Eric Metaxas is a millionaire who makes his money scaring Christians into believing that the American republic is devolving into the Third Reich. He claims to know this because he wrote a book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
I have to give Metaxas credit. He is a master at marketing himself. He also appears to be a wise and savvy reader of evangelical culture. I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if he read Mark Noll’s Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, learned that evangelicals have a long history of anti-intellectualism, and then capitalized on this deficiency in evangelicalism’s DNA by selling conspiracy theories about the vaccine, election fraud, and the collapse of American democracy. But I could be wrong. Maybe he really believes all this stuff.
Whatever the case, Metaxas uses his radio show and appearances to warn people that the apocalypse is coming. And how does he know the apocalypse is coming? Well, it’s all there in his Bonhoeffer biography–on sale at MyPillow.Com (and don’t forget to use the code word “Eric”).
In this video captured by Right Wing Watch, Metaxas is upset that a Lake Tahoe ski-lift attendant messed with his “right” not to wear a mask. Watch him draw a direct connection between this experience and the rise of the Nazis in Germany.
For those who can’t see the video in the tweet, here is the entire quote:
I’m on the ski slopes…I’m skiing, obviously, without a mask, and I ski all the way down right onto the lift. Right. A young guy–a tall guy, maybe twenty-four years old, is like, “Sir, you gotta put on your mask.” Now I’m getting on the lift by myself. Right. (Laughter from the crowd). And I looked at him and said, “you’ve got to be kidding.” You know–I’m a lot older, more than twice his age. I said, “:you’ve got to be kidding.” I didn’t say “punk” but it was implied. (More laughter from the crowd)…And this is where it gets serious. He stopped the lift. In other words, how did it happen in Germany that these young brownshirts would behave like that. And I was astonished cause I thought, “this is how it happened.”
After the Right Wing Watch video clip above, Metaxas says,
This is how it happened. A 24-year-old would behave like that, to make me put on my mask. And I literally said to him, semi-sarcastically, I understand your just doing your job. You’re just being a good soldier. You’re doing what they told you to do. Right. But think about it. It was a chilling moment for me because I thought “wow,” look at that…It was one of those moments in which you see how this can go…But we need to know that the Lord is with us?
The Lord is with us? Really? As I watch him tell this story, I see a middle-aged guy harassing and sarcastically mocking a 24-year-old kid who, yes, was just trying to do his job (no “semi-sarcasm” here). What kind of Christian treats people like this? Maybe this kid was a Christian himself who was trying to be a good employee at the ski lift. But let’s forget about Christians for second. What kind of person treats someone like this and then brags about it during an interview at an evangelical church? And what does it say about the people in this congregation that they offer Metaxas applause for acting like a jerk? There is nothing Christlike whatsoever in this story.
All of this took place during a Metaxas appearance at Westgate Chapel in Edmonds, Washington. Watch the entire thing below. The guy interviewing him is Alec Rowlands, the pastor of the church.
A few other comments:
- At the 44:00 minute mark, Metaxas says that he believes the 2020 presidential election was “legitimately stolen.” He has said this multiple times before on his radio program, but listening to the cheers from the people of this church is chilling.
- Metaxas claims that no one can shut him up when he talks about the election and the vaccine. He is right. As an American he has freedom of speech. But the problem here is not necessarily with Metaxas. There have been loud-mouth conspiracy theorists like him throughout American history. The real problem is churches like Westgate, and Christian media outlets likes Salem Radio, that give him a platform.
- We learn that Metaxas was just deposed in the Dominion voting lawsuit.
- Metaxas complains about losing money from canceled speaking engagements and implies that he is facing persecution for his beliefs. (Apparently he still has enough money to ski in Lake Tahoe).
- Metaxas complains that Christianity Today did not review his biography of Martin Luther. How could Christianity Today ignore the author of Bonhoeffer? There must be a conspiracy afoot.
- At about the 55:00 mark, Metaxas says that churches addressing racial injustice are being stupid. These churches are being “played” and are “insecure.” (Applause). He continues to peddle the idea that white people died in the Civil War to end racism. This is a trick Metaxas often uses. He thinks slavery and racism are the same thing. Here is a real Bonhoeffer scholar, University of Virginia’s Charles Marsh, on how Metaxas misuses Bonhoeffer on race.
- I also encourage you to read Christian Bonhoeffer scholar Stephen Haynes’s “Open Letter to Christians Who Love Bonhoeffer but (Still) Support Trump.”
- Metaxas believes that his masculine patriotism is drawing people to the Gospel because Americans love people who are willing to fight.
- At the 1:17:15 mark, Metaxas says that he believes a spiritual revival is coming to America. In the same breath he says, “I do believe Trump will be back.” (More applause).
- 1:17:25: Metaxas says that he is “paying a price” for his views in the same way that Jesus Christ “paid a price.”
- 1:20:15: Metaxas says that the American Republic is not going to collapse like the Roman republic collapsed because the United States was “founded as a city on a hill” and Americans live in a country with “praying people who cry out to God.” (Actually, based on this “crying out to God” logic, the real chosen people of God are in the global South). I recently wrote about this idea of American innocence in this post.
- 1:22:30: Metaxas’s discussion of civic pride here is rich in light of the fact that throughout the entire pandemic he has privileged individual rights over the common good. Metaxas preaches “common decency,” but he won’t wear a mask on a ski lift. He says, “we all need to pitch in for the nation and the community…every American needs to feel like ‘I have a responsibility to do something.'” Wow.
- At the 2:44:28 mark, Metaxas says that the only colleges that have not bought into the “lunacy” of the Left are Liberty University and Hillsdale College. Metaxas is a fellow at the Liberty University Standing for Freedom Center.