09 July 2018

The Rise of Woker-Than-Thou Evangelicalism

by Phil Johnson

nless you have been living in seclusion somewhere, you will have noticed that a radical putsch is currently underway to get evangelicals on board with doctrines borrowed from Black Liberation Theology, Critical Race Theory, Intersectional Feminism, and other ideologies that are currently stylish in the left-leaning secular academy. All of these things are being aggressively promoted in the name of "racial reconciliation." I'm WokeThis has suddenly given rise to a popular movement that looks to be far more influential—and a more ominous threat to evangelical unity and gospel clarity—than the Emergent campaign was 15 years ago. The movement doesn't have an official name yet, but the zealots therein like to refer to themselves as "woke." Evangelical thought leaders boast of their wokeness and vie with one another to be woker-than-thou.

In many ways, today's Woke Evangelicals are merely an echo of their Emergent forebears. The central threads of their rhetoric are identical, and many of their goals are similar—starting with their campaign to convince other evangelicals that gospel clarity alone will never reach a hostile culture. To do that, they say, Jesus was intersectional?we must strive for postmodern political correctness. We need to try to "make Christianity cool." Nowadays, that means race must be an issue in practically every subject we deal with. Meanwhile, diversity, tolerance, inclusivity, and a host of other postmodern "virtues" have begun to edge out the actual fruit of the Spirit in the language and conversation of some of our wokest brethren.

The Gospel Coalition (TGC) and Together for the Gospel (T4G) were founded little more than a decade ago to bring Christians together around a shared commitment to the foundational doctrines of gospel truth. Earlier this year both organizations sponsored conferences promoting Woke dogmas. Both of them, for example, paid homage to Dr. Martin Luther King not only as a great champion of civil rights (which he certainly was), but also as an exemplar of gospel truth and authentic Christian conviction (which he emphatically was not). Those of us who don't believe that kind of "wokeness" reflects biblical integrity have been scolded, shamed, and called racists by key leaders from both organizations.

In other words, these two organizations that were originally founded to unite believers in the proclamation and defense of the gospel are now dividing evangelicals over something other than the gospel. Under the guise of being Woke they are championing ideological dogmas and political policies that no biblically-minded Christian in any generation of church history ever considered germane to the gospel. They are actually shifting the evangelical focus away from true gospel issues.

In short, I fear both TGC and T4G are dangerously close to becoming exactly what they were founded to oppose.

Phil's signature


DJP said...

Very good word.

"Wokeness" shares this characteristic with every other deviation in church history: it enters under cover of saving Christianity. The dark agenda is never the lead message, it's wrapped in something designed to appear noble and unarguable. But inside? There's the problem.

JWM said...

Good analysis of the latest iteration of humanistic "christianity" refried and rolled up in a new tortilla. Like the ebola virus these fads disappear for a while and then reappear to infect a new, vulnerable population. They are always an appeal to some aspect of the fallen nature that longs to self-justify and to hold a little candle under their chin at the "vigil" so everyone can see they are "woke".

Arthur Sido said...

What I have been wondering about for some time is this: there are solid men in both TGC and T4G and they *have* to see what is going on. At what point will they take a public stand against this "woke" nonsense, which isn't new at all and is just a repackaging of old errors, and in a related question why haven't they done so yet? If you can hold a public conference to proclaim how together you are in the Gospel and still invite Thabiti Anyabwile who thinks that justice for the unborn must take a backseat to partisan opposition to the current President and who accuses fellow evangelicals of making a deal with the Devil because he disagrees with them politically, then what exactly is the point?

Unknown said...

Thank you for continuing to comment on this issue with common sense, and from a Biblical perspective. As much as I have liked the idea of T4G, and have enjoyed the conferences, I think that its time for the leaders involved with it, to confront this issue directly and take a unified stand, one way or another. I don't see that as being even a possibility with TGC.

Unknown said...

This is a great post from the man who said that fundamentalism was dead about 10 years ago. :) T4G and TGC were never going to remain true to their evangelical moorings because no new-evangelical organization/philosophy does. Like Fuller Seminary and the evangelicals who fought fundamentalism in the 1940s, these groups are just walking down the same old path. Don't tell me that if E.J. Carnell were not alive today that he would not be speaking at one or both of these conferences. Welcome to fundamentalism, Phil.

