Eric Metaxas at CPAC: Aren’t We, Um, Glad Wilberforce’s Religion Affected His Politics?

Eric Metaxas at CPAC: Aren’t We, Um, Glad Wilberforce’s Religion Affected His Politics? March 16, 2013

Eric Metaxas has been in the news of late. He was at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a talk and Q&A with John Piper and Jason Meyer (video above). Earlier today, he gave a notable speech on religious freedom at CPAC, the conservative shindig. Here’s a swatch from the broader talk:

In my book Amazing Grace I tell the story of William Wilberforce. It’s the story of what happens when a man drags religion into the public square and when he allows it to affect how government behaves.  As a result, the governmment was forced to abolish the slave trade. Don’t you think the African slaves were glad Wilberforce allowed his religion to affect his politics?

In those days the settled science was that slavery and the slave trade were just the way it was and to even discuss abolishing them was insane.  But devout Christians who believed every human being is made in the image of God forced the discussion.

The story of Bonhoeffer shows that it was many serious Christians who led the conspiracy against Hitler. The settled science was that the Third Reich was the future and any dissenting voices were simply silenced. But the voices of faith were not easily silenced.

Indeed, even Bonhoeffer, though murdered by the Nazis, speaks today. He is speaking to us — to America — and warning us not to let ourselves be silenced. He called the church to be the church and he is doing so now, to the American church. Stand up for what is right, knowing that the whole country will be blessed.

Read the whole thing.

We need these words today. Quietism is everywhere today, both in the religious and political spheres. Christians are more tempted than ever to hide their light under a bushel (I prefer the old phrase). Eric Metaxas is here to put steel in our spine. His books on Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer are must-reads, and especially so in this age. I linked to them above, and if you haven’t read them, please do. You will be edified and educated in how to be a “salt and light” Christian.

Two take-aways from Metaxas’s talk: 1) Religious convictions should influence politics, and it has, in incredible ways–whether second-century Christians rescuing abandoned babies, Telemachus shutting down the gladiatorial games through his witness, Luther in the Reformation sparking, well, the Reformation, Wilberforce and William Lloyd Garrison and the Beechers fighting the slave trade, Martin Luther King, Jr. advocating the end of racial discrimination. I could say a ton more; I won’t.

2) To take away religious freedom through forcing American religions to accept same-sex marriage will cause untold harm and irreparable damage to the fabric of this country. Make no mistake: if the current push to normalize SSM continues apace, religious liberty will be lost.

Hear the words of Metaxas, equip yourself to be salt and light, and pray to God to be faithful in this kairos moment.

Browse Our Archives