Ed Stetzer: How Should We Respond to the Tragic Death of Fred Phelps?

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Ed Stetzer: How Should We Respond to the Tragic Death of Fred Phelps?

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Jim's picture
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On "Tragedy" and "Grief"

On "Tragedy" and "Grief":

  • Is it really tragic when an 84 year old man dies? My Dad's body wore out just before his 82nd birthday. It was sad but not tragic
  • On Grief: It's not my loss .. not my grief. If we grieve for everyone's death ... all of life would be grief 
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Jim wrote:

Jim wrote:

  • On Grief: It's not my loss .. not my grief. If we grieve for everyone's death ... all of life would be grief 

Aren't we supposed to grieve with those who grieve and rejoice with those who rejoice? So all of life could be BOTH grief and rejoicing.

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@Kevin

Perhaps ... I'm just being honest here. I do not grieve his death. 

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Perhaps the tragedy is that

Perhaps the tragedy is that he left this world and entered the next without any visible repentance for the abuse and dishonor he heaped on God's name in this life.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Perhaps it's not a tragedy at all!

When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish - Prov 11:7

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Tragedy - "an event causing

Tragedy - "an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe."

 

Facing God after living in rebellion to His dishonor would qualify; even more if the person enters eternity unsaved as could easily be the case with Phelps.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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@Chip

In any rate ... it's his tragedy ... not mine

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The military community, Westboro & the name "Baptist"

Fred Phelps and his heretical doctrines of hate really sullied the name "Baptist" among many in the military. 

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Balance

I don't think I have to grieve Fred Phelps, or even be sad. I didn't know him after all. To I have to invest emotional agony in every death on earth? No, I don't think so.

I'm actually glad that he's dead in a particular sense. Death was God's idea. He chose death as the penalty for sin in part to limit our sinfulness. I shouldn't not rejoice in the death of the wicked in one sense, but I can say a thank you to God for his sovereign ending of sin. I really think CS Lewis' "The Great Divorce" his helpful at seeing this good part of death. We can have the range of emotions about sinners in the same way the Psalms do: rejoice that God destroyed the Egyptians in the Red Sea? That's OK.