Wednesday, June 26, 2013

7 Men

Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

These brief biographies offer us shining examples to follow. Rather than merely bemoaning our contemporary lack of heroes (or, if you prefer, role models) Metaxas aims to point us to 7 men worthy to become our heroes.

George Washington
His greatest act of integrity was his refusal to seek or accept the title of King. Without his self-control and example the American presidency would not be what it is today.

William Wilberforce
Not only did Wilberforce work tirelessly to abolish slavery, he also fought for the ‘Reformation of Morals’ in general. What did that mean? He aimed to end the widespread child labor, rampant sex trafficking (25 percent of single women in London were prostitutes in his day), bullbaiting, bearbaiting, public hangings (sometimes followed by public dissections), and alcoholism that plagued England. His Christian faith gave him a countercultural view of human life. He believed that each person was of great worth because made in the image of God. That perspective motivated him to make a difference.

Eric Liddell
Best known for refusing to run his event in the Olympics because it was scheduled for the Lord’s Day (aka Sunday), Eric Liddell went on to become a self-sacrificing missionary to China.

Jackie Robinson
Jackie’s faith helped him to stand up against mockery and scorn as he broke the color barrier in major league baseball.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer was a theologian and man of faith who chose to suffer with his people rather than stay in the safety of the USA during WWII. His faith led him to help Jews escape the Nazis and participate in a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. For those deeds he was executed.

John Paul II
Karol Wojtyla sought to demonstrate Christian humility, believe and practice Christian orthodoxy, and extend welcome to those with whom he disagreed.

Charles Colson
Infamous from the Watergate scandal, Chuck Colson was famously ‘born again.’ His conversion to Christianity led him to refuse a lie that would have gotten him off very easily. Instead, he confessed to another crime! Then, when the judge threw the book at him, he took his sentence gracefully. In prison he served his fellow inmates. After his release Church Colson went on to form Prison Fellowship Ministries, helping to bring prison ministry back into popularity among American churches.

Metaxas has written an excellent book. It’s not only well-written, it’s also timely. We need role models. We need to learn from the mistakes and successes of others. We hear altogether too often about moral failures and cowardice at the highest levels of our societies. Perhaps books like this will serve to stem the tide. Perhaps stories of excellence will spur us on to nobler aims.

I knew something about each of these men. But now I’m inspired by each of them. These stories of courage and sacrifice challenge me to follow suit. This is recommended reading.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.