Woke Jesus: The False Messiah Book Summary

Title: Woke Jesus: The False Messiah Destroying Christianity
Author: Lucas Miles

TLDR: Woke Jesus exposes how progressive ideology has infiltrated the church, creating a false image of Christ that prioritizes social justice over biblical truth. Miles dismantles this “Woke Jesus” and offers a path back to the true Biblical Christ and His redemptive power.

Introduction

Lucas Miles opens his book by comparing the current challenge facing the twenty-first-century church to the struggle of the early church against Gnosticism. He argues that the church is now facing a neo-Gnostic ideology, intricately woven from strands of Marxism, feminism, Critical Theory, and “Woke” theology, which presents a distorted and ultimately false image of Jesus. Miles laments the decline of biblical literacy and the rise of Progressive Christianity, characterized by a distrust of God and a departure from traditional biblical interpretations. This new brand of Christianity, he contends, elevates political correctness, cancel culture, and hedonistic values, leading to an exodus from biblical faith.

Miles traces the roots of this shift to Immanuel Kant’s emphasis on the “Historical Jesus” as a purely human moral example rather than a divine savior. He asserts that this humanistic interpretation laid the groundwork for a social Gospel that reduces Christ to a revolutionary figure whose value is contingent on aligning with progressive values.

This “Woke Jesus,” Miles argues, is a fabricated image that serves the agenda of the Left, embracing Marxist ideologies, racial essentialism, and progressive views on race, gender, and sexuality. Ultimately, he sets out to expose the deception of this false Christ and provide a framework for understanding and embracing the true biblical Jesus.

Chapter 1: Jesus the Luminous

The book starts by examining the rise of the “Liberation Methodist Connexion (LMX),” a new denomination that explicitly reimagines Christianity through a progressive lens, dismantling traditional doctrines and adopting a female pronoun for God. Miles identifies this trend as “Woke Christianity,” a movement claiming to be “conscious” of social injustices and aligning itself with alternative Gospels like Critical Theory and Liberation Theology.

He delves into the ideology of Critical Theory, highlighting its focus on dismantling existing social systems due to perceived inherent injustices. He links Liberation Theology to Critical Theory as a religiously motivated branch seeking to dismantle oppression using Marxist principles, even advocating for revolution.

Miles then traces the evolution of Critical Theory, arguing that while earlier forms were rejected by orthodox Christians, a more subtle version has found acceptance among evangelicals. He criticizes figures like Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt for adapting the church to postmodern culture, ultimately becoming postmodern themselves and leading others astray.

Miles argues that Woke Christianity’s systematic theology mirrors the Hegelian concept of a self-unaware “Spirit” seeking to recognize itself in a perfected humanity. He outlines Hegel’s belief in a mystical union between the “Spirit” and mankind, achieved through ideological uniformity – a concept reflected in today’s cancel culture. He points to Herbert Marcuse’s call for “Repressive Tolerance” as a direct application of Hegelian thought, advocating for intolerance against opposing viewpoints, particularly conservative ones.

He contrasts Hegel’s mystical idealism with Marx’s materialistic interpretation of the dialectic, focusing on class conflict and revolution. Miles argues that both Hegelian and Marxist frameworks underpin the two major camps of Critical Theorists today: spiritual and secular. He identifies the spiritual camp as prevalent within the Woke Church, promoting a form of “ethnic Gnosticism” – a belief system reliant on subjective racial experiences as sources of ultimate truth.

Miles concludes by emphasizing the Gnostic roots of Wokeism, highlighting the shared elements of alienation, systemic oppression, and works-based enlightenment. He argues that both secular and spiritual Critical Theorists perpetuate these ideas, ultimately presenting a distorted and heretical view of Christianity.

Chapter 2: The Historical Jesus

This chapter begins by revisiting the age-old question: “Who was Jesus?” Miles examines the diverse and often contradictory views of Jesus throughout history, ranging from traditional Christian beliefs to more unorthodox interpretations. He focuses on the emergence of Critical Theology in the 18th and 19th centuries, a movement seeking to demythologize scripture and reconstruct a purely historical profile of Jesus.

