CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Israel Folau, the Apostle Paul, and the Gospel

Apr 11, 2019

So what does the Australian Rugby star and the great apostle of 2000 years ago have in common? Both are followers of Jesus Christ and both take their faith seriously. And they take sin seriously, speaking out on it when they can. Both have warned people that the consequences of sin is death and eternal judgment.

And both have been hated on for speaking the truth. Paul constantly got into trouble for sharing God’s truth with those who did not want to hear it, and so has Israel Folau. Indeed, I have written several pieces on the Australian sportsman already. See here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/04/06/folau-and-unacceptable-truth/

And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/04/11/folau-hell-and-biblical-truth/

As to the Apostle Paul, let’s look at how he described his lot, as he spoke truth, shared the gospel, and warned sinners of their fate. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 we read:

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Hmm, it seems most folks really did not like it when Paul shared biblical truth. Most folks hated it, and they reacted to his preaching accordingly. And nothing has changed. For two thousand years Christians have been hated on for preaching the gospel.

That is always the way it is. As Jesus forewarned, people love darkness rather than light, and they will hate his messengers just as they hated him. This is as basic as you can get. Sharing Christian truth WILL always offend people. And it is Folau who is again feeling the heat big time for daring to share biblical truth in public.

He had recently responded to the news that Tasmania has passed new legislation making gender optional on birth certificates. To this he replied: “The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free”.

He also posted an image on Instagram with these words: “Warning – drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters – hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves.” Next to this image were these biblical truths and passages:

Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 KJV

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38 KJV

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:
Acts 17:30 KJV

Needless to say all the usual suspects were livid because of his remarks: atheists, homosexuals, those in the lamestream media, and so on. And his own in the sporting world turned on him as well. As one article reports:

Rugby Australia released a statement shortly after saying the post was ‘unacceptable’. “Rugby Australia is aware of a post made by Israel Folau on his Instagram account this afternoon,” Rugby Australia said in a statement. “The content within the post is unacceptable. It does not represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the Rugby community.

“The Rugby Australia Integrity Unit has been engaged on the matter tonight.” Sydney Morning Herald columnist Peter FitzSimons wrote that Folau’s latest post should see Rugby Australia cut their ties with the 73-test Wallaby. “Israel Folau has to go, and will go,” the former Australian test player wrote. “Quick. Clean. Gone. At least until such times as he repents.”

“Rugby Australia simply has no choice. They cannot go through one more time the agony of last year when Folau’s social media comments trumpeting that gays would go to hell, saw rugby lose sponsors, fans and support,” FitzSimons said in the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to rugby.com.au, there was a reported clause in Folau’s contract negotiations last year that was specific to his use of social media. The tweet has been widely shared and commented on, with most people responding having a negative view of his comments.
www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=12221212&fbclid=IwAR3Q-ryvFJSTXo7SIbD_1JiiXjNRVbwnlv4KMkO9gr5a6UA1dTrfOaTLEt8

So here we have the world turning on him – once again. He is not being a good boy. He refuses just to be a star athlete. When he just did sport, everyone loved him. But he also takes his faith seriously – much more seriously than his own career. And for that everyone hates him.

But as is usually the case, it is not just the God-haters who went ballistic at Folau. We also had plenty of trendy lefty Christians and members of the religious left strongly condemning him. ‘Oh but Jesus would never speak to people this way.’ ‘You need to be more loving and less intolerant and judgmental.’

Um, actually no one warned more about hell and judgment to come than Jesus Christ. And given that Folau did basically nothing but quote from Peter and Paul who were inspired by God to say and write what they did, these critics are simply out to lunch.

The truth is Folau may not always be as tactful or delicate as some of these craven Christians and men-pleasing believers want him to be, but he has courage and conviction. I will take that any day of the week over these milquetoast pansies who likely have never shared the gospel with anyone all their lives.

These armchair critics are a dime a dozen. They love to condemn bold and courageous Christians, while they grovel before the world, seeking to befriend it and get along with it. The Bible is quite clear about the sin of trying to please men while displeasing God. Consider just a few passages:

-Luke 6:26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their father to the false prophets.

