John Stonestreet on Westboro Baptist Church and a False Understanding of God

Megan Phelps-Roper giving a TED Talk in January 2017 in New York City.

It’s exhausting to talk about Westboro Baptist Church. This small cult, made up almost entirely of a single family and their spouses, has caused a tremendous amount of pain around the country.

Not only do they hurt those they picket, like families of fallen military heroes, they’re often trotted out by media outlets as an example of Christian bigotry. Somehow Christians are often forced to answer for a group that horrifies all of us. Like I said, it’s exhausting.

Megan Phelps-Roper is the granddaughter of Westboro founder Fred Phelps. She made news a few years ago when she escaped and renounced the cult of her childhood, an experience she describes in a new book. Her story, which I’ve followed since she first left the so-called church, is absolutely fascinating. And in her recent interview with popular atheist podcaster Sam Harris, Phelps-Roper offers a glimpse into the evil philosophy behind Westboro.

According to Phelps-Roper, the group’s motivation for publicly celebrating terrorist attacks or praising their so-called God for a deadly famine is all grounded in a perverted interpretation of God’s sovereignty. Because God always accomplishes His will, they believe, and because 1 John 5 says it’s not burdensome to love God and His commandments, Phelps and company concluded we must celebrate everything that happens.

It’s a deeply inconsistent worldview to be sure: Why would they call others to repentance while rejoicing at their arrival into Hell as being God’s will?

Nor is it clear how Westboro explains the loving Father God who created His people to enjoy Him forever that is revealed to us throughout the Biblical narrative. Why would we believe that God rejoices in our pain if He sent his Son to suffer and die in order to heal our pain?

How many times in the Old Testament do we read that God “hears the cries” of His people? How many times is God described as “the God of all comfort”? Jesus cried when His friend died, and upon seeing the pain that death caused to the man’s siblings, just before He turned their tears into rejoicing by bringing Lazarus back to life!

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Source: Christian Headlines