Tag Archives: hate

Francis Chan Weighs In on the Hell Debate

As regular readers of this blog are aware, a huge debate surrounding the topic of hell was spawned recently due to the release of a new a book called Love Wins by Rob Bell – a Michigan megachurch pastor and alum of Fuller (my school).

In his book Rob says hell doesn’t exist – at least not as Christians have traditionally understood it (read the Time Magazine article on the book here). Bell’s reason for thinking this? He can’t wrap his mind around how God can send those who reject Him to hell for an eternity and still be called ‘loving’ (a view driven by anthropomorphism – “God isn’t doing what I would do or what I agree with, therefore this God can’t be referred to as ‘loving’ or even really God …”).

I’m happy to announce Francis Chan is coming out with a new book called Erasing Hell – a humble response to the current hell debate, and a reasoned critique of theological views defined by anthropomorphic tendencies.

A key scripture Chan points to is this one in which God speaks:

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Could it be, when we are tempted to write God off when He does something we wouldn’t have done or in a way we wouldn’t have done it, or says something we wouldn’t say, or thinks in a way we wouldn’t think, that HE is not the one with a problem? Could it be that HE is perfect and we are not, therefore we will always view his actions through imperfect, flawed lenses? Could it be that He really is loving regardless of what He chooses to do, because what He chooses to do will ALWAYS be right, holy, pure, and just – simply because that’s His inherent, perfect nature?

See, this debate isn’t simply about hell. This debate is really about trusting in God as holy and righteous and loving and perfect, even when we don’t understand everything. At its core, this debate is about our belief in the goodness of God regardless of our incomplete understanding or comprehension of Him.

A question we must ask: Is God really good “all the time,” or only when imperfect, flawed, so and so says? I choose to believe the former – not the latter.

You can pick up Francis’ new book after July 1 of this year. Here’s a promo video:

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My Experience with the Westboro Baptist Church Hate Group

I arrived to my office this morning around 9:30am only to be greeted by loads of policemen, security guards, barricades, and people from the school next door mulling around waiting. As I told you in this post, the Westboro Baptist Church (a fringe, extremist hate group and cult in no way affiliated with the Christian denomination also known as ‘Baptist’) was scheduled to make a 10am appearance at the Jewish Day School my church shares a parking lot with.

I’d come prepared. Armed with my digital camera, I made my way across the lot and was greeted with a smile by one of the security guards working for the school – a very nice man. I told him how sorry I was they were having to deal with this today, and that’s when I heard the news: the Westboro group probably wasn’t going to make it to our location. They’d run into a problem.

Apparently, someone had slashed the tires on their rental car at the earlier stop they’d made. They couldn’t leave until Enterprise (the rental car company that promises “We’ll get you there … even if you’re a hate group!”) brought them another vehicle. That delay had pushed Westboro’s schedule back meaning the Brandeis Hillel Day School wasn’t going to have to deal with them. Trust me – the nice folks at Brandeis didn’t mind and I was relieved for them, but I still wanted to get some footage of the circus.

The next stop on Westboro’s schedule was downtown at 225 Bush Street – the headquarters of Jewish News Weekly of Northern California – so I, along with my friends Genny and Nathaniel who’d also come to watch the show, hopped in my car and made the trek downtown to Bush Street to observe the protest.

We arrived and after waiting for a few minutes the protestors showed up. Here’s part of what we witnessed:

That’s a video from my little digicam. Genny also shot some footage with a professional quality camera she was operating. Regular readers know we have a little film project we’re working on in our college group – if the footage turns out ok, we’ll probably use it for that.

We actually interviewed one of the young ladies from Westboro using Genny’s camera. The girl was quite polite to us since we were being polite to her, but would fire back with vitrol to the others on the sidewalk if mocked. I’m hoping the audio of our interview with her turns out ok as her comments gave me quite a bit of insight into their theology, but I’m a little worried it may have been too loud around us. We haven’t been able to check yet … we’ll see.

Here are a few pictures I snapped:


This guy arrived early around the same time we did. He’s planning to follow the Westboro group to each location they go to today. Before they arrived, I asked him to pose for a picture with my favorite sign and he obliged.

And then they showed up. There were only a total of five protestors from the WBC along for the ride on this trip. An older lady, a middle-aged couple, and a couple of girls in their twenties.

This is the youngest Westboro protestor we saw today. She looks like she’s barely in her twenties.

I felt sorry for the police officers having to deal with this all day. I spoke briefly with one of them. He informed me that somewhere in the area a member of the WBC was secretly filming the entire protest just in case someone assaulted one of the hate group members. He told me if a WBC member were assaulted, the police would be forced to take action immediately so that the group could press charges and file a lawsuit against the attacker. If the police were slow to act, the entire ordeal would be caught on tape and the videotape used as evidence to sue, not only the attacker, but also the city. The WBC is well-known for filing frivolous lawsuits.

Police had to move in with metal barricades as the exchange between the protestors and the citizens on the sidewalk became heated.

One member of the WBC wore an Israeli flag covered in blood around their feet making sure to step on it regularly.

Notice one of her signs says “God Sent the Quake” – if you’re wondering what this group’s take on the Hatian earthquake is, click here. Pat Robertson would be proud.

This man was by far the loudest of the bunch.

To say the least, today has been a very interesting day.

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