Jim Pemberton said...

What's interesting to me is that these groups claim it to be a Gospel issue. Indeed, it's a Gospel issue, but not in the way that they claim (or at least insinuate) it to be. That is, by claiming something to be a Gospel issue that isn't a Gospel issue, they turn it into a Gospel issue by misrepresenting the Gospel. Let me flesh this out a little bit:

First, I don't get a clear idea from these folks, many of whom I respect tremendously for how clear and steadfast they have been in the past, exactly how they think it's a Gospel issue. That make me suspect obfuscation for the sake of appeasement. This is the hallmark of the neo-evangelicalism that founded Fuller.

Second, if we look at the basic tenets of the true Gospel we learn quickly that the one significant way in which we are all unified is that we are ALL sinners in need of a Savior. The message I hear consistently from the racial theological compromise is that one group are sinners and the other group are not. Now, confronted with that, they may backpedal and claim that that's not what they mean. However, that's the message that is conveyed whether they are stating it explicitly or not. Also, the Gospel promises forgiveness. There is no forgiveness promised here. There is only judgement and condemnation with some minor reprieve if the guilty party assents to certain political demands. This is no Gospel.

Let's look at someone who comes to faith aside from this issue. Such a one comes immediately into full fellowship (although certain positions of servant leadership are denied until sufficient growth and testing can occur). It's understood that they need to do some growing theologically and morally, but they are accepted in the family of faith so that brothers and sisters can speak into that person's life as fellow believers. There is the acknowledgement that even mature brothers and sisters will not agree on most things. This is one of those things:

Now there's a trade happening in this issue between what is being disagreed on. That is, some things are non-negotiable and some things are debatable. The claim from these groups is that a certain view of political action in the church and the country is necessarily indicative of racism. Therefore, if you don't agree with them, then you are guilty of racism. Claiming it to be a Gospel issue, therefore, makes such dissenters unsaved heretics if pushed to its logical conclusion. There is no tolerance for disagreement. It's a first-tier issue. Now, there may actually be a small number of people where this is actually true. However, I submit that most dissenters:

1. observe this to be a third-tier issue, not on par with the Gospel in the least;
2. acknowledge that we as believers are unified by Christ.
3. observe that our lives as already unified are to be characterized by mutual forgiveness and admonitions to improve, not as a condition for unity but as a result of it.
4. note that perhaps the system isn't the most equitable, but that there are, in part, legitimate reasons why it hasn't been so.
5. further hold that given inequitability in the system, there are better ways to make our political systems more equitable than to simply replace old forms of racism with new forms of racism.

Hohn C said...

Art, you said, "What I have been wondering about for some time is this: there are solid men in both TGC and T4G and they *have* to see what is going on."

The problem is, many of these guys are actually leading the charge of the woke brigade. Let's break down the T4G speakers.

Anyabwile: One of the spearheads, for sure. Shocking to see how much he's changed in both tone and substance since his 2008 and 2010 T4G messages.

Chandler: Another spearhead, he called 300 people who left his church "fools" for not getting on board the woke train.

Dever: Just about everything I'm seeing from 9Marks, including the men Dever's supporting, is fully in-line with this emerging woke movement.

Duncan: There were some things I appreciated in his T4G message, and if he personally feels that he and some of his fellow PCA folks, particularly from the south, have major sin and blind spots in the area of race, then of course he ought to deal with that. But his method of doing so, based on what I've been seeing from RTS and his public statements, appears to be a full-throated embrace of wokeness.

Mohler: Given his position as head of SBTS (which has more than a few proponents of race-centric views on staff and faculty), and the current movement of the SBC in general, I don't perceive him as being willing or able to stand against this, regardless of what his personal feelings might be.

Piper: I'm not sure if he's completely given over to this movement, but I know his leanings are sympathetic, based on his writings and past statements. I certainly don't get the sense he'll stand against it.

Platt: Fully on board the woke train, based on his eisegetical T4G message on Amos and things he's said and done at SBC's IMB.

