First a little background. I came to faith seventeen and a half years ago. Old enough to be a spiritual grown up, young enough to still count half years. I was a husband and a father and I knew that I was ill equipped to fulfill my duties in either role in the way that my newfound savior would expect. I had grown up in the church and understood a few basics, but that was about it. So I threw myself into the deep end and sought to learn about God as quickly as possible. That is where this blog originally came from. A Bible reading project leading into a desire to make up for decades of lost time as I viewed it.
A Christian man (I forget his name) found out that I was new to the faith and challenged me to believe and be baptized. Then he asked me what being baptized means and I said that it was a water dunking. He responded with the first Greek word I’d ever heard. Baptizo. He told me that to be saved, you must repent/believe and then be engulfed and overwhelmed by the gospel. Halfhearted Christianity was not salvific and I needed to mature and grow, which just so happens to be exactly what I was looking for.
Rather than invite me into a discipling relationship, he told me to purchase “Desiring God” by John Piper and I read that book chapter by chapter alongside another blogger whose name you would recognize. I was being challenged with ideas that had never occurred to me before and he was my lifeline as I questioned these concepts and heard his take on them.
That was a worldview altering Book. I learned that Christianity is not rules to follow and a savior to resolve my failures. I learned that it is a lifelong battle to seek the greatest joy available, and that joy is found only in God. I now had a foundation to build upon!
Over the next few years, I attended several pastor’s conferences. seeing men preach, men whose books and broadcasts I had been soaking up. Mark Dever, Russell Moore, Albert Mohler, David Platt, Tim Keller and pretty much anyone associated with The Gospel Coalition. My personal favorites were John Piper, John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul. I was a bit bothered by the elevated platform these pastors had in relation to the many pastors who paid for tickets to these events, but the delivery and the richness of content they provided me was invaluable.
Time went on and I grew in the knowledge of my faith by leaps and bounds. Before I knew it, controversies arose among the Christian blogs. My skills as a believer in sola scriptura were put to the test. It was helpful that I came to faith while reading my Bible in its entirety and it was essential in these times that my memory for various passages would make recollections quickly and accurately. I credit the Holy Spirit.
Many topics came and went with various bloggers sharing their stance, and supporting it with biblical references and concepts. We debated the drinking of alcohol, the continuation of spiritual sign gifts, whether children killed in abortion were taken directly to Heaven, and much more. I remain shocked that we never debated how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. And through all of these debates, my ability to support my stance by the Bible was exercised and strengthened.
And that exegetical strength was put to the test by the Emergent Church. Well, not really. I had enough of a foundation by then that the postmodern Emergent authors rang hollow to me. Sure, some of their complaints were valid, but at the same time their solutions were just vacuous and lacking in any reliable biblical sense whatsoever. If any value was found in their messages, it was that the churches ought to pursue a grace filled authenticity often found in simplicity over complexity. Virtually everything else they shared was rooted in anti-Christian paganism that they would attribute to their post-Christian missional way of thinking. Thankfully, very few of their concepts are overtly found in churches today. With a few notable exceptions.
They advanced notions of social-justice in their conversations, for one. That doesn’t sound so bad to us now, but whenever you hyphenate a concept that is owned by God alone, you begin to undermine His authority in that realm. God defines justice in His law passed down through Moses, and the social-justice of the Emergent Church contradicted that law. Just as the various hyphenated justice statements of the Woke today contradict the Law of God, and thus are not justice at all, but cheap imitations of it. Before you redefine something, first you must reject its original definition.
The various celebrity pastors mentioned above rightly rejected the Emergent movement as pagan. God has been very clear in how we are to approach Him and the practices of the Emergent Church were strange fire before the Lord. As time went on, the EC pastors faded away or converted their teaching to something more orthodox. The celebrity pastors, especially John Piper, were quick to come alongside these men and guide them on a path that was true to the Bible.
How’s that for an intro?
Over time, these various pastors started to reveal that they were not who we thought they were. I first came to this realization when I noticed some troubling tweets from Thabiti Anyabwile, a prominent contributor at The Gospel Coalition. He was openly pushing for leftist causes that are contrary to the laws of God. I pushed back with scripture verses. You know, the really obscure ones like “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not murder,”you know, the ones that most leftists don’t like to think about. He didn’t relent so I copied The Gospel Coalition directly and asked them to step in, since he was using their website and their name in defiance of what one would expect from any publication with the word “Gospel” in it.
