Woke or Awake?
In an article for PJ Media, author Chris Queen states that "Wokeism is a religion without grace." I thought that was a succinct way of summarizing that idea. Let's unpack that idea with some information about this movement or ideology, often refer to as wokeism or being a person who is woke. These days we can't go anywhere without encountering wokeism. I mean, entertainment, education, even shopping aren't immune. Everywhere we go we are confronted with lectures about race and gender, with messages often aimed at young children.
Wokeness itself is a religion, as they say, it replaces God with political and cultural concepts. And the practice of religion, which is usually done through worship, study, works of love and fellowship, these things are replaced with political and cultural crusades. Much like a convert to Christianity, for example, wokeness demands a complete commitment.
Of course, this is where the similarity ends. As I said in the beginning, wokeness is a religion, but unlike Christianity, which is based on and functions by the principle of grace, wokeness distinguishes itself as a religious like movement, which is completely devoid of grace, operating exclusively by the principle of law.
And so in this lesson, I'd like to briefly refresh our memory concerning the concept of grace, and then describe the wokeism movement with its goals and tactics, and then finish with some strategies to protect our children against this latest lie from below.
There are many slogans that explain God's grace towards mankind, for example, receiving a gift we don't deserve. In the Bible, grace is defined first and foremost as a characteristic of God's nature or being. He is gracious, He is full of grace, He is motivated by grace.
And rend your heart and not your garments."
Now return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.
- Joel 2:13
And then in the New Testament, talking again about God,
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
- Titus 2:11
The second concept of grace that the Bible teaches is what God's gracious character motivates Him to do. Among many acts of kindness and generosity, for example, creating the world and putting mankind at the head of it, there is God's grace in action. God's grace has moved Him to save fallen man through a system of faith, rather than a system of law. In other words, God chose to remove humanity's sins by the vicarious atonement of Jesus' cross, allowing us to have our sins forgiven by believing in Jesus, instead of trying to atone for them ourselves through perfect obedience and good works.
He could have said, "do you want to go to heaven? Then tow the line, obey the law, don't do anything wrong, then you can come to heaven." But instead He said, "do you want to come to heaven? Well, then believe in Jesus Christ and you will come to heaven."
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
- Romans 5:1-2
We don't just wish for heaven, we exult in the hope of heaven. This means we are happy, we are confident, we exult in the idea that we are going to heaven because God's grace wants us to be in heaven, and He has made a way for us to be in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. God's grace, therefore, moves God to create us and also a perfect world for us to live in. And then when we wreck all of this through disobedience, His grace motivates Him to respond with love and mercy, instead of wrath and destruction, which would have been perfectly justified on his part.
So having explained briefly the idea of grace, which I think this group is familiar with. Let's talk about wokeism, where we were before this ideology came along. In America, this movement of God's grace taught in churches, exemplified in the public's general attitude, an unwritten social contract with each other. There was a time we were polite with each other, we wanted to help those who were in crisis, even forgive our enemies. A good example of which is the rebuilding of Germany and Japan by the United States and others after World War II. We forgave our enemies by helping them to rebuild their societies.
The grace ethos (grace of God) by which we lived as Americans at that time, was exemplified throughout our country and our culture. This is not to say that we were not sinful, there were plenty of robberies and murders, slavery and injustice, selfish materialism and any number of ugly sinful behavior going on in our nation a hundred years ago. However, we knew these things were wrong. Politicians and social action groups went to Washington to denounce and acted to change these things back into an image and a working of grace. Whether it was a church or marches with signs, we were all dealing with the same thing, the debilitating effect of sinfulness. As Christians would say, social ills for those who protested and did so not being believers. And the answer, even though these words were not always used to describe it, the answer was more grace, more love, or as some said, justice now, or equal rights for all. We spoke a different language, but we were all on the same side at one time.
Then wokeism creeped in to divide. This is where we are now in our society. I'd like to say American society, but it's where we are now in society throughout the world. The essential difference between wokeism and the traditional Judeo-Christian ethic that has influenced American life over the last two centuries is not just that wokeism has no God. There have been plenty of non-believers who lived quite comfortably in a country made up mainly of believing people. Many atheists lived quite happily here in the United States. The difference is how wokeism fashioned a religion of sorts based on a concept rather than a divine being. That concept is their vision of social justice and all the categories that fit into this broad heading, whether it be climate change, gender and identity rights, racial and economic equity, just to name just a few categories that woke ideology is trying to establish dominance in what people think and how they speak and what they say.