So the above is fully 7/10 of T4G's main session speakers who are probably at least somewhat supportive of all of this.

Charles: I've actually really appreciated a number of things he's said on this topic, and I'd like to hope and pray he'll speak out against some of the excesses of this woke mentality. Based on personal experience and the experience of friends in a similar position, however, he would pay a price in doing so, and there would be some pretty intense pressure on him to get on board or at least not speak out against it.

DeYoung: He's written some really good stuff on this issue, and my prayer is that he'll stand against this, as I seem to recall that he did against Driscoll, Elephant Room, and Tchvidjian. But he also just announced he'll be taking a break from blogging while he works on his Ph.D., and the rest of TGC is pretty much moving away from DeYoung, so I think it's more likely he's going to end up marginalized or departing.

MacArthur: And then there's my pastor, who's a lion for the truth, and I have faith he will continue to be as long as he draws breath.

Times like this are when I wish RC were still with us, too... but he is in a far better place right now!

Phil Johnson said...

Well said, Hohn. That's pretty much exactly how I perceive it. That could've been a standalone post.

Saints and Sceptics said...

If I could ask a genuine question here- because I’m from Northern Ireland and I’m struggling to understand the divide here.What are the “political policies” which worry you?

Graham Veale

Hohn C said...

Graham, the very fact that some people are insisting Christians get involved in political policies and activism -- whatever the specific cause or position -- is in itself troubling, and the mentality has numerous errors. The first error happens when the calling of the corporate church to make disciples is conflated with the calling of individual Christians to do good works (e.g., acts of charity, doing justice, loving one's neighbors and even one's enemies, etc.).

The second error happens when the latter calling of individual Christians to do good works in their own stewardship and Christian liberty is mistaken for a command to agitate for social change, usually in connection with some vague or even unspoken public policy favored by the social justice advocate. But the fact there is no such command to agitate for social change in the Bible—and to the contrary, many verses actually seem to cut against that very concept (see, e.g., 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 2 Thessalonians 3:12, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Proverbs 24:21, Titus 3:1-2)—is often conveniently lost or ignored.

The third logical error is the sometimes incorrect assumption that the political policy supported by the social justice proponent is even good, positive, or most importantly to Christians, biblical to begin with.

To get specific in answering your question, we often see this attitude among the more "woke" set when it comes to traditionally "liberal" political policies such as ones relating to law enforcement, affirmative action, immigration, and generally the seeking of "equity" of result rather than equality of opportunity. And there are many other issues, this is just an initial set off the top of my head. And if you don't agree with the woke set on their (often highly-disputed, biblically) conclusions, you're often dismissed as ignorant, or even worse, a bigot.

Hohn C said...

PS: Further to my comment about DeYoung and TGC, to be clear, I'm speaking about the main TGC group. I've actually seen some encouraging things from TGC Canada, and hope and pray they will be a bastion of biblical sense and wisdom.

Daniel said...

Totally agree, I saw that train coming years ago on TGC, in their effort to remain relevant and "cool", they make compromises and embrace social issues at the expense of the Gospel. As someone in my early 30's I understand the deep desire to fit in and remain relevant in this social media age. But I also see the dark side of that in the lives around me of people who've abandoned the simple Gospel for the more "attractive" socially popular ideals.

Hohn C said...

So on Twitter, Thabiti said this: "Since I've been tagged, here's as full a statement of my own view of justice in case anybody is interested in what I actually believe: http://soundcloud.com/archurch/sets/ …. Curious you'd link to my post as a "woker-than-thou" argument when it makes no such claim."

