Seasoned pastor Michael Youssef warned against "woke" pastors who are abandoning biblical truths and bowing to moral relativism. He said that they are "deadly as far as the Gospel of Christ is concerned."
The 72-year-old pastor of the Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia told The Christian Post his disappointment seeing the mainline Episcopal denomination gradually shying away from its biblical foundation and crumbling to the cultural pressures of the LGBTQ community. This was in reference to his denomination's vote for the clergy to perform same-sex marriage about five years ago.
Youssef also added that in the past years, he has seen how the "woke" culture has slowly crept into the consciousness of evangelical churches.
"Those same battles that I fought in the mainline denominations are now invading the evangelical churches," said Youssef to The Christian Post. "It's the same arguments, the same lingo, and the same words repeating themselves with such precision I am deeply, deeply concerned."
The Egyptian-American pastor expressed grief over many church leaders taking the bait of the "woke" culture because it's "popular" and appeals to the flesh" or to avoid rejection by the society's dominant culture.
"I've always believed, as goes the pulpit, so goes the pew. As goes the pew, so goes the culture," Youssef pointed out.
As a pastor, Youssef said that he puts the full blame on Christian leaders on how far the churches in America have strayed from God's truth.
"...because we want to be liked, loved, and followed on social media by millions of people. Pastors are the culprits. We need to be about Jesus, not about being liked, because that is deadly as far as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned," he said.
Youssef also noted in his interview with CP his burden for the young pastors and ministry leaders.
"Young pastors must realize that this is a deception. It's very subtle and very clever, but it's a deception nonetheless," he said. "And that is the burden that God laid on my heart to such a point I just couldn't sleep. I had to address it. I believe people are in a state of confusion and need a clear word from Scripture."
As for the church in general, the "Hope for This Present Crisis" author counseled believers to be "encouraged and motivated to stand up and not to be afraid."
"We must take charge," he said. "Christians have abandoned so many areas of society, from media and the classroom. Instead of withdrawing, we need to go and invade these areas and take them for Christ and not be afraid. We are on the right side. We have read the last chapter, and it says we will win."
In another part of the interview, Youssef stressed the reality of spiritual battle and urged Christians to not put down their guards.
"Children must know that there is a Satan and he hates God, he hates God's children, and he's conspiring against them every minute of every day. Therefore, they have to galvanize themselves with the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, in order to fight."
Having seen firsthand the severe persecution of Christians from Islamic extremists in Egypt, Youssef knows well the gravity of his warning and challenge to stay spiritually sober. His experience growing up in Egypt, he said, has "continually trained" him "for how to stand up for the faith and not be deceived."
"I knew that, though they might offer me jobs, money, prestigious scholarships to convert to Islam, I had to stand strong," he said. "So I grew up with it. And what I'm trying to do is say to the next generation, 'Expect to be aliens and sojourners. This is not our home. Jesus places us here to be a light to this dark world, not to be part of the darkness.'"