Popular US Christian broadcaster and author Eric Metaxas has come under fire after sending a tweet in which he insisted that "Jesus was white".
The conservative radio host was responding to the United Methodist Church's decision to hire American academic Robin J. DiAngelo to produce a series of films addressing 'white privilege'.
"Jesus was white. Did he have "white privilege" even though he was entirely without sin? Is the United Methodist Church covering that? I think it could be important."
The backlash was almost immediate.
"< facepalm >," replied apologist and theologian James R. White. "Well, I guess if you think Palestinian Jews in the first century were "white.""
President Emeritus of World Vision, Rich Stearns, added: "Jesus likely looked like modern day Palestinians-not Scandinavian."
Presenter Metaxas replied: "So it's about how you look? About the actual colour of your skin? So most Jews today are "white" & have "white privilege" but some don't? Who decides? Are Stephen Spielberg & Woody Allen not white? My point is that these identities only seem to apply when woke people say they do."
Metaxas is known for his scriptwriting on Christian kids show Veggietales and his best-selling biography of Nazi resistance leader and pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. More latterly, Metaxas has become a prominent conservative Christian commentator, hosting 'The Eric Metaxas Show' on the Salem Radio Network.
In comments made on his show following the tweet, Metaxas admitted it was "ill-considered" but that he was "trying to start a conversation".
"What came back on twitter was so confusing," Metaxas added, noting that he had "written a book all about Jesus being Jewish and the Nazis trying to pain him as a light-skinned Aryan".
"There were people [on Twitter] basically saying that [Jesus] was a Jew and Jews are really Palestinians and they are dark-skinned and Middle Eastern. Then somebody else came on and said 'well he wasn't Scandanavian white, he was Jewish white'...so it's like...evidently it's actually about the colour of your skin, not about your racial identity...so I guess light-skinned blacks aren't that black? I mean, the whole thing gets crazy."
Metaxas concluded: "I'm fascinated by twitter and race discussions in this culture... so my motto is 'don't ever tweet'."