If you’ve been around the news today you might have heard that Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, has passed away.
While the media outlets are trying to report the “news” of it, the reaction of individuals is (so far) pretty slanted towards hate. It’s amazing irony. People loathed Phelps for his hate and, now that he’s gone, they are expressing their own hate. I call shenanigans.
Humanity really is broken.
Here’s the thing – hate and loathing is never okay. When we see people fail and do things we know they ought not to do it should break our hearts, not fill us with our own hatred.
Here’s the kicker for people of faith: Was Phelps saved? In an Evangelical Christian sense, saved simply means that, because of faith in Jesus as God-incarnate and his propitiatory work on the cross, we will spend eternity in the presence of God.
Did Phelps have that faith? He said he did. If he did, does God’s grace cover Phelps’ failings? That’s the whole teaching of grace. What we lack and cannot make up on our own, Jesus covers on our behalf.
If Phelps did have that faith that brings salvation then when we reach eternity we’ll be worshipping God alongside of Brother Fred.
So what’s our take-away from all this?
Ultimately God is the judge of our souls. Rather than waste our time judging the condition of other’s souls and stewing in our own hate, let us strive to embody Christ’s character as best we can.
That means even loving those the world believes to be the least-lovable.
14 Replies to “Worshipping With Fred Phelps”
As misguided as Phelps was, he knew how to play the media. Even his death is top news. Why? One possible explanation for his infamy is that he was selected to be the poster child of the media, and others, for the bad old Christians who still believe the Bible. Unfortunately, it worked better than they imagined. Christians ran so hard and fast away from his extremism that they ran right into the arms of compromise.
Just posted a blog on this as well.
The one major thing that I thought to be so very wrong with the WBC besides their beliefs, is the amount of press time they always had been given. And I am thankful for God’s grace and on that day maybe I will be seeing Fred in heaven, who knows but God.
Amen. It’s God’s call – not mine. And seriously, when that day comes, I think I’ll be too busy worshipping to get upset about who else is there 😉
Not that I condone the behavior of Westboro Baptist and Phelps…
Guess I should have made that clear…
I dont think thats even a question…
Pastor im considering attending a Baptist church here on long island ( im catholic if you recall) and i read their beliefs and the only thing that doesnt sit well with me is their view on the Rapture. Should i let that stop me from giving their church a try?
I do recall! I always enjoy dialogue with my RC brothers and sisters. 🙂
Compared to many Protestants, I tend to have an odd view of issues like the Rapture. I do not believe that one’s view of the Rapture is significant in any way to salvation. It’s a secondary issue, not a primary issues.
Thus, I am able to worship alongside of people who are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to Rapture belief. If you are like me, the church’s view shouldn’t get in your way.
HOWEVER…my perspective tends to be odd and not the norm. You should know that some churches might judge you if you don’t agree with their perspective (not all, but some).
If you like most things about the church but have this one issue it might be worth having an honest conversation with the pastor about it. The pastor’s response would tell you a lot about whether or not it would be a good place for you.
that’s a great idea, I’ll talk to him first.
Thanks so much.
I really like this churches beliefs….I have come to see so much truth through the Bible…….Catholics don’t read the Bible enough….(dodging tomatoes from other Catholics)…
Thanks again Pastor.
My pleasure 🙂