OK, we all have things that cheese us off. We all have things that get our goat. One thing that really bugs me is when an admittedly flawed and far from perfect Christian seeks to do all he can to serve his Lord, especially in the public arena, but gets attacked for it by other believers.
It seems there will always be so-called Christians attacking those who are the real deal. While they sit at home, comfortable, doing nothing risky or sacrificial for the Kingdom, they will hurl broadsides at those who do. These critics are a dime a dozen, and they simply try to build themselves up by tearing others down.
We have countless examples of this, but one very obvious recent case involved the Australian rugby player Israel Folau and public comments he made about sin and salvation. I have already written a number of articles about this, including a piece where I also take on his many critics: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/15/folau-and-the-fallout/
Well, Folau keeps on speaking truth, especially in his role as a lay preacher, and the media keeps picking up on it and getting outraged, and the spineless Christian armchair critics keep coming out in force. As to the lamestream media, most of today’s articles on this have moved beyond reporting to editorialising, with most of the headlines speaking of him ‘attacking homosexuals’ and the like.
As but one example of this, here is the headline and much of a Sydney Morning Herald hit-piece:
Folau launches fresh attack on gay and transgender people
Israel Folau has launched another attack on gay people and also criticised young people being allowed to change gender during a sermon at his Sydney church. The former rugby union star described homosexuality as a sin and claimed the devil was behind primary school children being allowed to decide if they wanted to change gender.
“This is what the devil is trying to do, to instil into the government, into this world, into society, and it is slowly happening,” Folau said in his Sunday sermon at The Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Kenthurst. “The sad thing is why a lot of people out there that are non-Christians say bad things about the church, is because a lot of the churches allow those things to happen.
“They say that a man and a man should be able to be married and there is nothing wrong with it. This buys into the theme of pleasing man rather than pleasing God and standing up for the truth.” The 30-year-old’s sermon was posted on the church’s Facebook page. Folau also criticised modern “Westernised” churches and said true believers in Christ “profess him wherever we go”.
“Are we too scared because we might be cast out by our workplace or cast out of somewhere because we’re not liked or loved by those around us and don’t believe the same thing we do?” he asked. “You might be the only born-again Christian in that workplace, you might feel a bit awkward with your co-workers because they are in the world and you’re not. We should feel blessed … because God has called us.”
Um, no, he attacked no one. He simply shared biblical truth. He simply shared what all Jews and Christians have believed for three millennia. To simply say that the Bible calls us all sinners and commands repentance of all of us is not attacking anyone. It is just stating truth.
And to want to protect our innocent and vulnerable young children from the destructive and dangerous radical trans agenda is the epitome of love and compassion. The trans militants are engaging in actual child abuse, and concerned Christians like Folau simply want to protect these poor children from nefarious adult schemes.
Yet he is somehow the bad guy here? As secular left governments all across Australia keep pushing radical trans insanity on our children, someone needs to come to their defence. If most church leaders are just too cowardly or apathetic to do it, then I sure am glad that Israel is standing up here. Way to go Israel!
And you need to be aware of this: Did you know that it was not all that long ago that the SMH and other Australian newspapers would routinely print Sunday sermons in full in their Monday morning editions? This was a common and regular practice a century ago.
As I said in an earlier article: “John Fairfax (1804-1877), owner of the Sydney Morning Herald, had been a deacon and Sunday School superintendent back in the UK. He was an unashamed Christian who never tired of speaking of his faith and sharing it with others.”
It would be interesting to revisit those printed sermons. I do not doubt that with a little sniffing around we could find some of them – even some that might speak about things like homosexuality. Will the SMH and other papers now publicly denounce what they formerly ran with, remove all these past sermons, and delete all references to them?
What has changed here? Christianity has not changed. The biblical message has not changed. The need for preachers to declare biblical truth has not changed. What has changed is the media – it once faithfully reported and reflected what was going on around them. Now it stands in opposition to that culture, and has declared war on it.
But we expect the secular and Christophobic media and others to go after people like Folau. They hate everything about him, and all that he stands for. But what we do not expect, or at least should not expect, is when all these pharisaical armchair critics join in on the attack.
These Christian critics seem far more intent on receiving the praises of men than in supporting a brave brother in Christ who is seeking to make a stand for Christ and the Word, no matter how imperfectly. Most of these cowardly critics will never publicly affirm basic biblical truths – certainly on things like homosexuality.
Sorry, they have their reputations to keep intact. The world loves them too much for them to disappoint. They would rather be well-received by the masses than stand alone for Jesus Christ. I for one have had a gutful of such people. Give me one Israel Folau over a thousand of these folks any day of the week.
Oh, and earth calling critics: guess what? Athletes are not always known for being great intellects, being eloquent in speech, or being properly refined and polished. For heaven’s sake, they are just jocks (as we call them in America), usually known more for their physical abilities than their mental or social abilities.
So if Folau says things a bit differently than how I might have said them, so what? At least he is speaking up and saying what needs to be said. These craven critics will never get up and say what needs to be said. They will keep bending over backwards to please people and be thought well of by everyone. They will have their reward.
As for me and my house we will stand with the Lord – and with his imperfect but fearless champion Israel Folau.