Up until now, I haven't commented on Westboro Baptist Church. There was a time when I agreed with some of the things they said, I thought that God hated gays and that America was under judgment etc.
Luckily I prefer my bible to the words of men, and I now understand that God's wrath abides upon them, but to say he hates them would be to ascribe a human quality to an omnipotent and omnipresent God, who has an infinite IQ, and infinite love. I also used to believe in eternal torment as well - now I am a conditionalist, and I don't see wrath as hatred so much as God being righteous and sinners facing righteous judgment and the result being destruction in the lake of fire. It is what it is, you cannot anthropomorphize God any more than you can deify man. To that I say Thank God for Jesus :)
This isn't about Westboro's theology anyway - and I don't profess my theological views are being perfect -, this is about the absolutely abominable decision by them to protest the funerals of the murdered school children at Sandy Hook Elementary. see here
If you didn't already know this, I can already imagine the absolute disgust and shock you are feeling. If God loves anyone its children, in fact Christ says the Kingdom is made of such as these. As someone who takes the bible literally, I believe that more than anything. Who's heart doesn't light up when a child is in the room? Kids are great! Being made in the image of God we love children, and would die to protect them! I'm also one who believes that children will fill the millenial kingdom - not the ones who grew into sinful adults - but the ones who never had a chance, ones like those who died yesterday.
So what I see here is more than just cruelty on Westboro's part, I see prophecy in action - Jesus said that the "love of many will grow cold", and he was referring to Christians here - or at least professing ones, he said that lawlessness would increase, and as such love would grow cold. This (in my opinion) refers to to the golden rule, which is to totally love God, and to love your neighbour as yourself. Westboro professes to love God, yet claims child killing is God's judgment, and expresses no sympathy for those grieving parents or those murdered children.
Please explain, why those children were judged? What had they done, what sins had they committed? Is God judging their parents, their community, their nation? If God is judging their parents, then why not kill them? or send a meteor into Connecticut, or destroy America. Thats how God works! look at the bible, Look at Abraham intercessing for Sodom and Gomorrah, and God responding with mercy and kindness - thats our God! The God who will save an entire city of sinners for the sake of ten righteous, or will fight with a Pharaoh for his people (Theres a reason that God chose the firstborn of Egypt - they were the eldest) .
What Westboro is saying, is that Atheists who call our God capricious and evil, are right. The God described by the Apostle John as 'love', and who's qualities are described by the Apostle Paul does not exist for them. But just to be sure, lets go through 1 John 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 13:
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1Jn 4:8 NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. (1Co 13:4-8 NIV)
Does this sound like the God of love who then sends a 20 year old into a school to shoot children? I think not, but it does sound like someone else in the bible!
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.
He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for
there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language,
for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 NIV)
What greater victory is it for the Devil, to kill children, and then have professing Christians blame it on God! Westboro bring dishonour to the name of God by saying this, they are attributing qualities to him that don't exist. God does not work like this, in darkness - let me put it like this, if God were bringing judgment down upon us, we would know it. In fact everyone will know it - thats why they will hide in caves and beg them to collapse upon them to hide them from judgment. God is upholder and sustainer, Satan is destroyer.
The messed up theology of Westboro may get them into the press, but not for evangelistic purposes, but by way of mockery, they give Christians a bad name - and not for the right reasons. There was a time that the church was persecuted for things they didn't actually do, things like cannibalism, and magic. Then later they were persecuted for denying polytheism - things which they were right to do. But throughout it all, they were known for their good works, and it was only differences in beliefs, and the occasional rumour which led to their harassment.
But nowadays, churches like Westboro make Christians look callous and heartless, even hateful, it gives atheists every reason to hate us and our God when they hear:
“Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment,” Shirley Phelps-Roper tweeted on Dec. 15.
I have to ask, what would Jesus do? This is one of those occasions where I think Jesus would help the people of Sandy Hook, and bring glory to God's name. I say this because you can almost guarantee that some of those children would have been the children of Christians, and there is great precedent in the gospels of Jesus helping Samaritans, and even Romans. So would he abandon his children, and the children of HIS children? Never. Westboro should be there helping them, feeding them, counselling them, even helping to repair the school so they can get it reopened (all of which would bring glory to the name of God - Matt 5:16).
If they don't wish to do that then they should stay away, they are an embarrassment to the faith, truly hateful, and prideful, and callous! That 20 children died is not a time to celebrate, and the idea of anyone dying is not something God celebrates, He doesn't revel in the death of anyone - even those that are wicked. Now if Westboro theology declares a 5 year old child as wicked, its not any sort of theology that I see in the bible.
Now lets look at a few verses that Westboro might find interesting:
“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and do not let your heart be glad
when he stumbles; or the Lord will see and be displeased and turn His
anger away from him.” (Pr 24:17-18)
"He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished." (Pr 17:5)
"If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you." (Pr 25:21-22)
"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (Matt 5:44)
"Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23)
[I don't think that those children were wicked at all, it seems that Westboro do however, and therefore I am using such verses]
That a child could be considered "the enemy" to a church, is despicable. I will however tweet a link of this blog entry, to as many Phelp's as I can think of, in the hopes that they read it and repent. I feel sad for them, that they have become so wrapped up in their own concept of Godliness, and wanton vanity that they would rejoice at the death of 20 children.
Please Westboro, follow the great commission!