You may depend upon it, say I, that any evangelical church, denomination, publisher, magazine, study center, society, or seminary, or any other collective Christian thing that we might fashion or think up, that is not in an open, unremitting and hostile war against every form of social justice, identity politics, or wokeness of any sort, is an entity that is doomed. Not only are they doomed to apostasy, but given the acceleration rates we are seeing, they are probably doomed to fall into barking nonsense years before anyone might have predicted just a few years ago.
“And just who do you think you are?” some might murmur. I am glad you asked, and so I will tell you. Do not repine, there is an answer coming. Hold your horses, and cool your baby jets. I am Churchill in 1931. Not only am I Churchill in those times of culpable and willful denial, this is not megalomania on my part because it should be added that in 1931 Churchill was a nobody.
It should also be added that Neville Chamberlain was not a Nazi. In a time of crisis like this there are two kinds of adversaries. There is the threat proper, the adversary deluxe, the rearming Germany. That is one kind. The other kind of adversary is the one underfoot—the friend, the associate, the counselor, the ally, the guy on your side, the appeaser, who cannot be persuaded to be anything more helpful than a sob sister. And so it is that the evangelical world is filled with what Margaret Thatcher once called the “stench of appeasement.”
So, if I were to tell you that the phrase social justice ought have the same connotations for you that the phrase throat cancer does, and that I am speaking to you as your oncologist, and that you only have six months to live, and you say something like “but doesn’t the Bible say that helping the poor is a good thing?” as though that were social justice, I will then say, as your oncologist, that your case is worse than I thought, and that you only have three months.
The Imaginative Hireling
Too many Christian leaders, far too many, are just like other kinds of leaders. They are admirals who know nothing except how the last war was fought and won, not realizing that military technology has passed them by, and that battleships have been replaced by aircraft carriers. They are dinosaurs failing to adapt to the new conditions after disembarking from Noah’s ark. They are shepherds who have begun to think like hirelings in certain specified situations. They were stalwart shepherds once when they were guarding the flock against coyotes, but after the federal government reintroduced the timber wolf, they don’t know what to do.
They are supposed to fight whatever threatens the flock, but they have become convinced that the coyotes are the only authorized threat. That was the only threat mentioned in the shepherd’s handbook back when they first began shepherding.
And for those who get lost by my illustrative lurching, a coyote would be an Old Testament prof at your seminary who starts going into for the JEDP stuff. A timber wolf is one who starts talking about the need for woke racial justice, and who mansplains the iniquity of mansplaining to his classes.
Are you going to do something? “Not in the handbook.” Not all hirelings run away. Some just appeal to the union rules. They weren’t trained for timber wolves.
So let’s talk about that word woke for a bit.
The apex of sin is not when men prefer darkness to light. That is just standard issue sin. That is sin right off the rack at Kmart. That is what normal sin is like:
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Of course sin prefers darkness to light, and so much is to be expected. But sin actually climbs to the highest summit of impudence when it inverts everything. High rebellion is a moral photo negative.
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; That put darkness for light, and light for darkness; That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
Normal sin prefers darkness to light. Sin in high rebellion says that darkness is light. Sin chooses death over life. But sin on steroids tells us that death is life.
So sin is at its worst when it calls holiness diabolical, and crowns the demonic child as though it were a princeling of all true piety. Normal sin will procure an abortion to evade the consequences of the sin of fornication. Normal sin covers up and lies. This is the kind of sin that hides in the darkness. But high-handed sin shouts her abortion. High-handed sin gathers up some butch clerics, assembles some divinity dykes, all with brightly colored stoles hanging around their stiff necks, in order to bless a new Planned Parenthood clinic.
When sin gets out to the utter frozen limit, it leans and reaches out for the right to define and redefine anything and everything. Sin wants to ascend the sides of the north, in order to sit down on the throne from which all definitions are issued. Boys are girls. Girls are boys. Up is down. Down is up. Triangles have four sides. Rectangles have three sides. How can it be wrong when it feels so right? Truth is what I feel, and what I feel is the truth. The devil is Jesus. Jesus is the devil. These are the deep things of Satan.
