all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The manufactured controversy of Israel Folau’s comments continues.
A few weeks ago I posted the observations in this article (fired for quoting the bible).
Recent events related to this issue have included:
Israel Folau starting a funding drive to raise money for a legal challenge against his dismissal.
Folau’s wife coming under attack for including a reference to the fund page on her own social media account.
The cancelling of Folau’s fund raising account by site owners. (“we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion” – with one exception it seems. They have no problem discriminating against a Christian).
The most recent article I’ve seen on the issue is another assumed “gotcha”, where a Christian spokesman is accused of dodging the question posed by a celebrity journalist, of whether HE believes homosexuals are destined for hell. (Lisa Wilkinson’s brutal question for Christian leader supporting Folau).
A few points I would like to make.
- Folau didn’t single out homosexuals as being destined for hell. He also listed drunkards, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves atheists and idolaters
- I’ve yet to hear a chorus of condemnation from the others on that list – where are the accusations of adulterophobia, liarphobia, kleptophobia, etc.?
- Folau’s fundraising attempts were ill-advised, considering his considerable wealth. That campaign merely gave his opponents added ammunition, contrasting the money donated to him with the difficulties being faced by similar fund raising for children in need.
- The journalist mentioned above was so focused on the issue of alleged singular condemnation of homsexuality, that she ignored the actual AND CORRECT answer given by the interviewee.
[He] responded telling the panel hell isn’t simply reserved for homosexuals.
“The mainstream Christian belief on this is that all of us are born going to hell,” he said.
“We’re all sinners and I don’t think it’s helpful to say that Israel Folau’s post targeted homosexuals — it didn’t.”
He continued his lengthy response in defence of Folau’s comments saying we will all be judged on our sexual behaviours, including heterosexuals.
“I was on the list. I think each of us were on the list. We’re all sinners. We will be judged by God and we will be found wanting. I think that’s something that some Australians find offensive.
“But it is actually a Christian belief which runs to the very heart, soul and core of Christianity. And yeah, we’ll be judged on our sexual behaviours. Me, as a straight man, will be judged on my sexual behaviours and found wanting.”
That interviewee is absolutely right. EVERYONE is condemned to and deserving of hell. It doesn’t take any action on our part to make that our destination.
Folau’s message has been hijacked and portrayed as solely condemning of homosexuals, whereas the INTENDED message is that there’s an escape, a way out, an opportunity for everyone to avoid hell. That ALL humanity is given time to turn to Jesus who has made that escape possible.
Despite my agreement with the overall premise of Folau’s message, I do question whether, on two fronts, he’s spoken and acted in wisdom.
Firstly, taking the fundraising and legal action path has taken the issue away from the necessity and importance of people turning to Jesus, and the act itself hasn’t presented a good Christian witness.
Secondly, while it has been common practice, presenting a gospel centred on an escape from hell can be unproductive. The world today has little spiritual awareness and I suspect that the idea of hell has lost any real meaning to the majority. Also, and significantly, Jesus is our primary source of references to hell in scripture, and those references were warnings ALL addressed to believers, or at least to those who claimed to believe.
He never used hell as a threat to get non-believers to follow Him.