“Between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference.” –Frederick Douglass, 1845
The 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 more recent prophetic 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 to:
Be 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 witness to a watching world.
Be 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 mercy.
Be 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.
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About the Author
DR. ERIC MASON is the founder and pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, PA. He and his wife, Yvette, have four children. After more than two decades of gospel ministry, Dr. Mason has become known for his passion to see the glory of Jesus Christ robustly and relevantly engaged in broken cities with the comprehensive gospel. He helps coach and train families to plant churches locally, nationally, and internationally. He is the founder and president of Thriving, an urban resource organization committed to developing leaders for ministry in the urban context, and is the author of three books, Manhood Restored, Beat God to the Punch, and Unleashed. He is the recipient of multiple earned degrees, including a BS in Psychology from Bowie State University, a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctoral degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Table of Contents
Foreword John M. Perkins 13
Foreword Ligon Duncan 15
Part 1 Be Aware
1 The Church Should Already Be Woke 21
2 How Big Is the Gospel? (Justice and the Gospel) 39
3 We're Family, We're Holy 59
Part 2 Be Willing to Acknowledge
4 Is the Church Asleep? 75
5 Things for the Church to Lament 95
Part 3 Be Accountable
6 Reclaiming Our Prophetic Voice 115
7 A Vision for Change 129
Part 4 Be Active
8 The Woke Church in Action 145
9 Seeing Through the Lens of the End 165
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Woke Church
Eric Mason gives insight on societal, racial, and theological matters with proficiency. This book is a rare gem; few leaders are as competent and scholarly in how to address the divides and conflicts in society that greatly affect the church. This is a book I’ll share for generations.
LECRAEGrammy awarding winning artist @lecrae
While I barely missed the sixties, perusing the current milieu makes me feel as if we are back in those turbulent times. Another black body slain in the streets. Cops called on people of color for walking in their own neighborhoods. Divisive rhetoric from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Silent evangelicals muted by their own incomplete theology. It’s time for the church to awake! My friend Dr. Eric Mason not only diagnoses the problem but provides tangible solutions for the people of God to walk in Christ-exalting unity. I believe when the dust is settled, Woke Church will be regarded as a seminal tome in what it means to be the church.
BRYAN LORITTSAuthor, Insider/Outsider
Woke Church is a seriously important book dealing with a core applicational issue in the church and in our society today. It is seriously biblical, showing the connections between reconciliation, justice, love, and the gospel. What God has joined together should not be s eated and the church as a multiethnic, multinational body needs to better reflect what God designed it to be. This book helps us think through how to get there.
DARRELL BOCK Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary
After thirty-five years of local church ministry, I cannot think of a better word to describe the need of today than woke. What if the church really woke up to its power in Christ, and its position in the world? Let the prophetic ministry of Dr. Eric Mason rally your heart to God’s priority on earth, a church that is wide awake to the needs all around them and what Jesus Christ still wants to accomplish.
So incredibly thankful for Eric. Woke Church is a timely and thought-provoking work to help us in these important times. He does an amazing job of giving us fresh perspective on the intersection of justice, race, and the gospel. Our culture is crying for a gospel-centered conversation on matters of race and justice. Woke Church is an instant classic that will help us both individually and collectively grasp the great opportunity before us to live out the gospel in these important times.
BRYAN CARTER Senior Pastor of Concord Church and codeveloper of “33-The Series”
The Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps. But not so His church. We have constant need of being told to “wake up, you sleeper” and to “keep watch.” We are like those first disciples in Gethsemane, spirit willing, flesh weak, falling over on our post. Sadly this has been true of the church when it comes to racism and injustice. We need an urgent call, a quickened conscience, an enlivened heart, a clear vision, and working hands to prophetically address with gospel power the ails of the church and the society. Dr. Eric Mason has thought as much about this as anyone in our day and we have much to glean from this clarion call to wake up and rep Christ!
Dr. Eric Mason has done something remark able in writing Woke Church. From the very first page to the last, you will experience the wisdom and expertise of a theologian, pastor, and cultural architect who practices what he preaches. Buy this book. You will not regret it. It’s time for the church in America to wake up. Dr. Mason is sounding the alarm clock.
DERWIN L. GRAYLead Elder-Pastor, Transformation ChurchAuthor of The High Definition Leader: Building Multiethnic Churches in a Multiethnic World
Woke Church is a clarion call of love—the love that is at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a word of knowledge long overdue for the evangelical context in the secular age. Mason talks with a tone that should mitigate the perceived fatigue factor that of ten leads to backlash, hostility, and/or dismissal on discussions of the gospel’s implications for social and racial justice. Readers—those already woke and still asleep alike—who care for the souls of people perishing all around them should be moved to act with a sense of urgency for God-centered righteousness in society after embracing the Christ-consciousness of this great work.
