When I was a kid there was a public service announcement that came on television every night, on every station, "It's 9 o'clock do you know where your children are?" My parents knew where I was, because 9 o'clock was bedtime for all the kids in my house under the age of 15. Fred Phelps, infamous head of the Westboro Baptist Church is late...Late as in dead. So do we know where the late Fred is? Do you suppose that late Fred has arrived safely home in the arms of Jesus Christ? It is impossible for any of us to know if , in his last days, he heard the Holy Spirit's conviction, or Jesus knocking at the door, as it were. All we have is the behavior he showed to all the world.
Some of us have our first memory of Fred Phelps connected to the horrible murder of Matthew Shepherd by two godless thugs who tied him to a fence post and pistol whipped him almost to death, and then left Shepherd exposed in below freezing temperatures. Phelps had, on his web page a cut out of Matthew Shepherd's head bouncing around in what looked like endless fire.
Do I hope that Phelps heard and answered the convicting call of the Holy Spirit? Yes, I do hope that God's prevenient grace was received by Fred Phelps. I hope that sometime during his final days that he turned and repented of the terrible anti-christ teachings and wicked acts Phelps and his group espouse and practice. Unfortunately, we may never know the state of Phelps' eternal soul. It appears that Phelps was actually voted out of his own church because, as some are reporting, he tried to get his group to soften the hateful message. We only have what Phelps said and did publicly, the rest is, at this point anyway, mere hearsay. What we do have is a terrible and self-condemning false teacher who preached a message different from the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of Jesus Christ is,
"Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand."
"Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it."
OH HOW THE WORDS OF JESUS ARE LIKE A COOL DRINK OF PURE WATER TO A DEAD AND DRIED OUT SOUL!!!
The truth of God is salvation, life, relationship, hope, love, joy, peace, and world overcoming grace! The good news is that God calls us, all of us into a beautiful eternal relationship with him, and with one another. There is nothing of Jesus of Nazareth in the messages Phelps (used to give), and the Westboro Baptist church is still giving. Jesus said of the religious haters, "Leave them they are blind guides leading the blind." I could write a scathing truthful excommunication of Fred Phelps, but he's come to nothing, just as all the world's tyrants eventually do. For all of the hate and destruction people like Phelps seek to visit upon all of us there is Jesus of Nazareth who overcomes the world, and yes that includes the Fred Phelps' false teaching tyrants in the world. The Fred Phelps, and Adolph Hitlers of the world do what damage they may, and bring what death they may. But Jesus ALWAYS brings eternal life! Remember what Jesus said as his terrible death on a Roman cross drew near:
"In this life you will have Fred Phelps's, Neros and Hitlers, but take heart! I have overcome the Fred Phelps', Neros and Hitlers."
John 16:3 (Paraphrased a bit)
"Now this is eternal life: that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
That's the truth! So let's forget what is behind us: hateful and condemning teachers, bitterness, anger and wrath along with old Freddy whats-his-name. Let us press on to the high calling of God!! Now that is some good teaching!!!
"If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things (person) are gone; everything is made new!"
2 Corinthians 5:17
THAT IS THE GOOD NEWS!!!