An Aug. 14 sermon that Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Texas preached on “wokeism” has generated criticism online. In his sermon, Young offered his own definition of “wokeism,” comparing the ideology as he defines it to a cult and calling it “a seductive, satanic strategy.”
“I would argue it’s sort of a religion,” said Young in a sermon titled, “What does it mean to be ‘Woke?’ | A Biblical Perspective.” “‘Wokeism’ takes terms that we’re familiar with and they redefine them because what is racist to a ‘woker’ would not be racist to those of us who are Christ followers. What is social justice to the ‘woker’ is not social justice to you and me. And here’s where it gets very, very confusing. Like any cult…they take terms that we’re very, very familiar with, they redefine them.”
Ed Young Warns Against ‘Wokeism’
Ed Young is senior pastor of Fellowship Church, which he cofounded with his wife, Lisa, and which is based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Young started his sermon by contrasting eating soft serve ice cream with eating steak. There was a soft serve ice cream machine on stage with the phrase “Woke or Awake?” on it. The phrase “Woke or Awake?” was also on the screen behind the pastor, and the church’s website features “Woke or Awake?” coffee and mugs.
The latter part of this phrase appears to be an allusion to Ephesians 5:14-15, which Young referenced later in his sermon and which says, “This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.”
Young helped himself to ice cream from the machine, explaining that a lot of people are “bypassing the beef and we’re just eating soft serve ice cream, especially when it comes to truth.” Fellowship Church, however, is not an “ice cream serving church,” he said. “We serve the beef.”
Young said he had taken a “deep dive” into “wokeism” over the past few months and that his initial Google search of the term, “woke,” led to the following definition: “Someone who is alert to injustice in society, especially racism.”
The pastor does identify as someone who is against injustice and racism—so does that make him “woke”? Young said no, it does not. Without explaining why he rejected this definition, he offered his own, which he had “come up with after reading a lot of brilliant Christian thinkers and also atheistic thinkers who are non-woke.”