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Faith Flourishing Freely: An Interview with Eric Metaxas

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 4, 2020 4:00 am

Faith Flourishing Freely: An Interview with Eric Metaxas

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 4, 2020 4:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie interviews author and radio host Eric Metaxas. In this classic discussion, they cover the role of faith in America’s founding and the role of virtue in the exercise of religious liberty. 

Eric shares his personal testimony and discusses his book, If You Can Keep It. With humor and candor, he explains how the God-given liberties we enjoy in America must be taught and protected in every generation. 


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Everybody Greg Laurie here.

You're listening to the Greg Laurie podcast and my objective is to deliver hopefully compelling practical insights and faith culture and current events. From a biblical perspective to find out more about our ministry. Just go to our website so thanks for joining me for this podcast. All right, let's welcome Eric with Dr. good to have your disabled yet however you want to hold it by you. I'm thrilled to be here it so fascinating to see people indoors at at at the other campus there outside making coffee. Yeah I know what that's about. That's not is not scriptural is not scriptural brother to rebuke you and your people. That's so Eric you were raised your parents did they come directly from Greece to the United States know my father came from greasymy mother came from Germany. They met in an English class in New York City in the mid-50s.

Yeah, and they were married and I was born and I would say fear raised half Greek and half German.

That means you will be raised Greek as I don't live With this way breaks down.

So I was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church and yes correct. So my big fat Greek wedding. The film the thing with white exiting truth of that now never headwind I know we are watching a film like that, like it was in some ways was a blessing otherwise was, like cartoon version so just let it but you know how many people Greek culture is not something you see represented in film right Jewish culture telling culture tons Greeks. So that's so, we like that movie because it portrays what you know but except for the Windex thing.

So your parents work very hard to send you to college. He went to Yale University. I went yet yet what it's interesting to me. Basically I was raised a Christian home, but I you know what me take that back.

I was raised going to church every Sunday, but it was for me was mainly a cultural experience for a lot of people, especially if you're an ethnic know like if your Italian Catholics are your Irish Catholics what you you you kind of just go because that's what you do in our case the Greeks go to the Greek church but I never learned like the gospel reading of Scripture are learning how to pray. All that born-again stuff.

I didn't get any of it by the time I went to college, which was Yale University, which is a very intensely secular environment.

I realized I don't have a clue what I actually believe I didn't really know was originally founded by Christians yes it was and they quickly changed from being a devoutly Christian organization you know college to being very secular and confused. So you graduated from Yale and you were the two major I was an English major. Yet that's the key to my story is that I was an English major, so when I graduated I floundered. I want to be writer as I floundered and I floated and then listen carefully and then I drifted in and when you do those things.

There is no doubt will happen to you. You understand this is like a mathematical theorem you will move back in with your parents, so I moved back in with my parents and things were so bad.

I mean to say why we say that you know your your you try to be a writer you confused with the meaning of life. What's going on whatever you know my parents like work their butts off to put me through one finest colleges there is so American parents would always like okay it's only six. Finding himself my parents out to be like you. You should find yourself a job like a get out and get out here because, like, what's the problem so it was a hard time for me but that was the year that it was so hard that I became a Christian. Yeah, it was so painful that I turn to God yes and it was this is Funny though isn't it because I know he likes to suffer, but God can use that to get her attention, and that was the year. Actually that he totally on my day was a horrible year. No joke was just awful. I kill some people. I shouldn't say that, but it's true I get you to them needed killing. No, really bad bad people there better people.

But no, it was such a hard year by the mime kit is just something they didn't need killing but the point is that I was so messed up like I did. It was when I was doing some big sin. It was just it was just I was just so long confused and it was horrible. I mean, I've always struggled with depression and I was part of an amusing bad bad time in the sky so sharing his faith with me and I been trained at Yale to avoid these people because they're insane.