-John 12:42-43 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

-Galatians 1:10. Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Sure, we all want to be tactful and careful as we share biblical truth in public. But we also need some Holy Ghost boldness here. If you see a little girl playing on the street and a big truck hurtling her way, if you cared at all, you would yell, scream, jump up and down and do all you can to save her.

You would NOT try to be polite, respectful and calm, making sure no one gets offended. You would act quickly and sound the alarm because a life is at risk. Folau gets it: all people are sinners and they are all heading to a lost eternity unless they repent.

They must be warned. They must be told. Sure, it is always nice if this can be done over a period of time with a nice relationship established. But we do not always have that luxury. Some of the people who read Folau’s warnings today may well be dead tomorrow.

In the same way hoping to build a relationship with the little girl first would be madness. Whether she is a friend, relative, or a complete stranger, she NEEDS that warning or she will die. All unbelievers need such warnings too. Yet most Christians have never shared their faith even once.

They are far too cowardly and too spineless. They would rather keep people happy, even if it means watching them slide into a lost eternity. I may not always do things as Folau does them, but I will give him credit. He has more guts than most believers.

And he seems to care about the lost a whole lot more than most believers. If these spineless wonders want to sit on the sidelines and criticise him, well, I am not really interested in what they have to say. They remind me of the woman who went up to the great evangelist D. L. Moody and complained about the way he evangelised. As the story goes:

The woman said to him, “Mr. Moody, I don’t like the way you do evangelism!” “Well, ma’am, let me ask you, how do you do it?” Moody asked. She replied, “I don’t!” Moody responded, “Well, I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it!”

Three cheers for Israel Folau.

[1608 word]

40 Responses to Israel Folau, the Apostle Paul, and the Gospel

  • “At least until such times as he repents.” Does Fitzsimons realise the irony of his comment?

  • There is a take over happening in Australian sport by the LGBT activists and their supporters.

    AFL, NRL, FFA and Rugby Australia have all bowed to the homosexual lobby.

    The promotion of “women’s sport” is a trojan horse with as many as 90% of women athletes in these codes being lesbians.

    ALFW (“This AFL Star Kissed Her Wife After Winning Best And Fairest And People Love The Visibility”) and NRLW (“Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki kiss exploded in controversy”) are bringing the disgusting practice of two women kissing into our homes by putting it on our televisions.

    Cover your children’s eyes so their minds don’t get polluted by this filth!

  • Fascinating article/s Bill I read all you listed. Assuming all his critics have no or misguided belief in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I cannot fathom why they are so concerned with the ‘after life’. Seems to me their feet are in both camps?
    Love you writings Bill, God Bless,
    Mark Bryant

  • Thanks Bill, I was glad to see you had written an article on Mr Folau. After reading a heavily biased article hitting the msm, it was evident a storm would ensue. The predictable, and now standard mantra spews out from the media, not aligning with our ‘values’ and ‘not acceptable’, is that perhaps a copy and paste. Apparently, to speak truths, in love, is no longer acceptable. Watch out, that terrible ‘hate’ speech has raised its ugly head again. What are your values Rugby Australia. Thank you Bill, and thank you Israel for your resolve to stick to God’s truth. Albeit, the approach could be refined, nevertheless, according to the bible, the message is true and the consequence of such actions and lifestyles unavoidable. We will keep Mr Folau [and you] in our prayers.

  • The real reason the media is screaming blue murder over Israel Folau’s comments – which are all Biblically truthful – is that so many of them are homosexual. The Almighty God has no pleasure in them and their actions, but calls upon all men to repent and follow him. Its not rocket science really.
    Rod, Rockhampton

  • Doe the Rugby Australia Integrity Unit even bother reading the dictionary definition of “integrity?” in·teg·ri·ty
    [in?te?r?d?]

    NOUN
    the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
    “he is known to be a man of integrity”
    synonyms:
    honesty · uprightness · probity · rectitude · honor · honorableness ·

  • Left wing christians seem to be misguided in their understanding of “speaking in love”. Jesus was very clear of the consequences of an unrepentant life of sin. I totally applaud Israel and support his statement. Like myself I am not afraid to state the truth, which can be unfavourably received…..I call that “tough love”. Who cares what Australian League thinks……..their standard of morality is constantly being flaunted by the sin of their members/players on media and in the courts. The church (overall) does not take the plight of the lost seriously!!

