One of the reasons many Christians become defensive in the debate with the LGBT movement is because for too long churches have failed to acknowledge, much less teach and prepare their congregations on how to analyze, understand and challenge the anti-biblical foundations of the movement. When was the last time you heard a preacher addressing LGBT issues over the pulpit? Likewise, many Christians find themselves ill-prepared in confronting the current ideology of social justice that focuses narrowly on an intersectionality of sexual identity(ies) and Critical Race Theory (CRT). /1/ The ideology has become so influential in the USA that it threatens to split apart the Southern Baptist Convention with its 14.5 million members.
The vigorous promotion of this ideology by the Western academia, media and entertainment industry has managed to persuade the younger generation (including younger Christians) to become “Woke,” that is, becoming aware of alleged social discrimination and aligning oneself to social justice warriors. It is arguable that this narrow view of social justice has become the defining issue for many young people in the West. Given the influence of the Western media and culture industry, it is a matter of time before this ideology reaches our shores. It is imperative that church leaders equip young Christians so that they are able to critique this ideology from the standpoint of a scripturally grounded Christian worldview. That is to say, the Christian response cannot be piecemeal, but must be based on a vision of biblical salvation that is spiritually, scripturally and socially integrated. Finally, our goal should be to nurture informed and winsome Christian social critics. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Col. 4:6).
We can begin by sharing some brief instructive videos that lay out the postmodern foundations of the “Woke” ideology:
1. Jordan Peterson’s talk is a good place to begin. He is not a Christian but by God’s common grace we are on the same side. You should watch his videos challenging political correctness, feminism etc. His talks are viewed by millions.
2. This video by Joseph Backholm from Colson Center for Christian Worldview has perhaps posed the issues too starkly, but he spells out clearly the bottom line of biblical concerns.
3. Ben Shapiro – A Jewish syndicated columnist well-known for his sharp critique of the Left-Woke movement. He is editor emeritus for Daily Wire and host a popular daily political podcast.
It is clear that contemporary feel good and motivational sermons will simply fail to bring conviction to LGBT and CRT unbelievers who are imbued with cynicism (postmodernism) and whose activism is driven by grievances on steroids based on exaggerated claims of abuse in the traditional family structure and systemic discrimination in wider society. Christians relying solely on intellectual persuasion will fail as these unbelievers do not believe in “Truth” unless the “truth” is defined by their radical community.
However, people may listen if they perceive not only that the truth proclaimed is clear and uncompromising, but that the messenger is authentic and that the source of truth is trustworthy. As such, the preacher who succeeds in bringing conviction/change is not the scholar, but the saint!
It would be good for Christians to ask the soul searching question – How can churches be sanctuaries of saintly preaching & systematic teaching of the Word today?
/1/ I found some useful insights from Critical Theory when I studied it many years ago, e.g., sociological concepts like the legitimization crisis of the repressive capitalist state extending it power and social control by exploiting instrumental reason to displace communicative reason in the economic, political and social-cultural subsystems of modern capitalism (Marcuse on functionalization of society and Habermas on system colonization of lifeworld), ideology, false consciousness and political hegemony (Gramsci, Lukacs), discourse ethics and emancipatory rationality etc. But I reject its present adaptation by CRT as it is a reductive ideology that analyzes society primarily (if not exclusively) through the lens of race. The result is a new form of reverse racism which does not tolerate different opinions. Arbitrary and authoritarian rules are set up to suppress free speech in the name of preventing offensive speech in matters of race and sexual identity(ies). This form of group-think and coercive authoritarianism is clearly inconsistent with civil liberties and virtues (personal responsibility) advocated by classical political liberalism.
Evangelicals and Race Theory by Carl R. Trueman