With the recent passing of Sean Connery, I reflected on some of the roles he played throughout his acting career. Please keep in mind that I grew up as a big Connery fan, enjoying movies such as The Hunt for Red October, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Highlander. Yet one movie he starred in that is perhaps a little less well-known is First Knight.
First Knight is a 1995 film based on the story of King Arthur, with Sean Connery playing the role of Arthur himself. While the plot is centered on the romance between Lady Guinevere and the newest knight of the round table, Sir Lancelot, another key element is the struggle between the forces of good, led by King Arthur, against the forces of evil, led by Prince Malagant.
So, how does the story of First Knight relate at all to the title of this article — law, liberty, and license? Well, there are several key pieces of dialogue throughout the film that contrast the worldview of King Arthur with that of Prince Malagant. Arthur is a man who champions both law and liberty. He recognizes that not all laws are created equal but that “there are laws that enslave men, and laws that set them free.” For Arthur, an ordered liberty that is based on good, moral laws is the ideal environment for human flourishing. In the story, the city of Camelot is presented as that ideal city-state where genuine freedom, built upon the foundation of good law, thrives.
On the other hand, Prince Malagant envies the wealth, beauty, and glory of Camelot. He also envies the authority that King Arthur has, seeking constantly to find a way to seize the throne for himself.
In one of the final scenes, Malagant and his men infiltrate the city and hold it hostage, demanding that Arthur surrender his crown or else watch his city burn. Interestingly, Malagant makes an appeal to the citizens of Camelot in an attempt to turn them against Arthur. He does this by suggesting that Arthur is really a tyrant and that he, Malagant, has come to set them free:
“What I offer you is freedom; freedom from Arthur’s tyrannical dream; freedom from Arthur’s tyrannical law; freedom from Arthur’s tyrannical God!”
There are two aspects of Malagant’s statement that are particularly interesting. First, Malagant typifies the behavior and character of Satan. For it is Satan who, in his hatred of God, calls God a tyrant and succeeds in tempting humanity to agree with him. We see this clearly in Genesis 3, where Satan tells Eve that the reason for the prohibition against eating the forbidden fruit was not that God was concerned for Eve’s well-being but that he was holding her back from becoming god-like. Satan was presenting himself as having Eve’s best interests in mind. He portrayed God as the tyrant and himself as the liberator.
Second, Malagant’s statement demonstrates the organic relationship between each of the items he deemed as “tyrannical.” In other words, what does he attack first? Arthur’s dream, or vision, of human society. Malagant believes such a society to be tyrannical. Yet why would that dream be tyrannical? Because of its laws. Arthur’s dream society can only exist because it is built upon laws that “set men free.” Malagant believes those laws themselves to be tyrannical.
But what about God? Why does Malagant even mention him? Religion does not play much of a significant role in the film, although it is assumed that the society is Christian. So why would Malagant bring it up at all? Well, it is because all laws have a law-giver and every society and system has a god of that system. Arthur’s laws, the laws of Camelot, were based upon God and His word. That is why it was full of beauty, glory, and justice. Arthur’s dream of Camelot had become a reality because the city was built upon God’s law. Malagant recognized this and therefore declared that the dream was tyrannical because the laws were tyrannical. And the laws were tyrannical because God, the law-giver, was tyrannical.
As humans, we are naturally rebellious against God our creator. Following after the footsteps of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, we believe God to be a tyrant and his laws to be tyrannical. We think that our lives would be better — and that we would experience true freedom — if we rejected his laws.
Yet there is always a law and there is always a law-giver. And if we are going to reject God’s law, we are going to replace it with some other law. Perhaps it will be our own law, with ourselves as our own god. Or perhaps it will be some other law given to us from some other god. Either way, it is not a matter of whether we will have a law but which one we will have.
This fact is something that Prince Malagant himself could not avoid. While he was calling Arthur’s law tyrannical, he ironically commanded all the citizens of Camelot to submit to his tyranny:
“I am the law now! You obeyed Arthur, and now you will obey me!”
Ultimately, the freedom that Malagant offered was nothing less than true tyranny. It was a lie, through and through. And this same lie is told to us time and again. Sin tempts us, offering us freedom. Yet in reality it gives us nothing but slavery. As Jesus himself tells us in John 8, “he who sins is a slave to sin.”
