Note to reader: There are those who serve as ‘tone police’ who will accuse me of being ‘mean’ or ‘not nice’ because a subjective view of my tone. I’m being terse in regard to this topic because someone must point out that sheep (Christians) are abusing other sheep. What is worse, some shepherds (leaders / pastors) are abusing their own sheep.
My point is, this ‘woke’ nonsense is trash. It has no place in the church – it’s time to put a stop to it. Christ did not spill his blood and lay down his life for his bride (church) to stand in the mirror (social media) and slap herself in the face. We have enough sin in our own lives and in our culture without intentionally creating more. I’m seeing longstanding relationships between Christians be destroyed by this divisive foolishness. I will confront and attack the ideas – not the individual. I humbly submit the following discourse to you for consideration. Come let us reason together and preserve the bond of peace.
Register for live Zoominar – Tues Feb. 2nd 2021 at 7pm CT “Critical Race Theory & the Christian Vision
The one who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Scriptural Foundation for Me and You
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
There is a powerful movement within the church in America that has taken captive many well-meaning Christians. Under the banners of Social Justice, Racial Justice, Anti-racism and a handful of other names a certain enclave within Western Christianity have taken upon themselves the roles of accuser, judge, jury and punisher for all of Christendom. I’ve written about this extensively here…
To be ‘woke’ and to ‘stay woke’ is to be ‘with it’ or ‘in the know’ and ‘on the right side of history’ in regard to certain current social issues – particularly related to ethnicity and sexual identity. In other words, being ‘woke’ is to reside on the moral high-ground on a popular social issue. Having attained moral superiority through a kind of social enlightenment, the woke Christian’s ‘ministry’ (or service) to other Christians is to publicly castigate and berate their brothers and sisters – usually on social media. This is coupled with a heavy dose of virtue-signaling. Imagine the Roman Colosseum but online and to top it off, Christians are essentially persecuting other Christians.
The Social Justician’s Ministry of Wokeness
The goal of woke ministry is to pound other Christians into submission for the hidden sin of being ‘un-woke’ which is code for racist, homophobic, white supremacist, etc. When challenged, woke leaders tell their victims (brothers and sisters in Christ), that “this is a Gospel issue that only REAL Christians understand.” When someone questions, challenges or refuses to submit to woke demands, they are typically purged, given the mark of racist or white supremacist or some other label – then exiled to purgatory. Excommunication is accomplished through de-friending on social media or ‘canceling.’ Salvation is found in continuous public penitence, self-flagellation and virtue-signaling in order meet the approval of the woke crowd that includes non-Christians who hate Christianity (ironic).
Little covens of ethnic gnostics meet together and engage in woke worship marked by churlish preaching, muckraking, struggle sessions and voyeuristic prayer. Of course, in the context of in-person interactions their behavior is replaced with a kindly smile and the good ole ‘How can I pray for you?’ After all, no one wants to lose their paycheck over this or appear to be ‘mean’, right?
Worshipping the Zeitgeist
Let’s get serious for a moment. All of this wokeness is nothing more than bowing to the spirit of the age (idolatry). Moreover, through deception, coercion, complicity, bad theology, false teaching or a combination of all of the above, some Christians have unintentionally replaced the God of the Bible with the god of the age – the Gospel of the Kingdom with the gospel of culture. Sadly some Christians have completely given themselves over to the woke orthodoxy and completely decimated relationships and destroyed their public witness. Due to the prevalence of social media, this backsliding has become high drama for everyone to see – including the unbelieving world. This should saddens us.
Moral Arrogance, Selective Outrage and Creating an Offense
The moral arrogance of some “Christians” who see fit to label their un-woke brothers and sisters in Christ as racists or white-supremacists or otherwise is staggering. Furthermore, it creates moral confusion in an already confusing cultural moment. Public shaming and virtue-signaling have become a past time for some and doctrine for others. In addition, this movement is marked by selective outrage. Meaning, you must express public moral outrage (emotion) about certain social issues sanctioned by woke orthodoxy. This behavior has the effect of binding the conscience of other Christians.
All of this is rooted in moral arrogance and takes shape in the expression of moralism (not to be confused with morality). What should grieve the community of all Christ-followers is that woke Christians create an offense where one does NOT exist. Then they publicly accuse their brethren of this newly created offense of public sin that requires public repentance. If the accused questions or does not meet the expectations of the woke Christian mob, everything attaches to the contrived offense. In other words, everything you do or say reinforces the offense – guilt is piled on to guilt. As a result, you will be shamed, guilted, cancelled, slandered and eventually purged.