In woke religion, what you are, in other words, you're a climate defender, you're gay or you're a person of color, is more important than who you are or how you are, meaning your nationality or your role in life. I'm a husband, I'm a sister, I'm a teacher, I'm a soldier, I'm kind, I'm faithful, I'm a fair minded person. The who and the how you are has been the basis of secular and religious education for centuries, but no more, as our colleges and universities, military, government and even some churches have been infiltrated by various forms of this woke ideology in the last several decades.
Wokeism rejection of a divine being in favor of the human concept of social justice also affects their general worldview. For example, Christians live in this world as pilgrims, passing through on their way to another world that will appear after death and judgment. We identify as disciples and we both learn and practice the Christian lifestyle as a way to shed light or witness the reality and truth of God's existence and grace, as well as a way of honoring and worshiping our God.
1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Romans 12:1-2
You change yourself, you change your mind, you transform your life through the obedience to God's word in order to prove what God says is true, is right, is good. This is our task as Christians. But it's different for the woke. For them, there is nothing beyond this life on earth. So they must create a paradise in the here and now. Everything that they see is wrong must be made right with ultimate urgency. That's why the wokes want to enact such sweeping fast change to American society. It's now or never for them, personally, who have no future beyond their brief life here. If all you've have is the few years, you have to work, you have to make things happen in a hurry because after you're gone, you're done. This worldview makes it easy to break things, to dismantle centuries of settled thought and behavior. They're in a hurry because there is no tomorrow for them.
In a recent article in "The Atlantic" magazine, Shadi Hamid, who is a professor of Islamic studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, wrote the following.
"Adherence of wokeism see themselves as challenging the long dominant narrative that emphasize the exceptionalism of the nation's founding. Whereas religion sees the promised land as being above in God's kingdom, the utopian left sees it as being ahead in the realization of a just society here on this earth."
- Shadi Hamid
In other words, for wokeism, the new heaven and the new earth that Jesus spoke of is what can be achieved here on earth in creating a just society with wokeism defining what and who are the just.
So as far as wokeism being like a religion, Mr. Queen highlights two aspects of religion in general and how they are interpreted and dealt with in woke activism.
The first principle is sin. In Christianity, sin is what you do. Because of mankind's fallen nature, the flesh is susceptible to sin or disobeying God and his commands. In wokeism, however, sin is the result of what you are, not the actions you commit or you omit. For example, if you are white, you're a sinner based on your supposed white privilege. And what that means is the free advantages that you've benefited from, simply because you were born as a Caucasian. If you're straight or a heterosexual and you don't identify as some other gender, or you believe that the various LGBTQ lifestyles are unnatural, then you're a sinner, because your narrow view of human sexuality makes you a sinner. You don't believe in climate change, sinner. Not ready to pay reparations to persons of color today for injustices that took place 200 years ago to slaves, or native Americans, or immigrants, sinner. The kicker in all of this is that you have to buy into the entire agenda to be acceptable to the wokes. For example, let's just say you accept the climate change agenda and you favor LGBTQ+ rights, but you reject the idea of reparations. Too bad, you're a sinner.
A second aspect of woke religion is salvation. In Christianity, God comes to earth as a divine spirit, wrapped in humanity, Jesus Christ. He lives a perfect life, and then He offers that life as a sacrifice, which pays the moral debt owed to God on account of man's sin. He then announces through his apostles that forgiveness for sin and eternal life are now available to all through faith expressed in repentance and baptism (Acts 2:37-41). The believers who respond formed the first church, and thus begins the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to all parts of the world.
We're familiar with that history. Not so with wokeism. As I quoted at the beginning, there is no woke God, nor is there salvation, no heaven, no eternal life, no spiritual dimension. The goal of wokeism is social justice here on earth for those who live on this earth, while they live on this earth, before they are forever buried under this earth. The method of achieving this goal is through personal effort and payment. It's salvation by works, it's being saved by the law, just like every other religion in history. As I've said many times before, only Christianity offers a system of salvation by faith. No other religion has that feature.
Wokeism's Plan of Salvation
So here's the plan of salvation according to wokeism:
- Step #1 – you must embrace every tenant, every idea, every position, every cause espoused by the woke agenda, proclaimed by its apostles, primarily in education and in media.
- Step #2 – you must be prepared to pay for your sins of who and what you are, and payment includes but not limited to cancel culture, or public shaming, or de-platforming you, or otherwise you. Also pressure institutions to dis-invite you or to disengage with you when you earn a living or if you're invited to speak or participate.
- Step #3 – you must be prepared to acknowledge, to denounce, and to pay for the sins of your ancestors. This is done by publicly rewriting your family or your nation's history all together. You must indulge in public apology, and self abasement, and the more public it is, the better it is.
