Now gentlemen, I’m going to keep the three minutes, and I believe
we’ll keep the same order? Or do you want to reverse the order?
Fred: Reverse the order, I get to go last. That was
Moderator: Yes, normally we would reverse the order,
so you have three minutes.
John: Actually no, Fred, look at your e-mail, that
wasn’t the agreement. What we do in debates the way I order it
is whoever goes first goes first at the end so that the person who goes
first doesn’t get the last word. I don’t care if I go first
or second, so I will go.
Let me just sum up the reality today. Fred Phelps has said, and has
refused to answer the question, is the Bible based on the doctrines
of creation, sin, and redemption. Genesis 1 & 2 is the creator.
Genesis 3 is the beginning of sin and the promise of redemption. And
he cannot say no to that. Every time I tried to bring him back to where
the Bible starts, and how the Bible informs his doctrines, he refused
to do so. And a central element here deals with human freedom.
And so my understanding of how Fred has used the Bible today is doctrine,
atomistically, without story. Now what do I mean by that? He’s
quoted many passages. When I’ve asked him good questions, he has
started quoted Timothy or someone else saying that I’m heathen
and heretic, and so forth. He doesn’t answer the questions, therefore
my conclusion, and my question about Luther and the Bible. Now Luther
was a great man of God. He had a lot of sins as well, no different than
any of us. But Luther, does Luther’s doctrine of the Bondage of
the Will define the Bible? Or did Luther depend on the Bible? And those
of us who do depend on the Bible can still be erroneous, there’s
no question about that.
But I asked a simple question. Does the Bible define Luther, or does
Luther define the Bible? And Fred Phelps wouldn’t answer that.
And so what I see him doing is not treating the stories of the Bible.
So when God in Malachi says, Esau I hated, Jacob I loved, that goes
back to the whole history of the Bible, and it goes back to where hate
and love begins, it goes back to the order of creation. So it’s
simply throwing this quote and that quote against people, it’s
not embracing the story of the Bible on its own terms.
This is why my comment a minute ago was, the God of Fred Phelps is a
God who is impotent. He is a slave master like the pagan deities. He’s
not good enough in his freedom, when he makes us in his image, to receive
that freedom in our limitedness.
And so what we have here is very clear, and Fred has agreed to this,
that hate defines love. And so I asked the question, First John 4 says
God is love. And that’s a definitive statement. Where in scripture
does it say God is hate? His hate against sin, and eventually against
sinners, is also a subcategory of his love that allows him to say no.
And one final element for you. If you just want to look at verses in
the Bible and add them up, look for every time you find hate and look
every time you find love. It’s a ten to one ratio of love to hate,
it’s not even including grace, which is the most important understanding
Finally, those of you interested in the ministry of the TEI, propaganda
on the back table, I’ll let you interpret that word as you please,
and also volume 1 of my three-volume set, First The Gospel, Then
Politics…. If you’re interested in knowing more about
my ministry and supporting it, the information is there as well.
And may God bless each one of you, because blessings trump cursings,
and mercy trumps judgment for those who choose it. [audience applause]