Born-again Christians are not right, and but I was in enough pain that is like when I keep talking and talking and literally, after year of me, holding the sky arms length. I had a dream which you can see on my websites and I am second video thing where I tell the story of the stream, but it's a totally mind blowing dream Jesus reveal himself to me in the dream, in a way that was like completely mind blowing and I was totally born-again overnight yeah so you live. But then I backslid an element agnostic.

All yeah yes I got unfortunately yes I should really be here, maybe there can be a went to bed with you whether you will get that I was all right yesterday so you written this book. If you can keep it. Yes, in that subtitle well there goes about the kid is subtitled the forgotten promise of American liberty notices interesting. We got the title of this book. It was a statement made by Benjamin Franklin out of the patella because if you can keep it and I didn't know the story, so don't feel bad if you don't know the story, but when I heard the story. I was embarrassed that I had never heard this before, so I hope you are embarrassed eventually but this is one of the things in all joking aside, I mean everything in this book. The reason I wrote the book was because I realize that I didn't really understand what it means to be an American, and that we have not been teaching for the last 4050 years really what it means to be an American and and that's an understatement.

I mean it's it's very bad so I believe that were becoming American name only because America is an idea right when an ethnic group anybody like my mom and I can come in foreign countries to this country. They can become as American as George Washington. If they buy into these ideas right and if you're not teasing these ideas. Then who's American you're just American a name only, and so that the title comes from Benjamin Franklin was walking out of the constitutional convention 1787 right they created the constitutionally greater form of government but in its heart. Again, if you if you read the book you get this because it's kind of shocking. We don't really get how shocking it is that this idea of self-government. It was the wildest idea in the history of the world. Nobody had ever governed themselves in the history what will the like that with the big problem like what what was normal so it's not normal what's normal is to be ruled from above by a king or some desperate or some bureaucracy in Brussels or Washington or whatever.

Believe me really having liberty didn't exist in the history of the world until in 1776 I came up this crazy idea and 77 they wrote this this Constitution so it was such a rare idea that most people didn't believe it was possible that this is this I'm saying is I don't take it for granted because it shouldn't work. Frankly okay for reasons are going to in a minute. They thought they might be able to do it but nobody knew what they were doing inside that building in the Independence Hall that during during that summer know he was allowed inside you know it was it was top-secret. There's a big see on the outside of the building and knowing knowing what it stood for. Is that weird is that we think what is wrong with these people is true that is absolutely not true.

So so there in this building and when they can't. When Benjamin Franklin walks out at the end of this. He was 82. I guess the oldest member of the Constitution mentioned a woman asks him because they really didn't know. She says what if you given us a monarchy or Republic to keep in mind that because we had never had a Republic true liberty in the history of the world ever they may well have gone into the building and said were to try to work this out. It doesn't seem like we can pull it off have to have some sort for some form of soft monarchy will be King George III governing us from across the ocean, but you have to have some monarchy and maybe Parliament. Whatever but but nobody dreamt really that they could pull this off, so she asked him what he given us a monarchy Republic and he says a Republic madam. If you can keep it and when I first heard that I thought oh that's kind cute. You know like as if they were ever monarchy and I realize that all they really could've had a monarchy and then when he says if you can keep it. I think all that's cute to like using a Republic madam if he can keep it. You know, and it's like know he was saying. I and the men in that building are aware of the outrageous fragility of what we have just created and if you, the American people genuinely govern yourselves, which takes some doing.

You have to understand how works and you have to be active if you do that you'll keep the Republic if you don't do that, you'll slide back into being govern from above or from without. That's the normal state of human affairs is that somebody will govern you if you just like step back a little bit they'll fill the vacuum real quick and so he had no idea if this was gonna work. And this is why when they say was an experiment in in liberty they weren't being cute that it was an experiment. They had no idea if it would work in this idea if you can keep it. My thesis is that we have not been keeping it for 40 or 50 years were on fumes like a car that's on fumes. We been keeping it for for 200 years, but we have forgotten to teach our kids about the glorious mess of what we have in and when we talk on American exceptionalism. When nothing were better were saying these ideas are a gift from God, and they are exceptional. Go talk to somebody, North Korea, and you know it's just so it doesn't mean were better anymore than when you're Christian you don't say I'm better because I know Jesus, if you know Jesus you know your chief among sinners right so I been blessed with self-government. I been blessed with these ideas.

