Friday, January 14, 2011

"Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it so"

Abraham Lincoln asked: “How many legs will a sheep have, if you call the tail a leg?”
“Five,” was the response.
“No,” said Lincoln. “Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it so.”

Sitting in a waiting room the day before yesterday, I was enjoying pleasant conversation with some of the others there when the news reported the appearance of members of the "Westboro Baptist Church" in Tucson. I was soon explaining, once again, that I, a Baptist, had nothing in common with those folks. Today I read Thomas White of Southwestern Seminary explaining better why the Westboro group is neither Baptist nor a church:
.... According to the Bible, a church is a gathering, but a gathering with a purpose ... an ecclesia. This Greek word is a compound word from "ek" and "kaleo" meaning the "called" "out" ones. The church is made up of those called out for God's purposes. There are other assemblies in the New Testament. People called out and gathered for political reasons which may form assemblies but not churches. You see, a church has a special mission, which is the mission of Christ. Christ came to offer love and hope, and saving grace to those who were hopeless, unloved and sinners.

So it really upsets me when a group calls themselves a Baptist church and then conducts themselves disgracefully. As a member of a Baptist church, I want to go on record as saying that the group calling itself "Westboro" is neither Baptist nor a church. They are not a member of the Southern Baptist Convention or any other denomination. They do not follow the New Testament or the commands of Christ. They act nothing like a church should act and they do not demonstrate the characteristics of a true church. They should do everyone a favor and change their name to reflect reality. They appear to me as nothing more than a hate group with an extreme agenda. God will set things right on judgment day, and I would not want to be in their shoes.
Baptist Press - Westboro: a hate group, not a church - News with a Christian Perspective