Dear Bishop Looney,
Grace and peace in Jesus Christ.
Thanks so much for the call. Here is an explaination I gave on the Good News Discussion Board regarding my link to Wesboro Baptist Church's website when I was accused of supporting "hate-mongers" as your email [received from another person]. It explains my position.
You seem to come to the conclusion that I support Phelps ministry by my website link (in fact there are two links) which you state first in your response. As a news website, I also have 22 links to the Reconciling Congregations Program website and 27 to the Affirmation website which both promote homosexual sin and disobedience to our denomination's Book of Discipline. I can list the various other links to pro-homosexuality church related organizations but the above should be significant to point out that you have chosen one link out of the many more than 50 to make your case.
The reason there is, for example, 49 pro-homosexuality links (there are in reality many more) to the two anti-homosexuality links which seems to contradict my anti-homosexuality position, is because 49 are UM related and the two are related only to other UM stories. That is because I am interested in providing news and information for United Methodists which they would normally not receive from official sources within our denomination. I believe my letter to Westboro makes that clear. What goes on my website is "associated" with UM stories and not Baptist ministries.
This communicates to me that your view and thus your conclusions are uniformed at best and/or prejudiced at worst. Therefore any conclusions you come to and any associated responses or advice are misguided at best and dishonest at worst. I suspect that the issue of a single link becomes a platform for preconceived critical views, because using the link/association/support logic, I support Affirmation and the RCP at least 25 time more according to the links!
The case for "hatred" as the motivation for Phelps is also uniformed at best and/or prejudiced at worst. You use the same kind of misinformation as the pro-homosexuality and radical feminist UM organizations use to "associate" (a common word used by them) Christian ministries with hate. That is what I mean by creating a "straw man" to knock down in my letter to Westboro. It appears that you are exemplifying what and why I wrote. You and other self-designated "evangelicals" have "associated" me with the "hate-ministry" of Westboro and are directing me to "disassociate" myself from the same, when it may be questioned that all of the highlighted words in such advice to me are based upon misinformation and/or even prejudice.
UMFriend said, "John, the strength of the evangelical position is that it steadfastly holds that "homosexual practice is incompatible with christian teaching" while also insisting that "homosexuals are persons of sacred worth". This does not seem to be Phelps' position at all. Do you agree John."
First, "Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth." Para 65I, BOD is the correct position.
You have based your question on an uninformed conclusion. First, you have not stated the UM or evangelical position correctly. Homosexuals are not separate beings (persons), the word homosexual is an adjective describing a behavior, just as heterosexual describes a behavior. *Persons* are of sacred worth not homosexual or heterosexual; they are used to describe *persons*, not vice versa.
Second, Your statement does not represent Phelps/Westboro's position, either. That is why I posted the links so people could read and judge for themselves because of such misinformation.
The following is from the FAQ page of the Westboro Baptist Church website and I think best communicates the stated position of that church:
(begin) What would you do if a homosexual attended your church?
Regardless of any person's private conduct, we would do unto them as we would have them do unto us. By a fear of God, we would declare the whole counsel of God to them, lest their blood should be on our hands. We would share the Gospel (good news) with them, and we would treat them like we would treat any other person on this earth. We would treat them with kindness, and follow those scriptural injunctions that require that we preach the gospel to every creature. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also." Romans 1:15. "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel." Romans 15:20. "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." I Corinthians 1:17. "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" I Corinthians 9:16. There are many more such passages. Knowing always that it is only by the foolishness of preaching that any man is saved, preaching a pure, complete, unvarnished gospel, is our duty, and it is the only hope for salvation. See Galatians 1:9 - "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." and Romans 10:17 - "So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
How do you feel about people who confess and realize their sins?
Repentance is a gift of God (Romans 2:4). God communicates that repentance and the fruits of it are manifest to all (Acts 26:20) and "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Romans 11:29). Once saved, always saved. Based upon 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, there is a scriptural basis to believe that it is possible for a practicing fag to repent. On the other hand, Jesus Christ taught that "no man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him." (John 6:44). In Romans 1, on three separate occasions, it says that God has given homosexuals up to uncleanness (v. 24), vile affections (v.26) , and to a reprobate mind (v. 28). If he has given them up to these things, he is not simultaneously drawing them to Christ. These verses are not incongruous, because if Christ died for them, the Holy Spirit will surely call them, God will in fact draw them, they will leave off that uncleanness, vile affections and reprobate mind, and the inevitable result will be that they will inherit heaven and not hell. Therefore, a fag who has truly repented is no longer a fag. We are not going to be left wondering about it, in light of the objective test which the Bible describes, including at II Timothy 2:19: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."(end)
I believe/agree that persons are of sacred worth to God, all are welcome in our church to hear the Gospel and, confession of sin, repentance and confession of Christ as Savior will lead to eternal life in heaven when He returns to gather up His faithful.
Westboro Baptist/Phelps seems to say the same on their website. Their methods are bizarre (as was Hoseas) and I would not employ them unless directed by the Holy Spirit, but their actions, informed by their practical theology, do not indicate a motive of hate.
The KKK will not allow black persons to join their fellowship, and will not treat blacks as the persons they are. When Westboro Baptist Church turns away a repentant homosexual person and denies such from hearing the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, I may accept your hate- motivation conclusion. Until then, I will report their ministry as it relates to United Methodist news reports according to their own words. Anything less would be dishonest.
I do, however, disagree with the WBC website regarding eternal security, being a Wesleyan in theology.
I hope this explains my position regarding misinformed advice from evangalicals to disassociate myself from the ministry of WBC.
John Warrener (end)