Eric Metaxas to Bonhoeffer Scholars: Every Syllable of My Bonhoeffer Bio is True

Eric Metaxas lives in a curious space among those who admire and study German pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In one universe dominated by evangelicals outside of academia, Metaxas is viewed as a Bonhoeffer scholar. In another dominated by academics and Bonhoeffer scholars, he is considered to be a Bonhoeffer revisionist, someone who has hijacked Bonhoeffer perhaps for partisan religious purposes.Yesterday on his radio show, Metaxas took aim at the latter group. His guest on the … [Read more...]

This Popular Quote — A Private Faith That Does Not Act — Is about William Wilberforce Not by Him

When I first read it, it occurred to me that there was something not quite right about the tweet below:"A private faith that does not act in the face of oppression is no faith at all."#WilliamWilberforce pic.twitter.com/ssJw5KOs6L — Colin Bloom (@Colin_Bloom) January 5, 2017Eric Metaxas, who wrote a biography about Wilberforce, retweeted the quote without comment so surely it was said by Wilberforce, right?I view most quotes now with suspicion (see this quote misattributed to B … [Read more...]

Update on a Spurious Bonhoeffer Quote: Not to Speak is to Speak, Not to Act is to Act

In late August, I published an examination of a popular quote commonly but incorrectly attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. The quote cannot be found in Bonhoeffer's writings and no other primary source has been found.  The first appearance of the entire quote I can find is in a 1998 American Interfaith Institute newsletter. The quote has been popularized by Eric Metaxas … [Read more...]

Eric Metaxas Complains about Clinton Misquotes, Refuses to Correct the Quote He Misattributed to Bonhoeffer

During the debate between Clinton and Trump last night, Eric Metaxas tweeted the following:Hillary misquoting Tocqueville is like Reagan misquoting Marx. — Eric Metaxas (@ericmetaxas) October 20, 2016Hillary said in passing that "America is great because America is good." Although the quote is commonly associated with Tocqueville, it can't be found in his works.During the debate, Clinton did not attribute the quote to Tocqueville. However, Metaxas himself attributed that quote to T … [Read more...]

Still No Correction from Eric Metaxas or Thomas Nelson on Popular Quote Misattributed to Bonhoeffer

Yesterday, Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer biographer Eric Metaxas closed his Wall Street Journal op-ed supporting Donald Trump with this paragraph: A vote for Donald Trump is not necessarily a vote for Donald Trump himself. It is a vote for those who will be affected by the results of this election. Not to vote is to vote. God will not hold us guiltless. This paraphrase -- "Not to vote is to vote. God will not hold us guiltless" -- of a quote Metaxas has incorrectly attributed to Dietrich … [Read more...]

Todd Starnes: You Did Not Paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer When You Said Not to Vote is to Vote

Fox News columnist and pundit Todd Starnes is the latest religious right figure to claim Bonhoeffer said Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. In his speech to the Values Voter Summit yesterday, Starnes misattributed this quote to German pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer.Here are the relevant references in Starnes' speech: To paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer - not to vote — is to vo … [Read more...]

Freeing Bonhoeffer: Goodreads Corrects Attribution of Quote Formerly Attributed to Bonhoeffer

On August 25, I posted research into the attribution of the following quote: Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. Commonly attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I traced the quote back to a now deceased researcher at the Liberty Museum in Philadelphia who added the quote to Bonhoeffer's exhibit in the museum. The current director of the museum did not know the source and the quote does not appear in any of … [Read more...]

The Popular Bonhoeffer Quote That Isn’t in Bonhoeffer’s Works

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a modern day hero among evangelical Christians. Killed by the Nazis in 1945 for resisting the regime, Bonhoeffer's fame among evangelicals increased after the publication of Eric Metaxas’ acclaimed biography of the Lutheran pastor. For many Christians who feel compelled to take a stand on principle, Bonhoeffer has become an inspiration and guiding light. On that point, perhaps the most repeated and celebrated quote attributed to Bonhoeffer is Silence in the face of evil i … [Read more...]