For decades the American public has witnessed liberal denominations water down the gospel and embrace far-left ideologies. That is why a Sunday morning sermon at a liberal church might feature a lesbian pastor warning about climate change or praising abortion and Planned Parenthood.
Viewing the issue much like a virus, “Point of View” radio host Kerby Anderson says wokeness is no longer a foreign topic that can be dismissed as some wacky issue in an far-away church.
“It started primarily in some of the liberal churches,” he tells AFN, “but even churches we would consider to be evangelical churches, you're starting to hear some of these woke ideas.”
One headline-grabbing example occurred in 2019, when messengers for the Southern Baptist Convention voted for a resolution that praised Critical Race Theory rather than denounce it as “unbiblical” as the original document intended. That statement, known as Resolution 9, hit the convention floor after numerous revisions. In the final draft, the Marxist-based Critical Race Theory was described as an “analytical tool” that can be used to address racism and race relations inside the walls of the church.
The re-wording and passage of Resolution 9 found few defenders on either side. Within the SBC, some black pastors denounced the watered-down version of Resolution 9 because it appeared white SBC members were denying that “systemic racism” exists. Some pastors and leaders were angered the language was changed at all.
Three years later, the public has witnessed the anti-white, Marxist-based theory get preached like the gospel in corporate cubicles, elementary school classrooms, and the U.S. armed forces, where terms such as "white privilege” and “oppressor” are common.
The term "systemic racism" that was obscure to many in 2019 is now understood to be a tenet of CRT, too, since it claims society is set up by whites to maintain power over minorities.
“The whole idea of wokeness has become a theology,” Anderson says. “It almost has its own -- if you will -- eschatology, future things. It is almost its whole view of sin and salvation, and the rest.”
That is certainly true for Critical Race Theory itself, which suggests that white people cannot change their racism but they can admit to it and promise to address it. In other words, they become “woke.”
“We don't want to say that individuals can never change because once they are labeled as an oppressor, there's really no grace,” Anderson says. “There's no ability for you to provide forgiveness to an individual or the rest.”