Woke identity politics represents the resurgence of a hard fundamentalism. There are internal inconsistencies within the system, of course, because it is hard to be a fundamentalist when you have no fundament—which is why their jeans keep falling down.
That said, it nevertheless represents a hard Calvinism without any Christ, a hard amillennialism without a Second Coming, a hard legalism without any grace, and not surprisingly, it is a doctrine much preferred by the hard-hearted, which is really the only hardness that matters to them.
In this system the reprobate are pasty white orcs of northern European descent. They are guilty of the foundational trespass, and must be ranked as sinners par excellence. Nothing whatever can be done for them—their whiteness is ineradicable.
Some of them, university professors and grad students mostly, believe that if they shuffle meekly along behind the orcs of color, heads down, muttering to themselves about how racist they are, and lecturing themselves about how complicit in white supremacy they recognize themselves to be, afflicting their souls, and hectoring the students under their charge, then they will eventually be welcomed into the shelter of a Woke Lothlorien, where all the orcs or color live. I say Lothlorien because these orcs identify as elves, and I say Woke Lothlorien because that would be about as stupid as it sounds.
Alas it is a vain hope—they are outside the elect, a number that cannot be increased or diminished. And outside the elect, there is no possibility of salvation.
So however gratifying it might be to see an orc feeling sorry for himself, it availeth him not. No matter what happens, he cannot undo the fact that he is descended from those who once lived in an orc cave in the Scottish highlands—Clan Snaga. I mean, look at him.
The Mechanism of Impotent Rage
Now some of my eagle-eyed and yet purblind adversaries might think that I got my feelings hurt, and that I am trying to act as though being called a white supremacist on Twitter is somehow persecution. But I have to say that such taunts do not bother me at all—my whiteness is one of the few things that is not wrong with me—being as it is one of the things that God did, as opposed to one of those things that I tend to do.
What I actually want to do here is explain something to you all about the internal mechanisms of this Great Awokening. This is a religious hysteria, a religious woke spasm, and it is one that is being driven by a sacrificial crisis. Precisely because they have spent many decades excluding a transcendent God from all their reckoning, and precisely because they have necessarily rejected Christ, the Son of that transcendent God, the one who came as the once-for-all sacrifice for sin, they have been consigned to a closed system of guilt and retribution, a system that demands a never-ending line of sacrifices. And by closed system, I mean a coffin-shaped box, and with the lid screwed on. The impotence of the system is seen in the fact that the sacrifices must constantly be offered up again (Heb. 10:2). And again. And again. This is why they are turning America into a huge North Vietnamese struggle session.
These sacrifices are understood as the source of all our problems—here’s looking at you, white heterosexual men—and at the same time it is recognized (on a deeper level) that the individuals being sacrificed didn’t really do anything wrong. That is how scapegoating works. The innocence of the victim is part of the point, and yet guilt is imputed to him anyway. I happen to know that I did not build, and I did not maintain, any system of chattel slavery operating out of West Africa. I had nothing to do with it. Not only do I know that, but the BLM activists snarling in my face know that as well as I do. Nevertheless, the god of the volcano demands that another virgin be thrown in, and when the virgins get argumentative about it, that is when the rage really sets in.
They are not trying to find the real culprit. They are trying to find rest for their souls, while at the same time rejecting and resisting the only Father who could give them that rest. When Aztecs were dragging victims up their pyramids, this is what they were doing. When 19th century Russian pogroms turned on Jews in their irrational spasms, this is what was happening. When the Salem witch frenzy happened, this was the mechanism. When the McMartin preschool hysteria broke out, it was the same old story. Modern men are by no means exempt from all of this. Modern men without Christ are, at the end of the day, simply men without Christ, and they will in fact appoint for themselves their vicarious and cathartic substitutes.