ERIC C. REDMONDAssociate Professor of Bible, Moody Bible Institute
Any objective reading of the New Testament should bring the reader to the conclusion that God has a great love for the world. This love is demonstrated through the giving of his son who was the prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 42—a servant of God who would bring justice to the world. A biblically balanced soteriology and ecclesiology always has sociological implications. A lack of balance between righteousness and justice is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous. It abdicates our responsibility to be salt in the earth and the light of the world. It’s an expression of Christianity that allowed and in some cases endorsed the atrocities of slavery and the Jim Crow South. In this incredible work, Dr. Eric Mason calls the church out of her sleep and slumber and awakens her to her biblical responsibility to not only address the sins in our hearts but also in our systems. He passionately and masterfully reminds us of what the Lord requires; to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God. This book is not only a gift to the church, it is a gift to the world.
DHARIUS DANIELSLead Pastor, Change ChurchAuthor, RePresent Jesus: Rethink Your Version of Christianity and Become More like Christ
Dr. Eric Mason has done it. In a day and age when the church is looking to halt its increasing marginalization within mainstream society, seeking answers (like the rest of America) to our nation’s still troublesome problem of racial division and injustice, and desperately hoping to gain disciples among the young, Dr. Mason provides the answer: we need to be “woke.” Not just the blacks, not just the millennials, not just the left-leaning, but all of us. The entire Bible-believing body of Christ needs to wake up to the fullness of the gospel message — that Christ died to reconcile man to God and man to man, or in other words, that Jesus has called us to strive for both personal morality and societal justice. If the church remains stubborn and “asleep,” it could soon find itself completely locked out of the public discourse. If it heeds the words of Dr. Mason, it could be empowered to spark revival.
CHRIS BROUSSARDFOX Sports Television Analyst and CommentatorFounder and President of The K.I.N.G. Movement
Growing up in an all-white context in the Midwest, but now a part of a multicultural church, I’ve had to do much work to gain clarity on justice and race issues. I am thankful for Dr. Mason’s work showing practical ways we can cultivate meaningful relationships that would cause the church to have an immense impact on this broken world, bringing true justice and true peace.
RACHAEL TURNERChurch planter wife, local church member, Living Stones, Reno, NV
This book is needed and Dr. Eric Mason is the one to write it. Eric is both a theologically astute pastor and a practitioner of the content. In our current cultural climate, this book will help to serve church leaders as they think through the implications of the gospel in church and society. Thoroughly biblical, rooted in history, powerful.
HARVEY TURNERFounder of the Living Stones Family of ChurchesActs 29 US West Leadership Team
In 1933, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History, wrote a transformative book that questioned the effectiveness of the educational system in America for black people, called The Mis-Education of the Negro. Unfortunately his analysis and critique is still relevant today. In the same brilliance as Dr. Woods on, Dr. Eric Mason has written a book that I believe will be transformative for many years to come. Woke Church is written in a manner that provides an accurate historical and philosophical critique, while at the same time it constructs a biblical perspective that is needed. It is a must read in order to correct the dangerous mis-education of the church.
JAMES WHITEExecutive Vice President, YMCA of the Triangle
By highlighting the comprehensive power of the gospel to not only change individual lives but to transform communities, Dr. Mason compels the American church to take a hard look at its complicity in the development of racial inequality and issues a clarion call for the church to confront injustice in all of its forms. However, Woke Church does more than just reveal the church’s shortcomings, but provides pracical and Scripture-based solutions. It’s a must read!
TIFFANY M. GILLScholar, writer, and professor of African American History
Many still see the gospel and justice as being mutually exclusive. Dr. Mason challenges this notion. He helps us to recognize that the gospel calls us to stand for justice. Not only does Dr. Mason push us toward the presence of God in lament, he also calls us to step into the presence and experiences of those impacted by racism.
JUMAINE JONESLead Pastor of The Bridge, Silver Spring, MDAuthor of Lost in Love: Navigating the Five Relationship Terrains
I’m excited about Woke Church. My son in the ministry has written a classic theological and practical work that will aid the church in a paradigm shift as it pertains to the brokenness that is in our country today. Eric is a prophetic biblical voice the entire church needs to hear.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Woke Church is at the forefront of a national debate that continues to rage in the United States and for good reason as many are trying to understand the pressures, injustices, and hardships the African American community has faced through the centuries from a Christian perspective. Eric Mason speaks a lot of truth into the situation. This book is dripping with Mason’s passion for this subject. As a caucasian man, I can never understand the pressures Mason has had to face, but I can see that it has impacted him greatly. Woke Church is a manifesto of how Mason sees the Bible relating to this issue of social injustice against African American people. While I agree with many of Mason’s conclusions, I do find is hermeneutic troubling. Of course this book is not meant to be a book on hermeneutics, still Mason arrives at some good conclusion through some perplexing and sometimes dangerous means. It is statements like “Justification isn’t just a position, but a practice!” (45) that causes me to be concerned. Again, I agree with his conclusion that Christians are to be active in seeing God’s justice be lived out prior to being in Heaven, but his way he gets to that conclusion is deeply troubling. Someone might be able to take that reasoning and run with it into some dangerous places in theology. I would recommend that the mature believer read this book and perhaps they will have to face some bitter truths in order to help their fellow image bearers.