Elvis has left the building

Monday Musings for March 25, 2019

Good morning, Musers

In 1998, I was horrified when the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas (WBC) began showing up in the news cycle. They had picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young man from Laramie, Wyoming who was beaten to death for being gay. “That’s all we need…” I thought… “… more idiocy that cannot help but stick to the rest of us Christians.”

But there’s something that differentiates me from the WBC, and I hope it differentiates you. Although I am against sin and any destructive entities, I am not against the people associated with them. This means that I treat gay people, pimps and abortion doctors with the same respect as I do those whom I consider to be solid citizens of both kingdoms… people much like you and me.

But the people from the WBC — by the vitriol of their protests — project disrespect for the persons they perceive as doing wrong things — like Matthew Shepherd… and I’m not sure that the main impact travels all the way down to the institutions they are purportedly targeting. But I am sure that Peter would not agree with their methods.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV).

Hope? Gentleness and respect? There is little evidence of either in a WBC style protest. But you know what gets me most in all of this? Everything they protest is a secondary (if not a tertiary!) issue… and the issues are more political than they are biblical. But still, it’s the more reasonable Christians among us who get the black eye… and we are in great majority over the WBC types.

Now, since I’m a fellow who needs to understand things, I was thinking, maybe I should walk a mile in their shoes. Maybe I should make a sign that says, “God hates Calvinists!” — and then go picket a Reformed church! After all, someone should be held accountable for their stand on God’s sovereignty! They call it compatible with human free will… but it’s simply not… just like being gay is not compatible with God’s design for the world… and someone has to stand up for God’s truth in the sovereignty issue… right?

You might think that’s funny… (and especially if you know me)… but I don’t think it would get much press. Beyond the joke, these are merely secondary issues of the faith — and besides… they are not at all politically charged. So, who out there really cares?

But with that in view, why split a church over such non-critical issues? Yet churches do split over this stuff — or should I say continue to split over this stuff… because such divisions were a problem even in Paul’s day
(1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

If we majored in the majors and minored in the minors as we are often counseled to do, some of the acid might fall away from issues such as young earth vs old earth. But I know people… and I’m not optimistic. In this age cheap and easy communications, civil discourse has left the building… and its absence will be the death of us.

To read the article referenced above, click here. For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com. To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)