Eric Metaxas has raised the profile of two significant figures in the history of Christianity and the history of freedom in the West. His biographies of William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer garnered international attention and helped to remind people of the importance of living out faith in society. Metaxas, who was the keynote speaker at this year's national prayer breakfast, challenged the president on the life issue asking, "Whom do we say is not fully human today?"
In this cover story, Metaxas focuses on religious liberty, which undoubtedly faces serious threat today. Speaking on the HHS mandate he declares, "The idea that a canny and powerful government almost instinctively looks to pick off minorities is frightening." People are listening to his words. That is essential because, as Metaxas says, "our existence hangs in the balance," and in his view, "that is not overstating the case." Metaxas will be the keynote speaker at Acton's annual dinner in October.
Rev. Johannes L. Jacobse reviews an exceptional book by Leon Aron titled Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987-1991. A standard view by many in the Western World is that outside political and military pressure fatally weakened the Soviet Union, leading to the downfall of the communist system. Aron has written a masterful account that focuses rather on a reawakening of moral clarity and the courage of Russians to once again speak the truth.
Jonathan Witt offers his thoughts on The New York Times bestseller Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. Rev. Gregory Jensen reviews Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat. It's no surprise to many that Christianity in America faces a crisis and deeper thought and theological orthodoxy is needed. This book fully addresses the problems of Christianity in America.
The "In the Liberal Tradition" figure for this issue is Charles W. Colson. Colson was a longtime friend of the Acton Institute and collaborator with Rev. Robert Sirico. Colson's notoriety skyrocketed for being the first Nixon administration official incarcerated because of the Watergate cover up. He was once maligned by the media as a person "incapable of humanitarian thought." Colson, who experienced a spiritual transformation, went on to launch Prison Fellowship ministries in 1976. It is the largest ministry to prisoners in the world today and has a reach in over 100 countries.
He was a significant cultural commentator and was instrumental in bringing evangelicals and Catholics together for the renewal of society. Colson said it best when he called his legacy simply "the living monuments of God's grace."