So, when we reject God’s law, we are ironically rejecting the very thing that leads to human flourishing. At the same time, when we proclaim our so-called freedom to engage in sin we are really proclaiming slavery. Slavery to our desires and passions.
Historically, even the ancient Greek pagans recognized the difference between virtue and vice, liberty and license. The ancient philosopher Aristotle described the happy life as a life of virtue. To pursue happiness was to pursue the virtuous life. And it is this very concept of happiness that we see mentioned in our own Declaration of Independence. The pursuit of happiness is neither the pursuit of passions nor the pursuit of pleasures. It is the pursuit of virtue.
Similarly, the ancient Greeks and Romans never saw liberty as the freedom to do whatever you like. Liberty was the freedom, or ability, to pursue a life of virtue. It was the freedom from vice and the freedom to virtuousness. To do whatever your passions desired was not liberty, but license (from where we derive the word licentiousness).
When we look to God’s word, we see that true freedom finds its ultimate meaning in freedom from sin. Just as Moses led the people of Israel out of physical slavery in Egypt, so too does Jesus lead his people out of spiritual slavery to sin. Biblical freedom is the freedom FROM sin (vice) and the freedom TO pursue righteousness (virtue). As Jesus himself declares, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
So, as you reflect on the current state of our society, consider the difference between liberty and license. Those who declare that they can be whatever gender they wish and can sleep with whoever they wish are not proclaiming freedom but are proclaiming slavery — slavery to sin and vice. Those who proclaim the right to murder their unborn children do not proclaim liberty but are proclaiming death to any who stand in the way of their passions. And those who advance the cause of socialism and economic justice are not defending justice at all but rather a law based on envy.
Our society has wholeheartedly adopted the mindset of Prince Malagant. We desire glory, beauty, and justice but want those things without God. We want to set ourselves up as god and to be our own law-giver. We look at Christ and His Kingdom and declare it to be tyrannical. Yet, ironically, the system we put in place tyrannizes and destroys. What we have done, therefore, is to buy into the lie of Satan. Satan has offered us freedom from a tyrannical dream, tyrannical law, and tyrannical God. We accepted his offer, wanting freedom but receiving slavery. Our only hope now is to accept Christ’s offer. He offers us true freedom but requires us to die to our sins. But if we die in Christ, we get life, true life. And if we become servants of Christ, we get liberty, true liberty.
While many in our culture celebrate this day as Halloween, there are some who would recognize it as Reformation Day — the day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door (i.e. bulletin board) in Wittenberg, Germany.
When Luther penned his Theses, he had no intention of becoming an international celebrity. The document was written in Latin — the language of the universities and scholars — rather than in German, and his goal was to challenge someone to engage in an academic debate with him on each of the points. While there is no evidence to suggest that a debate ever took place, an unknown individual (or group of individuals) took the 95 Theses, translated them into German, and made thousands of copies for distribution. Within a matter of weeks, Luther was inadvertently thrust into the public spotlight.
But why did Luther make this challenge in the first place? It was because he was concerned for the parishioners under his care. They were being duped into paying money to have their time in purgatory reduced. This was made popular by John Tetzel, who advertised these services by stating “when the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
When we look at what Luther was trying to accomplish, he had no desire to destroy the Catholic Church or to separate from it. In fact, in the 95 Theses he makes several appeals to the Pope, even suggesting that the Pope would not approve of the corruption that was taking place if he were to know about it. Yet, as time went on, it became clear to Luther that not only was the Pope aware of what was happening but that he had even endorsed it. Tetzel had been acting with full Papal approval.
I bring up this story in order to highlight the importance of reformation. The term “reformation” simply refers to the idea of bringing something back to its original, or more correct, state. It involves re-forming something that had become de-formed.
Of course, any healthy organization or system will contain built-in methods for reformation, or correction. In aviation, every navigational system will decay over time if it does not find some way to re-align itself. The term for this is “drift.” As a navigational system drifts, it becomes less accurate in calculating an aircraft’s location. To correct this drift, the navigational system must communicate with something that is fixed and reliable. In the ancient world, seafarers would reference the North Star and other interstellar bodies. Later, the compass would provide an accurate reference to magnetic north. Today, navigational systems communicate regularly with GPS satellites and receive realignment updates.
A similar process occurs in industries and business. Standards are put in place in order to ensure that a product is of good quality and that both workers and consumers are not harmed. If production quality declines due to laziness or from cutting corners, a reformation, or re-alignment, needs to take place in order to get things back on track.