Miles criticizes the quest for the Historical Jesus, initiated by Albert Schweitzer, for its reliance on a predetermined set of criteria that inherently excluded the miraculous and supernatural elements of Jesus’s ministry. He explores the shortcomings of early “Jesus” biographers, citing their speculative theories and unfounded claims, often rooted in personal biases and rationalistic explanations for the miraculous. These biographers, Miles argues, distorted the image of Jesus by attempting to mold him into a reflection of their own sociological and scholarly assumptions.

Miles then analyzes the quest’s faulty premises: the elevation of historical facts over Christian tradition, the requirement for skeptical testing, and the exclusion of miracles. He contends that these premises inevitably led to a predetermined conclusion, a human Jesus, undermining the authority of the Gospels and dismissing the possibility of a divine Christ. He concludes by pointing to the vast amount of biblical evidence supporting Jesus’s divinity, demonstrating the inadequacy of the quest’s findings and the futility of relying on a purely human understanding of Jesus.

The focus then shifts to the hypothetical lost Gospel of Q, a theoretical source document believed to have been used by the writers of the Synoptic Gospels. Despite lacking any physical evidence or historical references, Miles argues that Q has been embraced by Critical Theologians like Bart Ehrman as the “earliest evidence for the Historical Jesus,” further distorting the true narrative. He also criticizes the Jesus Seminar, a group of scholars who attempted to analyze and reconstruct the authentic sayings and deeds of Jesus, concluding that their reliance on Q and their disregard for the resurrection narrative ultimately led to a flawed and incomplete understanding of Jesus.

Miles concludes by emphasizing the limitations of Critical Theology and its tendency to prioritize scholarly assumptions over the weight of biblical evidence and Christian tradition. He stresses the importance of adhering to the scriptural account of Jesus, acknowledging both his humanity and divinity as essential for understanding the true nature of Christianity.

Chapter 3: God and Race

This chapter opens with a provocative prayer by Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, expressing a desire to hate white people. Miles uses this prayer as a springboard for exploring the theology of James Cone and his concept of Black Liberation Theology, a movement seeking to address racial injustice through a distorted Christian framework. He argues that Cone’s theology, heavily influenced by Marxist ideology, elevates racial liberation over personal salvation and demonizes “Whiteness” as the source of all sin.

Miles examines the key tenets of Black Liberation Theology, highlighting its emphasis on Black experience and the revelation of a “Black Jesus” as sources of authority, replacing traditional Christian sources like scripture and church tradition. He criticizes Cone’s selective use of scripture to justify violence and revolution against a perceived White hegemony, ultimately aiming to “destroy” the “White Jesus” and establish a Black Messiah.

Miles then draws parallels between Black Liberation Theology and Aryan Christianity, the distorted faith promoted by Nazi Germany. He highlights the similarities in their attempts to racialize Jesus and justify racist ideologies by combining Christian elements with external influences, such as Marxism and Germanic myths. He criticizes both movements for abandoning biblical orthodoxy and selectively using scripture to support their racist agendas.

The chapter then addresses the accusations of “Christian Nationalism” leveled against modern conservative Christians, contrasting their beliefs and actions with those of the Nazified German Church and Woke Christianity. Miles argues that true Christian Nationalists exhibit a greater allegiance to the secular state and promote progressive propaganda, while conservative Christians uphold biblical orthodoxy and fight for individual liberties.

Miles concludes by emphasizing that both Black Liberation Theology and Aryan Christianity are unbiblical faith systems reliant on external ideologies to justify their racist agendas. He argues that Woke Christianity, while less extreme than these movements, also relies on a harmful modifier known as Critical Race Theory (CRT) to distort the Christian faith and advance its progressive agenda.

Chapter 4: Critical Race Theory

Miles begins by contrasting the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, rooted in the Black church and its faith-based activism, with the ideology of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which he argues lacks a genuine Christian foundation and ultimately undermines the Gospel. He identifies CRT as a deeply religious yet secularized philosophy, carrying on the traditions of the Frankfurt School and employing Marxism, Gnosticism, and racial essentialism to advance its agenda.