I know I don't deserve them anymore. They real world world deserves him so I have a gratitude and understanding. I have been given this incredible gift and biblically were blessed to be a blessing right so this ideas that we cannot teach this over and over and over again so that we can keep the Republic so that we can bless the world with these ideas because were not supposed to hold these ideas herself. So if you can keep it is a challenge because I believe as I said we've not been keeping it were on the verge of becoming American name only. I don't say this for hyperbole for a fact. Unfortunately, I think this is true that we been we been we've been coasting for 40 or 50 years and we are at the very edge of losing the liberty that we have in your book you talk about something you call the Golden triangle of freedom that sort of the explanation of what makes America unique in a way it is yet to go. Maternal freedom is that the concept all the founders understood this concept. Every single one of them understood, but the term the Golden triangle of freedom was coined by my friend is Guinness. Some of you know as Guinness as books and when I heard them talking about the setup myself. He saying that all the founders understood this as the heart of self-government, but I've never heard this in my life I grew up in America and went to decent public schools I went to Yale University where they actively teach against these ideas we've I've missed this. We've all missed this. I said I gotta start talking about this so here's what they idea is the Golden Triangle feed off of stated briefly and then I'll explain it. The gold trial. Pringle freedom briefly is this self-government or liberty requires virtue virtue requires faith and faith in turn requires freedom, so round and round it goes know what we mean by that.


Freedom self-government requires virtue all the founders talked about this. They all write about it. I caught them in the book they all understood that self-government in liberty requires virtue. I never heard this in my life. I never heard this in public schools never had this in history class certainly never heard about in college virtue is marked like virtue, who talks about virtue, all of the founders said, unless you have virtue unless you basically are people of virtue, you won't govern yourself you will need to be govern from without, somebody will govern you with the sword with her with a gun. They're going to govern you to force you to do the right thing. That's the way it's been since the history of humanity that somebody governs you by force.

So to be self-governing to do the right thing without having somebody govern you requires virtue never heard in my life so when I ask you to start saying this I thought okay so this makes sense. This is true, and then you're telling me every single one of the founders understood this as a given and as a fundamental requirement for American liberty.

Case closed. Not as a extra credit like it doesn't work without this. So when I got that I was Blown away and I something, something's wrong, like I've never heard this never okay so he says.

Freedom requires virtue virtue in turn requires faith.

All of the founders understood that there are some people of faith who don't act with virtue and that there some people who act with virtue who have no faith but by and large, all of the founders observed that communities of strong faith had the capacity for virtue and self-government that communities without strong faith did not have they observed as they observed that whenever revival broke out George Whitfield I talk about him in the book the great evangelist.

The preceptor number 13 colonies for decades and the second the first great awakening broke out in the colonies. In the 18th mid 18th century and whenever revival broke out crying went down over and over and over and over. They watched it over and over and over. And so for pretty soon you start saying well, yeah, there's a correlation.

People love Jesus commit fewer crimes that mean that it's just drunkenness goes down stuff happens.

So they said if we want a virtuous populace which is necessary for self-government. We we know that faith is important so.

But here's the third piece faith in turn requires freedom, meaning we can't force the faith the government cannot force faith because true faith and you'll know this is free if the government forces you to go to church or forces you to not go to church or forces you to go to that church, but not that church reports you go to synagogue or to Moscow.

Whatever it is, if the government does that your faith is not free, so it's not real, you're just you're just following the rules because you have to for faith to be truly free.

You need freedom of religion so that the government basically says when I can take work and encourage faith generally but were not to force anybody to do anything. It's totally on you just like the free market. We gotta take her thumb off the scales and just let the people decide and the miracle is that when you let people do is they like. Then the truth can went out right give a level playing field like the free market right right is the best company. Usually when because people can just choose the service.

