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“ Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ I recognize the widest possible difference” –Frederick Douglass 1845The prophets of old were not easy to listen to because they did not flatter  They did not cajole They spoke hard words that often chafed and unsettled their listeners Like the Old Testament prophets and recent prophetic If you pick up this book expecting to find a landmark contribution to the social justice debate you will be disappointed In it Dr Mason is presenting his vision for a socially engaged church not directly engaging with the debate that has surfaced over the last several years He s not staying out of it the title gives it away Dr Mason is on the social justice side of things but he is presenting a moderated position in favor of SJ His desire is to redeem the term woke to promote frameworks and terms that progressive Christians are known for but he is committed to historic Christian orthodoxy and to staying within the evangelical campSpeaking of terms one of the weaknesses of this book is that it leaves too many of them undefined The term woke is defined sure but the definition of a multitude of other freuent terms is assumed Words like race and racism culture people of color are left without a definition thereby placing terms like cultural needs racial trauma majorityminority culture in a very abstract realm while assuming a framework where they have particular meanings This is one of the reasons this book will probably not convince a careful reader that is aware of other views the meaning of terms like culture and race are part of the issue being debated which by implication would influence our view on whether or not woke is a term that can be redeemedIn my view Dr Mason s position suffers among other things from a faulty understanding of identity In the opening pages of the book he tells the story of how his son understood his connection to people in Libya because they looked like him In the preceding paragraph we read of Dr Mason telling his son that these are our people The establishment of this identification between groups of people based on how they look should make us pause and think Do we naturally make this connection of identity based on physical features height eye color etc other than skin color Or even with skin color does that mean that people with white skin all have a shared cultural identity across ethnicities countries and continentsA commendable aspect of the book is the correction of a conversion hunting attitude among Christians where regeneration is made the only thing that matters to the exclusion of sanctification and obedience individual and corporate The Gospel does have implications and I m thankful that Dr Mason affirms the distinction between the Gospel message and its implications However there are several pages in the book dedicated to the doctrine of justification that could have been much improved He states that justification extends beyond being declared righteous that it isn t merely a position but a practice p 45 Even under the most charitable reading many of the statements in that section need clarification One way to improve his point would be to speak about being made right instead of the theological category of justification a forensic word reserved in evangelical theology for the imputation of Christ s righteousness to sinners Another aspect where the book could use some theological clarity is its hint at over realized eschatology such as the statement that by working for justice Christians help realize shalom There s a difference between desiring to reflect the shalom that Christians possess in Christ and thinking that our efforts at societal reform are helping realize it In the same realm of eschatology the author s worldview reveals a sub Christian confusion of revolutions and reformations going so far as calling Jesus the eternal revolutionary Giving particular attention to the soundbite of a counter argument Dr Mason rejects color blindness and finds it oppressive But he gives a blanket condemnation without specifying any cases where it would be useful Should readers think of the blindfold of Lady Justice as oppressive Would the colorblind forces of a free market be oppressiveThe practical side Dr Mason presents is not as unclear most of them would not only be approved but encouraged by Christians who disagree with him on principles and rhetoricThe book could have used some editing

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Woke Church

Tness to a watching worldBe Redemptive – to grieve and lament what we have lost and to regain our prophetic voice calling the church to remember our gospel imperative to promote justice and mercyBe Active – to move beyond polite safe conversations about reconciliation and begin to set things aright for our soon coming King who will be looking for a WOKE CHURCH The word woke is slang for being aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues especially issues of racial and social justice Dr Eric Mason appropriates this term to describe a church that has been awakened to the reality of implicit and explicit racism and injustice in American society Such a church is characterized by four attributes Awareness of the overarching truths that unite the Body of Christ including the relationship of justice to the gospel chapter 2 and the Church as the holy family of God chapter 3 Acknowledgement of the history of racism among American Christians chapter 4 which provides a list of beliefs and practices to lament chapter 5 Accountability for churches to reclaim our roles as light and salt in the world by means of prophetic preaching chapter 6 and advocacy for justice which is understood to encompass how both individuals and systems act and react chapter 7 and Action which suggests ten action steps churches can take to bring healing and justice into our spheres of influence chapter 8 Mason concludes the book chapter 9 with a brief study of the book of Revelation which paints the bigger picture of God s vision of the Church If the church can keep this image of what is to come before us Mason writes we will be energized to accomplish His purposes in the earth We will work as one unified body across all ethnic lines Revelation 79 10Mason is the founder and pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia PA He is a black evangelical who describes himself as exegetically at home with my conservative family on the doctrines of grace but ethically at home with my liberal family on issues of race and justice My guess is that Mason s dual at home ness may frustrate readers Conservatives may think some of his suggestions go too far while liberals may think they don t go far enoughAs a conservative white evangelical the best piece of advice I can give to readers like me is this listen White and black Christians may read the same Bible but they read it from very different social locations And in my experience white Christians are often unaware of the breadth and depth of racism in American history including the history of the American church Until we listen to our black brothers and sisters we cannot hope even to begin bridging the racial divide in our churches let alone our countryDr Eric Mason s Woke Church is a right step in that directionBook ReviewedEric Mason Woke Church An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice Chicago Moody 2018PS If you like my review please vote Helpful on my review page

