Owen Strachan’s ‘Christianity and Wokeness: How the Social Justice Movement Is Hijacking the Gospel – and the Way to Stop It’ is a must-read for every American Christian concerned about the inroads Woke ideology has made over the past few years in our churches.
Strachan outlines clearly and thoroughly here how wokeness is distinct from and contrary to Biblical doctrine concerning God, man, sin, and salvation. But he also does more than that. He also helpfully explains what is and is not wokeness.
It is not wokeness, for instance, to believe that racism is both a real social evil and sinful. Neither is it wokeness to believe systems can be rigged with two-tiered justice being meted out on the basis of skin color or other inborn traits. Where racism either individual or systemic exists, it is not wokeness to believe Christians both can and should oppose such, declaring them wicked and calling for repentance from the same.
What is wokeness is to claim that any statistical imbalance in power, wealth, and status proves that America is currently a systemically racist or sexist country. So also, it is wokeness to assert that racism is a problem unique to white people, and that being white makes one inherently racist and oppressive.
It is also wokeness to claim that any imbalance of power is proof of oppression, thereby justifying efforts to radically redistribute wealth and authority. Such claims directly contradict both the letter and spirit of God’s Word where we read that God Himself institutes governing authorities – in the Church, civil society, and in the family – and that such deserve our respect and submission.
As Strachan points out also, the notion of collective guilt which is at the heart of social justice is inherently unjust, and represents arguably the greatest temptation in our time for those who are inclined to casually bear false witness against their neighbors in pursuit of doing them harm and taking coveted things away from them.
For instance, to say that a man is inherently sexist and oppressive if he is the head of his wife and children, regardless how he wields his authority, is to bear false witness against him. So also, to say that a white man, woman, or child is inherently racist, guilty of all the sins of white people against persons of color, fails every test of reasonableness, fairness, and godliness according to God’s Word, and is itself a form of racism and even hypocrisy as it purports to act in the name of anti-racism.
In ‘Christianity and Wokeness’ you will find a brief but persuasive catalog of increasing efforts in recent years by high-profile teachers and leaders in the American Church to promote CRT and social justice, as often as not without using the particular terms. But the key issue is not what specific terms are used so much as the substance of the ideas. And in all cases, our responsibility as Christians being to teach only what accords with sound doctrine translates to a responsibility to confront false teaching in all its forms, whatever the source, however popular or well-respected the figure or organization promoting it.
Strachan stands here in the tradition of J. Gresham Machen – whose ‘Christianity and Liberalism’ American Christians should also familiarize themselves with – in saying that Woke Christianity is just the latest iteration of Liberal Christianity. It is not just one among many valid interpretations of the Gospel; it is a different and false gospel, and needs to be both recognized and treated as such.
As Strachan not only argues but demonstrates, this need not mean opponents to Woke Christianity become just as mean and shrill as their opponents. But we must nevertheless be clear and steadfast.
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