Matthew Dowd, one-time ABC News analyst and former advisor to President George W. Bush, ignited a firestorm on Sunday with a provocative Tweet:
“As I sat in church today I was thinking that if Jesus were here today he would be accused of being woke,” he wrote. “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.”
In mainstream vernacular, the term “woke” has taken on a life of its own, generally used these days to describe a far-left perspective. In a political context, it was once intended to communicate being “aware” of racial injustice.
It’s now being used as an all-encompassing term to describe radical activism – everything from the distorted understanding of gender to support of abortion and open borders. If you’re not “woke” you run the risk of being “cancelled” – a modern-day manifestation of intolerance – especially for people who hold to the historic teachings of the Christian faith.
It might be something of a new phenomenon to call Jesus “woke,” but it’s an old and tired habit of leftists (especially those who identify as Christian progressives) to call Jesus a liberal.
To back up this claim, they cite Jesus’ care and concern for the poor, the weak and the infirmed. They sum up His three-year ministry as a bold challenge to the status quo – confronting the powerful leaders of the culture and championing the underdog. Many who make this claim measure “compassion” by how many government dollars are thrown at an issue, even if it exacerbates the problem.
Of course, Jesus did express great concern for the poor – but He also did a whole lot more. Trying to narrowly define God’s Son on only a short list of issues distorts and diminishes the totality of His mission and ministry.
But this one thing is sure: Jesus was no “liberal” by modern definition.
All throughout the Old and New Testaments, sixty-six books which point to and revolve around Jesus, we read of conservative principles. These include support for the value of every human life, the sinful nature of each person, the proper channeling of God’s gift of sex, the need for personal responsibility, the value of churches and families and the appropriate role of government.
Those were just a few of the issues Jesus came to address. But in doing so, He didn’t just politically reform a broken world – He transformed it by going to the cross and dying for the sins of a desperate and dying people.
He died for me – and He died for you.
So, by every understanding of the word, Jesus wasn’t “woke.” But He did wake up a slumbering and sinful world. So effective was His life and ministry, in fact, that over two thousand years later the world continues to debate His words and actions – and billions call Him Savior and Lord.
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