Does God Hate Westboro Baptist Church?

Does God Hate Westboro Baptist Church?

Westboro Baptist Church is a well known hate group that travels around the country making appearances at the funerals of soldiers who have died in combat, conventions such as the Southern Baptist Convention, and other well attended venues.  They show up with signs that read, “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God For Dead Soldiers” to name just two of their hate messages.  In 2008, I ran into Westboro on the streets of Indianapolis Indiana while attending the Southern Baptist Convention.  They were standing on the corner of a major intersection outside of the convention center with hate signs.  As people were stopped at the red light, they were making statements like, “God hates you” and “America is under the judgment of God.”  Following that encounter, I conducted an interview with Shirley Phelps-Roper, and her responses to the questions I asked are frightening.

I recently read that the Westboro group is planning to picket the vigil of the Connecticut school shooting victims.  As I read that report, I immediately thought about the message of hate that the group will spread during a time of great sorrow and grief.  The WBC message is full of hate and void of grace.  As I considered their commitment to spread a message of hate, it occurred to me that they should personally apply their own message before taking it to the streets.  Is it possible that God hates Westboro Baptist Church?

The Bible refers to God’s hatred toward sin.  God’s hatred is controlled, calculated, and righteous.  You never see God in a fit of uncontrolled rage.  However, God’s fury and wrath is something to greatly fear for all unbelievers.  That message is abundantly clear in Scripture.  Consider the following statements about God’s hatred.

In Proverbs 6:16-19 the Bible says:

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: [17] haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, [18] a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, [19] a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Out of this list of things that are an abomination to the LORD, WBC is certainly guilty of several of these points on an ongoing basis.

1.  WBC appears to be guilty of having haughty eyes (a state of self exaltation).  God hates haughty eyes.

2.  WBC is guilty of having a lying tongue.  Their message is a false gospel, a message of condemnation, a message full of judgment without mercy.  As I have personally heard them preaching on the street corner, conducted an interview with Shirley Phelps-Roper and read through their website material over the years, I am certain that their message is full of lies and does not relay the good news of Jesus Christ.  God hates a lying tongue – especially one that lies about the gospel.

3.  WBC may not be guilty of shedding innocent blood, but they appear to be guilty of 1 John 3:15 which states, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

4.  WBC is guilty of devising wicked plans.  Their plans to picket funerals of soldiers and vigils for little children who died in school shootings, with messages of hate, are wicked plans.  Plans to rush toward people in their most horrific moments of pain with signs that  read “God hates you” are nothing less than wicked.  God hates a heart that devises wicked plans.

5.  WBC appears to be guilty of being swift to run to evil.  It appears that WBC is quick to celebrate the death of soldiers and tragedies such as the Connecticut school shooting.  They appear, by their online activity, interviews, and actions to be swift to rush toward their evil plans.  God hates this type of behavior.

6.  WBC is guilty of being a false witness who breathes out lies.  They consistently breathe out lies about soliders and evangelical churches.  For instance, they picketed the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention and looked at me on the street and accused me of being a supporter of the homosexual movement because I was a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.  They have no idea of how the SBC operates apparently (the SBC does not support the homosexual agenda), and they certainly don’t know me personally.  But, while holding a hate message sign – they openly accused me falsely on the street.  God hates the person who behaves this way.

7.  WBC is guilty of sowing discord with their hateful signs and messages.  Rather than preaching the gospel (which literally means good news), they are committed to a message of condemnation, darkness, judgment, and wrath.  It is necessary to proclaim the truth about sin prior to showing someone the love of God in Jesus Christ (the gospel), however, WBC never proclaims a message of love – only hate.  Because of their messages, people are often confused, hurt, offended, and turned off to what they have to say.  Their message is full of discord and confusion rather than love and truth!  God hates this type of behavior.

Before Westboro Baptist Church shows up in Connecticut with signs that read “God hates you” – perhaps they should consider the possibility that God hates Westboro Baptist Church.  Before they go and preach for people to repent, perhaps they should practice what they preach.  Before they scream out to crowds of people to fear God’s coming judgment, perhaps they should fear God’s coming judgment.  Self righteousness is a powerful trap – and one that entraps many people.  Perhaps Westboro should consider the warning of Jesus to religious people:

Matthew 7:21-23 - “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22] On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ [23] And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

May God have mercy on WBC!  May God open their eyes to see the truth!