The best products. Whatever when you have the freedom when you real freedom so you freedom of ideas. The cream rises to the top so they said we need freedom of religion so people can choose the religion they want freely and then when we have faith flourishing freely.

Virtue will arise and self-government will come out of it. That's the only way this can work since the Golden triangle of freedom. I rip it off for miles Guinness.

That was his term. I dedicated the book to him so he doesn't sue me because I think he got grounds to sue me.

But honestly, when I heard this I said you mean to tell me every one of the founders agreed on this everyone when I say everyone up Christian founders. I mean everyone, Benjamin Franklin, Tom Simpson, everyone said this is the only way they can work is the only way that he can work. Can you imagine that they all agreed on this and were not teaching this in our schools like what in the world happened because we act like well this will just go on forever, but as Franklin says no if you stop keeping it goes away and that's why I I think were on the verge of losing what you know, I think we've gone from freedom of religion, many ways to freedom from religion were those who have faith are discriminated against correct and a lot of times we will say we, you know, it's a separation of church rights think they act as though that's in the Constitution itself within your book to print out the origin of the statement yeah of the wall of separation between church and state. Explain what that actually will first of all, the concept of separation of church and state is an American concept but but we have misunderstood it again for roughly 40 or 50 years. We fundamentally misunderstood. It separation of church and state is just what I said, freedom of religion.

The state must keep his hands away from the church. Not that that we have to have a secular America. On the contrary, in order for freedom and faith to flourish.

The government has to stay out of it so soon as the stubborn government starts telling you kind of what to believe.

Whether secular or Christian or Muslim. As soon as the government starts telling you what to believe the whole thing dies right so people have misunderstood this concept of separation of church and state, and they've interpreted that all what that really means is that there is there supposed to be no faith in the public sphere no faith in the government.

Nothing that is utterly contradictory to what every single one of the founders believed and we have been living for 40 or 50 years. With this understanding in the popular culture in in government it it's a scandal because not only is it wrong, it's literally the opposite of what the founders meant by the separation of church and state that you make an ominous statement at page 53 of your book you write that America could potentially go off the cliff. If you compared it to one of those cartoons were the characters running off and running, but the men there yet realize or off the cliff.

You know, and you say were almost to the point what you mean by that. Okay what what I mean by that is that when when Franklin says if you can keep it discount like a flower right if you cut a flower and put an advisory says oh it's a beautiful great look at beautiful it is will you know when I know it's time like it's it's disconnected from its roots. It's going to die. It doesn't die instantly. There's a season where it can keep looking beautiful and wonderful.

Whatever. It's no different than a car running on fumes.

I mean, the fact is that you don't you don't like just and just like that right now we are culturally living on fumes. We are not teaching this in the school. So why does it quit kind of continue because it's still sort of in the system still here it's going away. Having to scope talk to young people today my generation, we didn't.

We did learn this stuff I'm saying if you've got gray hair, chances are you heard this if you went to public school in the 50s the 40s of the 30s probably got this and you have a whole culture that celebrated this stuff even if you didn't get in school points was celebrated in the culture celebrated the heroes of revolution we celebrated Paul Revere. We all knew Paul Revere's ride on 18 April and 75 hardly a man is now alive amid all these poems part of the culture.

The culture reinforced all of these ideas of the founders and liberty and how it worked and you know in songs and poems and stories and celebrations.

It's part of the warp and woof of a healthy culture but the culture, got sick in the 60s. Something happened were resurfacing. Wait a minute we we got these bad things in a culture.

