CultureWatch

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

Folau and the Fallout

Apr 15, 2019

On Thursday all hell broke loose (no pun intended) when star rugby player Israel Folau said that hell is real and unrepentant sinners end up there. By simply quoting from Scripture all the usual suspects came out to attack him ferociously.

So on that day I penned three articles about the situation. The next three days I was interstate giving a number of talks, so my pen (or keyboard) fell silent. Those of you who might have wondered if I died or something can be relieved to know that I am still alive and now back on my computer.

I had thought that those three articles on Folau were sufficient, but it looks like the fallout from all this continues to bubble along wildly with no sign of letting up. So it seems that another piece or two is required on this matter. But by way of background, let me offer the previous three pieces that I wrote on this:

billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/11/israel-folau-the-apostle-paul-and-the-gospel/

billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/11/yes-it-is-loving-to-tell-sinners-about-hell/

billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/11/outspoken-christians-will-not-be-tolerated/

Secular fallout

While so many of our elites condemned Folau – as would be fully expected – a number of secular voices have rallied to his defence. People like Chris Kenny, Alan Jones, and Andrew Bolt for example came to his defence. They all know that this is a witch-hunt and just more erosion of free speech, even if they may not go along with Folau’s religious viewpoints.

As Morgan Begg of the secular conservative thinktank IPA said: “The outrage mob is out in force following rugby star Israel Folau’s latest social media comments. The mob wants to more than disagree with Folau’s opinion, as is our right in a free society. It wants to ban him from expressing it, which is totalitarian.”
ipa.org.au/publications-ipa/the-outrage-mob-is-out-to-get-folau?fbclid=IwAR2Stapz96CxwREPaVtmL2cvFGxMouw_l5nTW9EYIL-M7kJJ5iQEsfmYTUE

Broadcaster Alan Jones said this: “It has nothing to do with Israel, or rugby, or religion, homosexuals, or whatever. Where are we in this country on free speech? We’ve got an issue here because we’re going down a very, very narrow road here.”
www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/broadcaster-alan-jones-condemns-folau-sacking-20190412-p51dik.html

Or as Bolt wrote:

Who is doing the real dividing? Let’s ask Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter Beattie, who insisted Folau’s comments failed rugby’s “inclusiveness culture”. What hypocrisy. Here’s rugby showing its “inclusiveness” by excluding a fundamentalist Christian. In fact, Folau’s actions suggest he’s more inclusive than his critics. Despite his personal views, he’s still happy to play with the many rugby players who are gays, drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists or idolaters. What a pity rugby bosses can’t learn from his example and let a Christian play, too.
www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/andrew-bolt/andrew-bolt-why-israel-folaus-critics-are-the-intolerant-ones/news-story/b1b241e5491b381ed921bbf65cb172ab

I am thankful that many non-religious types have seen the Folau situation for what it really is.

Religious fallout

But exceedingly disappointing is the fact – as mentioned in my previous pieces – that a number of Christian leaders have been quite happy to come out publicly and attack Folau. They ran with all the usual nonsense about how ungracious he is and how judgmental he is, etc., etc.

I mentioned in at least two of my earlier articles that sure, I might have said things a bit differently or done things a bit differently. It is always so very easy to be an armchair critic. They are a dime a dozen. But please bear in mind that Folau is a 30-year-old jock. That American term for an athlete can imply great physical abilities, but not always great intellectual abilities. Indeed, most athletes are not known for their massive intellect, although there certainly are a number who are fit in both body and mind.

I know little about Folau, but he grew up in a Mormon home, and he later left that religion and embraced evangelical Christianity. I am not sure if he has had much theological training, but again, in his personal Instagram pages he basically just quoted from the Bible. To be honest, I wish other believers were so bold.

But so many Christian leaders were so very quick and proud in denouncing Folau. Strange how these guys always say we should be more loving and gracious and non-judgemental, yet they are so ready to show rather unloving and ungracious judgmentalism to fellow Christians in public.

For example, consider Hillsong’s Brian Houston who very early on tweeted this about Folau: “So sad about the (Israel Folau) situation. His way is not the right way. It does not reflect the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament is clear, but grace does not point fingers. It recognises our own sinfulness. ‘But by the grace of God’.”

Good grief! All Folau did was quote Scripture! How in the world is that not the right way!? How is quoting Paul being ungracious!? How is Folau NOT recognising his own sinfulness!? Indeed, why is Houston bearing false witness here? He should know full well that Folau HAS spoken quite clearly and openly about his own sinfulness.

I quoted him on this in my third article. Here is a small part of what Folau said that I quoted from: “People’s lives are not for me to judge. Only God can do that. I have sinned many times in my life. I take responsibility for those sins and ask for forgiveness through repentance daily.”

It seems Houston soon took down that unhelpful and patently foolish tweet. So I thought that was the end of it. But no, he could not resist: he went on to pen an entire article basically saying the same unhelpful and biblically spurious things. And he happily had the article published by the hostile secular press!

The title is worrying enough: “A message to Folau: The world doesn’t need more judgmental Christians.” He begins by giving lip-service to Folau’s courage, but then spends the rest of the piece publicly rebuking him. He says for example: “In 40 years of telling people about the good news of Jesus, I have seen that the ‘turn or burn’, approach to proclaiming the message of Christianity alienates people. Scaring people doesn’t draw them into the love of Jesus.”

Oh really? Um, there is no one else in all of the Bible who spoke more about hell and judgment to come for those who do not repent than Jesus Christ. So is Houston telling us that Jesus clearly got things wrong here? Should Jesus lift his game to keep some modern church leaders happy?

Let’s get real here, shall we? Did Jesus alienate people? Well, actually he did, all the time! And he alienated people NOT because he had the wrong methods that some critics think we must get rid of, but because he spoke truth – and he spoke it unflinchingly.

Sure he spoke the truth in love, but remember this reality: the most loving, gracious and caring man on earth was hated, rejected and killed because people were alienated by his message. His truth convicted people. His truth cut people to the heart. It divided people, offended people, and upset people.

But it seems that Jesus did it all wrong according to some of these critics. Hmm, I am reminded of the words of Leonard Ravenhill: “If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” Exactly!

Houston went on to say this: “The problem with harsh comments in the media and disparaging statements on social media is that they create a further wedge between God and people. The world doesn’t need more judgmental Christians.”

Wow. For the umpteenth time: Folau simply quoted Scripture! How is that being judgmental!? Why do I suspect that Houston and the other critics would have rebuked Jesus and Paul for being far too judgmental and unloving!? To tell sinners that they are doomed without Christ and headed to a lost eternity is now being un-Christian? Really?

It seems that the Apostle Paul needs to repent for failing to act and talk like these modern-day critics demand. Sorry, but I will stick with Jesus and Paul here instead of these “ooh, you can’t judge anyone” leaders. What every sinner desperately needs is to hear biblical truth. As I said in my second article, that MUST contain these core biblical elements:

-we are all sinners
-all sinners are headed to a lost eternity
-Jesus came and died to take our penalty for sin
-those who repent and turn to Christ in faith can be made right with God
-those who do not are still at enmity with God and hell awaits them
-the most loving thing a believer can do for a sinner is tell him these truths

But the very fact that the two most godless and radically leftist newspapers in the country (The Age and SMH) are happy to run with Houston’s piece is most telling indeed. That is often a dead giveaway that the one doing the writing might be as much married to the spirit of the age as to biblical truth.

Conclusion

Much more can be said about the Folau fallout. For example, other star athletes are now coming to his defence. As one article states:

Geelong champion Gary Ablett and Carlton midfielder Matt Kennedy have been embroiled in the Instagram scandal that is set to end Israel Folau’s rugby career. Ablett and Kennedy were two of nearly 39,000 people who liked Folau’s controversial homophobic post which said gay people are going to hell unless they repent. The Herald Sun reports that Ablett removed his like on Sunday, with the Cats unaware of his interaction with Folau’s post.
www.foxsports.com.au/afl/geelong-champion-gary-ablett-and-young-carlton-midfielder-matt-kennedy-embroiled-in-israel-folau-instagram-scandal/news-story/7086d5905b8f5fb74569cc7cb467f04d?fbclid=IwAR3Z96YU49lbpnq3EudBaHobNFTzYU_nLrHIHed4VEZ4zffMHel7f_1WBP8&nk=e13d522cac47da4abb914c173e956aba-1555299412

But to wrap this up: once again, yes we can always learn to be more tactful and more wise in how we communicate in public. But it seems that Folau has far more genuine Christian concern and love for the lost – even if expressed not as well as some might prefer – than many church leaders seem to have.

They seem more keen to gain the praise and favour of men and to keep pagan haters of Christianity on side. Sorry, but I will continue to stand with Folau, as imperfect as he is and as imperfect as he shares his great love for the lost. I continue to pray for you sir. God bless you.

And I really am appalled at his legion of Christian critics. It seems that they are often the ones who are being the Pharisees here, not Folau.

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65 Responses to Folau and the Fallout

  • It is interesting to note that with all the Godless issues that have been inflicted upon us recently these religious leaders (I find it hard to call them christians) Houston in particular has been deafly quite he would have been better of with his head in the sand on this issue as well, may be if the leaders of the church had some intestinal fortitude and defended the bible and real christians as Folau, we as a society would be in a better state, may God bless Folau and His family, and as Paul the Apostle stated if any one brings another gospel different from mine let them be accursed.

  • I can’t believe that these Christian leaders would attack a brother like this and side with the evil worldly media and the Qantas CEO! Shame to all of them, he put up the truth and scripture on his Instagram. I agree, he is a sports man not a lawyer, just trying to WARN people.
    We have been praying for Davids to stand up against intimidation, and he looks like a David to me.
    He is a true leader, the others I don’t think truly they are – not anymore.
    You can’t pour new wine into old wine skins.
    The two political parties didn’t want to discuss religious freedom, but it seems God has other ideas, and it is front and centre in the news. I am praying God fights this battle for Izzy, no weapon forged against him shall prosper, and every tongue raised against him shall be shown to be in the wrong. Isaiah 54:17

  • “The two political parties didn’t want to discuss religious freedom, but it seems God has other ideas, and it is front and centre in the news.”

    Yes, very good point Gerrie.

  • Spot on. There is an expectation that the world reacts against God’s Word but for so called Christian leaders to react negatively against Folau is alarming. Great article.

  • Some Christians who think the tread softly approach is the only way that exemplifies Jesus need to read John 6 in its entirety. Within 24 hours, Jesus whittles down a crowd of thousands to just a handful simply based on what he said. I wonder if those who walked away felt ‘alienated’ by Jesus?

    At one point Jesus specifically asks them “Does this offend you?” (v61) and then immediately proceeds to obviously offend most of them even more! Why do so many Christians not realise that Jesus is the highest King of all and that his ministry on earth veiled His full glory – for if it had been revealed none of us could stand? When John saw it – a second time(!) – in Revelation, he fell down as dead. This rigid love of the ‘nice’ approach is not faithful to the spiritual reality of eternity and the gravity of the subject. Folau deserves support for sticking his neck out to proclaim this reality, the rest of the details aren’t worth mentioning.

    It’s so disappointing to discover just how many Christians – including so-called ‘leaders’ – have conformed to the pattern of this world. The rule is simple: Don’t bash your own family when they are proclaiming truth, the world will do plenty of that anyway!

  • I saw a meme on FB this morning that makes the observation about some social justice warriors that says:

    “Imagine getting upset at someone for claiming the God you don’t believe in,
    said in the book you don’t read,
    that unless you repent of the sin you don’t care about,
    you will go to a place you don’t think exists”

    The hatred for Christians and Christian principles in this country is growing …

  • I think it was Dr. Michael Brown from the USA who once said, “Now that the gays have come out of the closet, they want to put Christians into it”!

  • Perhaps Brian Houston should read what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 2 again. To me it seems much harsher than anything Israel Folau preaches and certainly nothing like what Brian Houston does.

    2Pe 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who secretly will bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction.
    2Pe 2:2 And many will follow their pernicious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be evil spoken of.
    2Pe 2:3 And through covetousness they will use you for gain with well-turned words; for whom judgment from of old does not linger, and their destruction does not sleep.
    2Pe 2:4 For if God did not spare sinning angels, but thrust them down into Tartarus, and delivered them into chains of darkness, being reserved to judgment.
    2Pe 2:5 And He did not spare the old world, but saved Noah the eighth one, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.
    2Pe 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, He condemned them with an overthrow, setting an example to men intending to live ungodly.
    2Pe 2:7 And He delivered righteous Lot, oppressed with the lustful behavior of the lawless.
    2Pe 2:8 For that righteous one living among them, in seeing and hearing, his righteous soul was tormented from day to day with their unlawful deeds.
    2Pe 2:9 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust for a day of judgment, to be punished,
    2Pe 2:10 and especially those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise dominion. They are darers, self-pleasing; not trembling at glories, speaking evil.
    2Pe 2:11 Where angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reproaching accusation against them before the Lord.
    2Pe 2:12 But these, as unreasoning natural brute animals having been born for capture and corruption, speak evil of the things that they do not understand. And they will utterly perish in their own corruption,
    2Pe 2:13 being about to receive the wages of unrighteousness, deeming indulgence as pleasure in the daytime, and reveling in spots and blemishes, feasting along with you in their deceits,
    2Pe 2:14 having eyes full of adultery and never ceasing from sin, alluring unstable souls, having a heart exercised with covetousness. They are cursed children
    2Pe 2:15 who have forsaken the right way and have gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness,
    2Pe 2:16 but had reproof of his lawbreaking, a dumb ass speaking in a man’s voice, held back the madness of the prophet.
    2Pe 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds driven with a tempest, for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever.
    2Pe 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they lure through the lusts of the flesh, by unbridled lust, the ones who were escaping from those who live in error;
    2Pe 2:19 promising them liberty, they themselves are the slaves of corruption. For by whom anyone has been overcome, even to this one he has been enslaved.
    2Pe 2:20 For if they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the full knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and are again entangled, they have been overcome by these, their last things are worse than the first.
    2Pe 2:21 For it would have been better for them not to have fully known the way of righteousness, than fully knowing it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
    2Pe 2:22 But the word of the true proverb has happened to them: The dog turning to his own vomit; and, The washed sow to wallowing in the mire.
    (MKJV)

    It’s not just Jesus/Jehovah and the Apostle Paul who speak like this and the warnings are not sharp and severe for no reason. People should note that Peter’s criticism here is for those who turn from the holy commandment delivered to them (2 Pet 2:21) – not those who do not acknowledge God’s grace. Also Jesus was absolutely clear that all you need to do is “relax” the least commandment (Mat 5:19) and teach men so, to be the least in heaven. To me Brian Houston’s preaching seems very “relaxed” and I seriously doubt the list of sins Israel mentioned in his “tweet” are to do with the least of commandments either.

    And, of course, the only way lies can survive is if freedom of speech is shut down.

  • Bill writes of Houston, “he happily had the article published in the hostile secular press!” … Houston wrote “The problem with harsh comments in the media and disparaging statements on social media is that they create a further wedge between God and people.”

    Seems like Mr Houston hankers to be friends with the world. Bro … who fed the hostile secular press (the world) with “harsh comments” and “disparaging statements”? Remember James 4:4? Have you tried the Christian method of dealing with a brother whom you think has caused offence (Mat 18)?

    Houston further wrote, “The world doesn’t need more judgmental Christians.” It didn’t need Micah (Mic 3:8), nor the Holy Ghost for that matter (John 16:8).

    Folau is full of power (Acts 1:8) as was Micah, and as are all Christians who know whom they are in Christ. They are not intimidated, but are full of power (including to judge), LOVE (as exemplified by Folau), and a sound mind (unlike so many of his critics) – 2 Tim 1:7.

  • Why, then, does truth generate hatred, and why does thy servant who preaches the truth come to be an enemy to them who also love the happy life, which is nothing else than joy in the truth—unless it be that truth is loved in such a way that those who love something else besides her wish that to be the truth which they do love. Since they are unwilling to be deceived, they are unwilling to be convinced that they have been deceived. Therefore, they hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is that they love in place of the truth. They love truth when she shines on them; and hate her when she rebukes them.
    Augustine, Confessions, Book 10, Chapter 23

  • Thanks guys. I have said it before: I am no fan of those who think Brian Houston can do no wrong. And I am no fan of those who think Brian Houston can do no right.
    But when he not once but twice very publicly rebukes Israel Folau for sharing Scripture, that REALLY bothers me greatly. And as I say in my article, he also bears false witness against Folau. Just who is being the Pharisee here? I believe this church leader owes Folau an apology.

  • Hi Bill
    yeah Houston, don’t rate him.. would rather read honest and challenging essays from you and other christian authors than listen to Hillsong’s pastor ‘dribble’. I actually bought an overpriced wallaby rugby jersey because I supported Folau but now I’m thinking of burning it.
    As always you cut to the truth.
    Godbless

  • Now THIS is a Christian hero, not all those Pharisee ‘Christian’ leaders attacking him:

    “It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things. Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do. First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it. In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.”