Because they have no word of atonement spoken by a transcendent God, because they have no Christ, when they run out of white heterosexual men, the volcano will still be there, and the volcano will still be angry. The rage-meisters will then have to find another group, which will likely be black heterosexual men. They are already being tagged as the “white people” of black people. I said earlier that the number of their elect cannot be increased, but because this is a kind of mystic, religious mystery, this is not true of their reprobate. That number grows all the time. It doesn’t have to make mathematical sense so long as the god is (very temporarily) propitiated.
And why must the god be propitiated? The answer to that question is that our culture is staggering under the weight of an immense amount of accumulated guilt. People thought that by banishing Christ they had at the same time banished the need for the forgiveness that only Christ offers . . . but they thought wrong. We have dismembered millions of babies. We have solemnized sodomy as though we could turn that into holy matrimony. Despite our rebellion, we still bear the broken image of God. The conscience is an ineradicable testimony to the essential moral nature of man. Man can be a sinner, violating God’s standards, but he cannot operate without God-given moral categories. He cannot be someone without any knowledge of right and wrong. He cannot be righteous, and yet he needs to be righteous, and so he must fly into a rage and find a sacrifice. And he must be morally indignant as he offers that sacrifice. Behold how he rages.
But deep down, we know that God could destroy America in a giant fireball, and no injustice done. We know that, and yet we will not have His Christ. So into the volcano someone must go. If you will not have the wrath of God poured out on Christ, nailed to the cross, then you will have the wrath of man. And that is what you see unfolding all around you—the wrath of man.
That is what this woke spasm is. It is a religious revival, an attempt to jump start the ancient pagan sacrifices. We want the ancient ways to work again, but they cannot ever work again. Christ has come, Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ has ascended. He is at the right hand of the Father, and that is the way it is. He holds the keys of Death and Hades.
Anybody who accommodates this woke attempt to reboot paganism, in any way, at any level, is complicit in Baal worship. It is futile, but it is a very sinful form of futility. But wait, you might say . . . haven’t many professing evangelicals adjusted themselves to this woke mania? Even many evangelical leaders?
Why, yes. Yes, they have.
The Soft Woke White Evangelicals
A very long evangelical tradition has maintained that it is our mission to take careful note of whatever fad the world is plunging into right this minute, and then to roll out a lamer version of that same fad some 5 to 10 years later.
But given what woke identity politics sets out to do—that is, to get us all blotto drunk on rage, to which end they are passing around jugs of corn whiskey that cousin Elmer made behind their barn, a little mixture that he calls The 2 Minute Hate—would this not be fatal compromise? And so what did our Christian leaders do? The soft evangelical Christian version merely offers us an O’Doul’s instead, the label of which plainly says, “All of the stupid, with none of the kick.” That is exactly what we do, and it makes the forehead hot, red, and sticky just to think about it.
A prime specimen of this would be Ligon Duncan’s Foreword to Eric Mason’s Woke Church. If you want to go in for rage, then just do it, for Pete’s sake. If Baal is Lord, follow him. But instead of just going for it, soft evangelicals showed up at the rage rave, carrying their near beer, wearing their high waters, and flashing gang signs. Only in Lig Duncan’s case, he was drinking a tangerine LaCroix, wearing clam diggers, and using the sign from his high school baseball team that called for the runner to steal third. He was way out of place, in other words. The Germans have a word for this sort of situation—Fremdschämen—which means feeling embarrassed for somebody who really ought to be embarrassed for himself, but somehow mysteriously isn’t.
If you want to play their game, why halt between two opinions? Chuck the evangelical jive, grow a neck beard, move to Portland, and burn down a federal building. I can promise you that you will not be called an insurrectionist, so at least there’s that.
But every evangelical leader who has gone woke, and every evangelical leader who has ever played footsie with woke, is guilty of a fatal compromise. More on this at the end.
The Shame Factor
Every Christian believer who wants to withstand this pressure needs to understand the mechanism of the trap, how the pressure works. That mechanism is called shame.
Every social organization polices its own ranks. Not only so, but every social organization has shame as one of the tools in their toolbox for maintaining order. This is true of unrighteous societies, and it is true of righteous ones. The difference between them does not concern whether or not shame is used, but rather what things that society determines to be shameful. Again, not whether, but which.
