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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Proffitt

Podcast: A Letter to the American Church with Terry Feix

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Check out the So We Speak podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

What is the Christian’s role in politics? What about the role of the church in influencing government? These are the questions Eric Metaxas wrestles with in his book A Letter to the American Church. He wrote the biographies of Luther and Bonhoeffer, from which he derived much of his content and thought for A Letter to the American Churches.

According to Metaxas, the parallels between the modern American church and the German church in the 1930s are “unavoidable and grim.” There are things the American church can do now to avoid the slippery slope of nationalistic ideologies. There were key individuals in history, like Bonhoeffer, who took a stand for truth and what was right.

Metaxas carries the presumption that there are things drastically wrong in American culture. Sharing that viewpoint is a “must” if a reader is going to get anything out of this book.

The Role of the Church

When the church is really the church, all society is blessed. Metaxas argues that the best way for society to operate is to live life as God has commanded. It would greatly benefit society for people to live in the church as true and faithful Christians.

Bonhoeffer had three main views of how the church and state were to relate:

  1. The church is a form of conscience for the culture

  2. The church is obligated to help victims of the state

  3. The church is to take corrective action when the state does wrong.

The core issue Metaxas describes is a state-instituted religion instead of freedom of religion from the state.

We should view the church’s involvement with the state through a principled lens. Christians should live out their beliefs. God commands us to do so. This is a far cry from believing Christians should speak authoritatively (from the mouth of God) on every political issue in America. The challenge comes when we decide what issues to speak on and which issues to leave alone. Metaxas uses two big issues as examples: abortion and transgenderism.

One question to ask about these issues of abortion and transgenderism is why they have been relegated strictly to the political realm and cut off from the moral realm. Christians should work to see God’s values in society based on these topics because they are moral issues.

Metaxas and Keller

Metaxas took Keller to say that churches should stay out of politics and out of the abortion debate. This is not consistent with what Keller taught.

Keller’s approach was a desire to speak to these main four types of social justice: racial justice, economic justice, abortion, and sexuality. He argued for Christians to be serious about all four issues. Are Christians speaking out about these issues to advance the gospel?

The Idol of Evangelism

Metaxas makes two strong points in this section. He pushes back against Christians who believe evangelism is the only tool given to deal with social and political issues. Conversion to the faith is the roadway for changing society. However, this view undersells the biblical understanding of Christians being influential in society.

This overemphasis on evangelism can also lead many to refuse to comment on anything political or controversial if they think it will interfere with someone coming to faith.

Metaxas' thesis boils down to an admonition to live like you are a Christian and speak up for what is right. Scripture is our ultimate authority, and our faith ought not be private.

Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas and is a writer and content manager for So We Speak.

2 commentaires

Gary Jelsma
Gary Jelsma
12 oct. 2023

Thank you Brittany for sharing this. And thank you Cole and Terry for speaking on this. I expect a leader of a large community church to have more to say about social morality issues / political issues, than to simply say, " Go vote". Complacency is akin to complicity. So We Speak!


11 oct. 2023

who is "the church"

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