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Is your church woke? And why do you owe it to God to leave if they are?

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American Christianity includes more than 200 denominations. One of the fastest growing is the orthodoxy of Woke. Woke Christianity is the single greatest threat to the modern church since the first century.

There are two ways to tell if your church or religious organization has gone woke. First, what’s missing? And second, what replaced what’s missing?

If sound biblical preaching about sin, salvation, Jesus’ virgin birth, and other teachings are absent, that’s not woke; it’s just weak. But if those essentials were replaced by Critical Race Theory (CRT), tolerance, and a watered-down social Gospel, a woke cancer is growing.

The church has adapted to the landscape of society for ages, in most cases, harmlessly. Stained glass sanctuaries gave way to coffee shops. Hymns became “worship” — change happens. Is social justice merely another minor adjustment, or is “progress” just a deception in disguise?

A Black Lives Matter logo or rainbow banner would be an obvious red flag (pun intended). If pastor Samuel is now Samantha, do not walk away, run! Most warning signs are less obvious. How can you discern if an organization is relevant versus woke?

What is woke in a church context? Webster defines woke as: “Aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially racial and social justice).” While it can be other things, woke is most often applied to race issues, so let’s focus there.

Woke ascribes to the unbiblical philosophy that only two groups exist in history: The oppressed and the oppressors. Wealthy, educated, successful people are oppressors; everyone else is oppressed. To question the sacred doctrine of CRT is to be racist.

Jesus ministered to everyone crossing racial, ethnic, and national lines. We should be aware of injustice and oppression. Justice for the weak and oppressed is urged in Scripture (Isa. 1:17; Micah 6:8). God is not an elitist. He shows partiality to no one (Gal. 2:6, Eph. 6:9) — few Christians would argue otherwise.

Christians lead the world in helping the poor, elderly, widows, and orphans (Psalm 68:5) as we should. In 2021, American Christians donated over $145 Billion to charities, making Christians by far the most loving, caring people in the world, but that’s insufficient for the woke.

Wokeness teaches that we are not responsible for our own lives. We’re born privileged or oppressed. The Bible says we are personally accountable for our sins (James 1:13-15). God created us all equal. Acts 17:26 says we are all created “of one blood.” The sin of racism requires repentance, like any other sin. Wokeness replaces repentance with reparations.

Here are four of many warning signs your organization is going woke.

Traditional biblical doctrines redefined or “reinterpreted”

God’s word is timeless and unchanging. It applied when Moses wrote Genesis, and it applies now. “Every good and perfect thing comes from God, the Father of lights who does not change” (James 1:17).

Moral standards mirror “norms” instead of Jesus

When did “norm” replace right? Norms change. Sin is sin. The Bible is the inspired word of God, and salvation comes by faith alone in Jesus alone (Acts 4:12). If a pastor cannot articulate a faith statement that agrees with those basics, you must leave. You owe it to God to honor His word, His promises, His authority, and His Son’s sacrifice at Calvary.

Personal experience over biblical truth

There is no “your truth;” there is only God’s truth. If a church emphasizes life experiences over biblical facts, they’re wrong. Get out. Life experiences shape our personality, but they can be incorrect. God and the Bible are not. Focus your faith on what cannot change: “I am the Lord. I change not!” (Malachi 3:6).

Don’t judge!

Sixty-one years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed a dream that all people would be judged by the contents of their hearts, not the color of their skin. Now, the woke crowd demands that we judge, segregate, and condemn based on skin, race, and (assumed) privilege.

Wokeness is wicked, insidious, shifty, and deceitful. What’s woke this week won’t be woke enough next. What’s the solution? Judgment, discernment, moral conviction, and courage.

Contrary to the woke world, Jesus commands us to judge. He says it clearly, using the exact opposite criteria from the woke tolerate anything mob:

“Stop judging outward appearances and start judging justly” (John 7:24). Yes — The Son of God tells people to wisely, righteously . . . judge.    

The antidote for woke is a biblical worldview. The two cannot coexist.  God offers people something much better than being “woke”; through His Word, a life of being “awake.” 

For more, check out our free guide, “What to look for in a Church.” You may access it here.

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

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