He then defines CRT, outlining its core tenets: race as a social construct, ethnic Gnosticism/neo-Marxism, the permanence of racism, systemic racism, interest convergence, White privilege, equity over equality, race essentialism/superiority, and the rejection of liberalism. Miles argues that these beliefs form a creed-like system that dictates the actions and allegiances of its adherents, creating a coercive and manipulative environment that silences dissent.

Miles further explores the religious nature of CRT, highlighting the use of specific language, rituals, and prescribed actions as evidence of its cult-like characteristics. He criticizes the movement’s tendency to silence criticism through accusations of racism and white fragility, creating a climate of fear and intimidation. He provides examples of how this tactic was used to pressure evangelical pastors into supporting Black Lives Matter (BLM) during the summer of 2020.

Drawing a parallel between the current situation and the Decian persecution of the early church, Miles criticizes Christian leaders who willingly abandon biblical precepts to appease the Woke mob. He argues that their hasty acquiescence to CRT is a betrayal of their faith, similar to the lapsed Christians who sacrificed to pagan gods to avoid persecution.

Miles then focuses on the writings of Robin DiAngelo, a leading figure in the CRT movement. He criticizes her concept of “White Fragility” as a form of ethnic Gnosticism that traps individuals in fixed roles of oppressor and oppressed. He argues that DiAngelo’s work perpetuates a neo-colonialist narrative, where non-Whites are reliant on Whites to achieve liberation from systemic racism.

The chapter concludes by dismantling the notion that there are any redemptive aspects of CRT. Miles meticulously compares CRT’s tenets to biblical teachings, demonstrating their fundamental incompatibility. He emphasizes that Christianity affirms objective truth, rejects partiality based on race, and offers individual salvation through Christ, while CRT promotes subjective truths, embraces racial essentialism, and seeks societal liberation through revolution.

Chapter 5: The School of Woke

Miles opens this chapter by examining the historical transformation of Harvard University, from a Puritan institution dedicated to training clergymen to a secularized center of progressive ideology. He illustrates this shift through personal anecdotes and highlights the university’s current embrace of atheism and social justice, contrasting it with its original religious mission.

He then argues that a similar process of secularization is taking place within second-generation Christian universities, such as Biola, Azusa Pacific, Seattle Pacific, and Wheaton College. He uses Biola’s controversial “Jesus Mural” as an example of how these institutions are grappling with the pressure to conform to Woke doctrines and policies, sacrificing their Christian identity in the pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Miles delves into specific instances of Woke ideology infiltrating these universities, citing Azusa Pacific’s promotion of CRT resources and Seattle Pacific’s conflict with its board of directors over LGBTQ-inclusive hiring policies. He criticizes these institutions for abandoning their commitment to a Christian worldview and for prioritizing progressive agendas over biblical truth.

He further argues that this national synchronization of doctrinal drift is not coincidental but rather a deliberate strategy driven by dark money and Leftist operatives. Citing W. Cleon Skousen’s exposé of communist infiltration tactics, Miles explains how these groups target schools and churches to dismantle traditional values and reshape society according to Marxist ideology.

Miles provides examples of how dark money has influenced Christian institutions, highlighting Biola University’s relationship with Indonesian billionaire James Riady, a convicted campaign finance law violator, and the Templeton Religion Trust, a foundation known for promoting progressive religious views. He argues that these donations, often accompanied by stipulations and agendas, contribute to the erosion of Christian values within these institutions.

The chapter concludes by discussing the manipulation of environmental concerns and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as tools for advancing Leftist agendas within Christian circles. Miles criticizes the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) for promoting a politically charged “creation care” agenda funded by left-leaning donors and the Telos Group for pushing an anti-Israel narrative through carefully curated pilgrimages to Palestine, aimed at influencing evangelical leaders.