Pastor Josh Buice

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See Also:

OFFICIAL: Westboro Baptist Church Interview – Part I

OFFICIAL: Westboro Baptist Church Interview – Part II

RESPONSE #1: Westboro’s Gospel Error

RESPONSE #2: Westboro’s Great Commission Error

 

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26 Comments

  1. This is one of the many parts of God’s nature that we find difficult to understand. How can God be every where at once? (Psalm 139:7-12). How is it that God has no beginning and no end? (Deuteronomy 33:7). How is God in a high and lofty place but also with the low and humble in Spirit? (Isaiah 57:15). And how does God both hate and love the sinner at the same time (Psalm 5:5 balanced with John 3:16). I enjoyed your article, thanks!

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    • ** Deuteronomy 33:27 sorry.

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    • Darnell – That is all possible because of His deity. The impossible is possible with God.

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  2. …but… Do you not believe that the hatred represented in Proverbs is somewhat symbolic? Does God hate the person or “the hands”, “the tongue”, or “the heart” of that individual – representing the action, the sin, separate, from that individual?

    THAT, in my opinion, is where WBC’s hatred (and message of hatred) is not righteous – they condemn the sinner WITH the sin. Praise God He didn’t do that to me! There is a separation, a difference, between the sinful act and the sinner-individual.

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    • Jason – I don’t believe the hatred is symbolic. I know some hold to the view that “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.” That view does not hold water with Esau in Malachi 1. We must understand that anyone outside of the grace of God through Jesus Christ is presently under the wrath of God (Romans 1). Therefore, when sinners are plunged under the wrath of God for eternity, it will not be the sin that God punishes, but the sinner. Only by God’s grace can a sinner by spared from the wrath of God. That comes only through Christ – the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1-2).

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      • Ok, so, I still don’t think the Malachi reference is valid because it’s not about the individuals, but representing the people’s/nations they started. However…

        After further study, I was still wrong. Assuming the WBC folks have not been redeemed by out Savior, then yes, I’d agree that God hates them as individuals and not only their actions. The following verses (some referenced by you and below by others) are some that helped correct my view. Just thought I’d share:

        Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,”

        Psalm 11:5, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

        Lev. 20:23, “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.”

        Prov. 6:16-19, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”

        Hosea 9:15, “All their evil is at Gilgal; indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.”

        Not necessarily fun to read, but true nonetheless.

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        • Jason – if those individuals are representing the nations as you suggest, does that make it any lighter of an issue? Rather than dealing with God hating one individual, He hates an entire nation and has cut it off from His blessing. That interpretation does not work either. God loves with a perfect love and hates with a perfect hatred. That’s why we see verses like this in Scripture – Hebrews 10:31 – It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

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      • How would you explain a reconciliation between “God hates those who oppose Him” and “God so loved the world”?

        Seems to me that this would imply that love/hate are not polar opposites (at least for God).

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        • Jason, I assume you are talking about John 3:16. Is it your assumption that “world” in that verse means every single person ever born on the face of the planet, or do you allow the definition of the word to be defined by it’s context? You see, the Greek word that John uses in that verse is “kosmos”, and depending on the context in which that word is used it can have over 10 different meanings.

          For instance, do you think that the word world in John 3:16 means the exact same thing as it does in 1 John 2:15 when John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”?

          The same Greek word is used by John in both verses. If it is your argument that “world” always means every single person ever born on the face of the planet, then how can we possibly love our neighbor as our self if we are suppose to hate every single person ever born on the face of the planet? The answer is, we cant, because our neighbors are part of every single person ever born on the face of the planet.

          I think you would have to agree that “world” in 1 John 2:15 means the the culture, and not every single person born on the face of the planet.

          Another example is John 14:17 were John uses the same Greek word and says, “even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

          If the word “world” means every single person ever born on the face of the planet in this verse, then how can anyone be saved, because 1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

          If every single person ever born on the face of the planet is under the power of the devil, and every single person ever born on the face of the planet can not receive the power of the Holy Spirit, then aren’t we all DOOMED? How can we overcome the power of the evil one without the power of the Holy Spirit?

