Ahhh, Westboro Baptist Church. How can you possibly respond in a Christ-like manner to them? It seems, in their own words, “damned” near impossible, but, in Mark Driscoll’s case, here is one Pastor who shows them who’s boss:
This Sunday, the infamous Westboro “Baptist” “Church” (WBC) is scheduled to picket our Federal Way campus in Auburn. You can find more about WBC from their very loving and gracious website, affectionately titled,godhatesfags.com.
More of a dysfunctional family of religious lawyers than a church, WBC is led by Fred Phelps, who founded the church in 1955. The “church” comprises mostly his family of roughly 70 people.
Jon Stewart once said, “The Westboro Baptist Church is no more a church than Church’s Fried Chicken is a church.” Instead, they’re more of a political hate group who use the name of God to advance their agenda. For the most part, they are self-funded, but they also receive funding from lawsuits.
Doctrinally, they are extreme five-point Calvinists, or what I like to call Crazy Calvinists. They basically believe the underlying message of the Bible is one of God’s hatred and wrath against humankind, and that the Bible is properly interpreted through that filter. Therefore, they believe all mentions of God’s love in the Bible are in reference to God’s Christian elect and not applicable in any way to others outside God’s elect—pretty much a cosmic game of Duck, Duck, Damned.
They also believe that, as they wrote in a memo from 2002, that, “Wherever you find organized Christianity in the New Testament, you find it in the form of a visible, local church…with a pastor who preaches the five points of Calvinism as the only gospel,” which is curious since John Calvin wasn’t born until some 1,500 years after Jesus and the formation of the Christian church.
The “church” pickets up to six locations per day, and up to 15 locations on Sundays. By their own account, they’ve conducted over 45,000 pickets in 50 states and 500 cities including the funerals of dead soldiers. It is estimated they spend around $250,000 per year on picketing.
Explaining their pickets, they say, “We display large, colorful signs containing Bible words and sentiments, including: GOD HATES FAGS, FAGS HATE GOD, AIDS CURES FAGS, THANK GOD FOR AIDS, FAGS BURN IN HELL, GOD IS NOT MOCKED, FAGS ARE NATURE FREAKS, GOD GAVE FAGS UP, NO SPECIAL LAWS FOR FAGS, FAGS DOOM NATIONS, THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS, FAG TROOPS, GOD BLEW UP THE TROOPS, GOD HATES AMERICA, AMERICA IS DOOMED, THE WORLD IS DOOMED, etc.”
Oh, and while we’re at it, they think that President Obama is likely the beast from Revelation. You cannot make this stuff up. For people who likely do not drink, they hide it well.
WBC says the reason they’ll be at Mars Hill Church is, “To picket the false prophet and blind lemmings at Mars Hill Whore House where they teach the lies that God love [sic] everyone and Jesus died for the sins of all of mankind. You have caused the people to trust in lies to their destruction, and to your damnation. Shame on you for calling yourself the Mars Hill Church! False advertising doesn’t come close! Paul would turn over in his grave at your God-hating, Christ-rejecting lies! You have a form of godliness, but you deny the power thereof…WBC will speak the truth to you in love—as God defines ‘love’. We will tell you that, in fact, there is a standard God has set in this earth that He commands you obey. Your disobedient sin is taking you to hell, and you must repent and mourn for your sins. God does not love everyone—in fact, He hates the majority of mankind, and has purposed to send them to hell when they die. You would know these things if you would pick up a Bible and actually READ THE WORDS!”
The whole ”read-the-words” of the Bible thingy is actually pretty good advice. And in reading the Bible, we see that it says everyone is loved by God, and though not everyone is saved, anyone who turns from sin and trusts in Jesus will receive eternal life. Additionally, we know that it’s not God’s hatred that leads people to repentance but instead his kindness (Romans 2:4). Here are some Scriptures that speak plainly about God’s love for people:
- John 1:29: “John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”
- John 3:16–17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
- 1 Tim. 2:3–6: “God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men…”
- 2 Peter 3:9: “He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Jesus Christ also said we should “love our neighbors” and even “love our enemies.”
So, Fred and WBC, on Jesus’s behalf, this false prophet and the blind lemmings at our “Whore House” welcome you in love.
The sermon next Sunday will be from Luke’s Gospel on how God saved a really bad man named Zacchaeus and how the self-righteous, holier-than-thou religious folks who saw Jesus lovingly befriend him stood around complaining and grumbling—or basically picketing the love of God.
In the providence of God, we call that a funny coincidence. If you make it, we’ll also give you free copies of my book,Doctrine, so you can learn what the Bible says about who God actually is, and we’ll also provide fresh donuts and free coffee, along with smiles and chuckles.
Sadly, I won’t be able to make the party. This false prophet will be at his son’s baseball tournament, enjoying time with his wife and five kids. Happy Father’s Day!
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Mars Hill Church