One thing I've noticed from Thabiti and others is that they often tend to cry foul or ungraciousness when people critique views that they have expressed publicly and prominently. One shouldn't need to listen to a 12-volume sermon series, or mine the depths of deep Twitter mentions, to figure out where a person stands on issues where that person has already spoken vocally and at length. This is not a prerequisite to engagement on the topic, nor is it a prerequisite to charity. The article Phil links closes with the below paragraph:

From where I sit, “woke church” continues in the tradition of Martin Delaney, Edward W. Blyden, Henry McNeal Turner, Alexander Crummell, and a great cloud of other witnesses who in the Spirit of God sought a more faithful way to live the faith as African Americans when the rest of the world despised them. The mockers mock. The haters hate. That’s what they’ve been doing for the entire sojourn of Black people in contact with the West. By their mockery, scoffing, and hatred they make some form of being “woke” necessary. So may the church get woke and stay woke. (emphasis added)

That certainly sounds like a call to wokeness, with the implication that being woke is morally superior to the alternative, which is exactly what "holier/woker than thou" means.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that Phil clearly stated that he was NOT referring to Thabiti as a "racist schlub" prior to Thabiti posting a critique predicated on that very assumption, and that Thabiti was informed of this, the critique of Phil remains posted and unedited.

Rhetorically summarizing the argument of someone you disagree with is not uncharitable. Uncharitable would be allowing a false critique to stand despite having been corrected about it.

Saints and Sceptics said...

OK, if I understand you correctly, you are worried that TGC will create another version of the Moral Majority. It would have different policy goals, etc.....but basically it would end up dogmatically asserting what Christians MUST believe about policing, gun control etc.
Does that sound about right?

Hohn C said...

Graham, I suppose that could be part of it for some people, but I'm personally more concerned about the divisiveness in pushing this set of debated goals as part and parcel of the Gospel (which many are doing by terming these issues as "Gospel issues"), and in so doing, diluting and distracting from the Gospel itself.

There's also a legalistic conscience-binding involved in saying that in any matter of liberty and stewardship, you need to do X, Y, or Z in order to be a good Christian or a good "ally" as some put it. Which is really what they're doing when they say that people need to prioritize this or that issue over others, in terms of time, money, energy spent.

Titus said...

While there aren't commonly agreed upon terms for the various camps yet, theologically I think it brings some insight to frame the debate as the Gospel of Babel vs. the Gospel of the Kingdom. This framing connects well too I think to the other political issues mentioned in the comments so far.

Of course, the former camp considers many more political stances as "gospel issues" vs. the latter camp. It also isn't hard to see which stances the majorities of each camp are likely to take, whether the political topic is considered a "gospel issue" or to be in the downstream category of biblical commands/good works/prudence.

Unlike the Emergent fad though, this controversy concerns issues that are somewhat frequently brought to the forefront throughout American political history, so my pessimistic side suspects this knot will be untangled painfully for evangelical Protestantism in the decades ahead. Let us pray it is resolved sooner.

Denise said...

Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries reported on the Emergent Church Movement going down this direction 7-10 years ago and called it Emergent 2.0. There's tons of articles on this here: http://apprising.org/page/4/?s=Emergent+2.0&submit=go

Unknown said...

4 years ago I examined TGC's founding documents and T4G's documents (see summary reposted at https://biblicalworldview.blog/2018/04/11/together-for-the-gospel-the-gospel-coalition-thoughts-from-2014/). What I found suggested an expansion of the idea of "gospel" into other areas. Thus, this is hardly surprising. T4G had a little less of that kind of terminology and seemed to focus more on true individual salvation. Thus, I only disagree that the trend of both these groups is of the same degree--TGC was oriented in this direction from the beginning, T4G was not. Yet, perhaps it seems both are on the same orientation--and for all those who look to John MacArthur as someone more oriented to separation in a proper sense, the question remains will be break from T4G (which he has been more involved in)? Time will tell...

Titus said...

Jacob, you wrote:
"and for all those who look to John MacArthur as someone more oriented to separation in a proper sense, the question remains will he break from T4G (which he has been more involved in)? Time will tell..."

It appears it's almost at that point where it may be necessary. Pastors and theologians that have been writing about all this with their concerns and warnings like Phil and Darrell Harrison could perhaps get together and come up with some ideas to bring up to the decision-makers for the two conferences?

Hopefully it would result in something like a multiple viewpoints conference or two where both sides get their own plenary sessions and breakout sessions to preach and teach their own views in depth (on the Gospel, with the other topics following), then do discussion panels on the last day where both sides interact.

Chris Nelson said...