But any attempt at reformation implies that there is a fixed standard by which one can measure. If there is no standard, then we cannot know if we even need to reform. If there is no standard, we do not know what to change or how much to change. In other words, without an ultimate standard, there can be no reformation or realignment. There can be change, but there is no way to measure whether that change is good or bad.
Going back to Martin Luther, the ultimate standard for him was the word of God — Scripture. There was no other option. For any standard to be a standard it has to be true and trustworthy. If a standard is false or inaccurate, it cannot perform its function, since it will actually cause de-formation rather than re-formation. If a standard is untrustworthy and ever-changing, it cannot perform its function, since it will be too unstable to re-align anything. In other words, if the North Star is constantly changing location then it will do no good to try to navigate off of it.
Yet when it comes to matters of faith and practice, Scripture is the perfect standard. Being both true and trustworthy, it is the only thing that the Church can use in order to reform itself. And yes, the Church must always be reforming. For it will always be subject to drift. This is true for any organization that contains sinful human beings. If erroneous beliefs or behaviors creep in, realignment must take place. But there must always be some ultimate standard that one can reference. For the Church, that measuring stick — or canon — must be Scripture.
Scripture, being breathed out by God, provides a fixed foundation upon which realignment and reformation can take place. It is no coincidence that Jesus Christ, who described himself as “the way, the truth, and the life,” was also described as “the word made flesh.” Christ is the incarnate Word of God and is the cornerstone upon which the Church is built.
So, while we celebrate the 503rd anniversary of the Reformation this year, let us not neglect the fact that we must always be reforming. Yet the measuring stick that we use is neither our own personal whims nor what is considered to be popular opinion. If we use ourselves as the standard, we make God in our image and force the church to conform to our satisfaction. We go “church shopping” in the hopes of finding something that meets our needs and makes us happy. And when the church we choose fails to satisfy our personal preferences, we go find another.
Similarly, if we let the culture be our standard, we setup Demos — the people — as our god and cause the church to lose its saltiness. Instead of being a light to those around us we cover the lamp in order to join them in darkness. In trying to be “relevant” by “coming along side” the culture, we depart our firm foundation and find ourselves standing upon the same sinking sand as the rest of society.
To avoid both of these errors — personal preference or popular culture — we must look to Christ and His word as our firm foundation. Furthermore, we can look to those Christians who came before us in order to learn from them. This does not mean that they are equal to God’s word in authority. Far from it. They were navigators just as we are. We can appreciate the work that they did just like we can appreciate the discoveries that the first explorers made. But even the ancient navigators needed a firm and fixed point of reference. The same is true for the early Christians. That is why we can simultaneously affirm God’s word as our final authority while learning from those who came before us — for they too saw God’s word as the ultimate reference point.
So, in what ways do we need reformation today? In Luther’s time, the primary issue involved abuses and errors within the Catholic Church. While some of those errors (and some new ones) remain within Catholicism, the Protestant/Evangelical Church has begun embracing the errors of our secular culture. Critical race theory and socialism are two of the big ones, although there are some others as well. Yet if evangelicals are not careful to realign themselves to God’s word, they will quickly find themselves without saltiness in a decaying society that desperately needs some more salt.
The purpose of this article is to offer a response to the arguments set forth in White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo. I wish to make it clear that I am approaching this book from a Christian perspective with the intent of fostering greater discernment within the Church. In other words, this is not so much a review of White Fragility as it is a response to it.
Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): The ideas advocated in White Fragility are antithetical to the Christian faith and, in fact, constitute a false gospel.
I know that this claim I am making is quite bold. Yet I believe that the evidence will bear this out. As a Christian, I value truth and do not wish to bear false witness or to engage in slander. I intend, rather, to be careful in my criticisms and to analyze White Fragility as fairly as possible. There is nothing wrong with Christians reading books from non-Christians, or even books that advocate a non-Christian worldview. Yet Christians must use discernment and always measure man’s words against God’s words. This is true even when Christians read the writings of fellow Christians, for no Christian should be treated as infallible.
With that being said, Robin DiAngelo starts her book off by arguing that the concept race is a social construct, even admitting that, “under the skin, there is no true biological race.” She goes on to claim that the idea of race was developed to justify unequal treatment of certain people. On these two points I wholeheartedly agree with her. There is no Biblical concept of race and any attempt to create such a construct is contrary to God’s created order.
