there is an old story passed down about alexander the great, who conquered most of the known world by his early thirties in the 4th century b.c.
alexander was known for his bravery and courage on the battle field.
the story goes that a traitor was brought before alexander to be tried for desertion. looking at the man who had been caught in the greatest of cowardly acts, alexander asked the man,
"what is your name, soldier"
"alexander, sir", said the coward, his eyes to the ground
at this, alexander stood up in a rage. he grabbed the soldier by the neck and picked him up off the ground and glared at him saying...
"how dare you say to *me* that your name is 'alexander'!!!. no coward will share my name!"
he then threw the soldier to the ground, stood over him and said,
"you change your ways, or you change your name.!"
this story has stuck with me since i first heard it many years ago. i have often told it while speaking or preaching in various places in regards to our behavior even as we call ourselves followers of christ.
the story has taken a more personal spin as of late. after reading that a certain church would be protesting at jerry falwell's funeral, i visited the website of the westboro baptist church in topeka, kansas.
notice that i said that they were baptist, like me.
on their website, the theology and heroes that they list are similar to my own.
and it infuriates me.
because though we share the names of christian and baptist, though they name a certain theology and fathers of the faith as examples of beliefs, we are not the same.
how so? you can go to their website and browse around...
the web address to the westboro baptist church is www.godhatesfags.com
yes... that's what it says.
it is a site full of the most disgusting perversions of the truth i have ever read and it makes me furious, and it makes me want to weep.
they dishonor the name of christ with what they say and teach. it breaks my heart to think of how many people will refuse to listen to the gospel because of what these "christians" and "baptists" have said, which is neither baptist nor christian.
yes homosexuality is a sin, but so is the hate and vitriol that they have made the cornerstone of their ministry. the death of homosexuals need not be picketed and jeered with such repulsive signs and slogans. rather we should reach out with compassion and extend the offer of grace even as we demonstrate the grace shown to us.
this is one example of why we must be clear about what we believe. this is why we must define our terms. this is why we must know doctrine and theology. if we dont, then what do we say to someone who's only encounter with christianity is with these hatemongers who spew false teachings and venom through their website, picket signs and their church? what do we say when they ask what is different from us and these other christians (and baptists)?
this church disgusts me and it saddens me. i pray that the lord would grant for them repentance and for me a heart that wants to pray for grace rather than judgment on them.
praise god that he is in control and no one, no matter how outrageous and contrived can thwart his will.
if there are any homosexuals who read this blog, please hear me.
this church and their teachings are *NOT* an accurate representation of christianity or more specifically, of baptists.
the bible does teach that homosexuality is a sin. but all men are sinners in need of the grace of god. true christianity will never insult you, or ridicule you, or rejoice in your death. jesus taught love and compassion as well as repentance.
as a christian and baptist pastor i would say to you as a homosexual, that i am in as much need for grace as you are. i am no better than you. we are all in need of the grace of god that is available only through faith in jesus christ.
i do not hate you. i want to share with you how to experience the greatest love imaginable, not so that you would be like me, but so that you can know god. please contact me at anytime and i would love to share with you how. please do not reject christ because of those who wrongfully go by his name.