Chapter 6: Parishes and Plagues

This chapter explores the intersection of public health crises and religious obedience, specifically focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic. Miles argues that the “public health crisis” narrative has been weaponized by the Left to justify tyrannical restrictions and dismantle individual liberties. He criticizes Progressive Christians for equating government compliance with biblical obedience, citing examples of church leaders who urged their congregations to submit to state mandates, including lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccinations.

Miles argues that this view of Romans 13 as unquestioned submission to the State distorts the true meaning of the passage, which he contends focuses on upholding a just social order rather than blind obedience to any government edict. He cites N.T. Wright’s interpretation, emphasizing that God desires an ordered society, but this does not preclude civil disobedience when authorities command something contrary to God’s will.

He then explores biblical examples of righteous resistance, highlighting individuals who disobeyed unjust laws and challenged oppressive authorities, including the Hebrew midwives, Rahab, Obadiah, Johoiada, Queen Vashti, Daniel, the magi, Jesus, and the apostles. Miles emphasizes that this resistance, while often coming with consequences, is justified when it aligns with God’s commands and upholds biblical justice.

The chapter delves into the ethical dilemmas surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, specifically focusing on the tension between personal conscience and mandated compliance. Miles criticizes both pro-vaccine Christians who promote guilt and condemnation towards the unvaccinated and those who exert pressure against vaccination, arguing that both approaches violate the biblical principle of respecting individual conscience.

Drawing on Paul’s teachings on eating meat sacrificed to idols, Miles argues that coercing someone to violate their conscience can have detrimental spiritual consequences. He emphasizes the importance of avoiding becoming a stumbling block to those with a “weak conscience” and calls for Christians to respect individual decisions regarding vaccination, even if they disagree.

Miles then expands his critique to encompass the broader trend of anti-science ideology within the Woke Church, drawing parallels with Lysenkoism, a Soviet-era movement that rejected modern genetics and contributed to mass starvation. He argues that today’s Left, in the absence of totalitarian enforcement, uses a distorted morality to silence dissent and promote biologically flawed ideologies, such as transgenderism and the efficacy of experimental vaccines over natural immunity.

Chapter 7: True Religion and the New Morality of the Left

This chapter explores the Left’s moral framework, arguing that it represents not a decline of morality but rather a complete redefinition of it. Miles contends that the Left embraces a Gnostic morality, rooted in the concept of alienation and characterized by a deep distrust of the existing world order. He cites socialist Emanuel Geltman’s article on nuclear disarmament as an example of this worldview, highlighting its emphasis on a “moral stance” against perceived societal injustices, even at the risk of “unimaginable horrors.”

Miles criticizes the Left’s tendency to view everything as “sacred” except for traditional biblical truths, arguing that they have abandoned objective truth and replaced it with their own manufactured moral code. He argues that this process of apotheosis, where individuals attempt to become gods of their own existence, is a manifestation of their desire to justify their distorted desires and unholy pursuits.

He then analyzes Pope Francis I’s address on the “tyranny of relativism,” arguing that while Francis appears to condemn relativism, he does so through a lens of Liberation Theology and globalism, ultimately rejecting personal autonomy and embracing a collectivist worldview. Miles contends that the Left, while claiming to reject absolute truth, actually promotes a new set of “truths” that are presented as objectively true, silencing any opposing viewpoints.

He provides examples of this new moral framework, including pro-choice activists taking abortion pills, the rise of transhumanism, assisted suicide, the Equality Act, the denial of fetal rights, the arrest of pastors for holding church services during lockdowns, transgender athletes in women’s sports, and the granting of citizenship to robots. Miles contrasts these examples with the timeless truths of Biblical Christianity, which he argues affirms objective truth and upholds a consistent moral standard based on God’s precepts.

Miles concludes by emphasizing the importance of the armor of God as a defense against the deceptive tactics and moral relativism of the Left. He unpacks each element of the armor – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit – highlighting its practical application in combating the spiritual warfare facing the church today. He stresses the importance of standing firm in the truth of God’s Word as the ultimate source of freedom and liberation from the alienation that plagues humanity.

