The Forgotten Promise Of American Liberty

If You Can Keep It

It is during election years that the precarious nature of our republic is most evident to even the politically disengaged. Eric Metaxas newest book that releases today does a great service to our Republic by publishing a book that addresses the fault lines in our political system yet at the same time offer hope for the future by examining the foundations of the past.

A year ago I read A Free People’s Suicide by Os Guinness a fantastic read. Guinness builds the case that the greatest enemy of freedom is freedom. That the biggest danger to our republic is not from an external army but internal vice. Arnold Toynbee famously observed that

“History shows that all great nations commit suicide.”

Lincon said of this

“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Metaxas address the precarious nature of liberty in the famous exchange between Mrs. Powell and Benjamin Franklin. At the conclusion of the constitutional congress, Mrs. Powell approached Franklin and asked “Well Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin famously responded: “A republic, madam- if you can keep it.”

Both Guinness and Metaxas build their case for sustainable freedom around Guinness’ “Golden Triangle of Freedom.” The Golden triangle of freedom states that for us as a country to maintain her freedoms we need three interdependent things, freedom, virtue, and faith. If you lose any of those there ingredients, our republic will decline and eventually commit suicide. Guinness uses a more philosophical approach to the idea of the Golden Triangle. Metaxas uses a more historical approach. Because of the similarities and the difference of each they compliment each other very well.

In light of the horrific terror attack in Orlando, I was deeply saddened by the loss of so many innocent lives. I found it interesting and disheartening that politicians on both sides of the aisle want to diminish or suspend our 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments. When we the people don’t do what our duty is the government will gladly step in as we hand over our freedom for the false sense of security they provide. We make the deadly mistake of thinking that gun laws or surveillance laws will save us. Metaxas says

“Some problems cannot be cured through legislation. But they must be attended to nonetheless. And here is the problem: The less the culture attends to these things, the more the government will attend to them and the less freedom there will be.”

Reading Eric’s book, I was deeply impacted by not only the tenuous nature of freedom but the responsibility I have to keep Ameria free. It is very easy to get cynical when our voting options are a potential tyrant and a potential inmate. As a Christian and a parent, we must do the follow to be faithful “keepers” of the freedoms we have been given.

  1. We must read biographies of great men and women who lived lives of faith and virtue. We must do more than just read them we must pass on the stories of their lives to our kids.

    “The proper role of the heroic, to call us higher than ourselves. To call us to fight not merely for what is ours but for what should belong to everyone – for what is right.” – Eric Metaxas

  2. We must live lives of virtue empowered by the grace that only the Spirit of God can provide. My desire as a Christ follower is that every person to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. I want to live a life that reflects the love of Christ and demonstrates the transformation the gospel provides.
  3. We must make goodness fashionable – If we as a country continue to be ruled by our vices rather than by virtues I fear for the world, we leave our grandkids.
  4. We must pray for personal and national revival. One of the things I never realized was how much the Great Awakening affected the birth of our nation.

The events in the news daily, the posture of our culture reveal that we are a country that has largely abandoned virtue and has so personalized and segmented faith that our freedom that was bought at such a high price is hanging by a thread. There is time to reverse the damage but to do so we must fight, we must love, and we must trust.

I completely enjoyed “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty.” In the next few months before you cast your vote for our next President do yourself a favor turn off CNN and Fox and read “If You Can Keep It” and “A Free People’s Suicide.” They will give you a new sense of gratitude for the blessings we have received and perhaps a fresh perspective to see past the craziness of our time to what has always made America so unique and so exceptional, flawed yes but still exceptional. The shining city on a hill that Reagan always said it could be.

[*I was provided a free copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review for you on my blog.]

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