Freedom is Costly But Priceless: If Not Maintained It Will Not Remain

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Freedom is Costly But Priceless: If Not Maintained It Will Not Remain


Dave Meyer (foreword by Joyce Meyer)


Whitaker House

Publication Date:





256 pages


What has happened to the Christian heritage that made America so unique? Dave Meyer argues that a key problem is not so much politics, but the principles we’ve forgotten that made our culture and political process work. He outlines why Biblical ideas are central to the Founding Fathers’ ideas, something that has often been neglected and ignored. He then looks at several key changes (Marxist educators entering 1930s American schools, a 1947 argument by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black that created stronger separation between church and state) that have left many Americans disconnected from their religious heritage. Combining this history with personal stories from his wife Joyce Meyer’s ministry, he argues that Christians need to learn how to redefend their rights to create a better tomorrow.

Meyer routinely says that this isn’t a political book, which is half-correct. It fits halfway between political discussions and cultural apologetics. There’s some discussion about Marxism not being life-giving (points covered by writers like Peter Hitchens and Rod Dreyer), about visits to India that showed Meyer how non-Christian values mean societies can’t value the vulnerable (points covered by various comparative religion scholars). As stated above, there’s discussion about recovering America’s heritage (covered in books like Ben Hart’s Faith & Freedom). All these ideas are interesting, and to Myers’ credit, he avoids ranting. He argues that Christians must make humility and repentance part of their solution (not something one usually sees in this sort of book).

The difficulty is that whether this is more of an apologetics book or a politics book, it still must give something new. There are countless Christian books detailing Christian values in America’s founding documents. There are countless books about why only a Christian worldview can maintain the American experiment. To make this book worth taking off the Christian bookstore shelf, it has to do one of several things.

First, the author has to make a strong case. Sadly, Meyer makes broad claims, and only sometimes cites sources. For example, he argues that Hugo Black changed how Americans perceived the Constitution’s First Amendment in 1947, to promote separating church and state—which Meyer claims isn’t found or implied in any founding documents. The latter claim may be technically true, though overstated. Historians describe church and state separation as a paraphrase from an 1802 Thomas Jefferson letter, so it comes from a post-founding document by a Founding Father. The former may be true, but Meyer doesn’t explain what Black accomplished. He gives a date, but not the Supreme Court case (presumably Everson vs. Board of Education), no Hugo Black quotes that show what Black changed, and no footnotes to resources that could fill in those details. The argument sounds interesting, but Meyer doesn’t give enough sources to show he’s done his homework (or explain why it matters). Without some solid scholarship, readers don’t have reasons to trust his thesis.

Second, the book must give some new angle that justifies writing a new book on the subject. For example, Os Guinness covers similar ground in his 2021 book The Magna Carta of Humanity but argues the thing most Christians miss is that America is starting to follow the values of the 1789 French Revolution (the pressing new problem: which revolution will we emulate? 1789 or 1776?). Meyer never figures out his new angle. Yes, he includes some recent news stories about Christian pro-life campaigns and a few testimonies by Christians working with advocacy groups like the Foundation for American Christian Education. However, citing recent testimonies doesn’t make a book topical by itself. The author must provide a new vision, something that uniquely solves whatever problems that the testimonies bring up. Meyer’s argument for the value of Christian humility could have been that new angle, but he never makes it central enough to be innovative.

Third, if the book can’t accomplish the two tasks above, it can still give an inside look at the writer. A book about recovering truth will retell old ideas, but if the writer explains his old ideas with anecdotes and stories that no one else could tell, he can give old ideas some new flesh. Peter Hitchens accomplishes that task in Rage Against God: he says many of the things Meyer says about Marxism’s dangers, but relays some vivid stories about being a foreign correspondent in Moscow during the USSR’s last days. Rod Dreyer accomplishes something similar in Live Not By Lies, telling the stories of Christians who grew up in the Soviet bloc who fear similar persecution is coming to America. Meyer inches toward storytelling when he describes experiences from traveling overseas with his wife’s ministry. However, none of these experiences have enough detail to be stories—they are lightly sketched anecdotes, like sermon illustrations.

Sadly, Meyer’s good intentions and occasional flourishes get buried underneath too much general material. Despite good ideas, he never answers the question, “what makes this particular book worth taking off the shelf instead of the several hundred similar ones that can be found at any Christian bookstore?”


Rating (1 to 5 stars):

3 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience:

Christians seeking a general, popular overview of America’s founding and the Christian principles within its unique heritage, and early- to mid-20th century changes in American culture.

Christian Impact:

While Meyer doesn’t make his ideas specific enough to cultivate a compelling argument, he references many Biblical principles about humility, repenting of the past, and loving one’s neighbor.

Freedom Is Costly, But Priceless: If Not Maintained, It Will Not Remain

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