Metaxas seems to make the common error of determining religious belief by denominational affiliation. He declares John Adams to have been “a committed and theologically orthodox Christian” (56). But Adams vehemently rejected the deity of Christ, the atonement, the Trinity, and eternal punishment in hell. Adams said that placing all religion “in grace, and its offspring, faith” is “anti-Christianity.” He believed the best source for “orthodox” theology was the Hindu Shastra, that philosophy was at least equivalent in authority to the Bible, and that pagans who became “virtuous” went to heaven. Adams outrageously said he wouldn’t believe in the Trinity even if God himself told him on Mt. Sinai that it was true.Having decided that Plymouth was the first colony, Metaxas (like many on the Christian Right) proceeds as if the Pilgrims and Puritans founded America rather than simply Massachusetts (189). It’s worth mentioning that roughly 150 years passed between Plymouth and the founding of the United States. He proceeds as if John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” pronouncement was meant for—and applies to—all of America for all time and not simply to the colony the Puritans were establishing in pursuit of God’s will (234). It’s important to note that seven of the twelve other colonies were not founded for religious reasons. As for the success of Winthrop’s “city on a hill” vision, Metaxas claims the Puritans’ “distinctly biblical model carried on beyond the Massachusetts Bay Colony and into the United States of America (215).” In fact, before the 17th century ended, the descendants of the original Puritan settlers were heavily engaged in the slave trade and making rum. Similarly, because he approves of its guarantee of religious freedom, Metaxas claims that the charter of Rhode Island speaks for all of America (72). This is particularly ironic since the Rhode Island colony was founded by castoffs seeking the religious freedom denied them by the Puritans.
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Frazer on Metaxas' Book on America as a "Republic"
When Eric Metaxas' book "If You Can Keep It" came out in 2016, I don't remember paying much attention to it. With Warren Throckmorton's post, the book is somewhat current again. Throckmorton's post links to among other things, Gregg Frazer's review of it. From Frazer: