Loving Neighbors and Reading the Bible: Some Reflections Upon the Death of Phelps [Excerpt]

Upon Phelps’ passing, many are rejoicing. I am reflecting, particularly on two lessons that I think are crucial
for followers of Christ today. First, I’m reflecting on how Fred Phelps and his group put our ability to love our neighbor–and enemies–to the test...

If we want to show that our way is correct, then our response should model something that Fred’s life did not. If we believe we’re on higher ground, why do our actions and words stoop to the same level? He wishes death on us, we wish death on him. He protests our funerals, we want to protest his. This is a boxing match, not the higher ground to which God calls us. Over and over, the Bible points to a different way (Proverbs 20:22, 24:17-18; Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9). Jesus’ teaching is so radical, in part, because it is so difficult and against our nature.

One powerful verse from Proverbs calls us to task: ”Do not gloat when your enemies fall; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.” Proverbs 24:17-18...

The second thing I’m reflecting on is what the legacy of Phelps can teach us about reading and interpreting the Bible...In interviews, the Westboro group has been known to say, “We’re not making this stuff up.” When it comes to quoting the Bible, that’s true. They know their Bible better than most Christians, and they never misquote it. They use the same book as my church that preaches love. Where we differ–to use a big seminary word–is hermeneutics: the guiding principles and interpretive lenses we use to decide what parts of the Bible to emphasize and how to interpret it...

[Read the full article on the Baptist News Global blog]

No comments:

Post a Comment