Award-Winning Author Eric Eichinger On His New Book & Why Jesus is Greater than Any Super-Hero
Best-selling author and pastor Eric Eichinger has just released his brand new book Lord of Legends: Jesus' Redemption Quest (Concordia Publishing House). With the thoughtfulness and depth of a theologian, coupled with the artistry of a true storyteller, Eric re-tells the story of Jesus from his annunciation to his ascension.
We have the honor to be able to interview Eric on his own incredible journey as a missionary in China, his love for comics and how that has influenced him in his writing, his new book, and more.
Q: Eric, thanks for doing this interview with us. Tell us a little about yourself and your current ministry.
Hello. I am a happy husband and father of three, as well as an ordained pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. I've been in the ministry for fifteen years and have been serving Bethel Lutheran Church, in Clearwater, FL for the last eight years. We are a confessional, liturgical, sacramental, and creedal church rooted in the Scriptures. I love getting excited about Wisdom in the Word of God and sharing that enthusiasm with others in my church and beyond.
Q: I was reading your biography with interest. You have spent time as a missionary in China. How has that season shaped you spiritually?
I lived in Mainland China during a two-year commitment with Lutheran World Mission, as a professor of conversational English at a university. It served as a massive watershed moment for me in my life. I knew I wanted to serve in the ministry somehow but feared the lifelong commitment of seminary and the pastorate. It was in China where I finally realized I needed to become a pastor. I literally was as far away from my hometown as I could possibly be on the planet. God had stripped me of so many of my comforts and familiarities, but slowly replaced them with new things. I came to understand that God would provide for me no matter where I served, so I could trust him and not be afraid to be "shackled" to a pulpit for the rest of my days, wherever He might call me to preach.
Q: You also have a love for comic books. How did that start and what attracts you to comics?
Growing up I didn't enjoy reading, and much of the assigned reading in school seemed boring to me. As a young active boy, I much preferred sports and adventure movies, like many young teens. One of my older cousins had a massive comic book collection, probably between 5-10 thousand issues, neatly stored and cared for in his room. This wildly impressed me and consequently I began building my own collection.
Q: How has your love of comics influenced you in the writing of "Lord of Legends?"
Over the years as my collection grew, I gleaned an appreciative eye to certain writing styles, narrative arcs, and artistic expressions. I was also able to attend a few large comic book conventions where the popular artists and writers appeared. I could meet them, have comics signed, and ask questions. This also impressed me as they strived to hone and perfect their craft. After a decade or more of reading comics and watching films, many familiar themes began to reappear in my enjoyment of superhero stories. When I began to explore the methodology behind the explanation of this with the classic "Hero's Journey" sequencing of storytelling, and cross-referenced that knowledge with my Christian faith, something clicked...
Q: For our readers who may not be familiar, briefly tell us what is the new book is about.
I began to see that so many of our modern superheroes are rooted in the ancient mythology epic hero characters, which echo still further back to the Promised Seed of the Savior, the Messiah- Jesus Christ. The one true perfect hero that truly came to save and redeem the world. Jesus is God of gods, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and as I expound in my book, even the Lord of the legends... Be it from our modern history, or pulled from antiquity, the redemptive "Glory Story" of Christ saving humanity from sin, transcends through culture and time. Jesus' salvific work is certainly part of the consciousness of the faithful, but as I point out, it is also part of the subconscious of humanity, even of those who do not know the truth of Jesus. We yearn for something better, for we know this world is broken, and as we face our own short falls, we recognize a "Chosen One" to come and save us from this messy world, would indeed be a marvelous thing... if only it were true, and not some fantasy story. Thankfully Jesus' saving grace is actually true!
Q: How is Jesus different and the same as a superhero?
Every superhero has their fatal flaw, a specific personal kryptonite that works against them. Jesus is uniquely different in that He has no sin, weakness, or failing, however- "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21). So, God in Christ Jesus, takes on the sin of the world, dies to pay for and eradicate it from us, and then rises and lives to apply forgiveness to us, by faith. In this way Jesus is like so many other superheroes that come from afar, prophesied as a "chosen one" to rescue the world, for Christ is the origin of all redemption story sagas.
Q: How can your new book help us understand Jesus better?
I think Lord of Legends is a wonderful book that reaches across the aisle into the secular realm, referencing familiar beloved hero characters widely known in pop-culture. Readers will be delighted to discover that Christ is an underlying, and often hidden undercurrent of the beautiful salvific narratives these celebrated heroes signify. Another blessing is this book can help readers understand concepts like "Church" and "Christianity" are not boring, but rather wield a powerful truth, deeper than most recognize or imagine, which works its way into so many beloved epics in our world, even though the culture tries its best to suppress it. Christ's redemption quest it real, and He invites us into His story which has no end.
For more information about author/pastor/father/husband/willing vessel and Lord of Legends: Jesus' Redemption Quest, visit books.cph.org/lord-of-legends. and ericeichinger.com.
Tags : Lord of Legends: Jesus' Redemption Quest Eric Eichinger Eric Eichinger interview Eric Eichinger new book