Woke Apocalypse

Do you believe that people should be judged on the content of their character and not by the color of their skin? You are an irredeemable racist. Do you believe that females should have separate spaces from males, like bathrooms or locker rooms for intimate, private matters? You are a hateful bigot. Do you believe that biological sex is real, that there are fundamental differences between men and women, and that biological males should not be allowed to compete women’s sports? How dare you.

Go back and read that first paragraph again. Notice that the questions are framed in terms of belief. Today a person believes, rather than knows, that biological sex is real. Today a person believes that women should have their own private spaces away from the prying eyes of men, rather than such an accommodation being common sense. Today a person believes that individuals should be judged on their character and not by their race, as if this were just one acceptable position among many. Things that should be common sense or known as facts are instead framed as things that are believed, as if those things were mere opinions. (And the wrong opinions at that!) The word belief connotes something that is subjective, optional, and taken on faith. Belief implies relativity and uncertainty. Most importantly, it implies that other people might believe the opposite, and their beliefs are just as valid as yours because we have abandoned the world of knowable things. We used to know that biological sex is real, but now it is a matter of belief. One person believes we landed on the moon, another that the moon landing was faked. What does it matter, so long as they are both expressing their authentic beliefs?


Woke Apocalypse: Where the subjective has replaced the objective as the defining principle of truth.

The fundamental characteristic of the modern world is that the subjective has replaced the objective as the defining principle of truth. What a person feels is more authentic, and therefore more trustworthy and true, than what a person knows. It is bigoted to say that biological sex is a natural reality because a tiny fraction of people feel that biological sexual categories (specifically male and female) do not describe the way they feel about themselves. To insist on biological sex as categorically definitive is to force these people to live inauthentic lives, which is, in a world defined by “the prioritization of the individual’s inner psychology,”[1] a mortal sin. Feelings trump facts, and it doesn’t matter how any of us feel about that fact.

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Christianity in the Age of Wokeness

For the past couple of months I have been reading and writing about a topic that is important to me: Wokeness. In some respects, I have been thinking, writing, reading, and preaching about this for most of my adult life. Only recently, however, has it seemed to coalesce into an identifiable movement in mainstream society. It reaches into every aspect of our culture, and has especially influenced the Church in America. As with everything else I have written and preached about, my primary concern is with God’s people. Where does Christianity stand in the Age of Wokeness? Should Christians be Woke? How can the Church engage Wokeness and remain faithful to Jesus Christ? Why do so many evangelical Christians seem to abandon their faith and take up the banner of Wokeness?

Books for studying WokenessThese are the questions that I am turning my attention to in 2022. Throughout the year I will be publishing (with no set schedule in mind because my life is quite full already) essays in a series called Christianity in the Age of Wokeness. My hope is that readers will find them engaging and helpful, particularly in, and this is where I lay my cards on the table, fortifying their faith against the poison of Wokeness. In addition to these essays, I intend to start a podcast with my friend Corey Brecht in which we will discuss these matters in more detail. My hope is that these discussions will be lively and insightful, and that anyone who stumbles upon them will be both encouraged and entertained.

If you would like to follow along with this series, please use the subscribe button below to make sure you get notifications of publication. I may post some essays to social media, but I have not found discussions on these matters to be productive on those platforms. While I am happy to engage the Woke amicably, I have no hope that they will repent and turn to Christ. Too many of the Woke people I know have rejected Christ and embraced what I will demonstrate is a new, and radically different, religion. They have already made their choice. My concern is with helping the people of God remain faithful to him, to equip them with the knowledge and insight we need to both resist and combat Wokeness, and to be a voice that warns against our postmodern slide into apostasy. I hope you will join me on this journey.

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
-Revelation 3:14-22

The last of the seven letters is to the church in Laodicea, and they got the harshest treatment of all. Jesus typically started off a letter with some praise for what the believers were doing, or some compassion for what they were going through. Not Laodicea. He just went straight after them, comparing them to lukewarm water. Their problem was that they were neither hot water nor cold water — they were somewhere in the middle. Cold water is refreshing and revives the spirit on a hot day. Hot water is comforting and healing, relaxing the muscles after a hard day’s work. Lukewarm water is basically useless. You don’t want to drink it, and you can’t bathe in it. I suppose you could give it to the dog, but that’s about all that it is good for. The point that Jesus was making is this: We need to be useful for something in God’s kingdom.