    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/sport/rugby-union/i-m-more-than-happy-to-do-what-he-wants-me-to-do-unrepentant-folau-20190414-p51dyw.html?fbclid=IwAR0KvEN_zstdlOMbKZzDxfYMlaZiKRfML2kTEZM_1w1JGCxBz1veOj0c3NA

  • Cambridge barrister warned: change the marriage laws and people will lose their jobs for quoting a Bible verse

    Two years ago, Cambridge barrister Paul Dimond offered a blunt, near-prophetic warning that Christians will be targeted if marriage laws were to change in Australia.
    https://caldronpool.com/cambridge-barrister-warned-change-the-marriage-laws-and-people-will-lose-their-jobs-for-quoting-a-bible-verse/

  • Bill, you’ve said a number of times that Israel might have said what he said in a more appropriate way. Perhaps if he had some theological training he would have expressed the Biblical truths differently.
    Can you give us an idea of what that might have looked like?

  • Thanks Bill. Let me first repeat something else I have also said often: I would MUCH rather Folau shared as he did than all those Christian critics who never share anything, but just criticise! So bear that in mind. And it depends on what medium you are using of course. Many deep and important issues cannot readily and properly be shared on the social media. I don’t have an Instagram page, and Twitter limits you to a very short tweet. While the gospel can be shared very briefly, the ideal is to give it a proper go with the full context. So dwelling on who we are as made in God’s image, the Fall, the need for redemption etc etc is all part of a more detailed gospel presentation. But I for one much prefer Folau’s way of sharing truth than those who don’t share truth!

  • Michael Weeks, 2 weeks ago I heard a great sermon by a young pastor on the second part of 2 Peter 2. It was refreshing to hear a sermon on such a ‘difficult’ passage which many others would try to avoid.

  • Thanks Bill,
    I remember Houston made a compromised statement about homosexuality about 12 months ago involving the New York church, so his current wishy washy statement is not unexpected. For all the claims of a softly softly approach to homosexuals are there real repentance occurring within the Hillsong community or is it all about acceptance.
    In addition the church’s failure to support freedom of speech is doubly concerning. We are in the last days no doubt. Brian’s weakness and comprise shows appalling wisdom and lack of leadership for his flock and the wider Christian community,
    Thanks Bill
    Phil

  • I agree Bill. I think Israel is our modern day John the Baptist calling the nation to repent and turn from our wicked ways.

  • Hi Bill, I’d like to add some personal testimony and my own reflections here. I’m a Christian and I work at a Christian school.

    Jesus definitely spoke the truth and offended people. We are supposed to speak the truth; the Holy Spirit is what will turn people’s hearts. Luke 12:51 is pretty clear, too.

    Here is my first reflection. When I was in my 20s, on two occasions I was met by Christians preaching the Word. Both were male-female pairs. I was a lonely guy and spent time on my own. These two pairs approached me (in two different countries, with many years in between, I might add) and started speaking to me as though they just wanted to chat. For a guy like me, that was great! After a little while, on both occasions, the topic of hell was introduced. I was not so much bothered by the talk of hell as by being fooled — they were not simply friendly people reaching out to a stranger, they were secretly Christians. I felt they had approached me under false pretenses.

    Now, as it happened, I think I wanted to hear the Word at that. Nevertheless, on both of these occasions, I was irritated and resentful. They should have been upfront from the start. As a result I didn’t listen to them much more after hell was mentioned. For a few years after that I became a bit suspicious of Christians. Nevertheless, those clumsy evangelists may have planted a seed in me (see Mark 4:26-28). Perhaps Folau has planted a seed, or many. We may not be privy to that information!

    Here is a second reflection. At my school we had a special Easter program last week with a visiting pastor. He made a good effort evangelizing but as I sat there listening to it, I wondered how much of it could be understood by the children (ages 5-12). I thought it was a bit confusing myself, and I tried to put myself in kids’ shoes and understand it as they might. Again though, despite the possible clumsiness of the message, I can’t help but think seeds have been planted, which may not sprout and bear fruit for years, or decades!

    Perhaps there will be some who are now proud of their sin, or don’t care about it, who have been stirred up to anger by what Folau said about them. In the future they may not feel so proud, and perhaps then they will then remember Folau’s words.

    I think Houston is being too much of a people-pleaser here, but I can see his point. He’s worried that people will hate the Church more because of what Folau said. Houston could say that Jesus also loved and healed, so why not focus on that at first? On the other hand, Bill you are dead right! Folau only quoted the Bible.

    I wonder if the approach we ought to take to evangelizing in the modern day ought to be more like the approach Paul took when he went to Athens (Acts 17:16-34). We are dealing with a generation which is to a large extent biblically illiterate and ignorant, but smart and well-read enough. When Paul went to Athens, he was dealing with a similar kind of people: educated people who didn’t really know the Bible.

    (Digression: We could even do what Paul did in Athens, and start by talking about how all the so-called gods the Greeks worshiped were just idols. We in Australia have developed our own new pantheon of idols, e.g. astrology, new-ageism, tarot, ubiquitous Buddhas (they really do seem to pop up everywhere nowadays), Allah, whales, trees, the higher self, the heart (follow it!), fame, Amun-Ra (obelisks), feng shui, ‘the Vibe’, aboriginal ancestral spirits, aboriginal ancestor worship, aboriginal animistic view of land-forms, humanism, yoga (I think; or can it just be exercises without the Hinduism?) Wicca, Chinese dragons… What a diverse group. All worshiped unquestioningly, in their own way. Time to start questioning them, as Paul did.)

    As Bill has said, Jesus, Peter and Paul did the same as Folau. Critics really need to deal with that. The Bible is not an optional extra in Christianity. Perhaps Folau could have been more tactful, I don’t know. But I do know that there are very few of us who could have spread the gospel in the way he did. We spread the gospel in the way each of us is best at. His way involves instagram, Alan Jones and the nightly news and thereby causing untold thousands to hear what they might never have heard before; the same thousands who would not be caught dead at a Franklin Graham event!

    I said above we may not be privy to the sprouting of the seeds he’s sown, the maturing of the plants and the harvest. In fact we almost certainly won’t. But they have been sown. God bless Israel Folau, who is now being persecuted for the sake of Jesus.