For example, what does the apostle Paul tell the Thessalonians to do with loafers? In Christian company, a man needs to be ashamed of being a layabout. And if he does not feel shame over this, then the rest of the community needs to help him feel shame over it.
“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”
2 Thessalonians 3:14 (KJV)
When societies punish, one of the most potent elements of the punishment needs to be shame. When a society is stable and secure, this assigned shame almost always works. The deterrence value of punishment does not depend in large measure on the physical pain involved. It is not as though the cops could control criminals with shock collars—where the only thing to reckon with was how many pain units would be delivered.
So you know that a society is falling apart when a large portion of the population is shameless, not humiliated by anything. When that happens, you have reached the point where the center does not hold. That society is in the process of disintegrating, as vast swaths of our generation are doing right this minute. We have a conceited generation, filled with narcissistic helium, who feel themselves to be, in de Tocqueville’s apt phrase, more than kings, and less than men. This is where we are.
But you also know that a society is in the process of being taken over by an alternative worldview when a large portion of the population adopts an alien standard of ethics, one that glories in what the older order used to believe was shameful. Think of the Roman Empire, and a crucified Christ, for history’s central example.
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
Galatians 6:14 (KJV)
Death by crucifixion was a most agonizing, degrading, disgusting, and humiliating way to die, and God in his chthonic wisdom determined to make it His symbol of ultimate glory, and this is why sweet Christian girls now have their senior pictures taken with a delicate silver cross necklaces. This is not a symbol of their ignorance, but is rather a token of God’s inscrutable and profound wisdom. We shall handle snakes and not be bitten.
One of the central revolutionary things that happened there in the cross of Christ was that the world’s techniques of shaming were broken and rendered toothless. This can be seen in Peter’s admonition in his first epistle.
“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
1 Peter 4:16 (KJV)
If the world is heaping abuse on you for the sake of Christ, it is the duty of the Christian to not be ashamed. We are familiar with the teaching that we should not be ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16), or of the teaching of Christ (Mark 8:38). We are taught that we should rejoice and be exceedingly glad when we are abused and slandered (Matt. 5:11-12). All that is plainly stated. But why?
Suppose a Christian simply repeats something that the Lord taught us all, and he is slapped in the stocks because of it, and all the people then throw rotten fruit at him. Peter says that he should not be ashamed of that. He should not be ashamed of what he said, of course not, but he must also not be ashamed of what is being done to him.
Peter is therefore saying that the Christian must reject the authority of the world’s attempts at policing by means of shame. To refuse to be embarrassed when they shame you is a profound rejection of their authority, and it demonstrates in a most powerful way that they have no hold over you.
“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”
Acts 5:40–41 (KJV)
As far as the apostles were concerned, it was an honor to be dishonored. It was a grace to be disgraced. It was their glory to be beaten and abused. And when that switch has finally flipped, they have no power over you whatever. That is Christian liberty.
So the only Christians who have been able to stand against the pressures of this woke jihad are those Christians who have been inoculated against the world’s shaming devices. This is why I would like to thank the powers that be for giving all our people here in Moscow a couple of years to practice on this. Some of the believers who might tend to be the most susceptible to this kind of pressure would be our women, and yet you have kindly given them two years to practice going into Safeway without a mask. Contrary to your expectations, the effect has been quite liberating.
And as for those Christian leaders who agreed to be shamed over a ludicrous charge, it is because the cross of Christ does not occupy the place it ought to have in their doctrine and in their lives. They were charged with having the same skin color as a man who operated a slave ship 200 years ago, and they received the charge meekly. The person making the accusation had the same skin color as the slaves, you see. But the accuser also had the same skin color as the man who captured the slaves in the first place and who took them down to the coast to sell them. But if you agree to assign guilt on the basis of that color wheel you got from Benjamin Moore, then you really are not gospel-centered, regardless of what your Facebook profile says.
