So many adjectives, so little opportunity to use them without sinning...
28 S. Main St.
Rice Lake, WI 54868
I didn't want to write this letter. There are times when you have to allow obvious folly to show itself for what it is, as Proverbs says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.” So when I heard that a handful of people from a Baptist church in Kansas showed up in Menomonie last week to increase the pain of an already tragic event, I groaned in disgust and figured everyone else did the same and we would leave it at that.
But then I heard honest people around town asking about Westboro Baptist Church and their hateful protests. “Is that really what you Baptists believe?” people wondered. I groaned again and realized that this time I have to follow the counsel of the next verse in Proverbs: “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”
The simple answer is "No." But let me expand on that a little bit.
Like many Christians, most Baptists are concerned about the current moral climate of our nation. In fact, you don't even have to be a Christian to say that. Where people like me part company with the protesters from that organization in Kansas is what we think should be done about it.
Most Christians who believe like I do think our message is powerful enough to change people without emotional manipulation. We don’t need to create persecution by picking fights nor do we need to create publicity by hurting people. The Christian gospel with its exclusive claims does not need our help to make it controversial.
I’ll use a metaphor from another tragedy that is fresh in our minds. If you know the 35W bridge has collapsed, it is not unloving to warn those who are speeding toward the danger to turn around. However, rather than standing by the highway mocking drivers as they plunge over the edge, we think it most loving to both warn of the danger and show them the safe way to cross.
Steven L. Svendsen, Sr.
Rice Lake Baptist Church