Infamous Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps assumed room temperature today. Most people’s responses have generally been along the lines of, “Good,” “Rot in hell,” “He was a douche,” etc.
|I’m not arguing that he wasn’t a douche.|
Lost among the “God hates fags” signs, general assishness and media attention, however, is the fact that their very, very, very core theology is actually pretty solid Reformed theology. The problems arise when they start working out from the core and applying and communicating it.
|You don’t say.|
In fact, they actually made some good points. Allow me to explain before you take metaphorical and literal dumps on my doorstep.
1) Repentance is vital to the Christian life. – This often gets lost, especially in the mainstream/liberal Christian crowd. They’re not just ripping on gay people; they’re calling people to turn from sin and trust in Jesus. That’s a good thing. It’s all in the delivery, kind of like Aroldis Chapman (shameless plug).
2) America is a corrupt nation. – If you don’t believe that, you haven’t been paying attention for the last couple hundred years or so. We’ve endorsed treating people as property, cheating people out of their property, murdering babies, unjust wars, etc.
3) America will be destroyed sooner or later. – Before you go all GOD BLESS MERICA on me, just understand that we’re a nation full of corrupt people doing corrupt things in corrupt ways. It’s bound to happen one day.
4) People are inherently evil. – Yes, this partially goes back to the first point, but they actually do understand that God must do the regenerating. Salvation isn’t based on what we do, but we do choose to give God the finger and send ourselves to hell.
5) God is sovereign over every single event in human history. – God didn’t send someone to shoot up a school, but he had to allow it in order for it to happen.
6) God finds sin and the sinner hateful. – A lot of people trip over this. God is love, but he’s not all-loving. He can’t love sin, since it spits in his face. There really are verses in the Bible about God hating people, but we have to remember that his hate is different than our hate. Our hate creates bitterness, but God’s hatred of sin spawned his eternal plan to send Jesus as an atonement for our rebellion. Really, God’s hate is rooted in love.
7) God’s sovereign grace through Jesus is the only hope for anyone. – Believe it or not, this is actually what drives WBC. They claim their tactics have worked in bringing about repentance and trust in Jesus. If they believe it works, then of course they’re going to do what they do. They may act like a bunch of dicks, but they at least have the core message down: The only hope for anyone is in Jesus, but most of us are content to fart in his general direction while playing in our own filth.
Thank God for a dead Fred Phelps, if only so we can reorient the discussion.