Yet the problem with DiAngelo’s argument comes when she offers a definition of the term racism. In her mind, racism is a broad category that involves BOTH overt acts of discrimination AND covert institutions and systems. In other words, DiAngelo argues that racism is not just an action of discrimination based on race, it is an entire system of ideas, institutions, and ideologies.
In the United States, since whites are the predominant race, whiteness is defined by DiAngelo as “all the aspects of being white.” She goes on to say that whiteness is based upon “the definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as a deviation from that norm.”
What makes whiteness even more problematic for DiAngelo is that white people are, by nature, completely blind to it. Whiteness apparently includes cultural practices “that are not recognized by white people.” Whites simply “are unaware of, or do not acknowledge” their privilege and the racism that results from their worldview. This white worldview includes values such as individualism, meritocracy, and capitalism. Quite simply, whites have been corrupted by whiteness and are unaware of the damage that it has done and is continuing to do.
These definitions of racism and whiteness lay the foundation for the rest of DiAngelo’s book. Yet it is a foundation that is neither grounded upon the word of God nor revealed in God’s creation. Rather, DiAngelo (whether she realizes it or not) has taken the Biblical concept of sin and replaced it with the secular concept of whiteness.
For example, here are just a few ways in which DiAngelo’s understanding of whiteness/racism matches God’s description of sin:
This swapping of the Biblical concept of sin with a secular concept of whiteness leads to the creation of an entirely new theology and religion. For, since white people are slaves to their whiteness, they need to be set free and saved. But how does this work within a secular paradigm that denies the existence of either a creator or redeemer? Well, even though DiAngelo does not purposefully try to answer that question, the answers can be found throughout her book.
For instance, in the final chapter of White Fragility, DiAngelo suggests that “the antidote to guilt is action.” Yet, since there is no one to rescue white people from their whiteness, whites must essentially save themselves through their own works. Consider the following statement from DiAngelo:
“If my answer is that I was not educated about racism, I know that I will have to get educated. If my answer is that I don’t know people of color, I will need to build relationships. If it is because there are no people of color in my environment, I will need to get out of my comfort zone and change my environment; addressing racism is not without effort.”
The efforts of self-improvement on the part of white people must reach the point where they “internalize the above assumptions.” The assumptions that DiAngelo refers to is a list of short, doctrinal statements that she provides for her readers. Here are just a few of them:
Of course, since there is no regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and no atoning sacrifice for sins, the proverbial leopard must indeed change his own spots. The white person must become self-aware of his or her whiteness (i.e. woke) and must work so as to change his or her own worldview.
According to DiAngelo, as white people achieve freedom from whiteness, the larger institutions (e.g. laws and policies) would begin to change. This too is a characteristic of religion. For Christians also believe that changed hearts will result in a changed culture. Yet, in Christianity the catalyst for change is the good news of Jesus Christ. In DiAngelo’s religion of racism, the only hope for white people is to get on the treadmill in the hope that they will become “less white.”
Sadly, in DiAngelo’s religion of racism the process of sanctification is never complete. DiAngelo makes this clear when she says, “I will never be completely free of racism.” And while Christianity also teaches that we will never be completely free from the effects of sin in this earthly life, Christianity offers a hope that the religion of racism does not have. For, in Christ, God’s people are set free from the power and penalty of sin (John 8:34-36). They do not have to sin but can choose to practice righteousness. And even though they will continue to fight against sin in their lives, it is God who is working in them to achieve victory (Philippians 2:13). This victory WILL ultimately be achieved when Christ returns and God’s people live again in glorified, sinless bodies (1 Cor. 15:53-55).
Yet, in the religion of racism, there is no glorification because there is no savior. There is no end to the treadmill of cleansing oneself from whiteness. DiAngelo recognizes that this bleak situation is likely to result in outbursts of white fragility, such as depression, guilt, panic, fear, and anxiety. To combat this, DiAngelo offers a solution to our discomfort that, again, bears the mark of a religion:
The first three steps eerily parallel the Christian act of prayer and confession before the Lord. Step Four, which involves internalizing the key doctrines of racism/whiteness, parallels the Christian practice of reading and internalizing the word of God. Step Five is the act of being discipled, and held accountable, by a person who is more mature in the faith. And finally, Step Six involves repenting of one’s whiteness/racism and seeking reconciliation.
