My friend John Turner, a historian at George Mason University, author of a biography of Brigham Young that has been receiving a lot of attention, and a fellow blogger, suggested that I post this piece over at the Anxious Bench. Readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home will remember this piece from last week. --JF
Last night at Messiah College I heard Christian writer Eric Metaxas give a very entertaining, humorous, and inspiring lecture on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The lecture was based on his wildly successful book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
Since I received several e-mails and Facebook messages from readers
about Messiah's decision to host Metaxas, I thought I would write a post
on his talk. I also think it would be very instructive to think about
his lecture in the wake of Annette Gordon-Reed's American Democracy Lecture
from the evening before. The juxtaposition of these two lectures made
for a very engaging conversation today in my Historical Methods course.
Eric Metaxas is an evangelical writer and preacher. He employs the
past--in this case the heroic story of Bonhoeffer's resistance to Adolph
Hitler--to inspire the faithful to live better, more Christian, lives.
I do not have a problem with this, as long as Metaxas does not try to
claim the title "historian." (And I don't think he has ever claimed to
be a historian, although I do get concerned when I see him doing events
with culture warriors and Christian nationalists like David Barton).
The past can be useful in our lives as a source of inspiration. I don't
know how anyone cannot be inspired by Bonhoeffer's story. Frankly,
Metaxas inspired me tonight to live a better Christian life. It was a
great sermon. I am glad that he came to Messiah College.
Read the rest here.