It’s reminiscent of the cliquey “cool kids” or the “in-crowd” in middle school where the “not-so-cool” kids were purged from the lunch table or not invited to the cool kid parties. This is happening within the Church in America but it’s way more destructive and harmful.
If you try to discuss or debate, woke Christians typically assume the position of moral high ground above the particulars of the issues involved. They speak in high-minded sweeping generalities followed by a barrage of ad hominem attacks (name-calling) but refuse to engage the abstract or particulars. And they are never wrong on the issue. It’s repackaged Critical Theory that takes the form of legalism. I digress…
I will not slander other believers. . . . There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy. Who am I to judge my neighbor?
Are Woke Christians Bearing False Witness or Worse?
Note: I am aware that I am a lowly sinner capable of great evil and I have broken God’s commands. So, I am not accusing others of committing sin that I have not committed my self. The posture of my heart is to look at this issue not from above or below others but on the level.
The Ninth Commandment states, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” The Bible is clear that lying is a sin. The 9th Commandment expands on this and forbids lying about another image-bearer. What does this have to do with woke Christians?
Let me explain. If I label and/or accuse entire groups of people or individuals I don’t know as racists or white supremacists, I am accusing them of ethnic hatred (dubiously called racism). Jesus places hatred on equal ground as murder (Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:15). According to God, by pronouncing sweeping judgements of ethnic hatred on the brethren, I am accusing them of MURDER.
If you don’t recognize this dangerously thin spiritual ice, you need to think again my friend.
The Sixth Commandment says, “You shall not murder.” The Bible is clear that murder is a sin. What does this have to do with woke Christians?
Let me explain. In accusing people of ethnic hatred, I am judging them to be murderers. If I accuse people of implicit ethnic hatred based on their God-given ethnicity (skin color) or some other superficial or immutable factor without actual evidence of sin as defined by the Bible, I am guilty of lying (bearing false witness) against another image-bearer. Lying about someone can be my expression of hatred toward them. Therefore, I am potentially guilty of murder because (again) Jesus places hatred and murder in the same category.
Furthermore, when a Christian uses a public forum to infer or accuse someone of sin (ethic hatred), that Christian is guilty of slander. The Bible provides a prescription for dealing with public sin (Matthew 18:15-17)… it does not include social media.
Additionally, to the extent Christians are talking behind the backs of other image-bearers and making accusations, they are guilty of gossip. Gossip destroys unity and the Church ought to have zero tolerance policy. The most insidious example I’ve seen is what I call “gossip prayer.” This is where one Christian targets another Christian within the context of group prayer in order to slander them behind their backs. In doing this, the gossiper is dragging the rest of the group into sin by disguising his/her intersession as an address to the Heavenly Father. In a real spiritual sense, the gossiper is bringing a falsehood and slander of a spiritual sibling into the heavenly realms in the name of Jesus. Lest we forget God is Holy and dangerous – it says a lot about a lot about one’s condition if he/she believes God overlook a slanderous prayer. The Bible warns against making weaker believers stumble into sin AND throwing in our lot with those who would entice us to waylay someone else (Mark 9:42, Proverbs 1:10-18)
Finally, Jesus states that the Greatest Commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38). Biblically speaking, there is NO WAY a Christian can claim to keep and follow the Greatest Commandment while breaking the 9th and 6th Commandments.
“Woke Christianity” is a religion unto itself – rooted in pride and moral arrogance. It’s completely antithetical to Biblical faith and the Gospel of the Kingdom. It draws unknowing or weak Christians into a man-centered ‘reconciliation’ and false redemptive vision (social justice).
In conclusion, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This should be a ‘shot across the bow’ of our pride – a warning to be seriously heeded.
“He (Jesus) knew that a bundle of inflamed and virulent pride might as easily be garbed in rags and tatter as in ermine robes, and that haughtiness may as often be seen in a thatched cottage as in a turreted castle… It is possible for the poor to be proud of his poverty, for the devout to be proud of his piety, for the prayerful to be proud of his supplications, for the idolater to be proud of his obeisance, for the fasting to be proud of his fasts, for the donor to be proud of his gifts, the penitent to be proud of his penitence, for the lowly to be proud of his lowliness.
“The devil did grin, for his darling sin. Is the pride that apes humanity.”” (Coleridge)
– FW. Boreham (The Heavenly Octaves)
“There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel that can succeed against the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:30)
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5)
“And a second (commandment) is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Comment and share your thoughts below)
Great article, Lance. The anger and hate that I see from some Christians with this “wokeness” philosophy. I believe that the compromise we see in the church is the reason we see our country in its current condition. 2 Chronicles 7:14. IMHO it is not America that needs to repent to have our land healed it is the church.