Crickets. There came no response. And none of the other TGC members or contributors gave any counter to what he was saying. I lost all hope in The Gospel Coalition as a whole when I happened to see this article.
In church yesterday, leading up to the most contentious election I have ever witnessed, with one candidate who spoke at the national Right to Life march and the other one going on record as wanting to expand abortions without limits in the US and abroad, all paid with our tax dollars, the pastor went so far as to tell us to know what the issues are and to vote through a biblical lens. He did bring up the great evils that a leftist would champion, but he did not name any persons or parties to vote for or against. That has been the norm in churches throughout our country. True Christians oppose killing babies, mutilating young children, stealing from your neighbor, and more. One party champions doing things like this and most pastors are too afraid to endorse against it. Why? Because then they could lose their listeners who love darkness rather than light (John 3:19) and worse yet, they could lose their tax exempt status.
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”Luke 16:13-14
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.
Right about now, you’re probably expecting me to tell you to vote straight ticket Republican. I won’t do that. I will remind you of what I said in my last post though. One day you will give an account for every word that you utter, every time you gave or withheld comfort from someone, every time you spent the money that God gave you to manage in ways that are dishonoring to Him. And you will give an account for your positive affirmation of how a candidate has declared he or she will use the authority that you are handing them. And I don’t want to say that I hated my God and my Neighbor by endorsing the destruction of children made in God’s own image.
Maybe you’re cool with that. Thabiti Anyabwile certainly is. And so is The Gospel Coalition. They are more concerned about the coalition than they are in the gospel and don’t let them say otherwise. So very few “celebrity pastors” have remained firm against the onslaught of wokeness, which I haven’t even defined. And honestly I couldn’t fit all there is to say in a single blog post. But wokeness is antithetical to the gospel. It denies that every debt to God was paid by Jesus on behalf of His elect. It denies that true reconciliation can only be found in the gospel. It denies that reconciliation is even attainable. There is only the punishment of your oppressors. No Justice, No Peace? To be woke is to deny the one who defines what justice and peace even are.
Most of the men who I soaked up everything they ever published have turned out like this. They have built their houses upon the sand and I pray for their repentance. I saw glimmers of this in John Piper a few years ago when some racial unrest was happening but the subject changed and he stopped speaking about reparations for sins that he didn’t commit and I thought it was done and over with. Now he has equated the murder of a million babies per year with someone being arrogant. This is the logical progression from the Emergent Church that rejected objectivity. The Emergent Church rejected the notion that the Bible is the final authority in how we ought to live, favoring emotion and the inclusion of heterodox methods of discernment. A breeding ground for wokeness.
I used to suggest John Piper books and recordings to everyone I know. I thought Mark Dever was today’s architect of how a church ought to function. I thought Al Mohler and Russell Moore had the worldview that every Christian ought to share. I thought Kevin DeYoung and David Platt were the next generation of faithful teachers of biblical truth. I thought Tim Keller was a trustworthy deep thinker worthy of being followed. The list goes on.
There are exceptions to be found, but for today I’m once bitten twice shy. If some of the names I’ve shared are concerning to you as well, and you would like some more information, I will suggest you subscribe to AD Robles on YouTube. Also, I am in the middle of an eye opening book called The Woke Supremacy that will give you a much better definition of wokeness as well as the ramifications of it on our society.
They say not to have any living Christian heroes and now I know why that is. My Christian faith is not shaken in the slightest, but I am saddened by what I have seen. And I’ll need to look at the publication date before I offer a copy of Desiring God to anyone I am discipling.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith-just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?Galatians 3
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
P.S. Though their names appear in this post, I believe John MacArthur to remain a faithful minister of the gospel and R.C. Sproul has passed away leaving a legacy of faithfulness to the gospel. I have tertiary theological beliefs that differ from both of them, but I am thankful that God has preserved some who have not bowed the knee to the marxist wokeism that can be seen in our culture and in our churches all to much.
P.P.S God will preserve his church, sometimes by allowing fools to expose themselves. Romans 1 calls this “giving them over.” I pray that I am premature in this thinking.