from his award winning biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, or his book about William Wilberforce, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery.
In his speech Metaxas discussed the examples of both men — “We need to know these stories of encouragement.” Metaxas contrasted Bonhoeffer and Wilberforce with those who say, “I don’t know if Christians should be political – they should just preach the Gospel.” Metaxas responded: “Do you think Wilberforce was political?”
“If you give a darn about people suffering…in the case of Wilberforce that meant being very political,” Metaxas said. “Some people didn’t like that — they said he should keep his faith private…There are a lot of people who are glad that he didn’t keep his faith private.”
“Don’t think about what people say,” Metaxas said, “think about those people who are suffering.”
Wilberforce’s impact was felt “far beyond the slave trade,” Metaxas said, and added: “It is staggering to see how God used this one man. It needs to be a lesson for us — you have no idea what God can do through you.” Wilberforce, Metaxas said, “was used to totally transform that culture.”
As tough as the political fight might be, Metaxas said, Christians shouldn’t be fatalistic, but rather are called to rejoice and be hopeful — “we don’t know what the future holds.”
In Germany in the 1930s the Christian Church failed to heed the warnings of men like Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. “Germans became comfortable,” Metaxas said, and their complacency resulted in their forfeiting religious liberty. A parallel can be seen in America today as encroachments upon our religious freedoms are increasing at an alarming rate.
Religious liberty is at the heart of all of our liberties, Metaxas said. The Founders understood that without Christian morality, “the whole thing doesn’t work…the free market is nothing, and democracy is nothing without a moral populace.”
Metaxas also challenged pastors to “rejoice in rebelling against anything that would restrict religious freedom.” As during the founding era, he said, we can’t just “sit this one out.”
If every pastor in America was in the fight, Metaxas said, then we would be free: “There should be at least one line in every sermon you preach that would threaten your 501c3 status.”
“God is with us,” Metaxas said, so this should not be a dour campaign: “Now is the time for us to be all in. We can all give more money, we can all sacrifice more, we have time that we’re not using wisely…this is it — the church has to be all in.”
“I’m in a room full of heroes,” Metaxas said, “I often think, what would it be like if this organization didn’t exist.”
“I thank God for those of you who support this organization — you’re doing the Lord’s work.”
The DVD of Metaxas’ address is available from the Illinois Family Institute for a suggested donation of $15. Call the IFI office at 708-781-9328 or you can also send a check to following address and indicate you would like the DVD:
Illinois Family Institute
P.O. Box 88848
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Image credit: IllinoisFamily.org.