          Again, I think it is clear that John’s use of the word “world” in these verses can not mean every single person ever born on the face of the planet. In the context, he must be talking about the lost.

          Even in English, we realize that the word “world” does not always mean every single person ever born on the face of the planet. When we say that Mike Tyson was once the heavy weight champion of the world, do we really mean he fought every single person ever born on the face of the planet to get that title? Did he show up at your house one night wanting to fight you and your family so he could earn his title, LOL?

          No, even in English we realize that the word must be defined by it’s context. So, we must look at the context of John 3:16, and not just assume that in every use of the Greek word “kosmos” = Every person ever born on the face of the planet.

          Who is Jesus talking to in John chapter 3? He is talking to Nicodemus. Who was Nicodemus? He was a man of the Pharisees. Who did the pharisees think that the Christ was coming to die for? They thought he was coming to die for the Jews. Even the disciples were hung up on that, and had to be about beat over the head with a stick to see that Jesus had died for both the Jews AND the Gentiles. Even Peter had to see the vision of the carpet coming down from heaven 3 times in Acts before he got that through his skull.

          So, Jesus is talking to someone who think that the Christ was coming to die for the Jews only. So, when He says what He says in John 3:16, He is telling Nicodemus that He had come to die for not only the Jews, but all nations. Or as it is put in Revelations 5:19 “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,”

          “Ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”, this is what Jesus means when He says “world” in John 3:16. As you have already said, “After further study, I was still wrong. Assuming the WBC folks have not been redeemed by our Savior, then yes, I’d agree that God hates them as individuals and not only their actions.”

          If it is clear that God does hate unredeemed people, then He obviously does not love every single person ever born on the face of the planet, so, the word “world” in John 3:16 can not mean that unless it contradicts those verses that clearly say that He does hate evil doers.

          I believe it is abundantly clear, that based on the context of John chapter 3, Jesus’ meaning of “world” in John 3:16 is “people from every tribe and language and people and nation” and not “Every single person ever born on the face of the planet”.

          Well, I hope this helps. When you look at the versus in context there is no need for reconciliation between “God hates those who oppose Him” and “God so loved the world”, In context, there is no conflict between them.

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    • “God is love; thus God cannot hate…”
      I think the point is simply that sin in and of itself is impersonal, inanimate. It is like the traffic authorities who state “Speed kills”. Not so; it is the driver who kills as a result of excessive speed.
      The Civil Law defines that behaviour in the citizen which transgresses the element(s) of that Law. When sentence is passed by the judge, it is measured out upon the perpetrator. The judge does not and cannot pass judgement on the defined misbehaviour, only on the one who misbehaves.
      So it is with God. He has given clear instructions (not guidelines) which define clearly what the character of someone made in His image should be. Anyone who does not meet that measure exactly is a sinner and thus Rom 3 (and in particular v23). James clearly teaches in 1:13-15 of his letter that it is our own lust that causes the sin that defaces us. We bow to Satan and his temptation, instead of standing firm on and in Jesus persevering in the test. If we fail, we carry full responsibility and thus accountability for allowing the conception of sin.
      On the Day of Judgement it is people made in the image of God who will suffer His wrath, which is a holy hatred most of us do not fully comprehend.
      May we clear the cobwebs and renew our minds in the awesome power of the Holy Spirit and be loved by God, not hated.

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  3. The Westboro cult has been on my prayer list for a while now. I pray that they will not only repent in dust and ashes, but that their repentance will be as relentlessly visible as their evil has been.
    I would love to see them standing with signs begging forgiveness, confessing their sin, and sharing how God’s truth is infinitely superior to their lies. We should all be praying for this and desiring it, instead of being like Jonah and hoping for their divine judgment to fall swiftly. (I am not implying that the author of this article is guilty of being Jonah-like, but I see Jonah in many evangelical eyes and even in the mirror at times. It’s something we must all guard against.) I hope that, every time any of us hears about Westboro’s atrocities, we will pray for their public repentance.

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    • Wbc ,is Jonah,just warning people

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  4. I live about ten minutes away from the Phelps and have seen them with their signs many times. The saddest part is when they have their little children spewing this venom.

