Eric Metaxas' film 'Letter to the American Church' issues sobering warning to Christians amid rising evil (review)

Film presents Metaxas' book in visually compelling way

In a visually compelling film adaptation of his 2022 book, Eric Metaxas and others warn in 'Letter to the American Church' that Christians in the U.S. finds themselves at a spiritual precipice.
In a visually compelling film adaptation of his 2022 book, Eric Metaxas and others warn in "Letter to the American Church" that Christians in the U.S. finds themselves at a spiritual precipice. | Screengrab/Instagram/Eric Metaxas

The Church in America finds itself at a spiritual precipice and is being called to stand up against the rising tide of cultural evil or face dire consequences.

Such is what bestselling author and radio host Eric Metaxas and other voices contend in the new film "Letter to the American Church," which presents in a visually compelling way the premise of Metaxas' 2022 book of the same name.

"Letter to the American Church" premiered Feb. 8 on EpochTV. The film is available to non-subscribers for $9.99 and is being offered to churches to screen to their congregations for free.

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'Moment of truth'

As he emerges sharply dressed from behind a door in the opening scene, Metaxas lays out the film's message succinctly: "I am convinced that the American Church has arrived at an impossibly, almost unbearably significant moment of truth."

With the aid of archival footage and AI-generated images, Metaxas leads the audience through an hour-long analysis of what he describes as the "unavoidable and grim" parallels between the American Church now and the German Church in the 1930s.

Then, as today, he argues too many Christians in Germany were "willing to look away" as evil captured every cultural institution until their nation was destroyed.

Metaxas, who rose to national prominence for his 2011 biography of German Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, noted that only a third of German pastors were willing to sign a declaration against Hitler's unbiblical view of power over the Church.

Bonhoeffer spoke out against the rising evil but his warnings ultimately fell on deaf ears, suggests Metaxas, who worries that many American pastors are showing similar cowardice as their country increasingly exhibits elements of totalitarianism.

'Maoism with American characteristics'

With the help of author James Lindsay and others, the film goes on to examine how the cultural Marxism advocated by philosophers such as Antonio Gramsci, who famously advocated for a "long march through the institutions," was adapted by thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School to capitalize on the tensions unique to American culture.

The identity politics that have consumed the American discourse in recent years are simply "Maoism with American characteristics," Lindsay said, noting how Mao Zedong also used identity politics to enact his catastrophic Cultural Revolution in China.

Whereas Mao's identity politics hinged on a person's views of communism, Lindsay argues that cultural Marxism in the U.S. runs deeper by politically weaponizing deeply personal immutable characteristics such as race, as well as the proliferating panoply of subjective sexual and gender identities.

"Everybody who has been paying attention for the last five to 10 years is very aware of how identity politics has pressured all of American institutions, American schools, American corporations, American churches into this Marxist mindset," he said.

Under Mao's rule, the Chinese state even drove a wedge between parents and their children, which the film notes is eerily similar to what many public schools in U.S. have been doing by keeping students' gender dysphoria a secret from their parents.

Such an attitude has been expressed by figures like President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, both of whom have implied that a nation's children must be raised collectively.

Lindsay noted that vulnerable young people seeking acceptance are increasingly encouraged to change their sexual or gender identity to garner the affirmation of the prevailing cultural institutions, which includes the capitulating churches.

The film also delves into other moral issues that many American churches have caved on in recent years, such as abortion and — more controversially — COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates. Their silence is all the more deafening amid the rise of censorship and financial corruption at the highest levels.

To steal and kill and destroy

The film was made in collaboration with Turning Point USA, whose founder and CEO, Charlie Kirk, also weighs in on the crisis facing American culture. Kirk maintains that the Marxist dialectic overwhelming American politics is fundamentally satanic and intends to destroy family, religion and property — the three strongest pillars preventing society from imploding into tyranny.

Some nitpicking critics might fuss that the parallels Metaxas and others draw between the U.S. and Germany are not precise, noting the inevitable differences between the two nations or the fact that Nazism technically emerged from the political right, while cultural Marxism has arisen from the left.

Such critics would be overlooking the larger fact that the film's warning is not fundamentally political, but spiritual. As Kirk noted, evil adapts itself throughout history to best accomplish the frightening warning of John 10:10, where Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy."

"We are only 75, 80 years removed from three separate countries and regimes that killed 60-70 million people intentionally — Stalin, Mao and Hitler," Kirk says. "This is not some sort of distant memory. There's people alive who survived it. And we have people [saying], 'Oh, it can't happen here.' Yeah, it can. And it might."

The film concludes by warning that as American churches have become too focused on being entertaining and inoffensive, men, in particular, are increasingly alienated from assuming spiritual leadership. The clarion call of "Letter to the American Church" is that men and women alike need to stand up against the cultural rot encroaching upon every major institution, especially the family.

Some of the suggestions at the end of the film include withdrawing from churches and schools that have obviously aligned themselves with cultural Marxism, as well as getting involved in local politics.

"We need to stand up against evil wherever we see it," Metaxas says in the closing scene. "What we do matters. This, right now, is the hour for which each of us has been born. If we live fully in that freedom for which Christ has set us free, we will see God's hand in ways we dare not imagine."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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