Being Lukewarm isn’t about Passion

For a very long time, I thought that Jesus was talking about being hot or cold in our love for him. I thought that Jesus would rather we love him A LOT or be completely indifferent to him, just don’t be somewhere in between. I was taught that being lukewarm means being wishy-washy. It means coasting through life without taking God seriously. We’re supposed to be passionate for God. We’re supposed to be on fire for him. And if we’re not, then we’re the kind of Christian that Jesus despises. Our only two acceptable choices are unbeliever or passionate believer.

But I don’t think that’s what this verse is saying. Being hot or cold isn’t about passion; it’s about purpose. I’m pretty sure that everything I was taught about this passage is wrong, and that has pretty significant implications for a lot of people who just couldn’t live up to the demand of being a passionately on-fire for Jesus 24/7. I mean, just think about the metaphor for a minute. When you want a cold drink and you drink something cold, you’re happy. When you want a hot drink and you drink something hot, you’re happy then, too. But when your drink has been sitting out for a while and it gets to room temperature, what kind of face do you make when you drink it? A contortion of disgust, right? When you want a cold Coke or a hot coffee, do you even finish the one that’s at room temperature? I’m guessing not.


Being hot or cold isn’t about passion. It’s about purpose.

Jesus isn’t secretly saying, “I wish you would be hot all the time.” He’s not putting pressure on us to live at an unsustainable level of passion all the time. What he’s saying actually cuts much deeper. He’s telling Laodicea, “I wish you were good for something.” I mean…dang.

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The Mark of the Beast

Guys. I’ve done it. I’ve solved the puzzle. Finally, after 2,000 years, because of my hard work and intellectual prowess, we can now know exactly what the mark of the beast is. Every towering genius of the past quakes before me. This mystery, which has been studied and debated by scholars of Scripture for centuries, will now finally be revealed in this blog post. By me. A genius. No. Even better: A galaxy-brained genius.

Ok, so maybe I don’t know what the mark of the beast actually is. The book of Revelation is super confusing, and the further we get from the time of its writing, the more difficult it is for us to discern its mysteries. It’s not written in a straightforward way. It’s timeline is most likely non-linear. The images, exploding off the page as they do, are so vivid and strange that they mask the reality to which they point. Is it past? Is it present? Is it future? The answer is an emphatic, “Yes!” It is all of these. It is history and prophecy, of both the physical and spiritual realms. It is current events — the news. It was the news. It is the news. It will be the news. Get it? Hardly. But I do have some thoughts.


The book of Revelation was the news, is the news, and will be the news.

Lots of folks think we’re living in the days prophesied in Revelation — the end times. People have always thought this, though, and I have a feeling that they’ve always been a little bit wrong but a whole lot right. We’ve been living in the last days ever since Jesus ascended back into the Father’s presence. His death, resurrection, and ascension kicked off an entirely new age in world history. We’re in the last days, the last phase of this world before Jesus makes everything new. The end is near! We’re just not quite to the last hour yet.

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open and shut
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
-Revelation 3:7-13

Jesus is pretty intent on making it clear to the church in Philadelphia that he is the Jewish Messiah. As far as he’s concerned, it’s an open and shut case. Obviously. He calls himself the Holy One and the True One. He says that he holds the key of David. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it’s obvious that all of these are significant claims. He also seems to know who is and is not authentically Jewish, and the local synagogue is definitely not a true Jewish synagogue. In fact, he goes so far as to call it a synagogue of Satan. As the Jewish Messiah, Jesus is able to discern who is and is not a real member of God’s family.


What Jesus opens no one can shut; what Jesus shuts no one can open.

When Jesus tells John to tell the church in Philadelphia that he holds the key of David, I think what he means to say is this: I am the only one who can open the door to the Messianic kingdom. The new reality that awaits the people of God is locked, and only Jesus can take us into this awe-inspiring, wonderful space. He is the one who opens or closes the door to new creation. In the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to himself as the gate, and access into God’s family is only granted through him. Here in Revelation, Jesus puts it in even starker terms: What I open no one can shut; what I shut no one can open. There isn’t another way into the Messianic world. It’s Jesus or nothing.

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