Eric Metaxas was shocked to learn that the Protestant Reformation might never have happened. The story of the Reformation, 500 years ago, is a “sad story,” he said.
It’s also an amazing story, one with “the good, the bad and the ugly” and plenty of humor – particularly when focusing on the life of German monk Martin Luther, who is said to have nailed his 95 Theses criticizing the Catholic Church on the Wittenberg Castle Church door.
“He was also, and this is the most important thing, outrageously influential,” Metaxas said. “I say with no hyperbole that he’s the most influential figure in history in the last 2,000 years except for Jesus of Nazareth.”
Bestselling biographer Metaxas is scheduled to speak this weekend in Wichita about Luther. His talk will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation as well as the 60th anniversary of Eastminster Presbyterian Church and the 30th anniversary of the church at its current location.
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Metaxas is the author of four New York Times best sellers, including “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.”
His new book, “Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World,” was published in October. It is currently the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon in Christian Church & Bible History and has spent several weeks on the New York Times best seller list.
The Rev. Stan Van Den Berg, senior pastor at Eastminster, said he read Metaxas’ book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a pastor who was both a theologian and spy during World War II) and found that Metaxas “just brought him to life.”
“At the same time, he was looking at the culture of Germany in that day, looking at the religious setting in Germany that allowed a Hitler to rise and how the church remained silent,” Van Den Berg said. “I just thought that’s applicable to today also.”
Metaxas will speak on the topic “Can Culture be Reformed?” Van Den Berg said he expected the author to apply lessons from Luther to today’s culture.
Metaxas said he wants people to understand how fascinating history is, filled with characters like Luther.
“This is one of the most interesting guys ever encountered. I hope people have a sense of the fun of it. It’s important but it also can be entertaining and, in a way, energizing,” Metaxas said.
Metaxas will speak at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metroplex. Tickets are free and available at www.metaxaswichita.com.
Members from several Lutheran churches recently gathered at River City Brewing Co. to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with beer and hymns. (Video by Eagle correspondent Brian Hayes)