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Author Eric Metaxas: 7 Heroes for Our Time

Monday, 20 May 2013 02:15 PM

By Ken Hanner

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America is undergoing a "crisis of manhood" in today's culture and young men are in desperate need of role models, noted author Eric Metaxas told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

"They need people to give them an example of what is greatness," said Metaxas, author of the recently released "Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness," as well as two New York Times best-selling books.

"Seven Men" underscores the heroic deeds of George Washington, Pope John Paul II, Jackie Robinson, anti-slavery crusader William Wilberforce, missionary Eric Liddell, theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and presidential adviser and Evangelical Christian leader Charles Colson.

"We're living in a time, let's say in the last 40 or so years, where the culture has become profoundly confused about what is a man, what makes a man great," Metaxas told Newsmax TV's John Fund. "Young men especially need role models."

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Metaxas' new book contains the biographies of the eclectic list. "Each of them, in a different way, gave up something, I would say heroically, courageously sacrificed something, which by all accounts they didn't need to sacrifice," Metaxas said. "Each of them heroically gives up something in a way that's courageous and some ways lays down his strength for the sake of others."

George Washington, for example, was included on the list because of his refusal to be crowned America's "King George" and his humble reluctance to become president.

"How many people would have declined benevolent dictatorship in the year 1783?" said Metaxas, who said Washington's other great sacrifice was his humbleness towards the office of the presidency.

"He would not run perpetually. He did not want to run at all for president," said Metaxas. "He was so humble, that he didn't even want to be the figurehead. He was … forced to run for a second term, and then created as you said this precedence" of stepping down after two terms.

Another great man included in his book, Pope John Paul II, was "a fundamentally heroic figure," said Metaxas.

"Here was a man who lived through the hell of communism. He was not naïve, as so many are today who don’t really understand," said Metaxas. "John Paul II, this great hero whom everyone should emulate, not just Catholics, was someone intimately acquainted with the horrors of it. You can't even fathom the bravery of what he did."

Metaxas said he wrote the book because, "to be blunt, we need heroes."

The "book is meant as the antidote to what we are teaching young men today which is either nothing or political correctness that has crushed the very idea of what it is to be a man," he said.

Metaxas discussed the other great men that he picked for his book, providing insight and little-know facts about each:

• William Wilberforce, the 18th Century British abolitionist "effectively gave up probably almost a guarantee to be prime minister … for the larger purpose of abolition."
"How many of us remember all of the prime ministers, but Wilberforce somehow stands above, there's something about what he accomplished," said Metaxas. "He had Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and others looking to him as the great pioneer. So his sacrifice, again, history bore out that it was the right thing to do."

• Eric Liddell, the hero of the movie "Chariots of Fire," sacrificed an attempt at a 1924 Olympic Gold Medal because he refused to run because one of the heats was on the Sabbath. "He had a firm conviction that as he had been raised, he could not do that. And so he said, 'I choose to honor God,'" said Metaxas. Liddell's subsequent journey as a missionary to China, where he died, was another example of unselfishness.

• Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German religious martyr who spied against the Nazis, "was an utterly brilliant theologian," said Metaxas. Bonhoeffer left Nazi Germany for America in 1939, only to become a double agent and then "heroically, staggeringly heroically, decides to go back" to Germany. After being arrested and sent to a Gestapo prison, Bonhoeffer was "a huge inspiration" to the other inmates. "There was strength that he projected which affected those around him."

• Jackie Robinson, the player who heroically broke baseball's color-barrier, "gave up the right to fight back" when he promised Brooklyn Dodgers official Branch Rickey that he wouldn’t retaliate when mistreated. "When you think about this, as a man, especially as an athlete, to be treated the way he was treated on the field, to be called what he was called, to be physically abused, threatened, spikes in the face," said Metaxas. "He said there are generations I'm told who will benefit from my holding the line and not retaliating."

• Charles Colson, former aide to President Richard Nixon who went to jail in the Watergate scandal, became an advocate for prison reform. After Colson's incarceration he said, "I'm going to spend the rest of my born days going back into prisons, going back into the hell holes. I will never forget the men that I was with. They need my help."

Words of wisdom for all to hear, and deeds of heroism for all to live by.

Editor's Note: Get Eric Metaxas' book "Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness." — Go Here Now.


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