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Does God Hate Westboro Baptist Church?

Yes, I continue to find several items that I think are worthy of discussion and prayerful consideration here as I keep trying to clean up my Inbox and desktop after several months of neglect.

Here's something rather provocative that I came across from a Baptist preacher and I'm curious to get everyone else's take on it.

I believe it's a stern, but grace-filled response to members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church by Pastor Josh Buice that I also believe is completely consistent with Ephesians 4:15. Would love to get your thoughts though.

Does God Hate Westboro Baptist Church?

Westboro Baptist Church is a well known hate group that travels around the country making appearances at the funerals of soldiers who have died in combat, conventions such as the Southern Baptist Convention, and other well attended venues. They show up with signs that read, “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God For Dead Soldiers” to name just two of their hate messages. In 2008, I ran into Westboro on the streets of Indianapolis Indiana while attending the Southern Baptist Convention. They were standing on the corner of a major intersection outside of the convention center with hate signs. As people were stopped at the red light, they were making statements like, “God hates you” and “America is under the judgment of God.” Following that encounter, I conducted an interview with Shirley Phelps-Roper, and her responses to the questions I asked are frightening.

I recently read that the Westboro group is planning to picket the vigil of the Connecticut school shooting victims. As I read that report, I immediately thought about the message of hate that the group will spread during a time of great sorrow and grief. The WBC message is full of hate and void of grace. As I considered their commitment to spread a message of hate, it occurred to me that they should personally apply their own message before taking it to the streets. Is it possible that God hates Westboro Baptist Church?

The Bible refers to God’s hatred toward sin. God’s hatred is controlled, calculated, and righteous. You never see God in a fit of uncontrolled rage. However, God’s fury and wrath is something to greatly fear for all unbelievers. That message is abundantly clear in Scripture. Consider the following statements about God’s hatred.

In Proverbs 6:16-19 the Bible says:

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.Out of this list of things that are an abomination to the LORD, WBC is certainly guilty of several of these points on an ongoing basis.

1. WBC appears to be guilty of having haughty eyes (a state of self exaltation). God hates haughty eyes.

2. WBC is guilty of having a lying tongue. Their message is a false gospel, a message of condemnation, a message full of judgment without mercy. As I have personally heard them preaching on the street corner, conducted an interview with Shirley Phelps-Roper and read through their website material over the years, I am certain that their message is full of lies and does not relay the good news of Jesus Christ. God hates a lying tongue – especially one that lies about the gospel.

3. WBC may not be guilty of shedding innocent blood, but they appear to be guilty of 1 John 3:15 which states, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

4. WBC is guilty of devising wicked plans. Their plans to picket funerals of soldiers and vigils for little children who died in school shootings, with messages of hate, are wicked plans. Plans to rush toward people in their most horrific moments of pain with signs that read “God hates you” are nothing less than wicked. God hates a heart that devises wicked plans.

5. WBC appears to be guilty of being swift to run to evil. It appears that WBC is quick to celebrate the death of soldiers and tragedies such as the Connecticut school shooting. They appear, by their online activity, interviews, and actions to be swift to rush toward their evil plans. God hates this type of behavior.

6. WBC is guilty of being a false witness who breathes out lies. They consistently breathe out lies about soldiers and evangelical churches. For instance, they picketed the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention and looked at me on the street and accused me of being a supporter of the homosexual movement because I was a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. They have no idea of how the SBC operates apparently (the SBC does not support the homosexual agenda), and they certainly don’t know me personally. But, while holding a hate message sign – they openly accused me falsely on the street. God hates the person who behaves this way.

7. WBC is guilty of sowing discord with their hateful signs and messages. Rather than preaching the gospel (which literally means good news), they are committed to a message of condemnation, darkness, judgment, and wrath. It is necessary to proclaim the truth about sin prior to showing someone the love of God in Jesus Christ (the gospel), however, WBC never proclaims a message of love – only hate. Because of their messages, people are often confused, hurt, offended, and turned off to what they have to say. Their message is full of discord and confusion rather than love and truth! God hates this type of behavior.

Before Westboro Baptist Church shows up in Connecticut with signs that read “God hates you” – perhaps they should consider the possibility that God hates Westboro Baptist Church. Before they go and preach for people to repent, perhaps they should practice what they preach. Before they scream out to crowds of people to fear God’s coming judgment, perhaps they should fear God’s coming judgment. Self righteousness is a powerful trap – and one that entraps many people. Perhaps Westboro should consider the warning of Jesus to religious people:

Matthew 7:21-23 - “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

May God have mercy on WBC!

May God open their eyes to see the truth!

What do you think about that?

As Lutherans, I don't want to make this about the distinct differences between us and Baptists (as warranted as that might be), but would rather like to try and keep the focus on the approach and tactics used by the highly-publicized Westboro Baptists.

Perhaps this quote from Herman Sasse will help us to remained focused on some of the other key concerns other than the primary theological ones...

In an essay entitled Union and Confession written just prior to WWII in 1938, Hermann Sasse penned these words: “Where man can no longer bear the truth, he cannot live without the lie” (Union and Confession, 1). In this wonderfully lucid little booklet, Sasse goes on to contrast the truth with the lie. He notes that from the beginning the lie and the truth have done battle within the church. So it was in the days of the apostles as Paul said to the congregation at Corinth: “For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (I Cor 11:17). The lie, Sasse said, takes on various forms. There is the pious lie, that hypocrisy with which man lies to himself, to others, and even to God. The pious lie easily becomes the edifying lie. This is the lie that takes comfort in untruth. Sasse sees an example of the edifying lie embraced by medieval Christians when they trusted in the power of the saints, relying on the excess of their merit to further them in the struggle toward righteousness. The edifying lie was the lie unmasked and expelled by the Reformation. Then there is the dogmatic lie, the assertion that we have come to greater doctrinal maturity and old teachings are to be changed for a more contemporary, relevant theology. Finally there is, Sasse warned, the institutional lie when the churches embody the lie in their own life, instituting false teaching as normative.

*- Excerpted from a sermon preached by Prof. John T. Pless on 24 October 2012, in Kramer Chapel, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, we are to speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) -- not hate.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Finally, you might discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. I decided to leave those published posts up only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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