These bad things that we did. Now as Christians we know it's really healthy to acknowledge your sins right. It's healthy because when you acknowledge it when you see it you can repent and then God can sweep it away and you can rejoice that you have put that behind you, but the voice of the enemy is the voice of the accuser and he wants us a look at your sin. Look at your sin. Look at your sin. Look at your sin. Look at your sin, to beat you down with that and I really believe something happened in the culture. 40 or 50 years ago we started the cultural elites in a way start think we don't have American heroes anymore because we're a lot to be proud of and instead of saying like, yes, this was wrong and we repent Serve over and over beating us over the head with our our sins are cultural sins or shortcomings so that instead of having a healthy sense of pride and I mean a healthy sense of pride just like any culture you go to Greece or you got a group of the Greek American teaching you about the heroes of the Greek revolution in 1821 in the heroes of ancient Greece and there's something healthy about celebrating the best of who you are, that kinda began to end in the 60s we stop doing that and to me that's a sign of a deeply sick society because of you not celebrating what is good and you keep beating yourself over the head about what is bad is, if you have a kid and you never praise them to keep reminding them of what he did wrong your mind and remind them and write your crushing. That is the opposite of Lovett's judgment rightly judge somebody to love them is call them to their higher self and so we've not been in it in any kind of a healthy way.

Teaching our kids to love their country and if you don't love your country, your sick. Something's wrong and so that's happened over and over and over again so that were at a point now where I think we have a couple of generations that don't understand this stuff, and that were were Americans in name only, and so so you start understanding.

It's all very fragile and if we don't keep it in and remind ourselves of what it is and keep it like a garden. If you don't keep it keep keep keep keep keep weeding it.

Keep it it dies and I but I believe we are perhaps two days away from to put a bright note on it yeah will actually make this statement in your book. If you can keep the 21st century America is generally returned to the 18th-century French rationalists now write what is that mean I don't know I don't I don't like the part that sounds good.

I have staff there at that what what what it means is that the founders understood that without faith Tocqueville. Some of you and I write about this in the book Alexis de Tocqueville Frenchman came here in the 1830s or 50 years after the revolution he comes here to see why are things working so well in America and what he observes is that this shocking thing. The exact opposite of what happened in France. They had revolution data revolution but in their revolution, freedom was the enemy of the church, the enemy, they hated each other. They worked against each other because their version of the church was as authoritarian, like a state run church like this authoritarian so here he sees that not only is the church or faith and freedom work together but but they actually are friendly. They actually help each other.

They support each other at work and he said it's because the people have real faith. It's not just like a state church that they have to go. They have real faith and he understood what all the founders understood is that that role of faith is at the heart of freedom work in France because because of this issue, but in our evolution at work because the founders wisely understood that this is the genius of true liberty is freedom is real freedom and freedom of religion that the only way you can work in Tokyo was was, blown away because he said we got we got that wrong in France and so we get Napoleon we get, you know we get this big mess, and for now for 50 years. This is been working in America and he was stunned to see that liberty and faith were working hand-in-hand to promote each other. Speaking officially think of America. We think of our founding fathers like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin brainless Jefferson John Adams by another name, bubbles up in your book that we've heard before and you've already met him but he's called the spiritual founding father of America right. Other: the apostle of the English Empire.

Yeah so that spiritual founding father. What was his name and what did he do I know I just wanted say that you know the answers George Whitfield George Whitfield. Honestly, this is another one things I get embarrassed when I realize that I had been taught this I didn't know this.

There's no way you could have the America we have.

There's no way 1776 ever could have happened without George Whitfield.

After saying oh I don't know that story. It just goes to show you how far gone we are that we Americans don't know what is foundational, utterly foundational if you've heard of jerks with children as well.

All of them know you guys can go to great big cigarette break right now because what I talk about Whitfield goes what basically they still smoking.

And in this estate known write Billy not only asserts you know so that basically George Whitfield was an evangelist who came here in 1738, he was friends with the Wesley's John Charles Wesley and George or whatever and he was like a preaching machine. I could never ever do justice to it. If you read the chapter you will hardly believe it, but this is true, he preached four times a day to thousands of people. Sometimes it was just 100, but usually was thousands of people would come from miles around to hear him. He was like the celebrity of the day and he would preach a powerful you must be born again.

Jesus message it was. There was nothing sugarcoated and there were there was nothing ancillary. It was the most clear gospel message and most of these people have been going to dead churches right the church treasurer and saving on a dead churches. They never heard they got that they got how many people in the world. When you think about how many people have gone to church is whether not hearing that gospel I went to church.

I wasn't hearing the Gospels can only be good be good.

