Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist is in the process of passing on. As Christians we are told not to judge. That happens, I guess, at the Pearly Gates. I don't want to get there too soon, but if I do get there and the place is wired for YouTube, The Judgment of Fred Phelps might be an interesting watch. Since we have no clue what will go on, we are left to speculate. Here is my impression...
After the bright light dims Rev. Phelps finds himself face to face with a straggly faced guy. Long salt and pepper beard, looks like he just got off a Harley. He’s holding a large ring with keys. He sits up from behind a desk looks over Phelps and motions to him to take a seat.
“Where am I?”
“Someplace eye hasn’t seen nor ear heard of. You Phelps?”
Phelps is getting excited. “Yes sir. Have I made it to the House of the Almighty?”
“Just around the corner. But we have to go over some things first. My name is Shepard. I work here to make sure that we allow the right folks through.”
“Were you one of the Shepards in the fields when Christ was born?”
“No, my arrival is more recent. We are here about you. You have heard about the Final Judgment?”
“Yes, I have been preparing all my life for it. I read the Bible and I stood up for it everywhere I could. I stopped the sinners as much as I could.”
“Oh, so you could tell who the sinners were?”
“The Bible told me about the fornicators and the homosexuals and those who wage wars. I went after those with a vengeance. I was trying to make it right for Jesus.”
“Very good, so you looked at the teachings of Jesus and used them to force his kingdom on earth?”
“Absolutely! I was proud to do it. It was my life’s work. I allowed people to call me all sorts of names while doing the work of the Lord.”
“So you think you are set to go into the Kingdom?”
“Yes sir, I cannot wait to see my room in the mansion. I cannot wait to speak to Jesus Himself.”
“Really? So you think you are going to meet God today? I am impressed.”
Shepard sat back in his chair for a moment.
“You were a preacher, right?”
“The best. I guess except for the ones already here.”
“So tell me how you exhibited love for those sinners? You know, hate the sin love the sinner?”
“I told them of the hellfire that awaits them if they refused to accept The Word of the Lord.”
“Very nice. How big was your ministry at the end? How many people did you bring to the Lord with your hellfire method?”
“It was a small ministry at the end, but everyone knew about it.”
“Kinda like a banging gong?”
“That’s not fair”
Phelps began to glare at Shepard.
Shepard leans back, pulls his beard.
“Do you forgive them?”
“The sinners who made your life so tough by calling you names. I understand you made many people upset with how you preached.”
“That is God’s job. Not mine.”
“hmmmm, I see where we are going here. As a preacher, what do you think of Matthew 16:19?”
“You mean where if I hold something bound on earth, it remains bound in heaven?”
“Since I am a preacher of the Word of God, it was my job to hold people bound.”
“Really? So being a preacher gives you special powers in the eyes of the Lord?”
“Yes, I was responsible for my flock. I would hold people bound to the Laws set down.”
“What do you think of the Pharisees?”
“They were the ones who fought Christ at every turn. They focused on the Law and not the person.”
Shepard leaned back.
“You don’t get it do you?”
“You do not have a clue as to the damage you have done? You committed that damage in the name of God. You took the name of the Lord in vain. You blocked people from seeing Jesus by putting up a wall against the very sinners He came to save. And you distorted His name to do it.”
Phelps gets into Shepard face. “HOW DARE YOU?”
“No -- how dare YOU. Calm down for a minute. Take your seat.”
They sit back -- Shepard continues.
“I mentioned Matthew because that isn’t something special for just the self-anointed. That goes for anyone. Anyone who is here or that you have condemned to hell, well, they are in hell because of you. You used the Word of God to put them into hell while they were on earth. They got a head start because of you.”
Phelps perks up. “That is great!”
“I guess it is. You have put more people in hell by your blanket statements in the mass media than pretty much anyone over the last decade or so. And your followers who quote you will continue to lop people into hell.”
“Wow -- I had no idea how that works.”
“You will even get credit for those your followers assign to hell.”
Almost ecstatic Phelps -- “When do I get in?”
“I guess you did not hear me. Matthew 16:19 cuts both ways. Do you think all those folks you consigned to hell on earth are going to let you just waltz into heaven? As you have bound them to hell -- they bind you to hell.”
“But they are the scum of the earth.”
“Funny, that is what they were saying about you when they would get here.”
Phelps looked puzzled as Shepard continued;
“People who committed suicide over their sexual orientation, soldiers, folks from the 9/11 tragedy. Even the extended families of those tragedies came here with your chip on their shoulders.
Do you know what it is like to tell a 13 year-old sexually confused kid they are not getting into heaven because of you? Or the kid’s mom who died of an angry broken heart a month later.
We were able to get some of them to forgive you so they could get into the mansion.
There are literally millions of people you have reached with your message that we cannot let in.
If you want to enter this kingdom, you need to go to each of those people and make it right.”
At that Shepard got up giving Phelps a come-with-me motion.
Shepard opens a door that looks out on a sea of people.
“You might want to get started. By the way, I got into the Kingdom and got this gig because I forgave you.”
“What did I do to you?”
“Think about it. My name is Shepard and I keep quoting Matthew.”