Yet the reconciliation described in the religion of racism is nothing like the reconciliation found in Jesus Christ. According to DiAngelo, white people are at the mercy of colored people. It is wholly upon white people to pursue reconciliation with people of color. And even then, people of color have no obligation to deal with white people with gentleness or mercy. Rather, it is the duty of white people to be less fragile and to humbly accept feedback regardless of how that feedback is delivered.
While white people must approach people of color to seek reconciliation, there is no requirement for the person of color to respond positively. In fact, DiAngelo argues that white people have to be willing to “accept no for an answer.” Yet even if the answer is yes, the standard is always determined by the offended person of color. In other words, the offended person of color decides whether or not the repentance is sufficient and what further steps need to be taken by the white person. This, in effect, sets the person of color in the place of high priest over the white person. And since there is no objective written law of God by which to guide reconciliation, the high priest gets to make up the rules on the way.
Ultimately, the reconciliation described in this religion of racism is a far cry from Biblical reconciliation. In Christianity, the offended party is equally responsible to go to the offending brother and show him his fault (Matthew 18:15). Furthermore, if the offender asks for forgiveness, the offended person is obligated to grant forgiveness, not just seven times but seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:21-22). This forgiveness is not to turn into extortion or personal vengeance. God, in Scripture, sets the limits for what true reconciliation and restitution looks like. This ensures that the offended person does not play the victim card and take advantage of the offender.
In the end, the teachings presented by DiAngelo are clearly the tenets of a new religion based on racism. And while this religion steals from certain aspects of Christianity, it twists the truth and sets up a wicked form of repentance and reconciliation. Worst of all, it offers a false gospel that suggests that white people can be saved by their own works. Yet since there is no atoning sacrifice, there is no justification. White people can never be declared “not guilty” in the eyes of the god of racism. And since there is no resurrection, there is no glorification. White people will never be free from racism and enter into true rest and peace. The god of racism - the god proclaimed by DiAngelo - is a cruel taskmaster that can neither save us from our sins nor grant us true reconciliation. Christians must not bow the knee to this god nor join him to the God of the Bible. We proclaim the true gospel of Jesus Christ, which is truly good news to the world. For it is Christ alone who can set people free from their sins by an objective standard that He has determined. And if the Son sets them free, they will be free indeed.
Given the current situation within America, I believe it to be an appropriate time to share a story about two different gospels. These gospels both claim to be able to solve the problem of racial reconciliation in America. That is good news indeed, right? Well, as I hope to show, only one of them actually has the power to do what it claims to be able to do.
But before we look at these competing narratives, we first need to highlight the problem that we face. The problem of racism (or to use a biblical phrase from James 2, the sin of partiality) does exist. It has always existed and will continue to exist until Judgment Day. People are sinners and, as such, will treat others differently for a variety of reasons. Whether it is because of age, handicap, language, intelligence, dress, attractiveness, gender, or ethnicity, some people will experience mistreatment by others. In fact, one could argue that all people will experience mistreatment at some point in their lives.
With that in mind, I acknowledge the difficulties faced by many in the black community in America today. There is no doubt that, historically, blacks have been treated poorly throughout much of American history. Furthermore, increasing fatherlessness and the breakdown of the family has only made things worse.
On top of it all, there does exist (and always will exist) examples of police brutality. Again, this is because police officers (like everyone else) are sinners and will at times abuse their power and authority. Some of them lack self-control and are prone to anger, while others might be too quick to use lethal force. And while it is likely that some police officers hold prejudicial views toward black men living in the inner city, I imagine that there are officers who are also prejudicial toward Hispanics or Asians (or other Whites). These sins of partiality will exist in a fallen world. Of course, this does not mean that we should simply accept our situation and stop talking about it. We need a solution. We need some good news.
Yet it is at this very point that the dividing line exists. For while Christians and non-Christians alike can recognize that a problem exists, the solutions that both sides present are incompatible.
Consider for a moment the narrative, or story, that is being proclaimed within our society at present. We are told that systemic racism exists throughout the nation and that it is perpetuated primarily by white Americans. In fact, these white Americans enjoy certain privileges that many of them either do not recognize or perhaps even openly deny. Blind to the advantages they received from an inherently racist system, white Americans today must recognize that their prosperity and privilege has come off the backs of slaves. Even those whites whose ancestors arrived after slavery was ended still benefited from the racist system that was established.