You know be a moral person or whatever they're hearing the gospel of grace leaving so thousands upon thousands of people getting saved, and it led to what's called the great awakening the great awakening member likable paragraph in my eighth grade 1970 something history text right like the great awakening without the great awakening. There is no revolution there is no America the great awakening all throughout the 1700s prepared the ground for a people who were voluntarily virtuous right revival broke out, up and down the you had tons of people who were united in this view is a very interesting idea because they were all Congregationalists are Methodist. Whatever it was, like American Christianity there like that the details don't count were born again are our identities in Jesus that that you great good so so basically this was that it was almost like he is the de facto American religion.

So the founders had a population that they knew these people can govern themselves if anybody in history world could because the great awakening was so powerful that this is unbelievable.

George Whitfield was such a preacher okay and he was so dedicated he preached four times a day, every day every day every day every day for decades up and down the 13 colonies. By the time he died in 1770 A.D. percent of the people in the colonies, 80% had heard him preach in person at least once even believe like that level of saturation the guy a horse with with no TV with no microphones. Without it, he he was a preaching machine for decades, and so we forget that the history of the 1700s is a history of revival in the colonies. And that's why the founders understood. We can pull this off.

Self-government can work as these people are gung ho to govern themselves. The story of George Whitfield again if you want to. What's the story of America.

If you leave out Whitfield you're lying. You cannot leave out George Whitfield. There is no America if it was Glenn Beck on his program years ago said it over and over and over again Whitfield before Washington Whitfield before watching it.

There's no possibility of Washington. The revolution without Whitfield and Whitfield was considered kind of like a patron saint of America Benedict Arnold before he you know became Benedict Arnold the trader when he was like one of the great generals of the American Revolution right. We forget he made a pilgrimage to the grave of George Whitfield. That doesn't make a pilgrimage to the to the grave of you know of the Billy Graham when he dies. I mean this is the sky was nothing but an evangelist, but they all knew that America and the identity of this new nation was wrapped up in what he preached.

Think about that. So he makes a pilgrimage is great to get a piece of his clothing as like a holy relic to win the battle. I mean can you imagine that that the man who was the one person who is considered sort of the universal celebrity of all the 13 colonies was a absolute evangelist. That's what he was in and we forget that so history and if you don't teacher history and by the way, you have to like the history we just have to acknowledge it is your history and end we have not been teaching that and I don't understand how we can be Americans unless we know our history. That's our history. Like it or not that's one of the reasons we feel so committed in this ministry to proclaiming the gospel we do it the event that we hold around the country and it seems to me the two secret weapons of the church that we don't use enough, are not boycott and protest not even register and vote will get to that in the moment. As important as that is what its prey and preshow. Pray for America. Pray for revival and preach the gospel and you know so that this is such an important thing, the spiritual roots of our nation. But let me segue to another couple of very important names Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber as the writer for veggie tales. Who do you relate to the most and why I you know I hate to say this publicly, but him to say it. Pray for Bob tomato as he is, he so messed up right now you know when you when the lights come on the cameras, like he plays the whole friendly Christian tomato thing, the primacy it's very dark bitter. He's a bitter chain-smoking atheist while and unique that yeah yeah he's living a lie is on track so pray for Bob is for right now.

Okay well I want to talk about another person you've written about you read about fascinating people William Wilberforce how many of you heard of William Wilberforce will be embarrassed if you don't know the real book about them called amazing Grace and witnesses. I think Kim and George Virgil were contemporaries with a not that they were meet. No talk about the role of Wilberforce in England and what you call but by faith. It's kind of the same story he just missed George would feel no kidding, because when when Wilberforce was born 1759.

His family and everybody in England were not serious about their Christian faith. It was Christianity in name only was like a state religion.