Someone will invariably ask, but where is this going? Where will it end? What exactly is the goal of this woke ideology? Max Funk, summarizes it in this way:
"The goal of wokeism is the complete dismantling and rebuilding of Western culture from the ground up."
- Max Funk, Wokeism: The New Religion of The West
I could go on here with who are the leaders, review various examples of their progress, but I think you get the idea.
The big question for us as Christians, what do we do? What do we do? I am reminded of two passages of scripture when contemplating this destructive social force that seems to have captured the levers of power in government, media, military, education, everywhere you go, this is the ideology.
What do Christians do? In a word Christians need to wake up. Wake up.
11Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
- Romans 13:11-12
It's the hour for us to awake. In every generation, there comes a time when the church needs to wake up.
13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you."
- Ephesians 5:13-14
In other words, we have to wake up and acknowledge that there is a threat before us. Wokeism doesn't simply want to dismantle or destroy the symbols and the institutions that represent our culture and our values. It wants to remove the foundational ideas upon which our society was built. And that's us folks, we represent that foundation, we represent the ideas upon which this nation was built. The people that practice, preach and promote Christian faith.
Wokeism is this generation's version of the apostasy, this generation's embodiment of the antichrist. I'm not saying this is the end of the world, I'm simply pointing out that throughout histories there's been a cycle of spiritual revival, high points in spirituality and low points and we in this generation are at a low point. The proof of this is the seeming ascendancy of godless political philosophy, like communism and secularism that rule in China, Russia and Europe, along with Islam in the middle east, and now in Northern Africa. Add to this, the South American nations espousing socialism and full out communism as China expands its political and financial influence in that region. This brings me back to our nation, now being undermined by this newest brand of godless philosophy and religion, quickly morphing into a legitimate political entity, as all of these movements eventually aspire to become.
Some people have said, they don't like the topic of politics in sermons. I've been told that. People don't like politics in the church, just preach your gospel, leave the politics out of it. And I get it, I understand, no promotion of personal politics hiding behind a sermon. If you're a Republican, good for you, go vote Republican. Don't preach Republican, preach the gospel. If you're a Democrat, good for you, go support democratic candidates. Don't preach Democrat, I get it. If you want to make a speech, run for office, make speeches, don't hide behind a pulpit. However, this is not about politics, this is about waking up to the fact that our faith is about to be challenged like never before in our lifetimes and we need to be aware, we need to be awake, we need to be prepared, we need to be protected, and brothers and sisters, the starting for that is this place right here, the pulpit.
I don't apologize for this lesson, so don't ask me to.
For example, why do you think that they choose to send transvestites to kindergarten classes to read story books, but never to retirement centers? Because like any religious group, you want the young to be taught early about the main ideas of your belief system. Don't we have classes for babies all the way through teens and adults? Of course. You learn about God and the Bible, as Paul says:
and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
- II Timothy 3:15
That's why we have people teaching babies all the way to people teaching adults and we don't apologize for that. Well, wokeism has transvestites (men who are dressed and present as women) parading around kindergartens to desensitize children at an early age that there is anything abnormal about their behavior. Then you produce movies, plays and cartoons with gay and lesbian characters who are normal and funny, and they have superpowers. And then the young audience consumes this entertainment.
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
- Leviticus 18:22
26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
- Romans 1:26-27
9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
- I Corinthians 6:9-11
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" That means go to heaven. "Do not be deceived." Why would he write 2000 years ago? Because there were many 2000 years ago who were deceiving people into thinking that you could act this way and still be right with God.
We were this way before God washed us clean from our sins. We didn't come into the kingdom of God demanding to remain exactly as we are, no change. So when young people consume daily, monthly, yearly, this wokeist agenda and lie, and then they read these scriptures, they're confused what to believe, God's word or today's woke culture that celebrates the gay lifestyle, that rejects and punishes anyone who disagrees?
Your sons, brothers and sisters and your grandsons and granddaughters probably have friends at school who claim that they are gay or any number of gender identities that must be accepted, or else. I mentioned this example because it's the most common one, but there are so many more having to do with race, climate, justice, and so on and so forth.
What Awakeism Does
Like I said before, what to do as a Christian, especially a Christian parent or a Christian grandparent? So as I close out the lesson, I offer three simple, doable and effective responses to the woke ideology by those who are awake in Jesus Christ.
1. Stay close to God
5Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," 6so that we confidently say,
"The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?"
- Hebrews 13:5-6
Don't be afraid. Recognize that God will never leave you, will never abandon you, so stay close to Gim at all times. How do we do that? Prayer, worship, various kinds of service for the name of Jesus. This not only keeps you close to God, but it models the spiritual lifestyle that you want your child or your teenager to have.