Chapter 8: A Theology of Justice

This chapter addresses the need for a renewed vision of justice within the church, arguing that the current silence on social issues has created a vacuum filled by the flawed ideology of social justice. Miles criticizes both the “minimalist soteriology” of conservative Christians who prioritize personal salvation over social engagement and the unbiblical approach of Progressive Christians who abandon truth in the pursuit of equity and injustice.

He then exposes the injustices inherent within the Woke Left’s concept of “justice,” highlighting their double standards, unequal application of laws, and reliance on differing scales of partiality. He argues that their focus on redistributing wealth and dismantling existing systems ultimately creates more injustice and fosters resentment, dependence, and the destruction of opportunity.

Miles criticizes the social justice movement for its counterproductive focus on “mitigating” inequality, citing Ryan Messmore’s analysis of its harmful consequences. He argues that while many social justice warriors are motivated by sincerity, they fail to recognize the detrimental effects of their actions and the flawed premises upon which their ideology is built.

He then presents the solution to evil and injustice, arguing that it is found not in human philosophies or political ideologies but in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Miles emphasizes that the cross addresses the spiritual root of evil – sin – and offers the only true path to reconciliation and redemption. He criticizes both Woke Christianity and godless conservatism for their reliance on human efforts to achieve justice, neglecting the transformative power of the Gospel.

Miles proposes a biblical theology of justice, grounded in the recognition of human depravity, the sovereignty of God, and the redemptive work of Christ. He asserts that true justice depends on God’s authority and righteous judgment, not on human attempts to right wrongs. He argues that faith in Christ is essential for pursuing justice, trusting in God’s promise to reward those who seek Him and punish evildoers.

He then explores the concept of justice as an expression of both grace and truth, using biblical examples to illustrate this dynamic. Miles criticizes Fr. Jerome R. Secillano’s progressive interpretation of the Eucharist as promoting social justice, arguing that it distorts the meaning of the sacrament and elevates human morality over the power of God. He emphasizes that true justice flows from Christ’s sacrifice, not from human actions or intentions.

Miles concludes by highlighting the importance of recognizing our own sinfulness and accepting God’s grace as the foundation for pursuing justice. He criticizes the “form of godliness” devoid of power that characterizes Woke Christianity, urging believers to embrace the truth and power of the Gospel as the only path to genuine reconciliation and redemption.

Chapter 9: The Quest for the Biblical Christ

This chapter challenges the previous quests for the Historical Jesus, advocating for a new quest focused on the Biblical Christ as revealed in Scripture. Miles argues that previous quests, driven by Critical Theology and a desire to secularize Jesus, ignored crucial biblical evidence and ultimately failed to capture the true nature of Christ.

He initiates this new quest by examining the pre-existence of Christ as revealed in Genesis and affirmed by Paul and John. Miles dismantles the progressive argument that these passages are merely later additions, demonstrating how the Synoptic Gospels also implicitly point to Jesus’s divinity through his actions, teachings, and titles. He emphasizes that recognizing Christ’s pre-existence is crucial for understanding God’s plan of salvation and the significance of Jesus’s sacrifice.

Miles then delves into the incarnation, highlighting the humility and suffering Jesus willingly embraced by taking on human flesh. He contrasts the biblical depiction of Jesus with the romanticized images often presented in popular culture, emphasizing that Jesus entered this world as a servant, fully identifying with the human experience of pain and rejection. He argues that this profound act of self-emptying was essential for God’s plan of redemption and demonstrates the depth of Christ’s compassion and love for humanity.

The chapter then explores the “mystery” of Christ, criticizing Gnostic interpretations that trivialize the uniqueness of Jesus and his incarnation. Miles contrasts the Gnostic emphasis on esoteric knowledge and personal enlightenment with the biblical revelation of Christ as the Savior for all mankind. He critiques progressive attempts to “build bridges” with atheism by reducing Christ to a metaphorical figure, arguing that such compromises undermine the core tenets of the Christian faith.

