In 2013, I wrote “A Westboro Baptist Church Analogy” which took the analogy of a bully at school getting all the attention while the “good” student goes unnoticed. Westboro Baptist Church are simply bullies.
Who Is Westboro Baptist Church?
Whether you’re a Christian or not, you’ve likely seen them on the news picketing events, soldiers funerals, etc. They stand in the streets with their signs shouting and singing things such as “God Hates Fags!” & “Thank God for 9/11.” On their website, the first item on their menu is not what they believe; rather, their picketing schedule of where they will be and why they will be there. They do not just picket soldiers funerals, they picket things such as: other Christian churches, high schools, TV networks stations, conferences, events, film awards, etc.
I’ve only seen them once in person when I attended the Mars Hill Church 2011 Easter Celebration at Qwest Field in Seattle, WA. There were over 17, 500 people there to worship Jesus & over 680 people got baptized. Westboro Baptist Church stood outside the stadium in the rain stating that those who attend the service are going to hell. This is not the only time they have picketed Mars Hill Church.
They pride themselves in taking popular songs and parodying them for messages of judgement. Some of their parodies include: “Rolling In The Heat” (instead of Rolling In The Deep), “666” (instead of Pumped Up Kicks), and “Bohemian Tragedy” (instead of Bohemian Rhapsody). Including such Christmas classics as: “Doom To The World” (instead of Joy To The World), “This Might Be Your Final Christmas” (instead of We Wish You A Merry Christmas), and “Off To Hell” (instead of Jingle Bells).
Their main message relies on the premise of God’s judgement for America & the World. They see the deaths of soldiers in Iraq & Afghanistan as God’s judgement on them which God is to be thanked for. They view homosexuals as people whom God hates. In fact, God hates all of us (even Christians who are not a part of Westboro Baptist Church).
In my blog about Jehovah’s Witnesses & Mormons not being Christians, I gave characteristics of what a cult is. If you read the list, you will see that Westboro Baptist Church matches many of the characteristics of a cult. Their couragous and charismatic leader being Fred Phelps. The entire Phelps family is the driving force behind Westboro Baptist Church. Members who leave the church are promised certain judgement and condemnation in Hell. They preach an apocalyptic message and seek to drive people to repentance through fear. They have the “Us-Vs-Them” mentality that makes them appear to the members as the only Christians in the world who are getting it right. Even when they come across a Christian from outside their church who affirms many of the same doctrines, they are not completely trusting of that person.
My View of Westboro Baptist Church
Since the WBC members are clear that they lose “0 nanoseconds of sleep over my opinions and feeeeellllliiiiiings,” I will try to look at what the Bible says about their views.
Firstly, Westboro Baptist Church states the homosexuality is a sin. This is one point that I would agree with Westboro Baptist Church. I will write a post about this in the future (including Bible verses); however, for now I will say that I do not condone going around spreading hateful messages over it. I believe that all sins are equal and homosexuality is no worse than any sin in my life. I am not more holy simply because I am a straight man. To disagree with a lifestyle does not need to be a “hateful” thing. Many non-Christians disagree with my Christian worldview & I do not automatically assume they are bigots who hate Christians.
Secondly, Westboro Baptist Church believes that most people outside of their church are going to Hell. There are millions, if not billions, of Christians all over the world who do not belong to Westboro Baptist Church. These Christians love God & follow Jesus on a daily basis. The fact that they do not picket with Westboro Baptist Church does not mean they are excluded from Heaven; rather, they are saved by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19; 1 John 1:7).
Thirdly, Westboro Baptist Church believes the message that “God Loves Everyone” is the “Greatest Lie Ever Told.” The group has stated numerous times that “God hates America” and God delights in some of the worst evil committed on earth. The Bible has a very different picture of God. The Bible does show us a God who is holy and hates sin. We are sinful by nature (Ephesians 2:3); therefore, there is a part of our nature that God does hate and wants to redeem/restore. Rest assured that God is the one who causes us to repent (2 Timothy 2:25), not a Westboro Baptist Church picket sign. He does not give up on His children.
Furthermore, God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 145:8; Proverbs 14:29; Proverbs 15:18; Proverbs 16:32; Proverbs 19:11; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Nahum 1:3). The reason for this is because God is love (1 John 4:8). This is not to be confused with thinking that “love is God” as some “spiritual” people would suggest.
God actually loves the world so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins that are so deeply a part of our nature (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). There is no greater expression of love than someone laying down their lives for others (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16).
While the Bible does speak about God’s wrath against sin, it is also clear that God does love people. This is not a lie as Westboro Baptist Church seems to suggest. He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but desires that they should turn to Him (Ezekiel 33:11). There are far more Scriptures that I could have quoted about God’s love because it is in the Bible over and over again. God does love sinners & Jesus even hung out with them when He lived some 2000 years ago.
The Bible is clear that we must live a righteous, Godly life (1 John 2:4-6) & this is how His love is perfected in us.
How can you know if Westboro Baptist Church & others are really Christians? If they are, they will love God & love other people as well (1 John 3:10-24; 1 John 4:7-21).
The greatest commandments: Love God & love your neighbour [including your enemies] (Matthew 5:43-48; Matthew 22:34-39; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-28; Romans 13:8-10; James 2:8-13). Maybe WBC do love God because they are scared of His wrath. We love Him because He first loved us though (1 John 4:19). Would we agree that WBC are loving their neighbour though? God will decide when He judges them too.
As much as you may hate Westboro Baptist Church, you will be no different from them if you are hating them and protesting them. As previously mentioned, Jesus commands us to love our enemies and pray for them. Pray that Westboro Baptist Church would love others because God loves others. Do not bully the bullies. You cannot be quick to write off all Christians because of a group who chooses to ignore the greatest commandments Jesus gave (WBC’s unfaithfulness does not make Christianity more or less true).
The whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Tyson Bradley