Eric Mason ☆ 1 REVIEW

Voices like Frederick Douglass Dr Eric Mason calls the evangelical church to a much needed reckoning In a time when many feel confused complacent or even angry he challenges the church toBe Aware – to understand that the issue of justice is not a black issue it’s a kingdom issue To learn how the history of racism in America and in the church has tainted our wi Short thoughts I am mixed on the title There is nothing wrong with it but those that are in most need of the book are probably those that would be most turned off by the title Woke has a connotation among people that are skeptical of the need for racial justice and I think I would have titled it differently But the book is worth reading The early sections of history and biographical sketches about how the church has been on the wrong side of injustice specially racial justice are well done But I think the strongest sections of the book are about the prophetic role of the church and discussion of the prophetic in the Old Testament The final section is about how to be active in the fight against injustice This is a descriptive look at Mason s church not a prescriptive descriptions These are all in the line of John Perkins who wrote an introduction to the book My longer thoughts are on my blog at


10 thoughts on “Woke Church

  1. says:

    If you pick up this book expecting to find a landmark contribution to the social justice debate you will be disappointed In it Dr Mason is presenting his vision for a socially engaged church not directly engaging with the debate that has surfa

  2. says:

    Eric Mason has no plan Just a lot of blusterSome of the bluster I agree with; some I don’t But let’s get specific man What exactly is wrong and what would you like to do about itAlso the writing is abysmal Like a freshman’s first college paper

  3. says:

    If you already know what you think about the SJW movement and their relationship to the reformed tradition this book will not change your mind This will be red meat for the already woke and cringy to MacArthurites There were parts that I thought were excellent critiues of the way evangelicalism has had a trunca

  4. says:

    Thanks to Netgalley and Moody Publishers for this ARCThis was a difficult read for me because it forced me to admit and assess my own prejudices There is a lot of history here which was both fascinating and appalling The arguments for a Woke Church are crystal clear and will resonate in my heart forever I hope Honestly I highlighte

  5. says:

    Short thoughts I am mixed on the title There is nothing wrong with it but those that are in most need of the book are pro

  6. says:

    Convicting on many fronts and insanely readable For those wary of the word woke please read the book I've appre

  7. says:

    DISCLAIMER I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE FROM MOODY PUBLISHERS TO REVIEWEric Mason’s Woke Church aims to “shine a spotlight on one of the aspects of the gospel that has been neglected and dismissed as inappropriate for discourse” p 43; that aspect he refers to is justice This book represents the seventh book that I have reviewed for Moody Publishers It is by far the worst book I have reviewed for Moody This review

  8. says:

    Summary The woke church must 1 be aware of how sin manifests in our communities and how the gospel addresses the

  9. says:

    The word woke  is slang for being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues especially issues of racial and social justice” Dr Eric Mason appropriates this term to describe a church that has been “awakened to the reality of implicit and explicit racism and injustice in American society” Such a church is character

  10. says:

    I feel like Dr Mason is a man who is swimming in the ocean of Scripture but understands the current of the present What I learnedYou don’t really know God or His Bible unless you know about and join in His push for justice We need to engage our broken culture and prophetically speakact against racism and injustice We need to know