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Matthew Dowd, a former campaign advisor for president George W. Bush, has decided to run for lieutenant governor in the state of Texas. Dowd, obviously, used to be a Republican, but has seemingly changed his political party affiliation and will run as a Democrat.
Personally, I don’t care that much about his political party affiliation. He has, though, stepped into an arena that did catch my attention. He tells of how he was recently sitting in church and began “thinking that if Jesus were here today, he would be accused of being woke.” Dowd went on to say, “How about we just say it is human decency to treat all with respect and dignity and that it is constitutional to say all men and women are equal.” Just for the purpose of definition, the term woke, according to Merriam-Webster, refers to being aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues – especially issues of racial and social justice.
Sometimes it is hard to know where to start when having to deal with people who try to use the Christian faith to justify their own false, unbiblical beliefs. One of the biggest problems is that, on the surface, Dowd’s comment has the appearance of something good. The problem is, when you scratch the surface, you realize very quickly that what he is proposing is not what it appears to be. So just what are we looking at here?
To begin with, while on the surface it appears that Dowd is making a biblical observation, it is not a biblical observation. In fact, what he is actually doing is promoting an idealized view of Socialism. Why, for instance, does he believe that if Jesus were here today he would be accused of being woke? It is actually not true, but why does Dowd believe that? He believes it because he is looking at Jesus not through the lens of the Jesus described in the Bible, but through the lens of modern theological liberalism.
Modern theological liberalism is, at its core, based on a naturalistic worldview – not the theistic worldview that is central to biblical teachings. Naturalism is the belief that the natural universe, operating by natural laws, is all that exists. What modern theological liberalism does is to take naturalistic beliefs and dress it up using biblical vocabulary. Thus, on a surface level, it sounds religious, even biblical, while teaching and promoting non-biblical, relativistic values.
As for Jesus, theological liberals don’t portray Him as the Son of God who came to earth to take away the sins of the world, as He is depicted in the Bible. Rather, they see Him as a social justice warrior – a wise man who fought for social justice by championing the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Their view of Jesus is of a person whose primary purpose was to politically and economically help the down and out.
So, when Dowd says that if Jesus were here today he would be considered woke, he is describing the social justice Jesus asserted by modern theological liberalism. And truly, if that is what Jesus really did when he was on earth, then he would probably be right – Jesus would be considered woke. But that is not the Jesus described in the Bible.
First of all, Jesus was not “just” a man. He was God who manifested Himself as a man for a specific purpose. Christ came to earth to preach the message of salvation about how individuals could enter into a personal relationship with God, and to provide the means for that salvation by becoming an atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind – for all willing to receive it. Jesus’ purpose and work was wholly spiritual, not political and economic.
People who believe like Dowd have bought into the idea that it is possible for human beings to create a utopian existence on this earth. They believe that the means for doing that is to create a political and economic environment where everyone is equal. For them, the mechanism for doing that is political – by redistributing the world’s wealth to make everyone equal.
The problem is, for all the times it has been tried throughout history, a socialist utopia has never succeeded – not even once. In fact, every time it has been tried it has resulted in exactly the opposite – tyranny, poverty, and injustice. The reason for that is that the entire approach defies reality. It ignores the reality of the actual nature, or even the existence, of God, as well as the reality of the nature of man. Because of that, it is doomed to fail every time.
No, Jesus would not be called woke. As in his own day, there probably are a lot of unflattering things he would be called, but woke would not be one of them.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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