He says while not a Turk. I'm not an atheist, Christian, good English Christian, but nobody knew anything but the gospel except for the hard-core fanatics who were under the sway of the Wesleys so they were called Methodist right. In other words of the book the Wesleyan revival was was the only place where there was faith. If you want to your average church in England. Anytime the 1700s you're hearing French Enlightenment rationalism you not really hearing the gospel preached because they had a lot of religious wars in the previous century. So they can have all stepped away from its collective tolerance like we want to preach any figures want to coexist which really means nothing right so into this vacuum comes the Whitfield comes the Wesleys and George Whitfield preaching and preaching sows most of the poor people getting saved but went Wilberforce when he was nine, his mother and father, grandfather sent him to live with an aunt and uncle in the Anthony uncle were very very serious born-again believers, and they would invite John Newton to preach the road amazing grace, they would invite George Whitfield to to hang out for a month and preach to their friends whatever he died in 1770, so Wilberforce really never met Whitfield, but it was the same roots. The Wesleyan revival George Whitfield and John and Charles Wesley.

They were this fountain of born-again evangelical faith in the 18th century and because of them. When he gets saved you know there's there's this idea that hey slavery is wrong. He abolishes slavery in the British Empire and the slave trade before slavery because of his faith in Jesus and so it's a story of the triumph of faith. So if anybody says you like all yelled in Christianity than the Bible supports slavery. Whatever I mean yet is always been idiots using the Bible to support whatever you know like by a Camaro because it says in the Bible you know and I'm not anti-Camaro. I just want you to know, but what I'm trying to say is that always been people twisting the Bible, but the point is that slavery was abolished in the British Empire because with a work because the Wesleys and Wilberforce understood that a biblical view of humanity says slavery is wrong and so the abolitionist movement in England and in this country was led by Bible believing Bible thumping, born-again believers, that is a fact of history. Here's what happens when you don't have that faith element in the country goes the wrong direction on Nazi Germany and we have a courageous Christian pastor Ron Hoffer. This is been your best selling book yesterday, and though I mean this is obviously a thick book of your great book but yet it's resonated.

Why do you think the message of IHOP or can I think this story upon offer is such a gripping story that I feel privileged because again is all I had some brilliant idea like hey I know a great story to write.

I mean I just thought it's a good story I'll tell it. I had no idea we do so well that it would sell well it's been translated into 20 languages and very soon. Thank the Lord will be translated back into English so because I want to be able to read it again. You know what thank you, thank you.

Great audience. Thank you so but but this story is so gripping because he lived.

He lived okay so it's a story of a man who saw in the rise of the Nazis, the enemies of faith. Now Hillard and advertise himself as a disciple of Satan.

They typically people own sake and for evil vote for me. They pretend to be friendly with the church and stuff but but Ron Hoffer could smell that the fascism of the Nazis was going to attack the church and the church was slow to see it. He understood that the Nazis again. To do this so he was trying to wait. It's really a story of a man almost like an Old Testament prophet trying to wake up the church to be the church right just like the prophets would try to wake up the people of God to be the people of God. He was try to wake up the German church to be the church and to stand against this wickedness, but they all had their reasons, you know, like, well, we don't get political. All we just want to preach the gospel.

What gospel is the gospel, unless you get political. When people are being attacked for their faith. I mean they did you know it it's it's it's a lie of the devil that you can avoid politics politics will come after you. If you avoid politics and so he sees that the Nazis are going to rise up there not just can attack the Jews.

They can attack every Bible believing Christian because their views are antithetical to the views of the Nazis, and so of course that's true but he's a heroic voice in the midst of that and I remember when I heard the story the summer I came to faith.

1988 I was blown away because my mom grew up in Germany during this terrible time. So this is part of my history.

So really affected me that there was a man who, because of his faith in Jesus spoke against the Nazis spoke up for the Jews and eventually gave his life. You know doing that it's it's it's just incredible, beautiful, inspiring story.

I just feel privileged I got to write it. So what would you see the lessons upon offer and Wilberforce are for the church today. These are two men that went against the grain. Wilberforce, a parliamentarian, a man of great influence could've followed a career in politics, but he takes up the cause of slavery and then bottom Hoffer, who, as I recall was in the United States and didn't have to go back and not correctly that's ready ended up going back to do what he, in the actually supported a plot to get involved in the plot to kill Hitler and it was an odious thing to him, but he thought, I have no choice that God can judge me if I do not think as were many Christians there it just like there Christians today.

