In the wake of the public turmoil amidst McLean Bible Church and David Platt’s leadership, Relevant Magazine published a gem arguing that Christians should stop using the term “woke” as a pejorative label. Tyler Huckabee’s article subtly tilted, “Christians, Keep Using ‘Woke’ as an Insult.“
After beginning with the context of David Platt and basically blaming publications like Capstone Report for referring to Platt as woke, Huckabee argues:
It’s hard to say exactly when “woke” became a pejorative used by Christians to cudgel their fellow believers into line and smear ideologies, but it’s been an ugly evolution. It was not all that long ago that the word was mostly used to describe a certain social awareness, often around racial issues. These days, it’s a derisive and amorphous term that used to bully anyone perceived to be more socially or politically liberal than you are. That’s made “woke” an extremely popular insult, but also an insultingly brainless one. It’s a huge label that can be easily slapped on anything the user just doesn’t want to intellectually or critically engage. Conversations around race and gender are complicated and require compassion, study and empathy to be effective. But I don’t have to do that if I can just label you “woke.” I can put you in that box and not have to think about you or the substance of what you actually think.Emphasis added
The first false assumption is that people being derided as woke are Christians. A woke pastor should not be assumed to be a Christian. Quite the opposite. They are acting as an enemy within the church, undermining the authority, sufficiency, and clarity of Scripture, adopting a false doctrine on sin, and labeling the gospel incomplete, with their Social Justice Gospel.
Secondly, it is rare for the woke label to misused in the pejorative context in which Huckabee describes. Talking about race does not make one woke. There are many conservatives who talk about race. The reason why they aren’t accused of being woke is because they aren’t employing underlying assumptions of Critical Race Theory, such as racism being normative or the cause of any disparity.
Lastly on this paragraph, conversations on race and gender aren’t complicated as Huckabee suggests. Racial reconciliation was already accomplished on the cross. Too often churches are employing these listening sessions where (White) people are supposed to hear unverifiable instances of “racism” and base their views on this rather than hard data or even Scripture.
That’s why we need to retire “woke” from the church lexicon of put-downs. As an insult, the word has become so broad that it’s useless and so mean-spirited that no helpful conversation can spring from its well. It’s especially tragic when you consider the revolutionary origins of the word among Black Americans.
While I’m curious as to what is in the retired list of insults in church lexicon. I imagine it to be like retiring a player’s jersey, in which woke would be added to the ring of fame with words like “papist.” Obviously, that’s not how Huckabee means it, but I digress. Huckabee then implies that using the term woke is victimizing Black people and Black culture, an idea that he concludes with.
“In my conservative Southern Baptist community, the term has become an insult that is used against anyone who is concerned about justice and racism,” Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English and Christianity and culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, told Vox in 2020.
Huckabee goes on and finds himself quoting woke heretic Karen Swallow Prior. In this quote to socialist media outlet, Vox, she is claiming to be conservative and is flabbergasted why someone who endorsed the Revoice Conference and is more woke than Preston Sprinkle on race would be labeled woke.
Christians should be able to talk about these things seriously, charitably and honestly. That often means elevating our language above the easiest, broadest vocabulary to find something more exact, specific and true. The next time you’re tempted to accuse someone of being “woke,” take a minute to figure out what your actual issue with them is. Not only will this lead to a more profitable discussion, it might challenge you to reconsider some of your own disagreements.
Tyler Huckabee is saying that we should not employ a colloquial vernacular such as “woke” when talking about individuals. This denotes fear. The term “woke” is easy to understand because Cultural Marxism is easy to understand. Thus, “woke” because a common phrase used in place of academic minutia. Using every day language is far more devastatingly effective than even a well rounded debate.
Cultural Marxists are not driven by logic. They are emotionalist. They do not hear reason. Apart from the supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit, they understand only pain. Calling them “woke” a label that was once proudly enjoyed, like “liberal” and “egalitarian” hurts their feelings. Good, because they understand pain. They understand being kicked out of churches and parachurch ministries. They understand Overture 23.
They also understand how to speak with a forked tongue, denouncing Critical Race Theory on one prong and teaching it with the other. They understand that Critical Race Theory is a buzzword, and that the wolf does not so easily get caught if they forgo the label and continue teaching the ideology. The wolf does not listen to reason. They instead respond to being exposed and having their feelings hurt.
Therefore in defending the church against false teacher, pejorative labels that everyday people understand is an effective tactic that we need to increase rather than decrease.