  • Dear Bill , you show great perseverance on this matter, I for one was concerned you had been taken down! Great that you’re back.
    Israel Falou speaks as the Holy Spirit leads him to speak. To belive otherwise and you become as you, Bill, have been describing above.
    Pray for Israel, Bill and any one with the God given courage to do the same.
    Mark Bryant

  • PS Not meaning you are guilty of condemnation too Bill, just as you have highlighted above!
    Mark Bryant

  • Those who would have us “imagine” there’s no Heaven would have us also imagine there’s no Hell either. In their world, humanity writes the rules and boundaries are mere temporary psycho-social constructs of the individual and the collective human psyche.

    The first readers of the First Letter to the Corinthians were confronted by the disconcerting fact of “progressive elements” within the church actively affirming brazen wrong-doing within the congregation. It is stemming from that disturbing scenario that the list of “non-inheritors” in 1 Corinthians 6:9 comes.

    We are beginning to see the consequences of men and women acting as if they are replacements for Almighty God…

  • Christians are the only ones attacked for their beliefs. It is spiritual warfare. Satan is at work here because Jesus is the only way to reach God and Satan knows it. The way is narrow and few shall enter in.

  • Two things that make me shake my head tonight:

    1. The NSW Upper House seats have been finalised tonight. Paul Green from Christian Democrats was not re-elected, but another One Nation person got one of the last seats. That says to me that a lot of people who normally vote Christian Democrat instead voted One Nation.

    2. Our Christian Prime Minister wanting to show that he is in touch with the ordinary people, has had himself photographed watching Game of Thrones.

  • Yet another sign that we are getting ever nearer to end times.

    The Lord Jesus predicted these things and said ‘And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18 7-8

  • Thanks Louise,
    Totally agree the loss of Paul Green was incredibly disappointing .
    I also believe Scott Morrison’s strong rebuke of Folau was over the top. I realise he is in election mode but again its compromising with the World.
    He needs our prayers. Bill shorten will be a total disaster for Australians and Christian freedoms if he wins power which at this point appears likely.
    God bless . Phil

  • >>Mr Purcell,
    “Bill, you’ve said a number of times that Israel might have said what he said in a more appropriate way. Perhaps if he had some theological training, he would have expressed the Biblical truths differently.”
    “Can you give us an idea of what that might have looked like”?

    Well, Mr Purcell, Mr M has said a few times that Mr Israel Folau was quoting scripture, given that fact, I think we need to be careful not to play the lefties game of words are hate speech and we the left will tell you which words are hateful and which are not. The correct thing to do is not apologise and simply repeat the same scripture passages to the outrage mob. The left has a bible phobia and the best solution with phobias is to expose them to the irrational fear of paper and typeface, it’s the loving thing to do. Alternatively, the left could simply avoid their phobia which would require them to simply shut up. I am frightened of spiders so not only do I avoid spiders but I do not talk about them either.

    Some think that the outcry concerning Israel Folau comments was two-fold, one to shut Israel Folau up and two to shut you and me up, they are making an example of Israel Folau as a warning to you and me.

    I am of the opinion that in godlessness mentioning scripture causes a type of irrational insanity to break out, and liberal lefties start running around like demented headless chickens. The solution to the problem isn’t to use Mr M’s skills to make the scriptural message more palatable but to disinfect godlessness with huge amounts of scripture.

    There is no acceptable truthful way you can communicate with those on the far left. What you can do is reinterpret scripture to their liking or attack Israel Folau for them like an obedient puppy. Alternatively, you could say that is what scriptures say, therefore, get over it. This works surprisingly well in practice.

    Telling someone their actions are leading them to hell is either true or false. If it’s true and you tell them that, you would have been loving to do so. If it isn’t true then that person isn’t going to hell and we are nut jobs, however, quite harmless, i.e. we do not throw gays off buildings, stone women to death (we would have liked to, however, our God told us not too). It’s not like we fly planes into buildings. Drive Lorries down busy streets, mowing people down, is it? We are guilty of trying to save innocent babies from the Hitler’s on the left and going to church each week to get our weekly session of how to be good talks not to mention providing charities for the needy. We plainly have a lot of improving to do; sadly we can’t use the left as our role model, since who would try to emulate Hitler?

    That’s the way it would look if I was let off my lead, Mr Purcell.

  • Prominent secularists attack Folau.
    Prominent secularists support Folau.
    Prominent Christians attack Folau.
    Prominent Christians support Folau – but sadly, only a few.

  • Dear Louise, yes this is a sad day for Christianity in NSW and worldwide (the loss of the great centre of worship for all Christians, Notre Dame cathedral).

    Fred Nile used to say “Jesus Christ holds the balance of power in the Upper House” but that won’t be the case in the future. I think Fred Nile’s seat might be in danger in 2023 if he retires and they preselect a controversial candidate like divorcee Silvana Nero-Nile. Their best bet it to nominate Ps. Paul Green to run for Fred’s seat.

    I’m sorry to say the big problem is the Australian Conservatives.

    I had huge hopes when Cory Bernardi lauched his party but it has been a huge disappointment.

    The problem is they moved into the same space CDP occupies by nominating ordained pastors and ministers as candidates but that just took votes off Paul Green.

    The sooner AC disappear the better. They only got 0.55% of the NSW despite a good high profile campaign with for instance Ps. Ben Irawan getting time on Studio 10 and the Alan Jones Show. Ben’s a great campaigner and should have been No. 1 on the ticket.

    Christians lose out on two counts. We are being crowded out by other right wing parties and we’re splitting our vote.

    If Australian Conservatives can’t get a quota (4.5%) in the NSW Upper House they may as well not bother in the federal election where the quota for 1 Senate seat is a whopping 14.3%!

  • Louise Bingen.

    Yes extremely sad about the NSW election. The Christian Democrats are not perfect (they would not let me join) but the fact is the vote was split by the Conservatives. The way people are encouraged to only place a single number above the line on the Upper House ballot means that the votes for small conservative parties are easily split and effectively extinguished. Unfortunately I don’t think this lesson will be learned in time for the Federal election. Either the preferential system needs to be properly reintroduced or we need to ensure all conservative parties are united into one. As it is we are asking to be defeated.

