Letter to the American Church (The Letter) is Eric Metaxas’ 2022 call to action to American Christians and citizens everywhere against “Wokery” and its allied components, cultural Marxism, postmodernism, and identity politics. He compares our Mainline and Catholic, as applicable, institutional hierarchies and sympathizing congregations who have gone Woke to the German State Church (Lutheran) in the 1930’s—being somewhere around 1932, if I had to pick a year, when Hitler became Chancellor.
Metaxas issues a warning that America is destroying its Judeo-Christian national foundations and now heading in Germany’s direction—adjusted for different historical circumstances today. It’s an impassioned and elegant plea for bravery to all influential and regular American Christians to awaken and right our tottering ship of state. If you think he overstates the case, well then, read it. It’s easy reading in prose that flows from his pen; only 139 pages in large type—truly a well-organized letter that succeeds in making its case. (Granted, many will not agree.)
The Letter is the culmination of all of Mr. Metaxas’ research, work, and thinking to date. (My own two greatest men of the 20th century are smiling: Winston Churchill and John Paul II.)
“If the God of the Bible is real, if He created the universe and created us and sent His Son to die and rise again so that we might have a relationship with Him now and for all eternity, there cannot possibly be any more important question. What does it mean for those of us who say we are Christians to be Christians?” (The Letter, page 2)
But The Letter is much more than a call to action. It’s a sophisticated theological course correction long overdue built for travel into the public square. It attacks Woke theology, which truly operates as a religion, head-on for corrupting and dividing Americans and for counseling passiveness in the face of accelerating dangers.
With a rising emphasis, The Letter offers up the Gospel. He shows how in no uncertain terms the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the Old and New Testaments demand 100% of our lives in whatever we say and do—and that means taking “religion” directly back into the public square.
“We have known that religious liberty means we are not merely able to worship privately, and to keep our religion to ourselves, but are guaranteed a ‘free exercise thereof,’ so that our faith must by definition be carried everywhere we go, on every day of the week and in every place we take ourselves. Many have died for these freedoms, so the mistaken idea that we should voluntarily give them up is unprecedented, deeply un-American, and cannot be allowed to continue.” (page 4)
It is astonishing how Metaxas’ work has placed him in the best possible position to write The Letter. He’s written detailed biographies of Martin Luther, William Wilberforce, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as short biographies of other amazing Christian men and women.
We have featured much of Mr. Metaxas’ work in the past, from a review of his Bonhoeffer biography (upon which he bases The Letter) to his books on everyday, ordinary Miracles. I identify strongly with Mr. Metaxas because he sees a manliness in Christ that fits the Gospel from my own standpoint—so there, shoot me.
Specifically, what Mr. Metaxas attacks most is silence about: murder of the unborn, the theft of childhood with pernicious ideas of sexuality and even slavery, the perversion of family and the male/female categories, transgender madness, radically false accusations of systemic oppression, broad institutional support for these maladies, the obvious to all growth of the totalitarian state, and, by necessity, the destruction of the rule of law. He believes the American Church, being the body of Christ in all Christians, has an independent duty to correct the State.
“Everywhere we see things we could not have imagined even a few years ago. Children have been subjected to unimaginably inappropriate ideas by teachers paid with our tax dollars, and their parents have been told that their children’s learning is no concern of theirs and that the state will choose what and how they learn. This is Communism come to America. Can there be any other way to say it?” (pages 14-15)
I endorse this beautiful book but leave it to you to consider on your own. I don’t want to spoil it for you and haven’t; it’s an extremely rich text. This overview is just the tip of a very good iceberg.
While everyone I know over 50 today agrees, regardless of political persuasion, that what is happening in America is unprecedented, few believe an evil, sinister, power-aggregating genius, whose time offered a perfect national and global storm of deception, lies, perversion, corruption, mayhem, death, murder, and destruction, seems to present himself (like Adolf Hitler). On the contrary, our two leading candidates for president are more like cartoon characters out of South Park. (Qualifier: As citizens, we can only blame ourselves.)
If you want another and more detached view of the menace we face, please see these three short clips from our interview with PC Contributor Robert George:
As the creator of Socrates in the City, Metaxas is an entertaining intellectual who relates high level thinking extremely well to everyday people (like me). In The Letter, however, Mr. Metaxas’ does not engage much, if at all, in his gifted sense of humor. In the introduction (before page 1), he employs strong language: “a mere foretaste of what will befall the world,” “the forces of anti-Christ,” “leads all the way down to hell,” “a supremely deceptive and satanic lie.”
He continues the strategy to varying degrees to the end: “silent in the face of evil,” “repent before it is too late,” “the forces of evil . . . crush the poor in our time,” “the evil of Communism,” “serves the devil,” “silence in the face of evil is evil itself,” “you say you believe in God . . . so does Satan,” “we either stand in the freedom wherewith Christ has us free, or we stand with Satan,” who will “drag us into the eternal slavery of Hell.”
Most definitely, while taking some getting used to, it works for me. But that is because I tend to see evil as more than just the absence of God, truth, and the good. Moreover, I take God’s personhood seriously, and, in all due respect to Christ’s words and Scripture broadly, note the many ways the positive and negative supernatural world manifests itself in this world.
“But somehow God—by taking human form—asks us to bear it [the truth in love]. He asks us to look to Jesus, who somehow in the lowly form of a man is yet God—to see the One who is Truth, to see Him as the standard bearer, as the standard too. He is an image of truth itself, a battle flag for truth.” (page 88)
With each passing year, we are seeing more signs that the American public has had enough. Note Oliver Anthony’s rocket rise to stardom at the end of last week (Rich Men North of Richmond). Some of us in Richmond, Virginia (PC headquarters) love it anytime Northern elites get a hard time. As another example, I just heard this rousing speech by Publius about the American character a couple of weeks ago at a conference in South Carolina. A final, recent example would be Mark Levin’s rant just last night.
In sum, we don’t know where all of this will go for the rest of this year and into the election year 2024. But here in a still free America, it’s likely to be spectacular. And it’s scary to think the world depends on you and me.
“Heaven looks to you and to me to do the right thing. What part of the tottering wall has God called you to push? . . . Are you to risk your job—or your congregation, or something else? God is looking to see whether you trust Him with it, whatever it is. He is waiting for you to show Him that you know that whatever you have is His gift to you, and that you can trust Him with it.” (page 138)
In reading Eric’s Letter, your theology, philosophy, and worldview will be challenged, influenced, and broadened. Most important, your courage will be restored and our lives changed.
So, the Letter, take it up and read.