Parenthetical Comments on a Lame Shame Contest Here in Moscow
I recently received word that there is a high stakes contest just announced here in Moscow (grand prize of $20), where folks are invited to creatively tell me off in a video—up to and even including glitter bombing. Now my prayer request is that I would not be glitter bombed, but if that is not the Lord’s will, and I am glitter bombed, then my secondary prayer request is that I would look fabulous.
As Woke as the Devil
The beating heart of identity politics is accusation. This is what makes it diabolical, through and through. Too many people think of the devilish spirit in terms of severed goats’ heads, guttering candles, black clothing and fingernail polish, and pentagrams. That’s just junior high devilish stuff. The devil is a high accuser, riding into the council of the gods on his high horse. He accuses Job of hypocrisy and time serving (Job 1:9-11). He accuses the brethren day and night before the throne (Rev. 12:10). “Does that white boy serve God for nothing? Look at all his stinking privilege.” He draws himself up to his full height, with his neck full of righteousness, and he points a censorious finger at you and all your sorry ways. Not only so, but his ministers are filled up with the same kind of peevish righteousness (2 Cor. 11:15). They can’t handle any of that stinking privilege either, and if you have any of it on you, you are going to hear about it.
Compare this shining and self-approving self-righteousness to the way of the cross. For all their professions of love for the ideals of egalitarianism, they hate God’s version of it—the leveling power of the cross. In the cross, God closes the distance between His holiness, on the one hand, and all princes and all beggars on the other. All men are equally guilty in Adam, and all men contribute sins of their own. The beggars use two-dollar hookers, and princes fly to Epstein’s island. All men are corrupt and morally diseased, and this most certainly includes those who have conveniently and quite self-servingly dubbed themselves to be in a sacrosanct victim class. Before His holiness, God flattens every man.
One of the reasons why identity politicians hate this is because they instinctively know what happens next. Death is followed by resurrection. God flattens the white man and the black man both, and this means that in the next moment He can pick them both up, and plant them in His grace, telling them to stand there (Rom. 5:2), and to do so as brothers. And do you know what? A white man can be picked up just like that, forgiven for all of his sins, which were many, and which would include his ingratitude over his privileges, and on the very same day that he repented, he can be forgiven for all his iniquities. Not only that, but as he stands there completely forgiven, he doesn’t owe the race hustlers a single dime. He does not owe them a dime, and as a free man in Christ, he does not owe them an explanation either.
And take a guilty black woman, with three abortions on her conscience. She is directly responsible for more black deaths than the entire state chapter of the KKK. Not only so, but she has spent years accusing whites of having blood on their hands because of what some of their ancestors did, while refusing to look at what she herself has done. Do I condemn this woman? Not a bit of it—I would tell her the same thing, which is, “Come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Repent of the bloodshed. Repent of the hypocrisy. Come. You don’t need to plead anything but the blood of Christ. She, like any repentant sinner, can be completely and totally forgiven today—and no remainder.
And last, let me extend this same invitation, grounded on the blood of Christ, to all the evangelical leaders who were shamed into a spirit of timidity. It is not too late to turn around, repent, receive forgiveness, and stand in the gap with us. But you can’t do it by pretending you were stalwart all along. You must plead the blood of Christ, and repent of what you have been doing. Come back. Stand with us.
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB)
Peter, the one who told us earlier not to be ashamed when we suffer as a Christian, was the same one who denied the Lord with curses during the course of the Lord’s trial. The Lord reinstated him—why not you? Thomas Cranmer buckled under pressure and signed a recantation of his biblical views, but then pulled himself together and faithfully confessed. He died gloriously.
Restoration is therefore set before you, but it cannot be brought about by pretending nothing ever happened. Forgiveness for compromise happens before the altar in Heaven, and not in the marketing and PR department. Forgiveness is a transaction with God, not a carefully parsed paragraph in a letter to donors. You might as well confess what everybody knows and what everyone can see. The only alternative is going all the way woke, and that is the way of damnation and everlasting recrimination. Remember, it is Christ or chaos. So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.