Fired for quoting the Bible

Australian Rugby professional, Israel Folau has had his multiple million dollar contract ended because of alleged “homophobic” comments made on his private social media account.

Note, those comments were effectively a quote from scripture – and they don’t single out homosexuals, but equally specifies several types of sinners who need to turn to Jesus.

Why the allegations of “homophobia” and not similar complaints about the condemnation of drunkards, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves atheists and idolaters?

 

 

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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 every where to repent:
Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

 

closing churches, jailing pastors

In China, they’re closing churches, jailing pastors – and even rewriting scripture

China’s Communist party is intensifying religious persecution as Christianity’s popularity grows. A new state translation of the Bible will establish a ‘correct understanding’ of the text

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/13/china-christians-religious-persecution-translation-bible

 

Fleeing ISIS, Finding Jesus (2)

fleeing finding.jpgIn my previous post about this book I mentioned my initial disappointment when it didn’t seem to fulfill my expectations regarding testimonies of Muslims coming to faith in Jesus.

Then I recognised that “finding Jesus” wasn’t only applicable to new converts fleeing their old religious affiliation, but it also applied to professing followers of Jesus who would find a deeper relationship with Him when they faced unimaginable adversity.

My initial expectation was eventually fulfilled, but the hoped for evidence of Muslims finding the truth of Christ was often closely related to existing believers finding that deeper faith, as the security of their past was stripped away.

“For me as a believer, life is even better now than it was before ISIS. There are new opportunities and open doors to speak out loud about Jesus, to talk about Islam. A lot of Muslims are questioning who is God, and you only need to look on the Internet to see so many Muslims saying ‘if that’s God, I don’t want Him anymore.'”

Through the upheaval caused by the brutaility of ISIS and the resulting flight of those in their path, previously insular groups were brought together with a common plight.

…one of the themes that has come out of this displacement is the fact that Christian, Muslim, and Yazidi communities are no longer living in enclaves, isolated from the villages around them.

The brutality of ISIS forced everone to leave their homes and engage with people they had previously avoided…

How easy it is to sit here in the “west” and choose to read a book about Muslims coming to faith in Jesus in the Middle East, being turned against the religion of their birth by the evils they see in ISIS and other extremist groups who claim to embody Islam; as well as the stories of Muslims being pointed towards the truth of Jesus through dreams and visions.
Testimonies like that are encouraging, a joy to read and hear.

What isn’t so easy is taking the time to consider the other part of the story – the part about perecuted Christians, about followers of Jesus losing everything they had, being driven from their homes by the very same ISIS.

And yet those Christians, stripped of material security, play an important part in the aspect of the story we find so encouraging. If we REALLY consider the changes experienced by those believers, and if we considered their experience in light of scripture, and what Jesus said about those who follow Him; we ought to see how closely they fit the biblical descriptions, and how we in the west don’t.

If we could take a step back and dispationately compare the two vastly different Christian experiences which would we see as the most authentically and effectively lived, Christian witness?

“I look at the west and wonder if Satan uses our affluence to limit the growth of the church. I wonder whether his tactic for keeping God out is by providing comfort, by giving so many riches and so much wealth that people feel like they don’t need God.”

“When real persecution happens, you’re not afforded that. You have to call on God multiple times a day. Can you imagine what it does to your faith when you don’t know where the next meal is coming from or if you’re an Iraqi that’s lost a million dollars and two homes and a couple of cars and are sitting in a tent freezing in winter? Maybe that’ll be the first time in your life that you find yourself really calling out to God.”

Most of us here in the west won’t face the loss and tragedy being experienced elswehere, where  evil forces like ISIS, or their inevitable successors, express hatred through killing, stealing and destroying on a massive scale.

But we ought to meditate on the question of our own response if we did have to experience what so many have already faced elsewhere in the world. Would we be able (or willing) to trust God if those things we’d considered to be His blessings were torn away from us?

One thing that makes me think we in the prosperous West might find it difficult to summon up that willingness is the evidence of how even Western “believers” have responded to the plight of those who have been through the experience of losing home, possessions and family through the violence of others elsewhere in the world.

As they flee from the violence, seeking sanctuary in the west, they have ben rejected, shut out, pushed away in fear. Our fear. Fear of the disruption and cost that so many needy refugees would create to our comforatble, established lives.

Towards the end of the book the authors quote an interview related to their topic.

“I think there’s a lot of Christians who, rather than go and fulfill the Great Commission, they said, ‘I think I’ll stay home and pray for the Great Commission.’ And God said, ‘I want you to be part of it, so I’m going to bring the Great Commission to you'”

David Garrison

What has been the reaction of many when God brings the Great Commission to us?

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Most Dangerous Place to Follow Jesus

North Korea: The Hardest Place To Follow Jesus.
This has been the most dangerous country to be a Christian for 17 years. North Koreans are forced to worship the Kim dynasty, and nothing else. Anyone with links to Christianity is arrested, tortured and even killed. Despite this, the underground church is growing, with an estimated 300,000 Christians in North Korea.

 

https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/world-watch-list/north-korea

Lovers of Darkness Rather Than Light

Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven.

 

Australian Rugby player Israel Folau has been going through a sustained media campaign* against him for several weeks now, because of his public expressions of faith in Jesus. It started when he

“…was asked a question by somebody about what God’s plan is for gay people. My response to the question is what I believe God’s plan is for all sinners, according to my understanding of my Bible teachings….”

 

Since then he’s been attacked from all quarters in the media and by a media fuelled public.

The situation worsened when he dared to post a video of a David Wilkerson sermon on his twitter account, described in the media as “an anti-gay video”.

 

 

The onslaught continued today:

“It appears the furore surrounding Israel Folau’s religious views is only fuelling him to share more of his controversial thoughts…”

https://au.sports.yahoo.com/door-closing-izzy-tweets-religion-035521779.html

 
Because of his expressions of his faith, there have been calls for Folau’s career to be ended as well as the constant negative media attention.

 

Also in the news today:

 

Poll shows nearly 80% of respondents are against religious schools’ exemptions on LGBTI anti-discrimination law

Four out of five Australians oppose the right of religious schools to hire and fire staff or expel students because of their sexuality, a new poll has found.

The YouGov Galaxy poll, conducted for the LGBTI rights lobby group Just Equal, found that 82% opposed the existing discrimination law exemptions that allowed expulsion of gay and lesbian students and 79% opposed the schools’ ability to fire teachers if they married a person of the same sex.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/14/most-australians-oppose-religious-schools-right-to-fire-staff-based-on-sexuality

 

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

________________________________________

*Examples here: https://wwos.nine.com.au/2018/05/12/11/39/israel-folau-met-by-protester-in-new-zealand

http://www.news.com.au/sport/sports-life/rugby-star-israel-folau-refuses-to-be-silenced/news-story/63d2028462cf010b950b8b52769639ab

https://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/super-rugby/karl-stefanovic-lashes-israel-folau-over-his-homophobic-remarks/news-story/bb88bd8c1812a27dc362219ecccf8719?nk=0ef75b84262d5b76f8f187db8d66b93e-1526272807

https://au.sports.yahoo.com/door-closing-izzy-tweets-religion-035521779.html