  • Good on Izzy, he is truly a courageous Christian and a champion who takes his faith more seriously than the many worldly pleasures that sporting stardom brings. He is also a canary in the coal mine as far as our culture is concerned. You dare to utter the ‘wrong’ thing and you will be destroyed. It’s easy to pick off a lone target, but if our church leaders had the fortitude to back him up for stating biblical truth the ruthless activists and their boosters in the media wouldn’t know where to shoot. Their silence speaks volumes.

  • Dear Rod,

    There are a lot of homosexuals in the media industry. But what about the guilt of so-called Christians who enable the normalisation of those perverted practices?

    Did you watch Christians Like Us? Can anyone explain why none of the real Christians in the house said to the “Homosexual Christian” “No, you’re not a Christian until you repent and turn away from the homosexual lifestyle!”

    Why did none of the real Christians say to the baby-killing doctor who claims to be Christian that abortion is murder and murderers will go to Hell unless they repent of their ways and seek God’s forgiveness?

    I’ll tell you why. Because almost all high profile Christians and Christian leaders are afraid of looking mean and nasty.

    Israel Folau is the exception.

  • Thanks guys. One bright spark elsewhere said this about Israel Folau: “Maybe he should quote from the Quran. No one will say a word.” To which I might add, had he said “death to the homophobes” he would likely be a national hero by now!

  • If Israel went on a destructive drunken rampage or had a ‘drug problem’, he would probably find sympathetic support from the same people who now condemn him for shining a light on the darkness!

  • Hi Bill, Really appreciate your insight with these and many of the other types of issues confronting Christians . Is there any way that believers can support Israel Folau through this struggle? I understand that prayer is paramount however I think it would be beneficial for him to know others stand with him.

    Kind Regards,
    David West

  • Thanks David. As always, there would be plenty we can do. I believe Folau has a FB page, so for starters, go there and support him. Also contact Rugby Australia and share your concerns. Get on talk-back radio; write letters to the editor; tell your friends; start up a support group, etc etc. The addresses for these various things would not be hard to find. Many thanks for caring.

  • Bill
    Rugby Australia’s inclusion mantra is clearly a lie and sadly they can’t see it.
    This is a deliberate attempt to shut down anyone who disagrees with them. I want nothing to do with THUGBY Australia and their pro gay stance. Ditto for Qantas.
    Thanks for your article. This is profoundly ugly and unnecessary,
    How have things got so bad.

    Philip

  • Yes exactly right Phil.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if more “Christians” supported Israel Folau?

    https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/what-would-you-say-to-israel-folau/

    Maybe now he has been fired and lost $4m these Christians will line up behind him instead of telling him to change.

  • To Michael Taouk;
    Here is one participant’s account of joining that TV show. I’m not saying she’s right, I’m just relaying what she claims was her experience. I haven’t watched the show and I wasn’t planning to.
    https://sydneyanglicans.net/blogs/why-i-went-on-national-tv-to-talk-about-jesus

    As for Israel Folau, he’s certainly got more guts than most other Christians. His instagram page seems to have more solid preaching than some official churches:
    https://www.instagram.com/izzyfolau/
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BwEWt2uHcLI/ (the one causing the commotion)
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BkutJTlB9s5/
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BjZuByyhFrO/
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BntPkW1BZlx/
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BsxNXQYnwxy/
    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj9gioxhMII/

    It’s sickening that he may get fired, but then, in Paul’s day if I recall correctly, he got beaten up and had to leave town for preaching the gospel and truth. Facing sinners head on hasn’t changed since then. Everyone pray, contact, support him any way you can.

    https://www.facebook.com/OfficialIsraelFolau

  • Yes Michael, there are some really rather poor replies found there. Why do I suspect that many of these leaders would condemn the prophets, Jesus, Paul and Peter for the way they shared truth?