    Steph Mitchell,

    What church was that? I want to visit.

  • More on what I wrote about Notre Dame cathedral.

    France is one of the most atheist countries in the world but the burning down of Notre Dame has united Frenchmen (and women) with their Christian heritage. They have discovered how important the Catholic Church is they see now how they wouldn’t be French without the the historical influence of the Church.

    Let us pray that this tragic event will move French hearts to come back to Jesus. Churches in France are many but empty, let us pray that this changes.

  • Thanks Michael – I have written about Notre Dame here, so direct comments about it there:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/16/notre-dame-and-the-death-of-europe/

  • I don’t know if anyone has yet pointed out the extraordinary contrast in the treatment of Tiger Woods versus Israel Folau. Tiger Woods is most certainly an adulterer and a fornicator, yet he is being idolized for his “come back” “rebirth”, etc. , etc.! Yet Israel Folau merely excoriates those sins verbally and is roundly vilified in the media! But note the concentration almost exclusively on the protection of homosexuality! It cannot be criticized. All such criticism is evidence of a “phobia”, a mental disease!
    Are our mental hospitals filling up with sufferers of this terrible mental affliction???

  • Yes quite right Dominic.

  • A letter I sent a local NZ paper…

    Dear Editor

    Peter Jackson, in his excellent commentary regarding the Israel Folau controversy, said, ‘It is unimaginable that a Muslim…would have experienced a Folauesque reaction to any statement detailing his or her faiths belief regarding any form of human behaviour’

    Seeing Folau’s comments referred to those destined for hell, we could test Jackson’s statement and ask all those fawning over Islam at the moment as a result of the Christchurch shooting, especially the Prime Minister and all those women who naively donned a hijab, to comment on the fact the most reliable Islamic sources say repeatedly that Mohammed saw into hell and most of its inhabitants were women.

    Asked by women why this was so, he said because women curse frequently, are ungrateful to their husbands, and are ungrateful for good treatment. He added, “I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religious commitment than you.” The women asked what was deficient in their intelligence and religious commitment. He replied the testimony of two women was equal to one man, showing their deficiency in intelligence. Their deficiency in religious commitment was shown by them not being able to pray or fast during menstruation.

    I suspect most people don’t know this, and most media would bury it if they did.

    Ironically, it actually appears these women were deficient in intelligence because they accepted his reasoning.

    Yours Sincerely

  • If you throw a stone into the chicken coup the one that squawks is the one that gets hit! The comments posted by Israel Folau seem to have hit a few chickens! Interestingly though is the fact that these are not Folau’s words but Gods. Israel Folau is just repeating Biblical truth so maybe Rugby Australia should take it up with God not Folau – can’t see that happening somehow.
    Seriously, I can attend a football match and have the guy sitting next to me blaspheme the name of Jesus as punctuation or I can turn on the television and hear the same or in my place of work. I have some options, turn off the TV (it lays pretty dormant in my home), ask the work colleague politely to refrain, or move seat if possible at the football. I don’t get enraged and violent and talk about my poor hurt feelings and hate speech – no one would care. True Christians are some of the most resilient and tough skinned (in a good way) people I know and truly the most persecuted and vilified people group on the face of the earth. This is not surprising, of course, as Jesus warned us commitment to Him would bring such an outcome. People hate what Folau has posted because it makes them ‘squawk’, they are reminded of their sin and depravity and their rejection of truth – they perished because they had no love for the truth! Amazing that when a means of escaping the consequences of our sin is presented that it can be attributed as hate speech. It is like throwing a life buoy to a drowning man and him pushing it away because he doesn’t like the way you delivered it to him – madness. Good on ya Israel, I would take an imperfect man of courage any day of the week over a sniveling, spineless and embarrassing, so called Christian pastor such as Brian Houston . Shame on you Brian, unfortunately it is what the true Church has come to expect of you!
    Mr Muehlenberg, on the other hand, is a true soldier of the faith. Love your work, love your writings and may the Lord protect you and keep you (and your dear family) in all that you do. I am also greatly encouraged by the insights and quality comments from many of the regular contributors, especially our younger contingent – thank you.

  • I’m so glad Bill you’re not dead. I didn’t know how much I need your letters to help form biblical, rational, gospel supporting thoughts until I looked in vain for a new posting . Thank you.
    I believe Israel pressed the send button in full obedience to Gods prompting.

  • I couldn’t help but think how telling it is that Paul Green lost his seat in Parliament this very week too. He was way ahead of Animal justice with first preferences but they flew ahead with second preferences. I stood on Pre-Poll for the Christian Democratic Party with Christians standing there for the Animal Justice and Euthanasia Parties! Maybe losing Scripture from Schools and having Abortion freely available at Public Hospitals is no concern of their’s. Maybe like our church their church wouldn’t even allow the Christian Values Checklist surveying all the Parties Christian Values, to be given out. We can’t have anything political in the church, can we/ It might inform the people of what is going on out there in the real world. Or maybe they just never heard enough scripture at church to know what Christian values are to begin with so they go along with what the world is setting up, a whole new range of ‘acceptable’ values. Maybe protecting animals, or freedom to commit suicide is the most important thing to stand for after all? Personally I think it is God’s judgement on the church. We get the government we deserve. And God holds the church responsible for what is happening in our Land. 2 Chron 7:14 We need to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face; and Matt 5:13. We are the salt of the earth and we have lost our savour.

  • I think that there is something missing in our perspective a bit here.
    Anonymous 6.39pm gave us a clue when talking about Paul in Athens.

    We need to be aware of our audience and engage with them, for their sake, and for the Gospel’s sake.

    This is what I think we should note;
    1. That when Jesus spoke to the people of his day it was essentially to people of Jewish background, who understood what “hades” and “Gehenna” were. They were used to thinking in the terms that Jesus used, that why Jesus used those very words and concepts.

