Westboro Baptist Church: Lordship to the Max
May 4, 2012, 1:29 am
Filed under: Lordship Salvation, Westboro Baptist

written by Christopher Macfarlane

I’ve followed the Westboro Baptist church quite a bit throughout the years. No, I haven’t literally followed them, but I have watched many of Fred Phelps’ videos, articles they’ve released, as well as documentaries on the group. Let me just say this now: They’re not Christians. They are a cult. And I don’t necessarily say that because they aren’t “loving” enough, etc. I think their approach in general is horrible. But I believe there can be true brothers in Christ who can have a horrible approach to evangelism. The reason I don’t consider them brothers is mainly because of their message. It’s not that I think that God doesn’t hate sin. He does. For them, their message has consistently been, “You are a sinner. God hates you. Repent.” And that’s it.  

In other words, you have a problem: sin. The solution: turn from your sin. I’m sure that Jesus dying on a cross has had an honorable mention somewhere around Westboro church. But, it’s buried somewhere under the theological corpses they have consistently piled atop it. I think of the way that the members believe that to leave the church means leaving the faith, and that one of the members said that if there were any other true churches out there, they’d know about them. I think of the statement one member said, that if she was hit by a car she’d go to hell, because that is obviously God’s pronouncement of judgment upon her. I think of the guy that was sitting quietly in the back of their church for months, unsure about becoming a member because he didn’t know if he was morally developed enough. Where in the world is the perfect obedience of Christ satisfying the wrath of God on behalf of His people in this? Ready enough? Hell because of getting hit by a car? Leaving their church equals hell? You are a sinner, so the solution is repentance? What about you are a sinner, stop trusting in your righteousness, believe the gospel and be forgiven for your sins? What about, you are a sinner, but we have an advocate with the Father? What about nothing separating us from the love of God if we are in Christ or no one plucking us from the hand of Christ – ie even ourselves?

I was reminded of something else though. It reminded me of those who are “Calvinists” (by the way, Westboro calls themselves Calvinists), and also place conditions upon salvation. Sure, they speak much of depravity and limited atonement. But believing the gospel for them isn’t enough. No. You can believe the gospel, but if you don’t stop sinning daily, or if you sin too much, then you aren’t saved. Forget being clothed in Christ. Those garments are an illusion to those who don’t keep them on. God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, but that doesn’t mean the gospel is a command in that it has laws that must be obeyed. Scripture speaks of “obeying the gospel.” Observe what Paul says:

However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?”
Romans 10:16

Here, we see that “obeying the gospel” is not done in works, but in “believing.” I’m sure Westboro knows about the gospel, but not when it comes to their “evangelistic” pursuits. It’s always, “Here’s a poster of two guys having sex, with the word ‘USA’ over it.” And they sing pop songs with the words changed to something about how God hates everyone. They may know about the atonement, but with their lips they destroy it by adding conditions, and depriving people of the only hope they could have. Oddly enough, it is all wrapped around bizarre eschatology too. They believe President Obama is the antichrist and that we are in the tribulation. They all plan to move to Israel. Side note, I really hope President Obama loses the next election so they might realize he isn’t the antichrist, how horrible their eschatology is, and perhaps begin to undo their other wackiness. Anyhow, in the same way, there are many reformed folks who may know about the gospel, but end up placing so many conditions on it that those who obey their words soon find themselves buried by them. And just one condition is enough to destroy the gospel. Westboro is just the extreme version of this, although both will send people to straight to destruction because they go out of their way to make proselytes, placing regulations on their audiences that they can’t even carry.

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4 Comments so far
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Freddy, you are the one who’s queer

How could you do this to me?

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Derek Webb, singing to Fred Phelps about graveyard worship

Comment by markmcculley

Christopher, Good article. One easy condition of 100 hard conditions is still conditionalism and Lordship salvation definitely has conditions, plenty of them. They have the cart pulling the horse. They say the don’t have sanctification driving justification or perseverance driving preservation BUT they deny it at every turn. The repentance they are unfamiliar with is the Biblical kind that Paul describes in Phil 3 where he was given repentance from his own righteousness. Lordship salvation, so-called is surely a term that is confusing also. The steal a term that traps people into legalistic peer pressure and causes them to lack assurance where the gospel points to real assurance – IN CHRIST ALONE. Sad day in the “Reformed” community. Westboro Baptist is definitely a distant cousin to the Lordship peeps. They ARE in the same camp. God’s people are outside that camp. Come out from among them and be separate says the LORD. Thank God for His FREE and Sovereign Grace!!!!!.

Comment by supralapsarian

Christopher

Have you come across S Lewis Johnson’s talk on Lordship salvation?

http://rapidlibrary.com/files/s-lewis-johnson-051-acts-16-29-31-john-mcarthur-and-lordship-salvation-mp3_ulfzq8yei88on.html

Comment by bography

No, sir, I haven’t. I’ll check this out. Thanks 🙂

Comment by Sovereign Grace Society




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