  • The MSM barrage against Folau is staggering! On Stuff, the main NZ news site these are the top of the page story links:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/111970971/politicians-react-to-israel-folaus-social-media-post-about-hellbound-sinners

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/111980589/israel-folau-antigay-posts-prompt-call-for-boycott-from-exall-black-adam-thomson

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/111971533/until-israel-folau-repents-rugby-australia-has-no-choice-but-to-let-him-go

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/111978604/israel-folaus-teammates-like-antigay-post-as-qantas-backs-rugby-australia

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/111950375/israel-folau-resumes-antigay-social-media-posts-as-tasmania-passes-gender-freedom-law

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/opinion/111952031/australian-rugby-must-act-swiftly-and-decisively-on-repeat-offender-israel-folau

    Many are SMH reposts, and the stance is consistent – it is dangerous to Rugby and contrary to the modern inclusive society for people to express ‘religious fanatical bigotry’ aka basic Christian concepts. Non-believers including the NZ PM insist that support for homosexuality and faith are totally compatible, but they ignore God’s Thou Shalt Not on the subject. Qantas insists that Folau’s comments are disappointing and don’t support the spirit of diversity and inclusion Qantas support, yet ignore that they are partnered with Emirates, an airline from the UAE where homosexuality is a death penalty offence.

    It seems that there is a near consensus, at least as presented by the MSM, that the mere expression of Christian views constitutes unacceptable bigotry and borderline hate crime status yet actually killing homosexuals is something that can possibly be ignored if done overseas by Muslims. Shouldn’t the MSM consensus that Christian views are evil, given all the contradictions by those advancing such claims, be a clue that maybe the bigotry on show is Christophobia rather than homophobia?

    I guess it’s all very John 8:44-45
    You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

  • May the Lord bless you and keep you Israel and make his face shine on you.

  • So, let me get this straight, the agony, pain suffering and death that Jesus went through for all of us is all for nothing, it wasn’t necessary.
    They have made out that my Lord and Saviour (GOD ALMIGHTY, THE Creator of everything) is a liar.
    We are indeed in big trouble.
    I stand with Israel Folau 100%, a true follower of Jesus.
    Mat 7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 
    nothing new under the sun

  • Great article Bill. So amazing to see true children of Jesus Christ stand up to proclaim their faith and preach the truth. I know that Israel has a very strong God, and although the Australian Rugby Union sacked him, he is not defined by them. They don’t give him value.

    Side note: The reaction of the so-called leftist Christians (maybe we should call them what our Father calls them, the lukewarm) shows us exactly how close to the end we are. This is the great falling away, the sheep are separated from the goats.

  • Never mind what Folau says, never mind what anyone says. You lose your career because of what you say.
    Jesus PBUH was BRUTALLY MURDERED for the same thing.

  • Dear Mark,

    Thank you for the link re Christians Like Us. Really interesting. But it hasn’t changed my opinion that the participants filtered their Christianity out of fear of looking like “misogynistic homophobes”. That’s not proclaiming God’s Truth and a Church that does that is a Church lost to God.

    Bill, I think a few people would appreciate a review of Christians Like Us because people I talk to have very mixed views about it.

  • Mister Israel Folau….A true Soldier for Christ.

  • Two comments;
    1.
    The MSM and those criticising Israel Folau and many of those responding in the Eternity News are missing the context of Israel’s statements. There is indeed a good attempt at sharing the love of Jesus by Israel. The MSM, of course, would miss the context; that would be by blindness or by deliberation. Any listing of sin and or judgement in any context immediately causes the red mist to rise.
    2.
    I would never ever say “Jesus PBUH”.
    Jesus does not & did not, ever need peace.
    Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
    Jesus is the ultimate peace maker.
    Jesus is the giver of the only peace that is worthwhile having;
    that is the peace with God;
    that is the peace that passes understanding.

    On the other hand; Mohammed….. yes he really needs it, but probably too late now.
    And the Issa of the Quran, as defined and limited by the Quran, is still way ahead of Moh.

  • Two comments;
    1.
    The MSM and those criticising Israel Folau and many of those responding in the Eternity News are missing the context of Israel’s statements. There is indeed a good attempt at sharing the love of Jesus by Israel. The MSM, of course, would miss the context; that would be by blindness or by deliberation. Any listing of sin and or judgement in any context immediately causes the red mist to rise.
    2.
    I would never ever say “Jesus PBUH”.
    Jesus does not & did not, ever need peace.
    Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
    Jesus is the ultimate peace maker.
    Jesus is the giver of the only peace that is worthwhile having;
    that is the peace with God;
    that is the peace that passes understanding.

