About Next Friday…

by Nate Powell
Who is Westboro Baptist Church? First, they come from Westboro, a segment of urban Topeka, Kansas. Secondly, they claim to be Baptist. Third, they claim to be a church.
I refute the name of their organization on all 3 fronts:
  • How can they be from Westboro if they seem to be constantly all over the country protesting? And why are they taking their message to the rest of the world when it has failed to reach their own city? The reactions to their message that they have received have contributed to their self-righteousness in this.
  • How can they call themselves Baptist when the major Baptist denominations (World Baptist Alliance & Southern Baptist Convention) have disowned and disavowed them? This is called false advertising.
  • How can they be called a church when they are known for none of the actual characteristics of Biblical churches (devoted to the apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer; caring for widows and orphans where they live, etc.)? Their church has 50 people within its membership, and it is not growing (even despite all of their “evangelizing” efforts). Jesus would refer to this as a fruitless tree (Matthew 7:15-20).
And now, they are coming to our town. Facebook has been buzzing in the last 24 hours as the word has spread and has everyone asking questions like: How am I going to get my kids to school without seeing this? Can school have a late start? Can’t the police do something to stop this? This list of responses could go on, but we all know that everyone is worked up on this one. So, how should we respond? Let me hit you with a few biblical ways that are sure to (figuratively) throw a bucket of cold water on their heads:
  • Don’t fight back: They are coming here (and everywhere else they go) looking to start a fight. The language they use is inflammatory to the extreme; so much so, that I would not dare to quote them in this article. They are looking for a reaction from you. So anything that we do, other than driving past and minding our own business, they see as persecution that feeds their sense of self-righteousness in this. If you do feel the need to engage any of them while they are here (or if they happen to stop by your business while here), please remember how the scripture instructs us:
    • A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
    • Never pay back evil with evil. (Romans 12:17)
    • Do your best to live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
    • Pray for them. (Mathew 5:44) This last one is really important, because they are coming here to preach a half-truth gospel, which is a false-truth gospel. They are here to tell us that the wages of sin is death (in a very over-the-top, unloving manner), but they are not communicating at all that the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23) Eternal life is for anyone who believes in Christ, repents of their sin and walks in obedience to Him. (Romans 10:9, Acts 2:38, John 14:15) Essentially, they do not believe or preach what the Bible teaches regarding our salvation, which is why ALL churches have distanced themselves from them.
  • Quit giving them the attention they want: WBC is reading this post. (And if you are with WBC, hello. I will be driving quietly past you next week.) They have computers. They can Google their name. They thrive off of posts from their website being shared. They thrive off of news media coverage (and the media loves to cover them due to the amount of web clicks they get, which results in advertising revenue). And they thrive off of the social media buzz that we give them. All of these things perpetuate their message, and this is what they want. To be honest, I have not posted about this publicly in my social media, and following this blog post, I will not comment online further. I actually hate the fact that this post will probably be our church’s most visited website post of the year. If you are a reporter or journalist, I would encourage you to forgo the money you would have made from writing about them and make the conscious decision not to report on this “protesting event”. WBC is old news. And if you have social media, I would encourage you to go silent regarding the WBC this week and all weeks. Don’t encourage or enable their message.
  • Do something good: Use this week as a week to be reminded of Paul’s words in Romans 12:21: “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” It is not enough that as a Christian I simply disagree with WBC. Christians should not be known by what they are against (although we are against some things); we should be known by what we are for. Jesus calls the citizens of His Kingdom a City on a Hill. We are to let the world around us see that we are different. (Matthew 5:14-16) What are we doing to love God and love others? Do those things. Serve the poor and needy around us. Let your light shine.