I recently watched multiple interviews with members of the Westboro Baptist Church.  This is the group that goes around to protest military funerals.  I was struck with the hatred that those being interviewed had for others.  Since we both share the title “Baptist”, I felt it was important to respond.
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Though First Baptist in Bancroft, and Westboro Baptist, both have “Baptist” in our names we have no common affiliations.  In order to call itself a Baptist church, an organization does not have to join any other group, conference, synod, or association.  In other words, just because Westboro calls itself a Baptist Church, does not mean they are representative of Baptist beliefs.
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Rather than being identified with traditional Baptist doctrine, Westboro has become identified with hate.  Their focus is on God‘s hatred, but let us not forget that “God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten son.”   It is true that there are things that God hates:  “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)  I do not believe it is a stretch to suggest that multiple things on that list characterize Westboro.
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It would be easy to focus this article on the sins of Westboro, but instead let us look at the scripture and see if Christians should really be focused on hate, and then examine our own hearts to see if we really have the fruits of the Spirit.
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“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45)
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“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” (Luke 6:35)
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“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
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“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:19-23)
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The works of the flesh involve hate and other such things, while the fruit of the Spirit involves love.  No doubt a Christian’s life is to be characterized by love rather than hate.  What characterizes your life?