Conference Christianity keeps the cabal together. Someone has to blow it up. Piper, Chandler, Mohler, Moore, Keller, Thabitti, Platt and others must be rebuked sharply and not allowed to peddle their Galatianistic false gospel! Nothing short of this has any hope.

Keith said...

I can see a huge parallel between this and the emergent church movement as both seem like they had huge components that were seeking worldly approval. I wonder what's next, a book titled Woke like Jazz?

Cameron Shaffer said...

Hohn C., do you mind providing some links/citations for your comment about Matt Chandler?

Hohn C said...

Cameron, sure, here you go, down to the very time stamp.


It wouldn't surprise me if many of the 300 who left were members (or loved ones) of law enforcement, given the negative attitudes Chandler has expressed toward them, which in my view is in violation of Rom. 13:1-7 and even more so Tit. 3:1-2.

Cameron Shaffer said...

Hohn C., thanks for providing the link.

Jack Hughes said...

Living in Louisville, KY, I can attest to the fact that the "social justice"/"Me too" nonsense is infecting Southern Seminary in a big way. I have not heard Mohler speak out against it yet, which usually means a person is for it, especially when it is alive, well, and growing in momentum within the institution you are president over. This whole trend is divisive and a distraction from the preaching of the gospel and the Word of God which tells us that there is only one race, the human race, that we are all blood relatives, and the amount of melanin in our skin has nothing to do with the gospel message preached to the hearts of men. Preachers should be preaching the truth of God's Word and the gospel to all nations, letting the gospel and the Holy Spirit do their work, and resist at every turn being derailed from what God has called and commanded them to do, in order to waste time fighting over a liberal agenda.

Hohn C said...

Jack, so true. Thanks for your thoughts on this, for your ministry, and for your firsthand report from Louisville. I'd love it if Dr. Mohler would speak out against this trend, but like you, I'm increasingly pessimistic about that.

Bobby Grow said...

What do you all think about Dr. John Perkins? He came to my seminary back in 2002, and did a series of lectures/talks about reconciliation and the Gospel and how that impacts (or ought to) the issues orbiting around racism in the world. Here John Perkins speaks on one humanity, and one blood If you listen to it in full (only approx 26 min) you will notice (if you know your Bibles) that almost everything he says is essentially a quotation or accurate paraphrase of various Bible passages in their context. What struck me about Perkins back in 2002, and what struck me once again as I just listened to him at the MLK50 conference, is that he grounds his message in the Gospel itself. He doesn't attempt to synthesize critical race theory or liberation theology with his message; he keeps coming back to the reality and power of the Gospel to reconcile all peoples--of every race, nation, and tribe--to the reality of God's life in Jesus Christ. His most recent book One Blood depends upon the reality of God's One New Humanity found in Ephesians 2.

So as I've been thinking about this I have been attempting to think of someone in all of this who actually doesn't fit into the 'woke' mode. One thing that illustrates this is that he is not venerated by folks from places like Princeton Theological Seminary (I know folks there), or other IVY league divinity schools; as James Cone is. There is something distinct about Perkins' message that distinguishes him among some who might be considered his peers in this discussion.

I think it is important to try and get past the labels or perceptions we might have, and actually listen to what someone is saying on its own merits. It's too easy to engage in sweeping generalization or caricature and then allow that to provide space where we discard someone just because we think they are guilty by a perceived association. If we can look past some of that and actually listen to Perkins I'd think this would encourage some in this thread. As far as I can tell he is attempting to cultivate reconciliation by allowing the power of God in the Gospel to do that. He's attempting to unleash God's grace in such a way that it might contradict all of us red or yellow black or white in our steps and bring us to a point where we are simply silent before God as one body of Jesus Christ.

rdrift1879 said...

Bobby, John Perkins has always struck me as biblically-minded. He was such a shining example for me of racial reconciliation and challenge in the church back when he published in the early 1980s. He avoided adopting the world's ideology when talking about justice. Unless he has changed, we need many more like him today.

Hohn C said...

Bobby, thanks for the link, I'll try to check it out when I have a bit more time. I will say that I've appreciated some things in the past from Perkins, and I know he's a dear friend of John MacArthur.

