David Barton (Left); Eric Metaxas (Right)
Although this is entirely predictable, I want to preserve the moment. Eric Metaxas believes he saved Bonhoeffer’s legacy from the cultural Marxist academics who study Bonhoeffer for a living.
The culturally marxist academics who hijacked Bonhoeffer’s legacy for fifty years — until the 2009 publication of my biography — and who unconscionably pushed a profound misreading of his thinking & theology, are at it again. Feel free to guffaw. https://t.co/N2tvhDk1NS
— Eric Metaxas (@ericmetaxas) January 16, 2020
Metaxas tweeted this in response to a statement from the International Bonhoeffer Society calling for the end of Donald Trump’s presidency. An article by Jim Wallis summarized the statement and served as the trigger for Metaxas’ tweet.
It is a fine statement of objections to Trump’s term in office and Wallis offers some sobering parallels to Christian sentiment about Hitler during the 1930s and 1940s. The cultish devotion to Trump does mimic some things said about Hitler. I can understand support for certain of Trump’s policy positions, but I cannot understand the slavish fealty to Trump as a man. This is idolatrous and dangerous. I urge you to read the IBS statement and support their work. They are fine and serious scholars.
Metaxas’ tweet exposes more about him than it does about the Bonhoeffer Society. It is one thing to believe you have a significant perspective to add to a field, it is quite another to believe you alone have the truth. Bonhoeffer scholars have documented significant omissions and problems in Metaxas’ book on Bonhoeffer. He scoffs at their work and fails to respond in a scholarly manner. Mostly, he told journalist Jon Ward, he ignored them:
The handful of early negative reviews of my book on Bonhoeffer have not struck me as substantive, or as anything more than ideological griping, so I have labored to ignore them.
This is the way of so many Christian celebrities. Metaxas, like David Barton and Dinesh D’Souza, portrays an arrogance about his work. They are above correction and error. Any criticism is ideological and therefore beneath them.
And so it goes. Metaxas continues his labor. It must be a hard labor because these days there is so much he has to ignore.