Preaching to Awaken the Woke

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Jeffrey Raymond Pugh


A confrontation is occurring within conservative congregations between conventional evangelical and ‘woke’ mindsets that directly affects the authority of the preacher. Two scenarios are presented from recent preacher experiences from within churches that ostensibly hold a conservative evangelical theological position. The particulars of this new Western cultural phenomenon are outlined using two postmodern philosophers to assist in making sense of these scenarios. Psychodynamic analysis shows that a knee-jerk response to ‘woke’ triggering distorts Christian community at deep levels. A similar cultural shift can be traced from the New Homiletic to the present via homileticians who suggest that preaching must accommodate itself to this culture’s justice claims to avoid confrontation. This results in a significant truncation of the scope of preaching authority. Two alternative strategic responses provide space for authoritative preaching: one revisits the theological template upon which catechesis is offered to new believers, replacing the ‘woke’ view of history with a more biblical eschatology. The other strategic response is to empower the whole congregation with alternative political processes derived from Matthew 18. This provides space for the illuminating work of the Spirit to again use preaching to transform the hearts and minds of believers regardless of their mindsets.

Article Details

How to Cite
Pugh, Jeffrey Raymond. “Preaching to Awaken the Woke”. Reformed Theological Review 82, no. 2 (August 1, 2023): 127–155. Accessed February 23, 2024.
Author Biography

Jeffrey Raymond Pugh, Melbourne School of Theology

Pastor with Baptist Unions of Australia for 14 years and practical theologian in various seminaries until 2013 most recently as Dean of Postgraduate Studies Melbourne School of Theology


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