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31 May 2011

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy — God hates you.

Is this the “good news” proclaimed by the Westboro Baptist Church?

That is not evangelism, it is kakangelism.

As my blogging friend Matt Stone says, Pray for Westboro – Glocal Christianity:

These guys make me angry.
Anger calls me to action.

But then the words come: ‘But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.’ (1 John 2:11)

Evangelism is proclaiming the good news, the glad tidings, the evangelion.
What does the Bible say about the evangelion, the good news, the glad tidings?

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10).

And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him (Luke 8:1).

And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again (Acts 13:32-33 ).

it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:15).

καθὼς γέγραπται· ὡς ὡραῖοι οἱ πόδες τῶν εὐαγγελιζομένων εἰρήνην, τῶν εὐαγγελιζομένων τὰ ἀγαθά

But how ugly are the feet of those who preach the bad news of strife, and bring miserable tidings of horrible things!

The Greek prefix ev in words like evangelism means both good and happy, and so the gospel is the good/happy news.

Are the placards held by the members of the Westboro Baptist Church in the picture announcing the good news, the evangelion? Or are they rather announcing bad news, the kakangelion?

So who will evangelise the mem bers of the Westboro Baptist Church?

How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Rom 10:15-15).

What is the good news?

According to the New Testament it is the news of the kingdom of God, and that Christ has risen from the dead.

Tomorrow is the Leavetaking of Pascha, and until then we joyfully sing of the good news that

Christ is risen from the dead
trampling down death by death
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life

And thereafter let us evangelise, and not kakangelise.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 31 May 2011 1:05 pm

    Well said Steve. Westboro Baptist Church don’t seem like Christians at all to me.

    That said, the orthodox Church’s position on LGBT people is problematic, because if someone is in a faithful relationship to another person of the same sex, then they are persisting in their sin and cannot take communion, whereas if they are promiscuous on an occasional basis, they can repent of their sin (however many times it happens), and take communion.

    • 5 June 2011 7:33 am

      As used to happen among Anglicans concerning the question of divorce and remarriage until quite recently.

      I remember a lot of people being very critical of a bishop who officiated at the wedding of a man (who happened to be my boss) who had just got divorced. The bishop replied that the woman from whom he had got divorced was herself fivorced when they were married, so the marriage was invalid in the sight of the church and so the marriage at which the bishop officiated was his first real marriage.

      I realise that this doesn’t answer your question, but there are all sorts of questions that cannot be adequately dealt with in the space of a blog comment, or even a blog post. Such as the B in LGBT. Should they be allowed (compelled?) to marry one of each?

  2. Maxim permalink
    31 May 2011 2:58 pm

    I agree with your “anger” about such “christians”. I am finishing my thesis about orthodox missiology and it is interesting to read your articles althought I am from Czech Republic. I have found that Steve Hayes wrote a thesis “Orthodox Mission Methods: A Comparative Study”. Could anyone help me how to read the whole text if it is possible. It would help me very much! Thank you. Fr. Maxim

    • 5 June 2011 7:25 am

      My thesis is under consideration for publication at the moment, but I could send you the manuscript in the mean time.

      • Maxim permalink
        4 July 2011 12:23 pm

        I would be very thanhful! I´m writting about practice of orthodox mission, so your thesis would help me a lot. There are not many sources dealing with practical mission, maybe except orthodox “mission” periodicals. My email is: Thank you very much. Maxim
        PS: If you could write me any sugestions about sources, it would be also great.

  3. 1 June 2011 11:24 am

    Unfortunately I also know some people like this. interesting word you got there “kakangelism”
    I agree this is not the evangelism Jesus called us to.


  1. Kakangelism on steroids: the Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate | Notes from underground

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