The answer to this problem, we are told, is simple. White Americans must listen to black voices and black experiences in order to become awakened to the truth. Once “woke,” whites must confess their racism and ask for forgiveness from the black community. They must then join the community as allies to people of color, advocating for things such as reparations and the defunding of law enforcement. Those who remain silent or who even disagree with this narrative, including blacks, are denounced and sent to the social media guillotine.
As we look at this proposed solution, I want to bring to your attention that this narrative is actually nothing more than an entirely new theological system (i.e. Woke Theology). In fact, I would say that the problem of racism and racial reconciliation in America is actually a SPIRITUAL problem that masquerades as a problem of ethnicity or skin color. Allow me to explain this by presenting some of the key doctrines of Woke Theology:
Doctrine of Man (Anthropology) — Not all men are born sinners. Some, namely whites, are born guilty of being racist oppressors either by action or by association. They are privileged from conception. People of color, particularly blacks, enter into the world as victims of this racial oppression.
Doctrine of Sin (Hamartiology) — The original sin of whites is both inherited and performed. White Americans inherit the guilt of their ancestors (either those who implemented systemic racism or those who perpetuated it). They also engage in their own sins of racism that take the form of undetected and unintentional micro-aggressions toward people of color.
Doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology) — People of color (particularly black Americans) are part of the Elect, justified in their behavior and innocent of the sin of racism/partiality. They are, therefore, not in need of “saving.” On the other hand, whites can be saved by a combination of grace and good works. Grace is needed for any white person to experience regeneration, or “wokeness.” Yet being woke is not enough to declare one to be justified or not guilty. One must perform various penances such as public confession of sin, public display of virtue, and public advocacy for policy changes.
Doctrine of the Church (Ecclesiology) — As mentioned above, people of color are the Elect and are therefore members in good standing within the Woke Church. Yet those people of color, including black Americans, who disagree with the woke narrative are guilty of heresy/blasphemy and are cast out of the covenant community. In a way, even people of colored can lose their salvation according to Woke Theology. As for whites, only those who repent of their whiteness and adopt the correct narrative can join the woke covenant community. Even then, they can never enjoy full membership but must remain in the outer court as quasi-Gentiles. Their penances are never done and their good works are never enough to earn them full justification. They are always guilty, or “unclean,” and therefore can never enjoy true peace.
Doctrine of Last Things (Eschatology) — As the woke covenant community grows, it expands to fill the entire society. This expansion and growth results in the toppling of any “racist” social structures (which is nearly all of them). In their place will be erected new structures based on vague concepts such as diversity, inclusivity, and equity. In this new society the woke covenant community will allegedly experience peace, prosperity, and genuine social justice. The Tower of Babel will finally have been rebuilt, this time to bring heaven on earth.
Along with the key doctrines listed above, Woke Theology offers a wholly unique concept of covenant and atonement. For example, white Americans are expected to repent of their white privilege and ask forgiveness from people of color, particularly blacks. In this way, whites serve in a sort of messianic role, atoning for the sins of others (their forefathers). Similarly, the black person that they ask forgiveness from apparently represents the entire colored covenant community. It is not as though that specific white American has sinned against that specific black American. Rather, that white person attempts to act as representative for all whites (dead or alive) by asking forgiveness from a person of color who also acts as representative for all people of color (dead or alive).
And what about the so-called “reconciliation” that this Woke Theology offers? It can never exist. Even if a white person becomes woke, he or she must perform a never-ending set of penances. Virtue signaling, public confession, and a contrite heart are all well and good, yet the expectations will always change. If you do not speak when commanded, your silence becomes violence. If you speak without being commanded, you are exerting your privilege. If you have no colored friends, you bear no fruit. If you pursue a colored friend, your love is not genuine. If you have wealth and power, you are holding onto your privilege. If you give away your wealth and power, you are patronizing. The target is always moving and the treadmill of penance is always running. And of course, for the woke white person, one misstep results in immediate church discipline (further resulting in the need for more penance).
In fact, Woke Theology even has its own catechism. You must say “black lives matter.” No, you may not say “all lives matter” or even “all black lives matter.” The correct verbiage is “black lives matter,” no more, no less.
This is the gospel of Woke Theology. It does not bring about reconciliation but rather enmity. And it is not really about race at all but about the narrative. While we need to listen to black voices, it can only be CERTAIN black voices. Those blacks who go against the narrative are considered anathema to the woke covenant community. What this shows is that, within Woke Theology, it is not your ethnicity or skin color that saves you but the narrative that you proclaim. It is the woke gospel that saves. Those who embrace it are accepted while those who deny it are rejected, regardless of the color of their skin.