    On the other hand; Mohammed….. yes he really needs it, but probably too late now.
    And the Isa of the Quran, as defined and limited by the Quran, is still way ahead of Moh.

  • Israel you did the right thing, and doing the right thing can never be wrong.

  • I want to see his fellow Christian rugby players withdraw their labour in protest.

  • Just a small mistake from Israel – he follows Jesus but his quotes are from the 1st Testament aka The Bible [following the Jewish Torah]
    Jesus followers adhere to the 2nd Testament – where none of this appears

  • Thanks Adam, but no, he made no small mistake. But you sadly have made a massive mistake. Since when is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in the Old Testament? Indeed, given that he quoted specifically from Acts 2:38, Acts 17:30, and Galatians 5:19-21, I am not aware of ANY of these passages coming from the Old Testament. You may need to brush up on your Bible knowledge a bit.

  • So which part of Israel Folau’s ‘outragous comments’ was unaceptable? Was it that he meantioned the taboo subject matter of homo-sexuality, or was it that he is calling out all forms of anti-community and anti-christian behaviour, REPENT. I take it from the reactions of the ‘general public’ and from Rugby Australia (RA), that all manner of human vices and conditions are accepted in the buisness-model of inclusionism. and RA in particular want to ensure that all ‘life-styles’ are accepted at the game, whether it be ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters’ just to name a few, no judgement of course, rapists, abusers, swindlers, paedophiles, murderers, gamblers and the sarcastic, missed out on this round of call-outs. I don’t see the media jumping up-and-down about any of the other life styles, just homosexuals, ho-hum, which according to statistics is about 1% of the general population, whereas all the others lumped together might be as much as 50%, or more of the population. So I guess, that ALL are acceptable to the inclusionism business model, WE SELL TO EVERYONE, which is exactly the way it should be if you want to make a buck, and continue to make a buck. So, the RA may need to review their own business model to include CHRISTIANS, who are said to make up more than 80% of the population of Australia. If every rugby attending Christian withdrew their attention from the RA, how would that weight of numbers influence the viability of RA. In the words of Desmond Tutu “I’d like to see that…”.

  • The hit pieces continue, the latest by the Mercury’s TasWeekend magazine columnist, Charles Wooley, whose weekly article is simply headlined, “Charles Wooley”.

    Apparently, Charles Wooley considers himself such a great journalist, that he no longer needs to do any research. His column (April 20) shows he has read neither Israel Folau’s social media post, nor the Bible itself.

    Mr Wooley whinges about “Folau’s Old Testament proscriptions”, despite the fact that Folau’s social media post quotes from the New Testament, not from the Old.

    Mr Wooley asks if Folau “has ever played football on the Sabbath”, without understanding that this would pose no problem. Jesus said of himself, “the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5). St Paul said Christians are free to “consider every day alike” (Romans 14:5), that is, free not to observe a day of rest.

    Anyway, if Hell isn’t real, who cares what Folau said?

    Mr Wooley’s article could have been headlined “Folau falls foul of a fool.”

  • Hi Bill.

    I thought you may be interested in this video I’ve just posted re Israel Folau.
    https://youtu.be/AXJra43t8gE

    All the best

  • In a Post Modern society, yes speaking with grace is important but at the end of the day truth is truth.

    Christian leaders may have an opinion about Folau’s approach in speaking the truth but no one on this earth knows Folau’s heart like Jesus does.

    Folau is a Christian man with boldness and Passion. Do you think it’s God’s plan for him to just play good football?

    Whatever the outcome, God is in control and God will provide for him.

  • Some claim that izzy’s quoting God’s call that the carnal minded repent of self indulgent living is disturbingly painful for those questioning or repudiating their sexuality.
    Homosexuality is a cult and is vigorously proselytised as good. This is where confusion & pain exists. Western societies highly esteem diversity. Why is the Truth of God as revealed in the Bible hated and excluded from this diversity?
    Why is Israel so punished? Where is the church’s public endorsement of Izzy’s Christian witness?
    In his right relationship with the LORD God, Izzy is in the majority! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

  • As so many have said in the past: ‘the defence of the West begins with ISRAEL’.

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