When Paul explained the glory of the body of Christ to the Corinthians, he used many analogies to try to communicate a supernatural truth, that God is forming that body sovereignly through the progress of the Gospel in the world. Now consider what that meant at that time. Though surely there was not the level of travel that is possible today in our world, this was, in fact, during the period of the Pax Romana, and as the old saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome.” This meant that the church at Corinth presented a tremendously “metropolitan” context with all sorts of ethnicities, social levels, cultures, religions, etc. There would be a huge slave population, for example, and it is plain that the number of temple prostitutes was very large as well (including, most think, a large number of homosexuals as well).

If any portion of the New Testament should promote a “woke theology” it would be the Corinthian canon (1 & 2 Corinthians). All the “big issues” were right there, and plainly Paul is finding himself having to answer all sorts of relevant questions, including dress, male & female relationships, marriage, etc. It is not surprising, then, that it is in this very portion of Scripture that Paul plainly warns that we should not be led astray: homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God, but, one can be delivered from such sin (1 Cor. 6:9-11).  

So it is relevant to all serious students of Scripture that it is in writing to the Corinthians that Paul gives the fullest expression of the analogy of the body.  Note his words:

“For just as the body is one and the members are many, and all members of the body, though they are many, are one body, just also is Christ, for by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:12-13).

Everyone who seeks to segregate and divide the body stand opposed, inalterably, against Paul’s emphasis upon the unity of the body, a unity that transcends every other issue, including ethnicity or cultural standing. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of every single believer transcends and trumps any pre-existing “identity markers,” to use modern parlance. 

But I want to point something else out that is not only relevant today in light of the rise of “identity theology” (and the resultant division of the church) but has deep theological relevance.  Note verse 11:

πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἐνεργεῖ τὸ ἓν καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα διαιροῦν ἰδίᾳ ἑκάστῳ καθὼς βούλεται.

Translation: But all these things are worked by one and the same Spirit, distributing (or apportioning) to each one individually just as He wills.

You may recognize this text as one of the key affirmations of the personality of the Holy Spirit. The use of “as He wills” (βούλεται) is clearly indicative of the action of a person, not merely an impersonal force. [The Jehovah’s Witnesses, who deny the personality of the Spirit, render it “just as it wills,” for there really is no way to get around the text at this point.]  The Spirit is sovereign in the distribution of the gifts which is why some are given one gift, others another.  His wisdom, His will, is the reason. 

So please realize: demanding that the Spirit gift the church as current woke culture demands is a fundamental denial of biblical teaching. What if it is the Spirit’s intention to use a black brother or sister to meet a particular need in a majority white congregation (may I remind us all that in the US blacks make up about 13% of the population, and, hence, in any normal situation, would not be the majority in any congregation, just as there would have been a majority Greek contingent at Corinth, but with all sorts of other ethnicities mixed in)? Who are we to say the Spirit would not give the gifts as He wills, not as we will? The question should not be “how comfortable am I?” but “is this where God would have me to serve for His glory?”

So once again we see a fair analysis of the consistent teaching of the Bible runs counter to the current madness of woke ideology and identity theology. But before we close, note verse 18, a scant few sentences away from verse 11:

νυνὶ δὲ ὁ θεὸς ἔθετο τὰ μέλη, ἓν ἕκαστον αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ σώματι καθὼς ἠθέλησεν

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

See the parallel to verse 11?  The Spirit gives the gifts as He wills, God has placed the members in the body as He desired. God’s sovereignty is always the given. God places you where He wishes to place you, joins you to the body He wishes to join you to, places you in the position of service He wants you to fulfill, and gifts you with what you need to fulfill His purpose. Paul can speak of the Spirit and God operating sovereignly in the church, actively and personally directing the church, without any apology or discomfort. The Spirit is truly divine.  And the body is truly created by the triune actions of God.

None of this, of course, leaves the slightest place for identity theology, racial auto-segregationism (Jemar Tisby, for example) and the like. This is why you never find the proponents of wokeism providing meaningful and accurate exegesis, for the worldview they espouse came from Frankfurt (with mutations), not from the Scriptures.  

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