by Erick Erickson, edited by Bobby Price
In Scripture, Acts 19 recounts a series of miracles that led to mass conversions of residents of Ephesus. The conversions created an economic problem.
Ephesus was, at the time, world-renowned for a temple to the Greek goddess Artemis, one of the wonders of the ancient world. As people began converting en masse to Christianity with St. Paul’s preaching, temple visits declined, as did the purchase of idols. According to Luke, the writer of Acts, a silversmith named Demetrius who made silver replicas of Artemis began rallying other men of similar trades to fend off the Christians.
“Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship,” Demetrius said. (Acts 19:25-27).
“When they heard this, they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!'” (Acts 19:28). A riot broke out, and the Ephesians seized Paul’s companions. The rioters had to be calmed. For two hours, the crowd chanted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" before being calmed. In spreading the gospel, Paul had wiped out income and mythology, which brewed resentment. Today, the Temple of Artemis is a ruin.
Two thousand years later, as true religion recedes in America and secularism rises, the Ephesians are back now as the wokes. By any measure, the United States has continued to advance and heal the wounds of slavery and racial discord.
There are racists still because there is sin in the world, and racism is one. But as Americans move beyond the sins of the past, the cry of systemic racism gets louder. It is the new, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” This time, instead of silver idols, it is Ibram X. Kendi’s and Robin DiAngelo’s books. Buy them to repent. Pay a speaker’s fee. Have a critical race theory advocate perform seminars. Hire a “diversity, equity and inclusion” czar for your company or school. “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
As Christ commanded his followers to spread his gospel message and preach, teach and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so the wokes spread their gospel of discord, which is both devoid of hope and deeply anchored in never-ending grievance. Heretics of Christianity added inconsistencies to a consistent Christian orthodoxy. Heretics of wokeism merely point out the consistent inconsistencies of critical race theory. How exactly can a race or gender that is socially constructed also be determinative? It is heretical to ask. Instead, buy a book, virtue-signal with a donation to a woke charity, and attend a class on equity. Whatever you do, do not let the wounds heal and love your neighbor. After all, the silversmiths have idols to sell. “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
Bobby Price was born and raised by Christian parents in Perrin, Texas. Bobby decided early in life to become a preacher of God's word. He attended the Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas where he graduated in 2015 with his Bachelors of Biblical Studies with a focus in Congregational Ministry. Afterwards, he interned for a year at the valley view Church of Christ in Jonesboro, AR. He is currently working on his Masters of Biblical Studies, through the Sunset International Bible Institute Graduate School.