In 2017 the Oxford English Dictionary, a linguistics standard for the English language, officially christened the word “woke.” The definition given was “to be aware of, and actively attentive to, important facts and issues (especially racial and social justice).” In response to that, three significant words have been used to achieve the woke goal—disparity, equity, and inclusion. When the word “woke” dawned on the collective consciousness of America it sounded harmless. Proponents of woke adopted disparity, equity, and inclusion as if these concepts were a religious liturgy, like saying “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” People who mostly had no faith, certainly no Christian orthodoxy, made woke a rallying cry. It became the motto of economic, sexual, and political activism. But as bestselling author John Ringo recently said, “Go woke, go broke.”
Ringo was describing companies who use political correctness as a corporate strategy to success. Ringo argues that it doesn’t work. The public does not buy the artifice. Instead, most woke businesses have had massive income losses. Consumers consider the approach disingenuous. They perceive that brands going woke are only using the tactic to appear socially aware. But here is the problem that should concern every follower of Christ. Woke is about more than economics and justice. It’s also about sex, money, and political transformation. With its redefinition of meanings, woke has also targeted Christian, biblical values. Sadly, the woke trend has ensnared some Christian leaders. To them, I say, go woke, go spiritually broke.
Let’s focus on those three words—disparity (inequality), equity (fair mindedness), and inclusion (equal opportunity). The words and their definitions are good. Who wouldn’t want to fight for equality, fairness, and opportunity? But look closer and you’ll see that this tactic of redefining language has historically been a tool of despots and political strongmen. Using buzzwords for a hidden agenda isn’t new. Visit the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, as I have, and you’ll be struck by the slogan above the entry to this compound of death, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” “work makes you free.” This is a blatant example of twisting the word “free” displayed at the entrance to one of the most horrific places on earth.
Consider again these three words I’ve cited.
Disparity—That is the sad history of humanity, but only Jesus can make the playing field level. The total elimination of social polarity is only possible through the cross where all men are declared sinners (Romans 3:23). And true parity is achievable only in the body of Christ, as Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Fight real injustices if you will. I am with you. But phony woke battles that lead to spiritual compromise of biblical truths is fake equality.
Equity — We know that institutions like slavery were not equitable and never could be. That is why a civil war was fought that cost 620,000 lives. We also recognize that full equity has not been realized for some. But now we are told that certain groups must pay the price of exclusion with reparations to achieve parity for others. That is social engineering, reverse racism, not compassion. Scripture constantly speaks of hard work, diligence, and steadfastness as the keys to upward mobility. Psalm 128:2 says, “When you eat the labor of your hands you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.”
Inclusion—That woke word wants to cancel Christian biblical convictions. Prepubescent gender identity, aberrant sexual behavior, and ethics of life pertaining to abortion and euthanasia are part of the woke agenda. If you believe what the Bible says, the woke crowd says that you aren’t inclusive. You’re a bigot, a homophobe, a Karen, a racist—whatever epithet the proponent of woke wants to hurl your way. Christians need to be careful. In the name of compassion and non-judgmentalism they can be easily ensnared. Going woke could indeed be going spiritually broke.
In summary, seeking equity and inclusion without Christ is doomed to failure because man’s problem is sin, not lack of political enlightenment. The social gospel of the 60s resulted in eventual support of Central and South American dictators who oppressed their people. The motto of the eighteenth- century French Revolution, “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” — Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood — led to bloody guillotines. The current adoption of woke culture by some evangelical pastors could lead the church in America down the road to serious spiritual compromise. That journey has already started in some churches. It must go no further. The words of Jesus in John 14:6 are words of exclusion, not inclusion: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”