In other words, complete and total moral inversion. Put another way, we are talking about the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
“But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils” (Matt. 12:24).
That is what caused Jesus to warn them about the sin against the Holy Spirit. They were looking at the holiest man to ever walk the earth, and their analysis was to say that He had come to us from Hell.
And so what are we calling it now when historic evangelicals are sinking down into this stupor, when a judicial blindness is descending upon them, when they are slipping away together into a deathlike coma. Well, naturally, since we have all gone to the devil of darkness . . . let’s call it being woke.
To be awakened is a good thing. It refers to a state of true revival. In the early years, our nation was enormously blessed through the First Great Awakening. But an awakening is when people are turning from sin. Being woke is what is happening when you are being seduced into sin. I would normally tarry here for a while to discuss the nuanced difference between turning from sin and turning to sin, but I don’t want to be accused of trafficking in subtleties.
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).
This passage, where the sleeper is command to awake so that Christ might shine upon him, is a passage that immediately follows Paul’s exhortation to have nothing to do with the desires, inclinations, needs, lusts, or envies of various “sexual minorities” (Eph. 5:11-13). What does it mean to wake up, to have Christ shine on you? It means being set free by the grace of God to walk in the daylight of liberation from the lusts of sexual minorities.
Incidentally, while we are here, this is how we can tell how badly busted our collective BS detector is. Consider the fact that people can run around in public using phrases like “sexual minorities” without getting laughed out to one of Jupiter’s moons. Sexual minority? What is that even supposed to mean? Strictly speaking, it would have to include someone who is turned on by Maxwell House commercials. But that can’t be it. Maybe it is a loose consortium of all such related fetishes, but that seems unlikely also. Necrophiliacs are a sexual minority, and yet they are never mentioned when we ask what that plus sign at the end of LGBTQ+ means. So it seems to me that what sexual minority means is incipient sexual majority. They are coming after us with the eye of apostles, recruiters, and evangelists.
But back to Paul. Paul does the same thing in another place—where he identifies being awakened and being set free from the kind of deeds that unregenerate men pursue in the darkness.
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:12–14).
No provision for the flesh. No sexual immorality. No works of darkness. Walking honestly, which means that spiritual friendship is really bad name for emotional clinginess. Walk honestly, which means that we shouldn’t pretend that being a needy bucket is a life of abundance. Whatever else a bucket is, with a hole in the bottom of it, it is not a full bucket.
Stick a Fork in It
So allow me to make this as plain as I know how to make it. If your church is not at war with social justice, identity politics, and the charade of being woke, then your church is done. Finished. Kaput. Stick a fork in it.
If you have feminists in your church—and between you and me, you do—then your task, if you are in a position of any kind of leadership responsibility, is to get them out of the church. If the heresy is flagrant, then it must be addressed through church discipline. But if we are still talking a low-grade fever (e.g. advocating women deacons) as opposed to a flagrant embrace of the LGBTQRSV+ impudence, there are two ways of achieving this goal. Fortunately, both of these ways are achieved by doing the same thing.
The pulpit is the thermostat of the church, and you need to find what temperature is detested by the egalitarians in the church, and have every other sermon (more or less) making sure to adjust the thermostat to that temperature. Let everyone know that they are not imagining things with regard to what you are saying in the pulpit by signing the Statement on Social Justice. This will create a climate that is not conducive to the growth or flourishing of feminism at all. And this means that all the feminists will repent, and a small revival will break out.
Okay, so a mini-revival is perhaps the less likely option. But it is an option. Preach for conversions. And never forget that those who are advocating a woke gospel are propagating a false gospel, and need to be converted.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, it might not be just feminists. You might be dealing with woke race hustlers too. And on top of that you might have a couple of deacons who think that income inequality is a real problem, and that socialism shows real promise, if only we are wise enough to pursue true socialism. If you have all three, this is kind of like having whooping cough, scarlet fever, and shingles all at the same time. My advice here, and perhaps this is just me, is see a doctor.
The second way this thermostat preaching could solve your problem is that you have created an impossible situation, and somebody has to go. It might be you. It might be them. But somebody’s gonna leave. If an orthodox preacher and a heterodox congregation are able to remain together, it is only because somebody has been cowed.