Maybe you some of you in this room. We just like I'm just can pray barn office that I know I can't just pray if I don't take action, God will judge me because her people depending on me to do something. And many Christians really felt that they they couldn't do that. So imagine is if the Gestapo comes to your door and says are you hiding at you in your basement you say what I want to lie. I don't want God to judge me for lines artist as a yes. Somehow I need you help yourself to the Jew torture and kill the Jew and unjustified for God. Praise Lord Holly is not great on pure that's not God. If you read through Scripture the whole counsel Scripture says sometimes you lie to do the greater good that their people and screwing up when David killed Goliath. For example, he didn't like become a Christian and and say I'm sorry that I killed Goliath. There is theirs ugly things that happen you have to have the bigger picture and so on.

Hoffer understood that if I do not stand against the Nazis and take action.

God's gonna hold me guilty basically and and I have a merciful God, but he says I'd rather do my best and even if I even if I make a mistake. I know that God could forgive me, but there were a lot of Germans that were very theologically fussy and they said were not gonna when I can get involved. Just an awareness can pray risking a set of that while the government did these despicable things and one half or really try to wake up the church and the state you must stand. You must act. They did not and so to me it's the lesson it's a horrible lesson for us today to say that if the church does not stand up when religious freedom is being destroyed by the government.

If the church is not stand up. It can be game over. I think I need to tell you Germany is still hanging its head in shame. 80 years after because they did not do the right thing. They had the numbers the church at the numbers, but the leadership was like well we don't get political risk to hang back were going about it and it it didn't work. So to me it's it's a message for us that the church needs to be the church. The church needs to be heroic and brave and sometimes take action rather than just pretend that the gospel is something that never touches on politics is if you're Jew in a boxcar going to Auschwitz.

You hope that some of those Christians are to act on their beliefs. You hope and if you're an African in a slave ship you hold Wilberforce's gonna get real political on your behalf because you know politics can be redeemed for God's purposes. So this idea that what we want to be like the religious right we don't read it. It you can go just as wrong in the opposite direction and that's my fear right now is that where are our religious liberties being threatened grievously. Right now, where were you have in a way I just take the view of same-sex marriage are transgender you have the government siding with the view of the human person and if you have sexuality that is against the biblical view. So in effect there establishing a faith it's a secular faith. It's not water but put this in working to go with this view against your view. Remember what you're saying is that the government cannot take the stand. The government has to say were not the people decide on this to put the states side of the people. Once the government starts forcing you to go along with their view on this. It's no different than if they force you to go to a certain church that it the government according the Constitution going to the founders. The government cannot must not ever do that. The government is not doing that and that is it's the end of religious liberty, and it it's gonna keep going. I'm sincerely concerned that we will become America in name only. If we understand this idea bottom. Hoffer tried to warn the church. She said we got a window of opportunity we don't stand it's gonna be game over.

They did not stand and it was game over and 80 years later. This is Germany is where it is@that's is a warning warning.

So needless to say, Kristin should hopefully already be registered. They should be voting how can America get back to its spiritual roots and what can we do to get back to this time of Whitfield and please pray for this nation. We have been chosen by God to bring the light of liberty to the world we have blessed the we've been blessed to be a blessing and I believe it's the Lord's will that we would continue to be a blessing that we would continue to give the world what the Lord has graciously given us and then I hope that we will have an opportunity to do all the things that we have been doing for 40 or 50 years I would like to lead the movement because honestly it would be just a crime if it if this this nation that the Lord has has given us with the freedoms that we have it. If we were to fade away would be we would be the greatest tragedy of history to and I'm utterly convinced of it. So the church seems to be the church.

We need to be radical in our faith live out your faith where ever you are and don't apologize for it because it's food for people who are hungry men, psychiatrist Dr. Sir, thank you. Praise God everybody Greg Laurie here.

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