Monday, January 28, 2008

On the Death of Heath Ledger

I am not sure if this video has made its rounds on the blogs yet, if not, let me be the first to say that Fred Phelps does not speak for all Christians. In fact, I personally do not know of a single Christian that thinks and acts the way that he does.

Alright look, yes homosexuality is a sin. There I said it, however, there is NO biblical or moral reason to elevate this one sin above all other sins. Lying is a sin. Lust is a sin. Not loving your neighbor is a sin. I do not see the people from Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) holding up picket signs about these sins. Why not? Why are these people so one sided and out of balance?

We need to stand up for biblical truth. All Christians agree on this. However, we need to be as gentle as doves and as wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16). The people from WBC do not show either of these qualities. They are not gentle. I mean come on, picketing people's funerals. Talk about bad timing. And they are not wise. Using inflammatory language about homosexuals is not wise. All it does it put up walls and closes lines of communication.

Watch this video to see Fred Phelps being unwise and ungentle.


  1. I think that Phelps is what we in the Reformed world call a "douchebag."

  2. Let me follow up my last comment with one subject for serious consideration; that is, churches which make their mission one of eliminating sin from society without addressing humanity's core problem.

    This is precisely what Phelps' church does, as far as I can tell ("I" being an outsider who only sees their hateful activities from a distance). They do what Jesus condemned when he scolded the Pharisees for being "white washed tombs." Now, I don't know whether Phelps' church is a white washed tomb, but I am certain that their message to society through their picketing and protests is that what they want is a society full of cups with their outsides clean, even if the inside is still filthy.

    Christ preached a change of heart & a change in behavior. When the apostles preached, they did not preach exclusive condemnation. Their message was one of salvation in Jesus. Through discipleship, their followers learned what was right and wrong and learned to live their lives in accordance with those truths. To simply make a moral person is no advance at all. Christ says that you must be born again, and this doesn't just happen in a vaccuum. It happens when others minister to you and bring you the Gospel in a way which reflects Christ's own approach as well as that of the apostles.

    Maybe the Phelps approach reflects some of the Old Testament prophets, but when I hear Phelps preach that God hates everyone, and God hates fags, and God hates America, I can't see any good news. What is the good news in knowing that God hates me? It might lead to my asking how to know if God loves me, and that might lead to salvation, but teaching people to white wash themselves just puts them closer to perdition, as far as I'm concerned. Unless I'm N.T. Wright, of course.

  3. Was that jab at N.T. necessary? I mean really...come on man, step up your game!!


  4. I thought about removing it before clicking "publish," but I couldn't bear the thought. It just worked too well! Although I admittedly have never read any of Wright's books (even the non-controversial ones), and I still haven't finished The Future of Justification, so I can be easily corrected with the slightest citation.

  5. Adam,

    Your humility here is breath taking.


  6. What kills me is that the public will probably see these people as representing the church when they are really only a very small portion of the overall church. I am not necessarily saying these guys are actually part of the invisible church, or even not part of the invisible church. What I mean is that I worry the public may choose to see them as being spokesman for everyone who names the name of Christ. Furthermore, what was with Phelps accusing the lady of not knowing the Bible or ever reading it or caring if she never saw one? Her knowledge or concern of the Bible was really irrelevant for one thing. Secondly, how could he possibly know how much she knew about the Bible?

  7. The frustrating thing for me, personally, is that I essentially agree with what Phelps says. At least, in principle. I think homosexuality is a sin. I think that all that hellfire and brimstone and such is true for those who are not saved. However, I believe that we sin because we are sinners. And I believe the lost are going to hell because they sin. But I also believe that unless you fix the leak in the boat, getting a bucket and throwing water overboard is useless.

    It's just frustrating that I can't issue forth a black-and-white disagreement with Phelps. He makes me so mad that it's enough to make me want to throw the baby out with the bath water. My gray-area disagreement with Phelps feels so unsatisfying. I can see how guys like him end up polarizing and often turning people away completely. Fortunately, I'm not the knee-jerk type.

    But you're right, James. This hateful man claims to speak for me, but as far as I'm concerned, he only speaks for himself and his twisted cult of followers in their little Topeka compound where they can hide from the world and scream at it with a megaphone whenever there's someone they have a chance to hurt.

  8. Listen Fred, Paul has a word for you:

    You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.


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