My question is how should I respond to the Woke crowd. I would think that I must be careful not to speak against the person but argue with scripture the fallacy of his woke argument. My pastor preached on speaking the truth in love this past Sunday.
Thanks for your work. It keeps me thinking. Best wishes to you, Kathryn and the kids.
John, thanks for the comment and I’m delighted you liked the article. Everything begins in and with the church.
The late Chuck Colson said, “What the world needs most is for the Church to be the Church. The thinning of civil society is our nation’s greatest challenge. It is also among the Church’s greatest opportunities.”
I believe that statement is true. The church is to serve as salt in the culture. Furthermore, we are to be leaven in the culture. In other words, we season and effect the culture in a way that helps to align it with the goodness, truth and beauty of God and His righteousness. I’ll say here, that this Christian vision is beneficial for ALL people of all faiths and backgrounds – because its rooted in God-given human dignity, properly ordered liberty and human flourishing.
To your question: “How should I respond to the Woke crowd? I would think that I must be careful not to speak against the person but argue with scripture the fallacy of his woke argument.
Well, you have properly centered yourself in the truth of scripture in order to confront and dismantle arguments / ideas that are set up against God (the truth). That is the right first step – ensure your heart and mind are aligned with scripture.
I think the next step is to approach a brother or sister from the woke Christian side and ask some questions like;
“Hey, I understand you are interested in justice. Tell me more about that because I’m interested in justice as well.”
“When you say social or racial justice, what do you mean by ‘justice’?
“Hey, I noticed you have advocated for racial reconciliation. I’m interested in reconciliation as well, What does ‘reconciliation’ mean to you?”
Then ask, “Let me repeat back to you what you said, so I can clearly understand your point – please correct me if I miss something. okay?” (then accurately paraphrase their position).
“How did you come to that conclusion?” (eg. systemic racism, white supremacy across culture, etc)
By asking these questions, we are doing a few things;
1. We are acknowledging the dignity of our brother or sister by allowing them to speak to an issue.
2. You are demonstrating that you clearly heard and understand their position?
3. You are also revealing where Christian language has been co-opted by a counter-worldview (justice, reconciliation, lament, repentance are words the represent Biblical truths but have been detached from scripture and redefined). The don’t mean the same thing.
4. You are helping your brother or sister discover logical inconsistencies and theological missteps on their own. This is guiding and shepherding a friend in the direction of God and truth.
5. If they ask you to share your position, you are able to use biblical definitions for words like justice and reconciliation, etc. Basically, you are helping to recover co-opted language and center everything on God’s unchanging Word (truth).
As you can see and you will discover, the interaction is rooted in the truth and wrapped in love.
Thanks and tell the family hello from Texas!!!!
ps. I’m hosting a webinar this Tuesday at 7pmCT
Critical Race Theory & The Christian Vision
Thank you for this! The minister of a choir that I was in posted on Facebook that those who voted for Trump are part of a “cult of terrorists.” I am still in shock that he could write such a thing and even more shocked that so many of my friends gave him a thumbs up. I suppose I should not be shocked, because 2 years prior, he gave a sermon announcing that if you are white, you are racist. I was shocked at this. Several friends thought that because he was going through a personal crisis, he had lost his mind. I called him to say that I was not racist, that I have no sense of superiority or ill will toward anyone, black, white, brown. Instead, I have deep admiration for so many Black people. This minister then informed me that I was unconscious of my racism. (Unwoke). One of my good friends is now paralyzed with grief because she is so ashamed of being white. When a very friendly acquaintance learned I was voting for Trump, she transformed into someone I didn’t recognize and screamed at me for being racist and that she could never forgive me. My heart goes out to all of these people. I know these people to be loving and kind. Their minds have been hijacked by Wokeness.
Please forgive my delayed response. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m sorry to hear of your experience. However, you are not alone. I’ve heard of other similar situations. When the pulpit ministry of a church is given over to ideology or philosophy that is antithetical to the Word of God and the Gospel of the Kingdom, it is time to pray and soberly consider joining another local church that is committed to ‘feeding the sheep’ through the preaching and teaching of God’s entire Word and worship of Him is central. That is the unfortunate and painful reality of the situation you’ve described above. This must be entered into prayerfully and impossible, discuss with elders before making any decisions. Walk in wisdom and obedience to God.