Speaking for myself, I love biblically-grounded critiques of the sin of partiality. Sin is sin, and it ought to be mortified. I don't think Phil or anyone pushing back against the current "woke" mentality in evangelicalism would disagree with that.

On a personal level, I'm often grieved when I see professing Christians objecting to interracial marriages -- which I see with sad regularity in the Asian community, particularly among the older generations -- and I think that is precisely the type of unity-destroying sin that ought to be the subject of church discipline.

Challenges arise, however, when people start assuming they know others' secret heart matters, which are for the Lord to reveal... such as when they make broad-brushed accusations of sin against entire classes of people.

And when they engage in legalistic, conscience-binding demands that others prioritize fighting the sin of partiality over other priorities the person might choose.

And when they attempt to claim that fighting the sin of partiality is a "Gospel issue" or other similar urgency-heightening language.

And when they only talk about this issue, this is one reason we emphasize the importance of expository preaching, because doing so tends to out our personal "hobby horses" and then hopefully we can either bring that unfortunate tendency into line, or the elders and congregation can take note and act or make decisions accordingly.

DDavis said...

I'm not theologically trained but I do teach an adult bible study class in my local Baptist Church in the south. While racism exists within the Church, as do many other forms of sin, it seems to me the " woke" movement is seeking to wrongly elevate a societal ill to a greater level of importance than other sin. This is contrary to the gospel and is not how Jesus handled personal sin when speaking to individuals. So the question is why would the " woke" movement do so? Could the declining Church rolls and social and political headwinds be melting men in the pulpits as they see a future ahead that is not so kind to the Church in this country? Personally, I believe pastors should spend a great deal more time on motivating the 80% in the Church to serve, love and use their spiritual gifts to build the kingdom and to stay away from useless and profane arguments as Paul taught Timothy. I know from first-hand experience, when you serve and love your neighbor and use your gifts to build the Kingdom, racism quickly leaves the building. Let's stop talking about racism and start compelling men and women to accept evangelism as their God-ordained responsibility and rascism will fade.

Jon said...

Bobby -- Almost all the Boomer-aged speakers at MLK50 had the kind of reconciliation, one-blood message of John Perkins. "Woke" criticizes African-American Boomers as much as it criticizes the system. As Thabiti says, woke church feels like a refresh of Afrocentrism.

It seems to me the project is clearly an attempt to assert a biblically-orthodox Theology of Liberation. Liberation for racial minorities, sexual minorities, and women resonates strongly with them, as does Christianizing social structures. Jemar Tisby is looking at Social Democracy. Anthony Bradley just called for Transitional Justice. Duke Kwon is kind of coy about whether his "ecclesiastic reparations" should also lead to government reparations, but Ta-Nehisi Coates seems to have galvanized many TGC folks. I saw one leader yesterday call for a "pro-life, womb to tomb" Supreme Court Justice.

If it was just about Christians being doers and not just hearers, I'd support a lot more doing. But I see a lot of young pastors with census schedules and five-year plans for dragging Revelation 5 into the here and now. The USSR didn't collapse for a lack of SEBTS DMins in the Politburo. It failed because well-intentioned geniuses in power can't command real happiness. True liberation lies in a different direction.

Hohn C said...

Jon, comment of the thread, brother. Comment of the thread. Outstanding, thanks for participating.

Hohn C said...

And excellent comment as well, DDavis. Only quibble would be that I think it’s fine to talk about the sin of partiality when it’s called for by the text. But seeing the agenda pushed as strongly as it has been is indeed eye-opening, I agree with you. And the fact that it has been such an evident agenda among some is one reason that I feel compelled to say something in response.

Bobby Grow said...


I lifted up Perkins as an exemplar who is doing and saying something different? Did you even listen to the link I provided of him; or have you heard him elsewhere; or read his work? I highlighted him because he is not attempting to synthesize with all the social models available. So I'm not sure how your comment actually responds to mine. Guilt by association is not guilt, it's a fallacy.


Yes, you should listen to what he had to say, and try to pretend he isn't at MLK50; just listen to what he is saying. Listen to all of his sentences, they are almost all contextual Bible with no correlation to the social theories about race or justice. Just the Gospel. I don't see how Jon's comment is all that helpful, at least his response to mine, since he acts as if Perkins is not distinguishable from many (most) others at that conference.

