Project 12 students will be gathering in downtown Chicago tomorrow to voice our opposition to the message of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church. The latter will be picketing the offices of Barack Obama, the Canadian and Chinese embassys, and the Democratic Party headquarters.
Below is the text of a flier we will hand out at tomorrow’s events downtown. Hopefully, photos and perhaps even video will appear here and on http://project12.wordpress.com tomorrow.
God loves Fred Phelps.
God hates Fred’s hate.
God commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We affirm that loving our neighbor means robustly loving the homosexual, the non-Christian, even loving Fred Phelps and his family. This is the message we of Project 12 (a discipleship program sponsored by Chicago’s Jesus People USA Evangelical Covenant Church), offer here today. Our message is an attempt at one Christian response to the very unchristian message of Westboro Baptist Church.
Fred Phelps and his extended family misrepresent both God and the Bible in their continuing assault on homosexuals, Jews, U. S. servicewomen and servicemen, other Christians, Swedes (?), and various others. Selective and out of context interpretation of Scriptures does not make one’s own moral darkness into Christian theology. From our biblical viewpoint, Mr. Phelps’ teachings are not Christian in any way, shape, or form.
We mourn the spiritual wasteland Mr. Phelps has led his family into, as well as the incredible pain he and his family have inflicted on others all over the world. Mr. Phelps over and over again violates the heart of the gospel – Grace.
The book of Proverbs, Chapter 26:4-5, says two things about someone who refuses wisdom:
“Do not answer fools according to their folly,
or you will be a fool yourself.”
“Answer fools according to their folly,
or they will be wise in their own eyes.”
In short, Project12 understands that to come here today is somewhat of a fool’s errand. By speaking out we are calling more attention to Mr. Phelps, thereby fulfilling his felt need for media attention. That is frustrating. But as the second half of the above verses point out, if we do not answer Mr. Phelps’ assault on our neighbors, we are not fulfilling the calling of God to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Proverbs also says:
“Lying lips conceal hatred,
and whoever utters slander is a fool.”
We are here today to bear witness to the Triune God of Love, who to bridge the relational gap between human and human, and God and human, sent his own Son. That is the good news of the gospel.
Fred Phelps’ failure to understand that God is a God of Love rather than Hate lies at the heart of his own agony. We sincerely pray that Fred will hear God’s truth and learn of God’s all-encompassing love, but in the meantime we must stand against his false message that God hates our neighbors.
Hating human beings on God’s behalf is a hellish deception, and smolders at the heart of much darkness in the world.
The Students and Staff of Project 12 Discipleship Training School
939 W Wilson Avenue, Chicago IL / 60640