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  5. I do HATE what this supposed church is doing, and I totally agree with you about God’s view of what these people are doing and as God says, ‘we’ll know them by their “fruit”‘. For this reason and that He commands us to love Him and each other, I question whether they are even Christians. But, with respect, I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where Jesus says he hates people. Are we not to emulate Him even in regards to people acting evil?!

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  6. I agree with your critique of God loves the sinner, but hates sin (Psalms 5:5, Psalms 10:3; Leviticus 20:23; Proverbs 6:16-19; Hosea 9:15; Zechariah 11:8). I think were you to take more time you would probably flesh this out a little more, but I think it’s absolutely crucial when talking about the love or hate of God to distinguish it from love and hate that we experience. Our hate, even our love is ruined by the fall. God’s love and hate is holy and righteous. So while I agree that God’s hatred is not symbolic, it must be different.

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  7. We often hear the hatred of God and consider it just like the hatred of man, malicious and desiring the destructive of the other person. We can’t confuse God’s righteous hatred with our sinful hatred. God is opposed to the sinner, his wrath is upon them; this is his hatred! Yet God does not desire for his wrath to be upon his creation! He love the sinner in that he doesn’t want them to bear his wrath/hatred, but instead bore it himself. God can hate and love at the same time. We should praise him for his justice and his grace!

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  8. Compelling.

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  9. Well that pic is not real … oh my god

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  10. I can agree with you on the most part, but God doesn’t hate the Church. He cannot hate people (who are the aforementioned Church); he hates what they do.

    That’s not to say that I agree with what they do, or disagree against the parallels drawn with what Proverbs says, but Proverbs says there are seven THINGS that God can’t stand, not the people.

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    • Jessica – did God hate Esau (Malachi 1) or just what he did? Your position is a popular one in the evangelical church, but I do not agree with your interpretation of the hatred of God. He loves and hates perfectly. And when God hates, His hatred is demonstrated upon sinners – not their sin.

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    • Unfortunately I have to agree with Josh, if God’s wrath was only against the sin where are Sadam and Ghomora? He wiped those whole nations off the face of the earth because of what the people were doing, not just because of the sin, but because of what the PEOPLE were.
      Think of it this way, God is so incredibly holy/magnificent/righteous, if any person that has sin within them comes near Him, they will instantly die. It is not that He want’s them dead, if He wanted us all dead why would He send Jesus? No, He loves us, the problem is that He is so pure, His purity lashes out again sin and sinners. That is not to say God cannot control it, He controls it by not seeing sinners face to face.
      These people are sinners that have been misguided by God’s enemy to spread messages that will mislead others and deter them from the message of Christ, they are currently being weapons of the devil. God does love them, but He will not love them to the point of letting them destroy their own and other’s lives. It is the job of we christians to tell them of their error, and if they respond with haste and anger, they are truly weapons of evil and need our prayer.
      We are in a constant and serious war between the devil and God, and we must realize that just as real as God lives in us Christians, Satan can control and bend those that don’t have the Lord in them to do his will.

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      • I agree with wbc, but ,Matthew 10:14

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  11. I do believe you hit the nail on the head sir.
    This group is definitely in opposition to the Gospel message, and we need to pray for them and attempt to stop the horrid message they are spreading. Not only are they tearing people down who are already hurting, but they are blaspheming and deterring other’s from ever considering trusting God and becoming Christians! They are essentially killing the kingdom of God. :(

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    • “This group is definitely in opposition to the gospel message”
      Do you have a bible verse?

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  12. I too have trouble understanding those that strive to separate “sin” from “sinner”.

    I don’t think that this is a difficult subject… but it is made difficult by those desiring to justify sin. Those that reject Jesus Christ and habitually sin God condemns to permanent, eternal, irreversible, and unfathomable suffering in Hell. Perfect and righteous hatred. Human beings erroneously cast a sinful human understanding of “hate” to God. God cannot be accused of any “character flaw” at all. God is never wrong.

    He clearly provided a Savior for us. And if we love Jesus Christ, and He is truly our Lord, Romans 6 applies. True Christians hate sin and quickly repent of it if committed, though indwelling sin will dog us throughout our lives.

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