Will the real Bonhoeffer stand up? – How Metaxa has counterfeited Bonhoeffer and transformed him into a Right Wing Evangelical

This is not the first time that I read a Bonhoeffer scholar say this, and I guess it won’t be the last.

This reminds me of how some on the left have taken Jesus and made him into one of their own, someone who would champion their causes, and will be as greeny as they are.

Metaxa’s Bonhoeffer, is the attempt to make Bonhoeffer a Right Ring, American Evangelical, who stands for Right Wing “Orthodox” values.

Richard Weikart, of the California State Univeristy, has written an excellent piece reviewing Metaxa’s book, and like many other, finds it a total travesty. Many Americans love this domesticated Bonhoeffer, but he is not the Bonhoeffer they would love, and he gives us some reasons why:

Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer biography has won many accolades from evangelicals, not only because Metaxas is an excellent writer, but also because he serves up a Bonhoeffer suited to the evangelical taste. Many evangelicals admire Bonhoeffer and consider him a fellow evangelical. Metaxas’s book confirms this image. In an interview with Christianity Today Metaxas even made the astonishing statement that Bonhoeffer was as orthodox theologically as the apostle Paul.

As orthodox as Paul? Metaxas does not seem to know that in his Christology lectures in 1933 Bonhoeffer claimed, “The biblical witness is uncertain with regard to the virgin birth.” Bonhoeffer also rejected the notion of the verbal inspiration of scripture, and in a footnote to Cost of Discipleship he warned against viewing statements about Christ’s resurrection as ontological statements (i.e., statements about something that happened in real space and time). Bonhoeffer also rejected the entire enterprise of apologetics, which he thought was misguided.

Well, that’s enough for John McArthur to send Bonhoeffer to the gallows, with none of Hitler’s help!!!

And Weikart does not uphold this position by himself, he quotes the most able Bonhoeffer scholars, the people who have compiled his works, to back him up:

I trust that Metaxas is my brother in Christ, but unfortunately he simply does not have sufficient grounding in history, theology, and philosophy to properly interpret Bonhoeffer. This is not just my opinion. Victoria Barnett, the editor of the English-language edition of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, wrote a scathing review of Metaxas’s biography. In her opinion, Metaxas “has a very shaky grasp of the political, theological, and ecumenical history of the period.” She then calls Metaxas’s portrayal of Bonhoeffer’s theology “a terrible simplification and at times misrepresentation.” [2] Clifford Green, another bona fide Bonhoeffer scholar who has edited part of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works and has written extensively about Bonhoeffer, has also criticized Metaxas heavily, claiming that Metaxas’s biography should be entitled, “Bonhoeffer Hijacked.” [3]

If you have no idea who Bonhoeffer is, here it’s the Wikipedia entry on him.

Read the entire review here.

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