Miles then presents the Christus Victor view of atonement, highlighting Irenaeus of Lyons’ theory of recapitulation as a powerful response to Gnosticism and a framework for understanding Christ’s victory over sin and death. He explains how Christ, as the new Adam, conquers the enemy and liberates humanity from bondage through his perfect obedience and sacrifice. Miles emphasizes that both the incarnation and the atonement are inseparable aspects of Christ’s victory, culminating in his resurrection and triumph over the powers of darkness.

He further analyzes Paul’s teachings on the parallels between Adam and Christ, demonstrating how God’s grace in Christ far exceeds the consequences of Adam’s sin. Miles argues that the Christus Victor view provides a compelling response to the existential angst and alienation promoted by Critical Theory and Wokeism, offering a true and lasting hope for redemption that transcends the limitations of human efforts.

Miles concludes by contrasting the alienation experienced by humanity with the deliberate self-emptying and suffering embraced by Christ. He emphasizes that only the true Christ, the God-Man who willingly entered into the depths of human suffering and emerged victorious, can offer genuine liberation from the ultimate alienation – separation from God. He calls for Christians to reject the false messiahs promoted by Wokeism and to embark on a quest for the Biblical Christ, finding truth and hope in the power of his resurrection and the promise of his eternal kingdom.

Chapter 10: Missio Dei and the Renewal of the World

This chapter focuses on the concept of missio dei – the mission of God – as the driving force behind the renewal of the world. Miles argues that the church must move beyond a defensive posture against Critical Theory and actively engage in rebuilding a just society, extending the reign of Christ into every sphere of life. He criticizes the tendency to romanticize the past or to solely focus on resisting societal ills, emphasizing the need for a proactive and future-oriented approach grounded in the Gospel.

Miles explores the historical impact of missio dei, highlighting the Puritans’ commitment to applying God’s law in all areas of life, which he argues contributed to the development of American Exceptionalism and the founding of a just and prosperous nation. He contrasts the Puritans’ active engagement in social reform with the current trend of outsourcing social responsibility to the State, arguing that this has led to the erosion of Christian influence and the rise of secular ideologies.

He then delves into the concept of theonomy – living under God’s law – contrasting it with autonomy, or self-law. Miles emphasizes that a theonomous society is not a theocracy, where the church dictates government policies, but rather a community guided by God’s principles and precepts in all areas of life. He argues that Christians must reject the notion of “neutral” areas of life and embrace the Lordship of Christ over every aspect of their existence, submitting to his authority and seeking to extend his reign throughout society.

Miles then provides practical steps for Christians to participate in missio dei, emphasizing the importance of leaving Woke churches, actively engaging in their children’s education, supporting conservative candidates or running for office themselves, serving in helps ministries, and remaining grounded in local churches for fellowship and accountability. He encourages Christians to be known for what they are for, rather than just what they are against, and to actively promote a positive and proactive vision for a more just and godly society.

The chapter addresses the dangers of American entitlement and the tendency to blame the nation’s shortcomings on its Christian heritage, ignoring its historical contributions to freedom, liberty, and equality. Miles criticizes the Woke Left’s focus on historical grievances and their attempts to rewrite history, arguing that their relentless pursuit of injustice overlooks the progress that has been made and the ongoing efforts to address societal ills.

He emphasizes the importance of remembrance and gratitude, using the example of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egyptian slavery as a cautionary tale against entitlement and forgetfulness. Miles argues that the church must remember the grace of God and the blessings of a free society, resisting the temptation to blame God for the consequences of sin and human choices. He encourages Christians to resist the spirit of ingratitude and entitlement that plagues modern culture, choosing instead to focus on God’s faithfulness and the hope of future redemption.

The book concludes by emphasizing the importance of speaking truth to one another in love, resisting the temptation to let anger fester and control our actions. Miles encourages Christians to embrace a long-term perspective, recognizing that the battle against Wokeism is not a sprint but a marathon requiring patience, perseverance, and a steadfast commitment to the truth of God’s Word. He reminds readers that the church’s best days are still ahead and urges them to stand firm in their faith, sharing the hope of the Gospel with a world desperately in need of the true and victorious Christ.

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