With such heavily centralized narratives in this country, “trolling” or what we could call driving the conversation through disruption has been an extremely successful tool and no one has achieved more notoriety for it than WBC. Do you think this is still an effective evangelical tool? How has your approach changed over time?
Acts 17:6 describes the preachers of the early church as those who have “turned the world upside down.” Whenever you have pure, unvarnished truth, it will disrupt the lives of the people who hear it, and it will force you to take a side. We preach in many different ways, and while our approach might vary depending on the particular circumstances, the foundation of our approach is in Ecclesiastes 11:6 – “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.”
Your parodies of popular songs have gotten much attention, as well as your original songs like “Why Did God Destroy Sodom?” What sort of struggles have you encountered in getting your content on traditional platforms?
I’m not sure what you mean by “traditional platforms,” but we take the same approach here as we do with everything we do, which is to do our due diligence to try to get the word of God out to as many people as possible. There is always opposition to that, regardless of the platform. The greater the door, the greater the number of adversaries: 1 Corinthians 16:9 – “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”
The politics of WBC are too nuanced to fit into the current political discussion. Have your tactics adjusted at all since the 2016 election?
I don’t know that our “tactics” have changed, but I can tell you that every day, we (as all God’s people do) grow in grace and light. See 2 Peter 3:18 and Proverbs 4:18. I’m sure this manifests itself in subtle ways that I may not even be aware of, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the 2016 elections.
You’ve given harrowing critiques of both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church. When and how in your estimation did the Christian faith begin to careen off track? Is it possible to reconcile this before the apocalypse?
This happened almost immediately. Human beings have an amazing capacity to corrupt truth and purity, and very early on in the church there were already people corrupting the church. You read about it in the Bible (the epistle to the Galatians, for example). See the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13 and what Jesus said about false professors in Matthew 7. There will be no reconciliation other than with individuals whom God has determined to have mercy on. There will always be unbelievers and false professors.
The WBB received a lot of coverage for protesting soldier’s funerals, yet when it was rumored that guards at Guantanamo Bay flushed copies of the Quran, Fred Phelps came to the their defense. Furthermore you released a statement before Dillon Baldridge’s funeral stating that he “gave his life for the Constitutional right of WBC to warn America.” Would it be fair to say that irony and novelty are integral devices in the tool kit you use to spread your message?
There’s nothing particularly novel about using irony to spread the message of Christ – it’s used in the Bible, so it would be fair to say it’s a tool to use.
The WBC has been labeled a “hate group” and your content “hate speech” for the no holds barred approach you’ve taken in your social critiques. Were you ever tempted to soften your presentation in the hope of reaching wider audiences?
We’re not going to soften the message of the Bible to accommodate people. But there’s a time for softening the delivery, and there’s a time to do the opposite of that. See Ecclesiastes 3. Usually when people say we’re a “hate group” it’s because we say that God hates people and we call sin what it is. We’re not going to change what the Bible says to make people happy – we will continue to tell you that God hates all workers of iniquity and that sodomy is a sin. Regardless of the method of “delivery,” anyone who says those things will be considered as a “hate group.”
It seems that your Twitter has been dormant for several years. What is the best way for folks to interact with your content?
You can see our website. Or you can come to a church service. Or you can come to one of our public preaching events. People come from all over the world to physically visit, so there’s really no excuse for someone who wants to interact.