I am presently the pastor at Mulvane Brethren Church and below is a press release that I received about Fred Phelps’ Westboro Church of Topeka coming to picket our local church. They plan to picket our church on Sunday, December 19th at the beginning of our services. Why? Because Mulvane, Kansas is the home of the Patriot Guard, which consists of dozens and dozens of American veterans who ride on their motorcycles and use American flags to block this church’s protesting of veteran funerals. They protest as many veterans funerals that they possibly can, even if it’s a child of a veteran’s family who is deceased. Below is the exact wording of their press release about their plans to protest and picket in front of our church:
Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane, KS December 19, 2010 10:00 AM - 10:30 Westboro Church will picket the Mulvane Brethren Church where they lie to each other every day with a lot of sloppy agape love talk. They claim that love is the glue that binds them. They claim to love God, love each other and love their neighbors, but they do none of those things. God said if you love Him, you will keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 Jo. 5:3.) One of God's commandments is to love thy neighbor as thyself -- Jesus Christ said this is the second greatest commandment. Here's the commandment: Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Lev. 19:17-18.) In anywise rebuke your neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him -- when was the last time you did that? If you had been rebuking your neighbor for his sins and not suffering sin upon him, your neighbor would not have loaded his guns up in his car to go kill God's servants over some words of truth! Why didn't you tell him the truth?! The fact is that you hate your neighbor, you hate each other and you hate God. We are the only people on this planet who love you enough to tell you the truth. If you want the soldiers and the children to stop dying, STOP YOUR PROUD SINNING! Believe and obey God; nothing else will do at this hour!
[end of press release]
Now, let me tell you what I plan on speaking about that day, ironically. It is from I John 4:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
And also, from I John 3:10-15, 23-24.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
It is a real struggle to believe that Fred Phelps has the love of God in his heart. God does hates sin, but He loves the sinner, as First John 4:20 says "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen."
Now interestingly, Phelps says that we "lie to each other every day" and that we have not loved God, love each other and love our neighbors. I say its interesting because not one of their "church" members have ever set foot in our sanctuary and ever heard one of our sermons. We plan to offer cookies and hot chocolate to these protesters if it is cold, which it likely will be in mid-December. This “church” and I use the term loosely, has done more harm to Christianity than a million atheists, agnostics, or even the ACLU could ever do. Strictly speaking, according to scripture, it does not appear to be a part of the Body of Christ. It is sad to our thinking that those who say we lie and hate, are the ones who are actually doing the lying and spouting hate. Yes, God hates sin, but loves the sinner. We will not be returning hate, but praying for these protesters and hope that they do not disrupt our services on that Sunday, December 19th, but we are not going to be holding our breath at the Mulvane Brethren church.
Merry Christmas to you all and God bless America and each and every one of you.