After conducting the interview with Shirley Phelps-Roper and Westboro Baptist Church, I must admit that my confusion is still present in many ways. I expected a professional response to be given to the interview, so I was shocked when I saw the responses filled with vile hatred and cursing! This is a clear violation of James’ words, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” In fact, nothing but hatred and cursing proceeds from their mouth – no blessings at all! Although I could provide many reasons why Westboro violates the Christian faith with their lifestyle, I have chosen two main issues for my response. The first will be posted today and the second will be posted tomorrow.
ISSUE #1 – Westboro’s Gospel Error
Question #10 in the interview was a simple question regarding their understanding of the Gospel. Rather than defining it according to the biblical definition, it was copied and pasted from dictionary.com. That confirmed my assumptions about Westboro. The reason they act the way they do and the reason they are filled with such hatred is because their foundational problem is based on a skewed view of the Gospel. Shirley Phelps-Roper followed up the dictionary.com definition by saying that the Gospel is “Good News” and then she went on to say, “There is no good news for you liars!” It seems that Westboro clearly does not understand the Gospel.
From the Old Testament to the New Testament, we see that the Gospel is defined as God’s good news to mankind. The creation of God fell into sin and we see this clearly stated in the book of Genesis. However, after their fall, we see God’s predetermined plan taking action in the sacrifices of the nation of Israel. The sacrifices were a foreshadowing of the perfect sacrifice to come – the perfect lamb – Jesus of Nazareth. That is why the angels announced his coming by saying, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people ” (Luke 2:10). Therefore, when we see John the Baptist point to Jesus in John 1:29, he says, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The mission of Christ was to take away the sin – not to pile up sin upon the heads of people for the purpose of hatred. This is further evidenced in John 3:17 – “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”Therefore, the purpose of the Gospel was a rescue mission which was predetermined by God before the foundation of the world. This rescue mission is evidenced in the words used to describe different aspects of salvation:
The word “Gospel” in the New Testament is defined as follows: Gospel = euaggelion = The content of good news. Therefore, when it comes to the whole of Scripture, we see God performing a great salvation through His Son Jesus Christ – for everyone who believes. So, it is very clear that the pure essence and foundational truth of the Gospel is – good news!
Paul later defined the Gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – for our sin. That masterful definition is located in his letter to the Church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Paul, being part of the strictest sect of Jews, understood that Jesus of Nazareth was the ultimate fulfillment of the insufficient sacrifices of the Old Testament. That is good news – not a message of hatred!
Therefore, as we examine the greatness of God’s love, mercy, and His Gospel message which is clearly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, we do not see a God who finds delight in hatred and wrath, but a God who finds delight in rescuing sinners from Hell, moving them to worship Him, and equipping them to serve Him now and for eternity. As we compare this clearly defined message in the Scriptures to the message of Westboro Baptist – we do not see any similarities at all.
Therefore, I believe that the Westboro group has a skewed and misunderstood view of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ – which is good news rather than hate. We must pray that God will give them ears to hear and open their blinded eyes to the truth of the pure, unadulterated, and true Gospel of Jesus Christ.For the glory of God!
Pastor Josh Buice
PART II – Westboro’s Great Commission Error - Coming Tomorrow
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