I want to hit the #wokechurch problem one more time, and I want to do so by answering one question and re-asserting the creeping problem.
First, the question: are people – particularly pastors – who are spending time teaching against the social justice movement, wokeness, #metoo, REVOICE, et al spending their time well? Are we in danger of building an “anti” culture? Are we in danger of merely being against stuff? What about building a positive vision of mercy ministry, care for orphans and widows, gospel outreach, and cultivating the good life?
The answer is simple: Christians, and Christian pastors in particular, must do both. We must be like Nehemiah and his men. We must build and fight. We need to wield swords and trowels. If you put down your sword, you cannot defend what you are called to build. And if you put down your trowel, you are not building anything worth defending. So this means singing Psalms and keeping Sabbath, and this means pressing for the protection of the unborn, testifying to the truth wherever God gives you a platform. This means adopting orphans and opposing those who create orphans, who abuse orphans, who profit off the perpetuation of fatherlessness. How can you say you love orphans if you stand by and watch the wicked abuse them? Or worse, how can you join forces with those who exploit them?
What do I mean? Let me answer that question by turning to my second point and returning to the point of my original post about the #wokechurch being surprised by Abraham having slaves.
At least a few of those who objected to my original post, drawing the connection between Abraham and Jonathan Edwards, did so by insisting that the slavery of the ancient world was significantly different from early American race-based chattel slavery. These are brothers who affirm the inspiration and authority of Scripture, but apparently believe that the racism endemic in American slavery sets it in an entirely different category, and therefore they believe Abraham is a red herring. But this is a terribly slippery slope exegetically. I certainly grant that the Word of God must be wisely applied to new historical and cultural circumstances. I also grant that the law of God in particular must be translated to new contexts, interpreting all of Scripture by Scripture and in the light of Christ. I also grant that some modern realities are not directly addressed by Scripture and therefore must be addressed through the wise application of Biblical principles. However, to argue that a particular historical manifestation of slavery is unique and therefore not addressed by the Bible’s many prescriptions and instructions on the institution of slavery is a terrible mistake. And it leaves a gaping hole in the Christian Church’s flank, particularly right now when Militant Sexual Perversion is exploiting this very weakness.
Let me demonstrate.
Well known “Christian” homosexual apologist Matthew Vines says, “In the ancient world, homosexuality was widely considered, not to be a different sexual orientation or something inherent in a small minority of people, but to be an excess of lust or passion that anyone could be prone to if they let themselves go too much… The concept of sexual orientation, and of same-sex orientation in particular, didn’t exist in the ancient world. The English term “homosexual” was not even coined until the end of the 19th century. And so translations of these words that suggest that Paul was using these distinctly modern concepts and categories are highly suspect…The Bible never directly addresses, and it certainly does not condemn, loving, committed same-sex relationships. There is no biblical teaching about sexual orientation, nor is there any call to lifelong celibacy for gay people…”
Do you follow what Vines is saying? He’s saying that in the Bible and in the ancient world, homosexuality was only envisioned as a lustful promiscuity and overindulgence and elsewhere he adds violence and greed and idolatry to the vices previously associated with homosexuality. Vines argues that the Bible and ancient world did not know that some people are born gay, that some people are “naturally” oriented homosexual. “The Bible never directly addresses… committed same-sex relationships.”
This is the exact argument some are attempting to use against applying what the Bible says about slavery and master-slave relationships to how we analyze American race-based chattel slavery. They are essentially saying, the Bible never directly addresses race-based chattel slavery. Ancient slavery and early American slavery are apples and oranges, two very different things.
Where does this leave us? Matthew Vines shows us the way: “Romans 12 tells us to “honor one another above yourselves…rejoice with those who rejoice,” and “mourn with those who mourn.” Hebrews 13:3 says, “Remember those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” How fully have you absorbed, not just the existence of gay and lesbian Christians, but the depth of the pain and the hurt that their own brothers and sisters have inflicted on them? Does that pain grieve you as though it were your own?”
Matthew Vines, having (apparently) dispatched all the Biblical passages that speak directly to homosexual sin, urges Christians to apply other biblical passages to how Christians ought to view homosexuals, specifically appealing to their grief and pain. And this is the same play being run on the Church by the race-grievance hustlers. Don’t you see their pain? Don’t you see the grief of our black brothers and sisters, how they have been abused and mistreated and hated?
And this brings us full circle to the opening question: Aren’t we supposed to love the outcast, welcome the orphans and widows, care for the poor? Yes, we are. And this is why we must actually defend them from their abusers. The woke-scam and the #metoo monkeyshines and the REVOICE racket are the spear tips of some of the greatest enemies of true mercy and love in our world today. Remember, this is the ploy of the devil to keep sinners in the prisons of their guilt and shame, lull them into the drugged sleep of despair, and bundle them all off to Hell. And the devil comes as an angel of light. The devil comes offering freedom, safety, meaning, deliverance – and it’s a shiny lure: “mercy” with hooks, “love” laced with poison.
No lover of Christian mercy can make peace with any of this. You cannot say you just want to take the good parts of the devil’s deal, you just want to work with the good parts of the social justice dungeons, the helpful parts of the sexual confusion captivity. No, the gospel sets men free. The gospel makes no peace with the devil. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. What fellowship has light with darkness? To buddy up to the woke world is to join forces with the slave masters of the 21stcentury. Their whips are guilt and shame, and their prison cells are called reparations and activism.
How do I know this? How do I know that the woke gospel and #metoo and the REVOICERS are modern slavers? How do I know that they are the modern slave traders? Because they are not setting anyone free. All they bring up are the grievances, the debts, the guilt, the shame, the pain, the hurt, and all they do is whine, complain, demand, and accuse. I can tell they are slavers because of the whips in their hands, because of the dead glaze in their eyes, because everyone who goes with them gets bitter and cold. I know they are slavers because they leave people in their sin, and then they write books and produce movies and hold conferences where they make millions off the grief and misery of their victims. Welcome to the Evangelical Grievance Industry.
But I know what the true gospel does. It sets men free. It sets women free. The gospel is good wine, the best food, like laughter that won’t stop. The gospel is a feast. The gospel is clean air. The gospel is gladness all the way down in your bones. Yes, there is a great deal of good work to do. There is a great deal of evil and injustice to overcome. But to know Jesus is to know the One who has already overcome the world. To know Jesus is to know the one who has already conquered sin, death, and the devil. To know Jesus is to know that bitterness is an enemy and accusations are from the devil. To know Jesus is to rest in His victory, His forgiveness, and His justice. The gospel sets men and women free to forgive those who have wronged them, to love their enemies, and to repent of their own sins gladly. That is the mercy of the gospel. And that is the only mercy that actually does any good.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:6).