Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Most Hated Family

Last night I caught up on iPlayer the Louis Theroux film on his return to the Westbro Church in America. It was called 'America's Most Hated Family in Crisis'.

What a fascinating documentary.

Without doubt these guys are in a cult. Without doubt they have lost the plot and become a caricature of themselves. But what is interesting is how their views and ideas are not too far away from many within some evangelical circles. John Piper writes after the Japan earthquake:

  1. The end-time earthquakes in the book of Revelation...are meant as calls to repentance—to warn people who deny Jesus Christ that a day is coming when unbelievers will cry to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16).
  2. The end-time earthquakes in Matthew 24:7-8 are meant to be interpreted as “the beginning of the birth pangs.” That is, they are a wake-up call to this world that God's kingdom will soon be born. So be alert and prepare to meet Jesus Christ.
  3. God's unilateral taking of thousands of lives is a loud declaration that “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21). The message for all the world is that life is a loan from God (Luke 12:20) and belongs to him. He creates it and gives it and takes it according to his own will and owes us nothing. He has a right both to children (2 Samuel 12:15) and to the aged (Luke 2:29). It is a great gift to learn this truth and dedicate our lives to their true owner rather than defraud him till it is too late.
  4. The power felt in an earthquake reveals the fearful magnificence of God. This is a great gift since “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). Most of the world does not fear the Lord and therefore lacks saving wisdom. The thunder-clap summons to fear God is a mercy to those who live.
  5. When the earth shakes under our feet there is a dramatic sense that there is no place to flee. In most disasters the earth is the one thing that stands firm when wind and flood are raging. But where do you turn when the earth itself is unsafe? Answer: God.

I have many problems with much of written here. Go to this link to read the whole article.

What Piper says here is no different to some of the views and opinions coming out of Westbro. This idea that God brings judgement and 'makes' earthquakes happen. And these ideas are offensive to the Gospel of Jesus.

So while I watched this documentary and was dismayed at their ignorance, bigotry and hatred, I could also see that they are merely a product and caricature of some forms of evangelical Christianity.

My concern is that people will watch this documentary and think that all Christians think like this.

Fascinating isn't it!


Anonymous said...

I totally agree, I think many non Christians see this and think we are all like this, but it is then up to us to reach out to our communities in love and without judgement - sharing the love of Jesus

Sarah Crane said...

Terrifying as well as fascinating I think Joe. The love and grace of God is lost on them I think. Their attitude towards other human beings (of all sorts) is shocking!!

Tom Haward said...

Again, John Piper creates a very strange view of God. A Zeus-like thunder bringer of destruction, who MUST be worshipped or you will peril. Put this alongside a god who becomes weak and defenseless and dies naked on a tree.

I don't know, maybe the Bible does give a contradictory view of god, as the OT is very much like God is PISSED OFF.

Maybe why I find it hard to believe at all.

Tell you what though, if I did believe, I'd rather believe in a god who says, the meek will inherit the earth than a god who crushes the meek under toppling buildings because they 'deserve' it.

John Piper, Mark Driscoll et al can kiss my atheist ****. :)

Joe Haward said...

Too true Anon, too true.

I know Sarah. I wonder what God makes of it all... Hope you are doing well? Hopefully catch up proper in the not too distant future! :0)

And what a nice butt it would be to kiss bro! :0)

roodolpt said...

I find it strange that christians have to make excuses for God when it comes to things like natural disasters. Can God not stretch out his arm and calm the sea or still the trembling earth, if not then there can be no God with the power to create it all in the first place .Now if he does exist and did created the universe and everything in it then He surely allows these things to happen for His good purpose. christians baulk at the idea of a powerfull God administering judgment over his creation they think it makes him look "bad or evil" failing to understand that wrongdoing can only be an attribute of those who break a law. whos law is God under.

Joe Haward said...

Good to have you over here Roodolpt.

I wholeheartedly agree that God is the God of all creation and therefore all creation exists and continues to exist through God alone. He creates, sustains and continues to create moment by moment.

But whether God uses his creation to administer his judgement is another thing altogether.
And whether judgement can be defined in terms of 'breaking the law' is another thing altogether.

I think Scripture reveals that death, decay and pain in creation are a consequence of sin, with sin being not loving God and not loving each other. And while I do not understand why thousands die in tsunami's, I believe that God is present with those who are suffering, weeping with them in the midst of their tears because God Himself does not want things the way they are.


Anonymous said...

Roodolpt said
"Can God not stretch out his arm and calm the sea."
I assume they mean that when the giant tsunami was approaching the men women and children in the killing zone.
God did not,seeing their impending doom (2/300,000 Souls) intervene and save their lives.
If as you say yourself
"that God is the God of all creation and therefore all creation exists and continues to exist through God alone. He creates, sustains and continues to create moment by moment."

Why then does he not save these people from their fate.

If You believe and I believe you do that God is
supremely powerfull then He must have chosen not to intervene
for a purpose.
Now you also say "I think Scripture reveals that death, decay and pain in creation are a consequence of sin, with sin being not loving God and not loving each other."

Yet God is clear in
Romans 8 5-8
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Sin is not, not loving God or each other although it is a sin not to love God or each other
Sin is to be human it is in our carnal nature and God created us that way.

How then does God administer justice
The carnal body always meets a carnal end...

sorry for late post thanks for the article


Joe Haward said...

Hi Hannah - So sorry I have not replied sooner! I will give a proper reply tomorrow to your thoughts, but quickly to say that justice and retributive judgement are not the same thing, indeed they are very different.
I'll go more in depth tomorrow.
Hope you are well.