Posted on : Thursday November 2, 2017

By Maina Mwaura

Five hundred isn’t just a number for author Eric Metaxas. This year, it represents the man behind the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation.

In a rare sit-down interview, Metaxas said Martin Luther is more than just a religious figure; he is a historical figure who decided that he was going to change the world.

Metaxas is known for two biographies, “Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery” about William Wilberforce and “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His latest book, published in October 2017, is “Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World.”

According to Metaxas, many people don’t understand Luther, which is why he believes everyone should learn and discover who he is. While Luther was flawed just like anyone of us, God still used him greatly, he said.

Although Metaxas has no plans of writing another biography anytime soon (this is his third biography that he has written), he is thankful that he got the chance to study and write on the life of Luther because it made him a better person.

Though he rarely gives interviews, it is clear that the author of the New York Times bestselling biography, “Martin Luther,” has a lot to say about Luther and life.

BCM/D: For those who don’t know you are, who do you say Eric Metaxes is?

EM: That’s a tough question, because its always different. I’m a writer, a host of a national syndicated program and many more things. I am an electric person who has a variety of interests.

BCM/D: You said, back in September at NRB (National Religious Broadcast) Convention, that you never have spoken about Martin Luther until then. What did you learn from studying him?

EM: I learned a number of things, one being I wasn’t aware how important he was historically. He puts himself up against the truth and power of his day. Many of the religious freedoms that we have come to know come from Luther. He is not as important nor in the same line as Christ but I do believe he is one of the most important historical figures in the last 2,000 years.

BCM/D: You’ve written three biographies. How did you start out by writing biographies?

EM: I made an appearance on CNN, an editor from Harper Collins was watching the show and asked if I would be interested in writing a biography of William Wilberforce. It came totally out of the blue.

BCM/D: You spend a lot of time with these men (Bonhoeffer, Wiberforce, and Martin Luther). Is there a process in how you start out studying these men?

EM: There is no process; I have no ritual. I feel like during the process that I am never done. The editor is constantly sending back manuscripts and footnotes to be corrected. Once it’s finally done, to be honest with you, I’m tired of reading it by that point. It’s an exhausting process.

BCM/D: What do you enjoy about writing biographies?

EM: I enjoy getting into the nooks and crannies of their lives. I learn a lot about the person and try to teach the reader what I’ve learned through the process of writing about the person. I learned by writing Luther that he was entertaining and a comedian to some extent.

BCM/D: Why did you find Martin Luther entertaining?

EM: He was deliberately funny. Most comedians are funny because they are speaking about things that are true. Luther was funny and outspoken.

BCM/D: Did writing and studying about Martin Luther make you a better person?

EM: When you write and study about someone it should make you better person. It should also cause you to self-examine yourself. One of the things that I learned from Luther was his courage. If God is real, why fear?

BCM/D: How should we celebrate the 500th Reformation anniversary as the body of Christ?

EM: It’s hard to say. I would say that we should see the Reformation as something that we are constantly in need of things like being aware and present in what God is constantly doing.

BCM/D: As a writer you’re going to love this question. Who is next on your list of biographies to write about?

EM: There isn’t anyone coming next anytime soon. I want to write my own stories. My next project will be on Homer and Odyssey.

BCM/D: What do you hope that people will gain by reading “Martin Luther”?

EM: I think that everybody should be interested in reading “Martin Luther.” It’s a real hope of mine that people outside of the evangelical world will read it too. Martin Luther led a very fascinating life that I’ve been privileged to write about.