The 'Woke' Church

Dr. Stephen Phinney



What happened to the church? Why are most hosting social justice topics over that of delivering the authentic Gospel?


The obvious answer – these so-called churches are filled with minds who are void of the reason & purpose OF the church. When you have a church filled with depraved minds, you get depraved results – a dead church.


If you are new to the term ‘woke,’ culturally, it is an obsession over racial and social justice issues.


Could it be the church of Sardis was the ‘woke’ church of today?


Each of the Seven churches was assigned a specific ministry to accomplish the mission God gave to each of the seven angels of the Lord. God rarely, if ever, speaks in general terms. Most, I believe, of His actions are specific and ordained with a particular mission assigned to each, especially when it comes to the Spirits, angels, and leaders of His Holy Church, the Body of Christ.


Sardis carried a reputation of being a church that was alive; although, God points out clearly that it is “just a reputation,” and in reality, they are as dead as a church doornail. Sardis took advantage of mankind looking upon the outward appearance and forgot that God looks upon the inside of mankind—the heart. In modern times, we are quite guilty of this: big churches, nice clothes, published books, radio/television ministries, fancy houses, and believe it or not, minsters who are being ushered around in limousines. It gives a grave appearance that they are popular and productive in the Christian world when, in reality, they are dead.



If you look around today, we have the largest buildings of worship and the biggest ministerial budgets. But yet, financial reports show that many of these megachurches are more in debt than all the churches, ministries, and fellow believers collectively. Most American churches are one offering away from becoming homeless. Your average church would have no idea how to function without their church buildings & big budgets. The most ignored and rejected Christian groups in America are those who meet in homes, which is the original way the first-generation churches met and functioned. So here’s my question: if the local church lost its buildings for some prophetic reason, what would the traditional church do? I will tell you exactly what they would do; they would join the state-approved world religious place of worship. That list can presently be found by checking out the World Council of Churches. It is what we view today as the modern Ecumenical Society.


Most theologians regard the Reformation as the most significant blessing to the Christian faith while declaring it the biggest hindrance to the Roman papacy. It needs to be noted what the primary difference is between the Reformation and the movement of Protestantism. The Reformation was God’s Divine work to establish the three final churches stated in the book of Revelation. Protestantism is a man-made system, which proved itself to be dead. The initial act of the Reformation was for God to break the True church away from the Roman State-Church and Empire.


The church of Sardis may be labeled “asleep,” but know this, Satan is not sleeping. He is active and working within the church today to deaden them to their hearing the voice of the Lord, which causes them to fall asleep in their faith. Thus shifting from the Word of God to social justice issues. The Reformation leaders would roll over in their graves if they saw their sacrifice for the original message had gone lethargic. Their efforts of reestablishing the original church were not meant for the establishment of denominations & their focus on culture. Their passion was to unite the Body of Christ under one banner—the church of Philadelphia, the model that Christ Himself originally gave us through this church, not the Paganistic rhetoric of the Social Gospel.


The dead church does not necessarily promote corruption or immorality, but rather it produces a spiritual lethargy within the church, what Christ now calls the dead church. The Sardis church was alive in reputation only. While the dead church is compared to our modern-day movement of being “woke,” the ideology of this misnomer integrates “Christianity” into a secular framework. This is deeply problematic for the indwelt Christian. Being “woke” involves performing a list of works that appear to be “good” while hiding their mission of remaining “woke.” Conversely, this shift moves the attendees into lethargy with the authentic Gospel. The fact is, lethargy is required to be rooted in a human soul before spiritual death can take that soul.


“Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.” (Rev. 3:2)

We are commanded by the Lord to wake up and to be sober until the final hour. We are not to be slumbering, like many of the fake Christians.


Do you ever wonder how many believers are actually watching, praying, and eagerly awaiting the coming of our Groom? The Second Coming of Jesus is the only Truth that can stir the hearts and minds of True believers in preparing the way of the Lord.


According to our passage, there is not much zeal for organic Truth in the church of Sardis, nor our modern-day ‘woke’ church. But, for what is left, Christ is requesting this body to strengthen the things which remain. The pieces of truth scattered on the floors of the Sardis churches are the pieces we need to gather up and strengthen.


“So remember what you have received and heard, and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (Rev. 3:3)

The Lord is asking the church to remember what you have received, hold on to it, and repent of any attitudes or actions that produce death in the soul. The commission here is if they do not, He will come in a moment only to gather the True believers within this church. Those who did not wake up will not be part of such a rescue, which we classically refer to as the Rapture. The truth revealed here is that Christians of slumber are not indwelt, born-again Christians but are those who live off the Christianity of others. I can assure you that this number will be great.


“But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:4-6)

In these verses, Jesus tells us there are a faithful few who have not stained their lives with the ecumenical stains of the one-world church, which I believe belongs to the Antichrist. However, those who walk with Jesus, despite their churches’ politics, are worthy of the love and affection of Christ Himself.


All overcomers will wear white in the end, the garment of praise dipped in the blood of Jesus. Their names will be recorded in the Book of Life and will be proven victorious by possessing life within that believer.


Do you remember the story of Judas Iscariot, the disciple of Jesus who was of the devil? How could it be that one of the disciples would be a devil? It is simple, Judas was assigned a mission to complete, even though God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit knew he was an antichrist. God has always used Satan and his forces to accomplish His end-time goals. The Word is filled with such examples: Cain, Ham, Saul, Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, and many more. It is no different in the end-times of Revelation, particularly with our new ‘woke’ church movement. God uses the people, places, and things of the trio of Satan (Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet) to purify His beloved children.



Salvation and rewards are different: There is a distinct difference between being saved from the lake of fire and receiving the full reward. Many, if not most Christians, do not like discussing the reward system of eternity. They should; in fact, they should carefully study 2nd John. Yes, the author is the same as the author of the book of Revelation. A person can be a True believer yet not receive his full reward.


In Acts 2:47, we learn how we become Bridal members of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ adds us to the True Church when we are saved, registered in the Lambs Book of Life. Whoever confesses before Christ that He is the Son of God, and there is no other god besides God the Father, He (Christ) will confess him before His Father as a True Bridal member of the eternal Groom of Heaven. Now that’s what I call a marriage made in Heaven!


It’s not too late to repent of our deadness, and we can be made alive in Christ Jesus. Only a faithful few of the entire assembly of Sardis were overcomers. Let us be some of those faithful few who are overcomers of the world, the flesh, and the schemes of the devil.


As for your church potentially being woke? Watch for these ideations.


  1. Is your leader requesting you to repent for white people being inherently racist?

  2. Are your leaders promoting Critical Race Theory?

  3. Has your church stepped back from being Gospel-focused while shifting toward social justice issues?

  4. Do you hear messages from the pulpit that advance BLM over all lives matter?

  5. Is your church using terms like white fragility, whiteness, racism, and anti-racism?


So you think your church is going ‘woke.’ Now what?


Honestly, leave this gathering. Search for a church/fellowship that focuses on the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. While it is healthy to address cultural issues, do not be caught up in movements of culture. However, before you leave, go to the church leadership with your concerns. If they change the message back to the authentic purpose of a church by some miracle, consider hanging out a bit longer to help them rebuild what the enemy has torn down. If they are immovable in their secular approach to the church, brush the dust off your sandals and move on.