Saturday, May 26, 2018

"Woke Christianity," and the "intersection" of theology and sociology

In the beginning, before all the "woke" activism began in the ostensibly orthodox Reformed circles, there was some measure of unity within the American Reformed churches. Sure, it cannot be denied that racism was present here and there, an evil lurking in the shadows ready to erupt when the right conditions were to manifest themselves. But the solution was to call people to the unity of the one human race, that all Man whether white or black, "Asian" or Hispanic, were all one in Adam by virtue of creation, and are remade one in Christ by virtue of regeneration. The solution to racism was to promote "color-blindness," the theory that all should be treated alike without discrimination due to skin color. But all that has changed in recent times, and appalling filth under the guise of "social justice" and "racial justice" has infiltrated the church, promoting dissension and division within her ranks. Everywhere the new "woke" gospel went, it has provoked outrage, [actual] racism, animosity and schism. The apostles of this new "Christianity" strenuously insist that they are merely bringing the true Gospel to bear on the sin of racism, never realizing that they have imbibed of the zeitgiest, and have swallowed the redefinitions of the world hook, line, and sinker.

When I had first protested against the mission creep of the Core Christianity team, one of the responses was to claim that I was bringing politics into the picture. The accusation implicitly claims the moral high ground that they were upholding Scripture, while I was bringing in politics. More specifically, I was bringing in right-wing politics! Despite the fact that I wasn't an American, neither was I part of any "Moral Majority," nevertheless the same tarring was used against me in my initial protests. Therein lies one of the major problems with "woke Christianity": It assumes that what it holds to be true are mere unbiased and dispassionate scientific truth. It assumes that the concepts of "privilege," "justice," "equality," and so on and so forth are facts, on the same practical level as the fact that the world is round. Critical Race Theory is taken to be like Newton's Laws of Motion, and one must be a moron or a malicious racist to actually dispute these "facts."

But when one actually gets out of the liberal echo chamber and assume an attitude of objectivity, one can discern that both sides are "political," in the sense that both sides are analyzing the issues using different frames of view. The "woke Christian" is no less political than his opponent. What he claims to be axiomatic are not really axiomatic but heavily disputed interpretations.

If one therefore truly desires to be absolutely apolitical, then by all means stick purely to the Bible. But that means that one cannot apply what the Bible says specifically to one's situation, because in application one must have an understanding of the social environment where the biblical truths are to be applied. But the rot extends back even further to the hermeneutics of the Left as they distort the Bible's teaching about Israel's social polity. Ancient Israel of course was no modern socialist state, but that does not stop liberals from reading their socialist fantasies into the biblical text, with the Jubilee being one such example. I have previously did a short exegesis on the event of the Jubilee, but suffice it is to say here that the Jubilee was neither a capitalist nor a socialist institution. Reading ancient Israel as a capitalist society would be just an egregious an error as reading ancient Israel as a socialist country, but only the latter extreme has been attempted (to my knowledge) in church history.

In light of all this, the "intersection" of theology and sociology requires careful navigation of Scripture and the application of Scripture. Since politics will be involved in any specific application to society, the Church ought to make the application purely general and in Scriptural terms, which is that racism is to be rejected through focusing on teaching the unity of all Man as equal in Adam, and of the new Man in Christ. Once one thinks that bringing in other concepts such as "privilege," "equality," "equity" etc. are helpful to the discussion, one has immediately taken a political stand, not a biblical stand, and in my opinion a wrong one at that. The "Core Christianity" team therefore is supremely political, and therefore they have not been honest about what they stand for, which was supposed to be CORE Christianity. Once they have brought politics into the discussion, then they have no moral high ground for attacking others as being "political."

"Woke Christianity" thus at best is one of the many political applications of the Gospel. At worst, it is a subversion of the biblical Gospel, since it claims to make a certain sociological viewpoint part of the Gospel. Therefore, even if one were to reject right-wing ideas, one should not embrace woke "Christianity" as anything but poison to the health and well-being of the Church.

On "privilege" and the new gospel of woke activism

Here are two interesting articles on the topic:

No, I Won't Check My Privilege: The Left's Latest Pejorative is racist, sexist, and stifling of honest debate
Atonement as Activism: The Great Awokening

[RT: R Scott Clark on the Heidelblog]

Sermon: Charity and Liberty (1 Cor. 8)

Here is the sermon I had preached on May 6 2018 at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, continuing my series on the book of 1 Corinthians, entitled "Charity and Liberty."