As I stated in my first response to Shirley Phelps-Roper and the Westboro Baptist Church – I believe they have misunderstood the true Gospel on the basic foundational level that the Gospel is good news – not hate. That being true, their Gospel error has caused them to error greatly in regard to the Great Commission.
Jesus Christ commanded us, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:18-20). ” Therefore, we must go out as ambassadors for Christ into a lost world in order to share the greatest news the world has ever heard – salvation is found in Jesus Christ!Paul called the Gospel the “power of God unto salvation” in Romans 1:16. Paul went on to say in that same verse that it was to “everyone who believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” That is why Paul spent his saved life traveling across the world planting churches, pastoring churches, and evangelizing the lost. That is why Paul labored to take the message (good news) to Kings and peasants alike. Paul loved Jews (for he was a Jew) and Gentiles (for he was the missionary to the Gentile world). Paul loved people and he wanted to obey the Great Commission that he was given by Jesus Christ – his Savior.
Luke records the words of Jesus in Acts 1:8 as saying, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the purpose of the Great Commission is to be a witness of Jesus Christ to the entire world.
How To Faithfully Share The Gospel (good news):
1. In order to share the Gospel with people, it is important to share with people that they are sinners. If people do not know they are sinners, they will not know they need salvation. Some choose to use the Old Testament law (Ten Commandments) to open the eyes of people to the fact that they are sinners. Others use verses like Romans 3:23 which tells us that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
2. To communicate to people the fact about sin is not enough! Westboro tells people they are sinners and on their way to Hell, but they leave them in that state of misery without hope. That is not the Great Commission. The Great Commission involves communicating the fact of sin (in order to reveal the true condition of the human heart), but we should never leave people in that horrible condition. We should quickly move toward the hope of salvation that is in Jesus Christ alone! That is good news.In my interview with Westboro Baptist Church (Part I – Part II), I asked a simple question:
12. What is your understanding of Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:44-49; and Acts 1:8?
RESPONSE: Here is what I say to your arrogant butt about these words and the rest of the Bible! SHUT YOUR MOUTH and OBEY YOUR GOD! Stop looking for something that will advantage YOU and promote your ego and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God! You have NOT been sent Josh – but you run anyway! You will NEVER have the Holy Spirit anywhere near you because you won’t obey! Check out some of these OBEY verses:
Exodus 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.Exodus 16:28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?Exodus 20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.Leviticus 22:31 Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD.Leviticus 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.Deuteronomy 4:40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.Deuteronomy 5:10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.Deuteronomy 5:29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!Deuteronomy 6:2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.Deuteronomy 6:17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;Deuteronomy 7:11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.Deuteronomy 8:6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.Deuteronomy 10:13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?Deuteronomy 11:1 Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.Deuteronomy 11:8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;Deuteronomy 11:22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;Deuteronomy 13:4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.Deuteronomy 13:18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.Deuteronomy 19:9 If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:Deuteronomy 26:17 Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:Deuteronomy 26:18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;Deuteronomy 27:1 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day.Deuteronomy 28:9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.Deuteronomy 28:45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:Deuteronomy 30:10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.Deuteronomy 30:16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.Joshua 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.1Kings 2:3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:1Kings 3:14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.1Kings 6:12 Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:1Kings 8:58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.1Kings 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.1Kings 9:6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:1Kings 11:38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.2 Kings 17:13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.2 Kings 23:3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.1 Chronicles 28:8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.1 Chronicles 29:19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.2 Chronicles 34:31 And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.Nehemiah 1:9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.Psalm 78:7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:Psalm 89:31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;Psalm 103:18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.Psalm 119:60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.Psalm 119:115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.Proverbs 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:Proverbs 4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.Proverbs 7:1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.Daniel 9:4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.Re 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Get your rebel mind around all those passages AND their context and then talk about that for a while and put away all your fluffy stuff.
It seems abundantly clear that Shirley Phelps-Roper was unwilling to answer the question. Later in the same interview, I asked another question related to the Great Commission:
14. Have you ever witnessed one person repent and turn to God through Jesus Christ as a result of your street corner messages of hate?
RESPONSE: YIKES – Josh – did you just call the faithful preaching of the Word of God hate? YIKES! You do that sin against your own soul.
It is clear that Shirley Phelps-Roper was unwilling to deal with the issue of the Great Commission. She dodged the question and bathed her answer with hatred toward me. So, I continued by asking another question:
17. What is your understanding of Gospel missions?
RESPONSE: Stop majoring in the minors Josh – we have our ministry – we received it from our God – we jealously guard it! Our mission is to blind your eyes, stop up your ears and harden your dark, evil hearts! I love here ministry!
The response from Shirley Phelps-Roper on this question confirmed my fears. The Westboro Baptist Church has a skewed view of the Gospel which leads to a very skewed view of missions. Their view of missions is to spread a vile form of hatred mixed with the Old Testament law regarding passages of judgment without moving toward the answer to that judgment which is propitiation through Jesus Christ our Lord. It seems like a strange mixture of hyper-hatred + hyper-Calvinism put into a blender and mixed together. It simply does not make sense. How can people find so much joy and fulfillment in telling people they are damned?
To believe in the sovereignty of God is one thing, but to hide the good news from people who are damned is another! I pray for Westboro Baptist Church. My desire is to see them saved and spared from their incorrect understanding of our God. Yes, God is a God of wrath, but He is also a God of love and mercy. We must be faithful to spread the truth about Him in both respects – God judges Sin, but He saves on the basis of Jesus Christ and His blood sacrifice.
Jim Elliot, George, Nate, Ed, and Pete all sought to evangelize the Auca Indians with the message of Jesus Christ. These Indians were known as savages and were often feared greatly by missionaries. It was these five men who flew their plane over their tribe on a continual basis to throw supplies down in efforts of starting relationships with them in peace. These savages were so far from developed society, they did not understand many of the normal things of the missionaries such as planes, clothing, and photographs. After learning basic language parts of the tribe, the five men landed their plane on Palm Beach and sought contact. Initially, the people were friendly, but things took a very sharp turn. At 12:30pm, contact was made to the wives by radio. They agreed to have another contact at 4:30pm. When no contact came, it proved to be the worst news possible. The five brave missionaries had been brutally killed and the plane had been badly damaged by the Indians. The men were found on the beach and floating in the water by rescue teams.
It seemed that the mission of these men and their efforts to evangelize this savage tribe would end in death until Elizabeth (Jim’s wife) along with other wives and faithful women continued the work. Eventually Elizabeth and other women would live among the tribe working to learn the language and witness to the people. After several years of living among the tribe, Elizabeth returned to the States to live. Other women stayed there and within 33 years, the entire tribe had changed their name to the Waorani from Auca. The name “Auca” had a savage meaning. The new name described more of who they became after the change of the good news took root in their heart. The tribe had been evangelized and turned into a Christian group rather than a lost savage tribe in the jungle of Ecuador. The blood that was spilt on the beach on January 8th 1956 proved to be exactly as Tertullian had described years before – it was the seed of the Church in the jungle of Ecuador – which eventually produced fruit for the glory of God!
Thank God that Jim Elliot and his friends did not fly over the jungle with a streamer behind their plane that said, “The Auca Indians Are Going To Hell” in their native language! Thank God they were willing to go and even die in order to get these savages the good news that Jesus saves! May God be pleased to raise up more Jim Elliots – maybe even from among the ranks of Westboro Baptist – maybe even the son of Ben Phelps – the man I was able to share the gospel with on the street corner in Indianapolis!