    2. When Jesus spoke to the “Jews” i.e. the Pharisees and lawyers and priests etc. it was a much different language than what he used when talking to the crowds. Note the the “Jews” were angered but the crowds loved it.

    3. When Jesus spoke to the Syrophoenician woman in Tyre, his language was remarkable different again. Likewise with the Samaritan woman at the well. The concept of “Hell” is not in the recorded conversations.

    4. When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost he launched out on the power of the observed phenomenon of tongues being understood in all the languages, and quickly brought the subject of the Passover “hot news” to bear. Being just seven weeks after Jesus death and resurrection, this series of events were no doubt front of mind to many there. Many of these people were personally involved with what had happened and were aware of the cloud of “what-iffs” and guilt about it all.

    5. When Peter spoke at Cornelius’ house, he was already uncharacteristically “non-judgemental” about his audience. Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” Acts 10.34f. Peter then narrates the story of Jesus from John the Baptist to the glorious Jesus who is the judge, but who also forgives. The Holy Spirit then “takes the floor”.

    6. When Paul spoke at Athens, likewise, there is no mention of “Hell” as part of that initial contact. Paul was careful to engage with them in a manner that would enable the seed of the Gospel to be sown and hopefully take root. Some responded and wanted to hear more about the resurrection of the dead.

    7. When Paul writes to the churches he clearly sets out the doctrines for the mature and as needed, strongly corrects errors. This is clearly seen in the letters to the Corinthians and to the Galatians and also the book of warnings, Hebrews. He is writing to those who have already accepted the Gospel, have repented, believed, and been baptized, and received the Holy Spirit, and should by now have been teachers and not babes.

    Likewise then, when we communicate with …. whoever… we need to make sure that the truth, the message, the Gospel, is put in terms that can gain traction in the hearts and minds of our audience.
    Without denying any skerrick of the truth at all, ever, we as skilled evangelists and teachers need to up our game when it comes to communication with others. Meeting them where they are, is the first step. Finding out where they are spiritually is the pre-game where love seeks to find a way to tell them the best truth in the world. i.e. Tell them in a way that will enable the Spirit to convince of sin, of righteousness and of judgement: Tell them in a way that will be a catalyst to repentance, faith and discipleship.

  • The LGBTIQ etc crowd love to talk about love. They think that love means that you will never say no to someone. It means that you never say to someone “You can’t have that.” I disagree. Parents love their children. What if a child wanted to eat ice-cream or pizza everyday? Would you give them ice-cream or pizza everyday? If a parent gave their child these foods every day it is extremely unhealthy. Sometimes you should say no to someone even if you love them. Sometimes love means saying no.

  • Thanks Bruce – and Anon. But now we are starting to move in a rather different direction. As a result we are beginning to mix apples and oranges. Should Christians seek to build bridges and find common ground with nonbelievers to share the gospel? Of course. This is part of the apologist’s task – and the evangelist’s. And I have written dozens of articles on the importance of this over the years.

    But that is not exactly what is going on here. Folau was not specifically seeking to evangelise pagans in his remarks. He was – if you read my articles – simply responding to the dumb new laws in Tasmania about the end of gender. It was to THAT situation that he posted a few verses laying out what God says about this and related matters. So to criticise him for not doing something he did not intend to do is a bit unhelpful to be honest!

    The whole point of my article here was to show how so many are attacking him, and attacking him unfairly, even falsely. Even Christian leaders have been bearing false witness against him, and they need to repent. Thus this piece – and it seems Folau and his intentions – really had nothing to do directly with how we might best reach the lost and utilise basic apologetics principles.

  • Well said Lesley.
    Well said Michael
    Yes I supported Paul green financially and equally disappointed. I have been asked to donate to the federal CDP campaign for Silvana but will not. I see it as poor allocation of precious funds. A waste of money. Paul green is the best pick for Fred Nile replacement. If they run with Silvana as a replacement for Fred I believe CDP is finished. I would hope Sophie York AC gives it a good shake for NSW senate position but I expect she doesn’t have the profile or the backing. lyle Shelton may have better chance in QLD. We will see. Based on labor/greens winning the lower house, if no one is in the upper house to stop labor with their anti Christian policy and economic wrecking policies, we are really in serious trouble. Maybe it will be a much needed wake up call by God to the apathetic and pro green Christians that foolishly follow the world.
    God bless all,
    Phil

  • A thoughtful take on Folau issue as usual Bill. If you get time Bill, you might this take on it interesting …https://www.realmen247.org/2019/04/choosing-sides-israel-folau/

  • Dear Phil,

    It is great to know there are lots of Christians who thinks Paul Green needs to replace Fred Nile when he retires. I think Fred is blinded by love but we will see.

    Someone said to me last Sunday that Australian Conservatives are 5 weeks away from “oblivion”. He meant if we wake up in the morning after election day and AC have not won any seats then it’s all over and the story about >Cory Bernardi rejoining the Liberal Party will come true.

    Lyle Shelton is AC’s best chance but he’s up against Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Fraser Anning’s National Conservative Party, Katter’s Australia Party and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party. It’s really crowded up there with so many right wing parties competing for maybe one seat.

    Look I’ve been following AC’s federal campaign and it is really lacklustre. I also Like Sophie York but Ben Irawan was much better at getting airtime during the NSW election.

    AC’s big mistake is they’re spending too much time talking about how bad Bill Shorten is. Like I agree with everything they say but all it makes me want to do is to vote Liberal. The whole reason AC exists is to be a force on the right of the Liberal Party but they’re not giving voters a reason to vote for them instead of the Libs. If they don’t differentiate themselves from the Liberals they’re gone!

  • Of all people, the alphabet crowd have also now set their sights on Barry Humphries:
    https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-16/barry-humphries-name-dropped-from-prestigious-micf-award/11018726?pfmredir=sm

  • KISS…Keep It Simple Sinners!

