Monday, August 13, 2007

God Hates Minnesota…Apparently, Anyway

I received a mass e-mail message from a friend of mine, Kristy, last week concerning the Westboro Baptist Church’s (WBC) upcoming visit to the Twin Cities. Apparently this organization is coming to protest the funerals of those killed by the bridge collapse. If you’re like me, you’re not surprised by the fact that they’re doing this, but you may be just as curious as to why they are. The reason is that they believe that God hates Minnesota particularly because this state is considered a homosexual-enabler. In their press release, they said that they would picket “memorial services for the dead” citing the following reason,

“God Hates F**s! & F**-Enablers! Ergo, God hates Minneapolis and Minnesota - Land of the Sodomite Damned.”

They also claimed that their protest wouldn’t stop with the memorial services,
“WBC will also picket the funerals of those whom a sovereign God abruptly snatched from the Bridge in Minneapolis and cast into Hell,” 1

Well, the major city-wide inter-faith memorial service already occurred, and I didn’t catch any news reports of their protest. I sincerely hope that their statement of upcoming protest was about as truthful as the message that they preach (i.e. a lie).

My reason for bringing this up is simply that this kind of media and social toxicity, not to mention that they preach a false gospel, makes for a very delicate situation for presenting the gospel. This is an especially difficult situation when attempting to speak the truth of God’s word about death and sin when the godless hatred spewed out by WBC has already polluted and tainted the water.

I have seen these people before and, quite frankly, they are no more of a Christian and no more of a Baptist than Genghis Kahn was. I say this with no joy, but with sorrow. Even though I loath the teachings and methods used by the Phelps’ and WBC (as well as televangelists like Benny Hinn and others), I find no joy with the conclusion that they seem to be eternally deceived and unsaved. WBC is not associated with any traditional Baptist, much less any other Christian, denomination and they are a very good example of a cult, even though they go by the name of “Christian” and “Baptist”.2

Among the plethora of problems that they have with their theology is the basic misunderstanding of the gospel and revelation. They seem to believe that no one is a Christian unless they’re a member of WBC and they also seem to believe that they are the mouth pieces for God to tell exactly why specific things happen in our current age. I believe that, as a Christian, I can speak definitively about what God has said and why specific things happened only if they are detailed in the Scriptures, but I do not have that same ability of definitive knowledge of the “why” questions when dealing with anything contemporary. They draw conclusions about what God is doing (whether it is 911, the war, the Tsunami, or the Bridge Collapse) where the Bible, obviously, doesn’t provide them with any answer specific to that event.

Is God angry with America? I would say yes, simply because He has blessed us with so much, but as a nation America is no longer really that Christian when we once were. Also, it seems that, as a nation, we revel in our flagrant sin against Him. But I would not dare to assume that I could extrapolate that understanding into being able to articulate exactly why God is allowed or caused the 35W Bridge to collapse or why He caused or allowed any other specific death, disease, or disaster.

Is God angry at sin? Yes. Whether it be murder, idolatry, homosexuality or heterosexual fornication, coveting, lying, or stealing, God is angry at all sin… that’s what the Bible clearly says. But, can one say that God’s reason for either allowing or causing the bridge to collapse was due to any one specific reason that we are privy to? No. To give a specific reason for this situation is something that we have no Biblical authority to do. What we can definitively and specifically say is that the 35W Bridge collapse, Aids, the death of children, and all other calamities are ultimately a result of man’s sin against God.

The only response from Christians in this tragedy should be to show compassion for the hurting and share the gospel of repentance of sin and faith in Christ to all who will listen.

So from this man who loves Christ, loves the Gospel, and who really is a Christian (and a Baptist) who desires the lost to be saved, I say this: Even though I have no affiliation with these hateful people, I can say based on the Word of God that they no more represent Christ than I represent Buddha.

I sent this same message to Kristy and she responded with gratitude that I was able to state what I believed about this issue without being hateful. She then went on to make a statement along the lines that all people have their sins that they indulge in, but that God loves us all the same.

In a way I agree with what she said, but just not in the way that she meant it. An unrepentant liar is in no different position (relating to God) than someone who is unrepentant about sexual sin. God's love toward unrepentant sinners is displayed by his patient endurance (i.e. allowing us to live lives and enjoy them for as long as He allows) during which period His gospel of forgiveness and grace is preached.

When someone dies, whether that person is a liar or sexual sinner (or whatever type of sin) and they had not repented of their sin and trusted in Christ alone for salvation – the evidence of which is a life of change, where the liar makes every effort not to lie and the sexual sinner makes every effort to avoid extra/pre-marital sex – they will be condemned by God.

That is the truth of the gospel. God will save the sinner – freely – if that sinner will repent of their sin (turn from it and not do it) and trust in Christ alone (not in works, going to church, being a good person, etc) to be made right with God.


1 WBC Press Release
2 I use the word “cult” intentionally because this “church” is made up of a few hundred people (at most) with the vast majority of its members (some reports at over 75%) coming from one or two families.


2 comments:

St. Michael the Archangel said...

Hey,

That was a great post! You are right, God does love us all regardless of the sin.. but we must change that and live a life dedicated to him only. This WBC group, they are sick.. and I agree occultish.

Thanks for the post,

Michael

EJ said...

Michael, long time no blog.

I think you may have misunderstood what I said. My point was that God looks on all unrepentant sinners the same whether they are unrepentant about sexual sin or about pride. The manner in which God looks on those sinners is with wrath, not love. All living people are recipients of God’s general grace (i.e. they can live, enjoy a sunrise, taste good food, fall in love, etc) which is a display of God’s patience. But, once God’s patience for the unbelievers wears out and they die, they are not treated with love, but with wrath. The only people whom God loves in the way that most people are thinking when we say that “God loves us” are those who are born again (John 3) by trusting in Christ alone for salvation and turning from the sin in their lives.

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