Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist dies

Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, is dead.  This congregation of 80 members–most of which are members of the large Phelps family–made a name for itself with its “God hates fags” protest signs and its protests at military funerals with signs reading “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

Read this to learn about the Westboro congregation and its beliefs.  Phelps was reportedly excommunicated from his own church recently for advocating “kinder” treatment of fellow members, though this has not been confirmed.

Here we see the dysfunctions of legalism, in which a zeal for righteousness results in unrighteousness, in which the Christian gospel that proclaims “God loves you” is countered by the proclamation that “God hates you.”  Isn’t this a pretty clear example of  the Devil having his way in the church to undermine its message and to discredit Christianity?

From Westboro church founder Fred Phelps dies – CNN.com:

Fred Phelps — the founding pastor of a Kansas church known for its virulently anti-gay protests at public events, including military funerals — has died, the church said Thursday.

The 84-year-old died of natural causes at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to church spokesman Steve Drain.

Phelps founded Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, in 1955 and molded it in his fire-and-brimstone image. Many members of the small congregation are related to Phelps through blood or marriage. . . .

According to Westboro, the church has picketed more than 53,000 events, ranging from Lady Gaga concerts to funerals for slain U.S. soldiers. Typically, a dozen or so church members — including small children — will brandish signs that say “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

Phelps was often called “the most hated man in America,” a label he seemed to relish.

“If I had nobody mad at me,” he told the Wichita Eagle in 2006, “what right would I have to claim that I was preaching the Gospel?”

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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