Bobby Grow said...

So in other words, Jon, I'm attempting to not make an argument from the beard but instead to identify nuance on a continuum (that I think is present) in regard to what in fact is taking place with TGC et al. I'm recognizing that there is a problem with an uncritical imbibing of race theory or social justice models that are rooted in philosophical and discursive modes of thought rather than grounded in Revelation. What I am highlighting is that there is still some representation, in the person of John Perkins, even in and among these larger groups, who is still bearing witness to the risen Christ and allowing the pressure of the Gospel reality itself to frame what he means when he uses the language of one blood (like the type that flows from Emmanuel's veins). In other words, what I am recognizing, is that the language of 'one blood' can be used equivocally--and I'd suggest it is when thinking of what is informing Perkins approach versus the uncritical approach of many of the others who are naively imbibing things they clearly know not much of.

Hohn C said...

Bobby, almost positive Jon was agreeing with you, complimenting Perkins and boomer-aged folks, who are often also the subject of criticism by the younger, more "woke" folks today. Said with respect.

Bobby Grow said...


How was Jon agreeing with me. He conflated 'all the speakers' with the type of 'one blood' messaging that Perkins speaks from. But that's just the point (as I just noted above), it's an equivocal relation when we look at what is informing Perkins' usage of that language versus the others and their usage of it. They might even have gotten the language from Perkins, but they seemingly have gotten its contextual framing (and thus meaning) from somewhere else. I don't see that identification or nuance made in Jon's comment; just the opposite in fact (by implication).

Bobby Grow said...

Anyway, no matter, I think Perkins stands out. I'm glad his voice is still being heard. I do agree that this imbibing of liberation theology and so called critical race theory by many of these evangelical pastors is somewhat embarrassing, at the very least. They seem to be constructing whole trajectories of ministry upon a level of engagement with the theories they are seemingly adopting that doesn't go much deeper than wikipedia or google searches for a day.

Hohn C said...

Bobby, he’s saying there were some older boomers speaking at MLK who, like Perkins, had a solid biblical message. And they’re similarly under attack by many of the younger “woke” crowd.

But I will let him speak for himself now, even though that is definitely how I read it.

Jon said...

Bobby, I was agreeing with you. Perkins is saying it right, to my mind. He and Piper, and, say, Rufus Smith at MLK were preaching a real, "one blood" kind of reconciliation. I'd have no problem encouraging them to anyone.

I was trying to explain the difference between Perkins, and those who seem to be saying something different. You say it's a continuum, but it looks to me like competing definitions of "reconciliation."

The Perkins/Pipers/MacArthurs are preaching one kind of reconciliation, by shared beliefs; the Liberation Theologies contemplate a different route -- reconciliation via action to make society more just. I think the TGC folks are trying to "do both": implement the praxis theology of James Cone or J. Deotis Roberts, but be committed to Biblical orthodoxy. "I love Cone," they might say, "but he didn't believe the Bible, so I disagree with a few of his ethical implications." But they agree the Christian is supposed to be subverting the oppressive social system of America to liberate the oppressed.

I question whether orthodoxy can ever really be equal in these theologies of liberation. But I'm just a guy trying to figure out what's going on; I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Bobby Grow said...

Jon, somehow I misread you. Glad we agree about Perkins! I respect his perspective in particular because of what he has lived through and the way he has sought to mediate that through staying solid to the Gospel.

Hohn, for some reason I read Jon as attempting to read Perkins into the rest of the folks like Chandler et al. Glad I misread him.

Chris Nelson said...

Mohler is sucking at the teet of Soros and other Marxists. It is a SAD, sad day in evangellyfishism. Mohler was a pod person, so sad.

james said...

