Tag Archives: Metaxas

“What Would Bonhoeffer Do?”: Metaxas’s Misappropriation

When people discover that I have written a book on the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, they often ask me what I think of the popular biography written by Eric Metaxas.  My standard answer runs something like this:  “Well, Metaxas is certainly an engaging writer.  However, he does seem to be in over his head when it comes to understanding the politics of the Church Struggle in Germany and the finer points of Bonhoeffer’s theology.  That being said, he has done a great service for the church in helping to make Dietrich Bonhoeffer more widely known.”  Usually, this is all the person is looking for.  However, if I were to go into more depth I would comment, among other things, upon Metaxas’s failure to understand the centrality of Bonhoeffer’s peace ethic to his theology, his lack of engagement with Bonhoeffer’s prison letters, and his tendency to portray Bonhoeffer in the terms of right-wing American evangelicalism.  Some recent public comments by Eric Metaxas have led me to believe that I have perhaps been far too generous in my assessment of Metaxas’s reading of Bonhoeffer up to this point. Continue reading “What Would Bonhoeffer Do?”: Metaxas’s Misappropriation