Dear Westboro Baptist Church,
I saw in the news that you came to protest at the funerals of the brave first responders that perished in the fertilizer plant explosion. I couldn’t figure out why you would be at the services of people who gave their lives helping others. In an effort to understand your motifs I checked out the FAQ page of your website.
I have been a member of a Baptist church my whole life, and do not remember a time that I didn’t know Jesus as my Lord and savior. I believe the Bible is the true word given to us by God, and agree that it cautions us against certain behaviors. I will even agree that He refers to specific behaviors as abhorrent or something He despises. However there are several passages that you have conveniently left out of the justification of your vile behavior. In doing so YOU ARE MISSING THE WHOLE POINT!
First, God absolutely and unquestionably calls us to treat each other with LOVE not HATE.
Matthew 22: 36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
Second, no sin irritated Jesus more than that of the Pharisees’ self righteous judgment and indignation of others.
Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
:3-11The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Third, ONLY God has the authority to condemn or redeem others. Furthermore, His judgment is 100% based on grace bestowed through faith in Jesus, and ZERO to do with the level of righteousness or severity of sins of the individual in question.
Romans 5:8-9 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6 NIV)
As for referring to yourselves as a church I am suspiciousness of that designation.
Matthew 7:15-20 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Let me remind you that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-controle. (Galatians 5:22-23) Not one of which have I ever seen displayed by your “church” members in either actions or words.
I will leave you with one final passage that I tell my children when they are being hateful or using unkind words towards each other.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV)
A Southern Baptist
Although God calls us to treat each other with love and kindness make no mistake there will be a judgment day. There will come a time when you will stand before God who will judge you according to your sins. Through faith I have been adopted as a child of God, and have been wholly forgiven. The debt of my sin has been paid for by the death and resurrection of Jesus! Have yours?
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:10-13 NIV)