Surveys among young people continue to prove that parents, especially fathers are still the number one influencers for children, and this is for good or bad. Your children either want to be like you or they never want to be like you, but it's always the father who is the number one influencer of the children, and that goes for boys and girls. Remember, children don't grow up doing what you say, they grow up doing what you do.
2. Stay close to the Bible
15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
- II Timothy 3:15-16
This passage means that the Bible is the thing you use to test everything, it's the light that you hold up to test things. You look at things to see if they're legitimate, true, right or good. You test them against the Scripture, not against the TV, not against the internet but against God's word. The Scriptures have the answer and information to correct or refute every new "ism" that comes along in every generation to confuse and capture the ignorant and the vulnerable.
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
- Ephesians 6:10-11
Who do you think comes up with these ideas that "there's no such thing as God?" That men can be women and women can be men, who comes up with an idea like that? Certainly not God. Well, if it isn't Him, who do you think it is?
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
- Ephesians 6:12
Video game makers are smart, they mimic what they think the battle is in the spiritual world, and they have great success in selling a lot of consoles and games. But this is not a game, it's not a joke, you don't win by practice. There are legitimate, very real spiritual beings that desire and work to destroy our souls. We need to be awake to that idea. God equips us to recognize and resist every new version of Satan's original lie that God is not to be believed, and without Him, there's a better and more satisfying way to live. Isn't that the lie? "Don't believe Him or the Bible, it's old fashioned, forget that stuff. We'll show you a much better way to live."
Bible school, camp, VBS, family devotionals, these things when you make the commitment you're making a statement that you will be here whenever we meet, regardless the weather or your schedule. There are many ways that God will equip you for the fight, not if it comes, but when it comes, and it will come for you or for yours.
3. Stay close to each other
9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Jesus refers to the church as a flock of sheep, not a loner Wolf. He formed the church as the entity we would inhabit as the kingdom of God on earth before entering the kingdom of God in heaven. Our lives as Christians are to be lived in the framework of a family, not monks, isolated from the world and isolated from each other, another false notion from another era. He mandated that we gather each week for worship, and fellowship, and service (Hebrews 10:25), because we need to remember what He has done for us and to remember and experience our need for each other.
Remember what your spiritual goals are in this life and awaken your children to these spiritual realities.
- You want to die and then awaken to Jesus saying to you and to them, "well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master." I want to hear those words. That's my goal.
- You want to be faithfully living your life as a Christian when Jesus suddenly appears and brings you to join all other faithful Christians who have ever lived, to be with him forever in the heavenly realms,
16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
- I Thessalonians 4:16-17
I want to make sure that when the Lord comes, I will be caught up with the saints in the air and not separated to be judged with the goats. You read this and it sounds like a fantasy. Well, brothers and sisters, boys and girls, this here is the truth, this is what's going to happen, not any of the stuff you see on the internet or on TV. Those are the fantasies, those are the lies that take place in this world.
Does this sound too simple? Does this sound too churchy, too corny compared to the slick marketing and powerful impact being made by the adherence of the woke movement? Christianity seems so out of touch, so old fashioned, it's "part of the problem," it's on the list of "things that need to go." If that's what they're telling you with their woke lingo and countless arguments, just remember that Jesus Christ your Lord, Jesus Christ:
- He created light with a single command (Genesis 1:3).
- He resurrected a widow's only son and his friend Lazarus from the dead with only a few words (Luke 7:11-17).
- He calmed a raging sea by simply saying, "be still" (Mark 4:35-44).
- He claimed victory over sin and death with just three words, "it is finished" (John 19:30).
The latest storm of lies and false promises will do its damage and will be gone but God's word will continue to stand as will those who know and believe it, and stand by it as well. Yes, we're being flooded by this, but you know what? This is going to pass.
In fifty years you may be saying, "Yeah, I remember when I was a teenager, there was this thing, going around." You may be teachers and you may be teaching history and this will be part of history but God's word will still be relevant. God's word will still be guiding you in 2050 or 2075. It'll still be relevant to your life.
What word do you seek after this day? The words of the woke who only seek to destroy you or the words of the One who has awakened the world from sin and death to the promise of eternal life? I encourage you all to awaken from the deep sleep of disbelief by confessing Jesus as Lord in repentance and baptism. I also encourage all believers to remain awake and stand firm in Christ, no matter what the passion or the message of the moment might be. Guard yourselves and your families to remain faithful, so you will be one of those welcomed with the most blessed words, "well done, good and faithful servant."