If, at the end of the day, this issue is spiritual then our solution must also be spiritual. And the only solution — one that brings about genuine reconciliation — is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us just consider some of the main doctrines of Christianity and how greatly they differ from that of Woke Theology:
Doctrine of Man — All persons are made in the image of God and are descended from Adam (Genesis 1). There is only one “race,” the human race. Every clan, tribe, and nation are all of one blood despite the varieties in appearance.
Doctrine of Sin — Adam, who represented humanity, sinned against God and brought death and judgment upon all of mankind (Genesis 3). As a result, we are all born sinners, equally dead in our trespasses and sins, and equally unable to save ourselves (Romans 3).
Doctrine of Salvation — Christ, who is the second Adam, came into the world to save sinners (Romans 5). He fulfilled the requirements of God’s law perfectly, something that we could never do. He took the punishment we deserved upon the cross, paying a debt that we could never pay. He rose from the dead, conquering death and establishing his kingdom of righteousness and peace (1 Corinthians 15).
Doctrine of the Church — All those who repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ alone are members of the body of Christ, the Church. The Elect are those who have been chosen by God to be His people. This choice is according to God’s own good pleasure (Romans 9), and is not based on culture, language, or skin color. Those who are in Christ cannot and will not ever be lost, for they are his sheep and they hear his voice and follow him (John 10).
Doctrine of Last Things — God is drawing people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to be His people. It is through Christ that every family and nation of the world will be blessed. When Christ returns, those who trusted in Him will enter into everlasting rest and peace. Those who have rejected him will receive what they both deserve and desire, everlasting separation from God.
Please note that, according to the gospel of Jesus Christ, ANYONE — regardless of ethnicity — who places their faith and trust in Christ will be saved from their sins and declared “not guilty” before the throne of God. This occurs not because of their own good efforts but because of the good work done by Christ on their behalf.
This reconciliation between God and man is the ONLY foundation for any reconciliation to take place between man and man. And what does this reconciliation look like? Well, those who are in Christ can and should repent of specific sins that they committed against specific people. In return, those who were sinned against can and should forgive those who specifically sinned against them. They are to forgive others just as God forgave them. And just as God removed their own sins as far as the east is from the west, so both parties are to treat each other’s sins as if they have been completely reconciled— because they have been!
But what about the social structures and our systems of law? Well, instead of being built upon the ever-changing standards of diversity, inclusivity, and equity, Christianity teaches that they should be built upon God’s prescribed standard of behavior. This is the only true foundation for justice. Justice determined by man is fluid, ebbing and flowing based on the whims and wishes of society. Justice determined by God is firm, applied equally to poor and rich, small and great. Furthermore, God’s justice recognizes the limits of mankind’s capabilities and the human tendency toward vengeance. Consider the following example:
Deuteronomy 24:16 (ESV)
“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin."
This simple law eliminates any claim made by one group to another for sins committed in the past. Was your great-grandfather enslaved by my great-grandfather? Maybe. Have I possibly benefited materially from the work that your great-grandfather did in service to my great-grandfather? Maybe. Am I guilty for what my great-grandfather did? Absolutely not. Are you entitled to my possessions because of the suffering your great-grandfather endured? Absolutely not.
So where does this leave you and I? Well, I will treat you as one made in the image of God and I ask that you treat me the same. I will hold you to the standard of God’s law and I ask that you do to me the same. I will love you as myself and I ask that you do the same.
But what about the injustice that my great-grandfather committed against your great-grandfather? Who will atone for that? Christ did. But what if they were not Christians? Then, at the final judgment, God will deal with it. For no one will escape God’s justice except for those who have been covered by the blood of Christ. Everyone will die and everyone will be punished for their sins. They will either die outside of Christ or die in Christ. So, the question is, are YOU going to die and be punished for your own sins or are you going to place your faith in Christ so that HIS death and punishment takes care of them for you? Apart from Christ there can be no reconciliation, either between you and God or you and others. It is only in Christ that we can have true and lasting peace (Romans 5).
I am a christian, military veteran, husband, father of three, author, and podcaster. As a student of history and the Bible, I enjoy writing articles related to theology, culture, and history.