    We’re all sinners saved by grace!
    Stick to Scriptures, quote and re – quote, and “don’t ever be ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God’s Truth….His Son Jesus Christ”

    Matthew 10:32-39 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
    Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Faith….
    “If you stand before others and are willing to say you believe in me, then I will tell my Father in heaven that you belong to me. But if you stand before others and say you do not believe in me, then I will tell my Father in heaven that you do not belong to me.

    Following Jesus May Bring You Trouble [!!!]

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.
    I did not come to bring peace. I came to bring trouble.
    I have come to make this happen:
    ‘A son will turn against his father.
    A daughter will turn against her mother.
    A daughter-in-law will turn against her mother-in-law.

    Even members of your own family will be your enemies.’

    “Those who love their father or mother more than they love me are not worthy of me. And those who love their son or daughter more than they love me are not worthy of me.

    Those who will not accept the cross that is given to them when they follow me are not worthy of me.

    Those who try to keep the life they have will lose it. But those who give up their life for me will find true life….

  • It would seem that many denomination leaders, (won’t say church leaders), are more focussed on keeping their members sensibilities at ease than defending the gospel.
    I think it’s great that so many non church goers have now been exposed to what the Bible says about the state of people without the sanctifying work of Jesus Christ and that so many non churched people are supporting Israel’s right to free speech without penalty. That is the big issue here.
    And as to Brian Houston, who cares what he thinks? He has exposed himself as an appeaser and as we move ever further into the last days an appeaser is the last thing the world needs.
    We need more John The Baptists.

  • “It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things. Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do. First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it. In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.”

    this puts me in mind of Eric Liddell. He wouldn’t even go against his faith for the King of England.
    This is what the last days Christian will look like.

  • I’ve said it elsewhere on this site but Brian Houston’s slam may or may not be ‘affected’ by a previous critical post by Izzy. Izzy does not seem impressed by health/wealth/prosperity preachers.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj9gioxhMII/

  • Thanks Mark. I am not impressed with the health/wealth/prosperity preachers either – all the more reason to like Izzy!!

  • Mike Frost has a very good article which is worth reading.
    It would be encouraging if Israel had a really good mentor
    https://mikefrost.net/two-tales-of-persecution/?fbclid=IwAR0pJ54tkCwlQRfCZiJ2lJR8k96e-1A_0J9hJxDpfdzWt92H45LUpEokk7Y

  • Thanks Rob. But to be honest I did not find it to be very good or worth reading. Instead I thought it was appalling – just another Christian leader ungraciously and publicly judging a fellow Christian, all the while telling us how wrong it is to speak ungraciously and judgmentally about other folks in public!

    Indeed, Frost did not say ONE positive word about Folau, but just attacked him and falsely accused him. Frost tells us that Folau’s message was “soul-crushing, condemnatory, hateful”. Good grief! Folau merely quoted Scripture! Is that now sinful?! Why do I suspect that Frost and others like him would regard the words of Jesus and Paul as evil and hateful as well?

    And yes, homosexuality – like all sins – happens to have a real element of choice involved. Sorry, but I have no time whatsoever for these hypocritical leaders who are so quick to judge courageous saints like Folau. Give me one bold albeit imperfect football player any day over these Pharisaic leaders. And THEY are the ones who need mentoring to overcome their men-pleasing and anti-biblical foolishness.

  • Channel 10 had a display of Israel Falau’s post on the TV last night.
    I am waiting for the Gaystapo to complain.
    There it was on #10 “Homosexuals….. Hell Awaits You”
    Channel 10 are responsible for their content, aren’t they.
    I’m still waiting for the Gaystapo to complain and take channel 10 off the air.

  • Folau is contracted to provide a service. They have not bought his soul.

    In times past and even today I can come across a person on a soapbox preaching their faith and beliefs in public spaces. It is my choice as to whether I stop and listen or read their billboard or walk on by.

    On social media people can choose to read or listen or skip and ignore.
    The GBLT community do not seek equality. They seek power, control and domination.

    We cannot have real Democracy without freedom of speech and freedom of religious belief.

    Our forefathers did not fight, suffer and die in two wars to defend the kind of Democracy that currently exists in Egypt, Turkey, Russia and Cambodia to name a few.

  • Very well articulated Ivan,
    Well done.
    God’s blessings to all readers on Easter Sunday. Christ is ALIVE. Fear is banished. He is returning soon. Our prayers are with Bill M, a real courageous and earnest soldier for our faith. The
    Praise God!!!
    Phil B

  • i Support Christian freedom of speech and a democratic nation which Australia is.

    The Christian message is one of Love, Joy, Peace, Hope, self control, Long Suffering and more. It is also one of Truth and this professional football player un-known to me is only speaking the Truth of his Christian Faith which I might add is often very different even the opposite at times to a ‘Religious’ Faith.

    There will come a time where ‘we’ as believers and Christians will become as vocal as it was in the days of Moses and not just put on a Religious front because we all know behind a facade is something fake and I personally would prefer hear and know the Truth of what is to come in believing 100% in the Bible what God’s word says’ about his chastisement and punishment of the evil doing of mankind without repentance and forgiveness. This is always available to all through God’s Love , mercy and Grace. He would rather us come freely of our own accord then to go through life questioning all of these things yet never knowing or accepting the Truth.

    The Truth will set you Free, the Bible say’s and I believe it will. We are in a time of change but we also running out of time to be pardoned from our ongoing sin which the Bible clearly points out what it and what isn’t. To go against our own conscience is a risk in itself and if we Christians such as this Football player voice their Christian opinions based on Biblical Truths we are doing no wrong compared to those who deny their faith in a cowardly manner.

    It is harder to try and live a Christian life than take part and participate in other lifestyles that are contradict our own conscience and beliefs based on biblical Truths and I believer more Christian followers will be persecuted for speaking the Truth and banned or forbidden to take part because of our beliefs.

    He is entitled to Play with his team. I am proud that he has the ability to speak the Truth as have many who have paid a high price for doing so. Someday, there will be those who will be thankful they heard the Truth be it through a Football player or another source. The Truth and this hope is what will set you free.

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