The core issue here is what has been a problem the church has had to deal with since formed. Allowing issues—even though some may be legitimately important—-to distract and dilute the Gospel. One cannot study Paul’s epistles without seeing this repeated.
What is unfortunate is that even great ministers get caught up in the momentum of trying to be accepted by many of the proponents of these issues. See Peter in Galatians being rebuked by Paul and one of the reasons that is given is that Peter (2:12) was fearing the party of the circumcised. Is that the case now with some in Gospel coalition and TG4? The same fear that Peter had of acceptance and popularity? It certainly has the appearance of such!
The focus must be on the Gospel and sound doctrine because only that will transform souls. BTW...that is what is at stake the souls of men and this movement along with others that will invetiably will come puts that at risk. Men of God get back to exposition and help us who are lay members not be distracted from the power of the Gospel...and yes that begins with you as a pastor-teacher.

Unknown said...

How does D.A. Carson fit into this movement, or does he?

Chris Nelson said...

Yes, Carson is deeply involved generally, with the Marxism which has wormed its way deep into evangelicalism and is spreading today. Research this on P & P and other sites on the internet to find out who he is cabaling with and their nefarious doctrines.

AK said...

To the author of this blog:

You mention "woke dogmas" and "ideological dogmas" to which you are opposed.

Could you please clarify your argument for your readers by stating in, say, two or three sentences, what those 'dogmas' are?

(I should announce up front that I agree with the older code of honorable debate in which it is considered a condition of possibility for participation in a discussion that an individual show themselves capable of stating the views of their opponents in a way that is satisfactory to the opposition. Without meeting such a condition, one has failed to show themselves capable of guiding others into the substance of a given discussion.)

Unknown said...

Once a blogger, always a blogger. Great to see the Pyro guys back.

Not much to add to Phil's post or the comments except for this quote from Machen's "Christianity & Liberalism", which many of you may recognize because Michael Horton used most of it for his Afterword in "Beyond Culture Wars":

At the present time, there is one longing of the human heart which is often forgotten—it is the deep, pathetic longing of the Christian for fellowship with his brethren. One hears much, it is true, about Christian union and harmony and cooperation. But the union that is meant is often a union with the world against the Lord, or at best a forced union of machinery and tyrannical committees. How different is the true unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace! Sometimes, it is true, the longing for Christian fellowship is satisfied. There are congregations, even in the present age of conflict, that are really gathered around the table of the crucified Lord; there are pastors that are pastors indeed. But such congregations, in many cities, are difficult to find. Weary with the conflicts of the world, one goes into the Church to seek refreshment for the soul.

And what does one find? Alas, too often, one finds only the turmoil of the world. The preacher comes forward, not out of a secret place of meditation and power, not with the authority of God’s Word permeating his message, not with human wisdom pushed far into the background by the glory of the Cross, but with human opinions about the social problems of the hour or easy solutions of the vast problem of sin. Such is the sermon. And then perhaps the service is closed by one of those hymns breathing out the angry passions of 1861, which are to be found in the back part of the hymnals. Thus the warfare of the world has entered even into the house of God, And sad indeed is the heart of the man who has come seeking peace.

Is there no refuge from strife? Is there no place of refreshing where a man can prepare for the battle of life? Is there no place where two or three can gather in Jesus’ name, to forget for the moment all those things that divide nation from nation and race from race, to forget human pride, to forget the passions of war, to forget the puzzling problems of industrial strife, and to unite in overflowing gratitude at the foot of the Cross? If there be such a place, then that is the house of God and that the gate of heaven. And from under the threshold of that house will go forth a river that will revive the weary world.

The End of All Sorrows said...


crazzyron said...

What's happening now is somewhat similar to 1966 England. I read Iain Murray's "Evangelicalism Divided" a few years ago. MLJ said its time to pull away from the ecumenical movement. Stott and Packer walked away from MLJ, leaving him alone. Packer later walked away from his church, after they accepted gay ministers, if I'm not mistaken. MLJ was right, true Christians should have gotten together and walked away from their denominations accepting those who did not believe in the essentials. These woke folks are not preaching about essentials, not even secondary issues, they are trying to fundamentally transform Christianity based on economics and sociology. I know who the woke folks are, I know where Voddie, MacArthur stand. There are 2 so called leaders in the SBC that are silent, one in CA, the other in GA, there silence is deafening. I think Phil Johnson is right a remnant ill come out of this. The center of Christendom is moving to South America or Africa. Where is the MLJ?