Free Will, Free Speech and Israel Folau

It’s wonderful news that, all of a sudden, Rugby Australia believes in God, Heaven and Hell. Many of us had been under the distinct impression the sport’s administrators and participants were largely indifferent to Christian theology and doctrine. All that was cleared up marvelously when they judged the record try scorer of all time, Israel Folau, to be more immoral than the philandering, drunken, coke-snorters which repeated media reports suggest are found throughout the various Australian football codes.

Folau’s unconscionable crime was that of claiming to know of an objective standard by which Scripture warns all men are measured, a standard accepted and preached for millennia. His refusal to recant such contemporary heresy demanded that the sports administration inquisitors order Folau’s public flogging – not a flogging merely in public, but a flogging by the public one at a time. Qantas, homosexual activists, editorialists and politicians have all in their turn taken up the birch to give Folau a good thrashing.

The sporting champion’s sin was to post on Instagram a list of sins the Apostle Paul says will disqualify people from Heaven, the only alternative as Folau sees it being Hell. It’s remarkable that people who claimed to be indifferent to God and Hell yesterday are no longer indifferent today. That fact is that Folau’s haters are upset by figments of their own imagination. They scream that he is the hater and bigot, but ignore every fact inconvenient to that sensational narrative. As Folau seeks to save the eight varieties of sinners he specifies from Hell, his social media admonition was actually full of compassion: “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.”

See also: Sin-Binned in the Age of Woke

Of course Folau’s blunt evangelism is less effective than many equally uncompromising but more gently worded alternatives, but it contains not one iota of hate or bigotry. Indeed, only an intolerantly hateful bigot could project hate or bigotry onto that message. It contains a warning of impending harm, based in personal conviction,  and intended to help avoid that harm. It contains unconditional love for all regardless of identity or behaviour. It contains hope and patience for mature, free-will decisions. The only possible objection in the mind of the reader would be the premise that there is actually an objective moral standard which God has ordained. And so, like children told not to play with objects that will harm them, Folau’s detractors made tantrum their first response, the gagging of his views the second, and stern punishment for having uttered them the third.

The message of Easter is that the condition of being a sinner is temporary, prolonged by stubborn pride until, drowning in our sins, we raise our hands and reach out for the Life Saver. There is no discrimination or distinction: we’re all out of our depth.

Folau and Good Friday testify that no one is perfect, we all need a Saviour, and so He generously, sacrificially paid the price with His life so that His perfection could cover our imperfection. The only thing remarkable about a footy player preaching the Gospel is that this is considered an unforgivable offence. Sharing sex videos or being arrested for drunken brawling and indecent exposure warrant slaps and suspensions; preaching against sin is deemed to deserve immediate and absolute banishment.

Mark the hypocrisy with which the world, on one hand, condemns the Bible-thumping preaching of the Gospel by a footy player, and with the other hand mourns the Cathedral of Notre Dame in literal flames. The contrast is remarkable. The world has piously intoned, ‘We reject God’s concerns about us as hateful bigotry; but mourn the temporary flames burning a sanctuary which preached exactly those Scriptures.”

The images of the burning cathedral shadow the choices laid before us every Good Friday and every time Folau opens his Instagram account. We can choose to be outraged that there is an objective standard in Scripture (of which we all fall short); or we can accept the free offer being celebrated once more this Easter of the prescription for salvation from the curse and consequences of sin. Folau said what he believes and said it well enough: we need only turn away from our sin and come to Jesus while His precious gift of time permits.

The message of Israel Folau, Notre Dame and Good Friday is not a personal insult directed at certain hyper-sensitive individuals. It’s not  ‘hate speech’, it’s true-love speech. It’s a universal description of the human condition: hopelessly lost on our own, wondrously saved in the risen Christ. The free-will choice is yours.

12 comments
  • Tezza

    Very nice, thanks Dave!

  • en passant

    As an atheist (with nowhere to go in the foreseeable future) I find the treatment of Folau disgraceful. If he had chanted the mantra of ‘Come all ye LGBTI worshipers’ he would have been feted and invited to the leprechaun’s Boardroom for a diversity experience …

  • Homer Sapien

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 9:10, Much needed in today’s world.

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    Rugby League Australia take note of Hebrews 4:12: (ASV)

    “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart”.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    From the Qantas board view, Folau must be their ‘turbulent priest’.
    Interestingly the decision in the case of Peter Ridd placed intellectual freedom as a prior right to concepts of ‘ bringing the university into disrepute’.
    And this was a work place agreement.
    The reaction was so extreme to Folau’s statement of belief, one wonders ‘what is going on at Qantas?’
    Why are work place agreements becoming so draconian?
    If he mooned someone after a drunken party he would still be playing, ask the Bunnies.
    Qantas itself has a revolving door situation at the moment, two have left, Alison Webster and Jayne Hrdlicka, more distantly.
    The Wallabies appear to be in constant decline, financially and on the sporting field.
    ‘It is easy to kick a sport when it is down, but you don’t have to put on the steel-capped boots when considering Australian rugby.’
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-19/australian-rugby-losing-appeal/8629202
    This process of wastage seems to have set direction in 2017.
    Antidiscrimination is a two edged sword.
    As the punters leave the sport, so will Qantas walk, as a business decision.
    Once one of my greatest delights, Australian Rugby is now unable to find rest, reconciliation or growth.
    Its decline sees it about to lose its best player.

  • en passant

    Lewis,
    Get with the Woke. Winning is very discriminatory and makes the opposition feel bad, so it is better to lose, then everyone feels good, especially the losers.
    This attitude has been around a long time. I was the School Champion at a racquet sport, but was dropped from the Inter-Schools Team for ‘unsportingly’ crushing my enem.., sorry, I meant ‘opponents’. “Can’t you let them have few points pleaded Miss Tudhope. “No”. That ended my career as quickly as if I had said “I believe it is god’s will that I crush them”.

  • lloveday

    The Australian, which publishes all kinds of illiterate and abusive comments, rejected these two from me
    ************
    Quote: “…a religious person can decide to follow another religion or not follow one at all”.
    .
    And I can, and do, decide not to follow my innate inclination to resort to violence; similarly people with innate kleptomania curtail, under threat of criminal sanction, their urge. As many with homosexual inclinations used to do when homosexual activity was a crime in Australia as recently as 1997 (being innately homosexual has never been a crime any more than having an innate kleptomanic inclination), and can still do if they want.
    *********
    .
    Quote: “It’s not a “way of life” Trevor. Do you really think anyone would choose to be gay…”
    .
    Apparently Obama would have disagreed about it not being a choice –
    .
    The Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow has written (in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama), and it’s not been contested: “Obama wrote somewhat elusively to his first intimate girlfriend that he had thought about and considered gayness, but ultimately had decided that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex”.

  • Jody

    lloveday; That was a rather bloodless and cold statement from Obama. Why doesn’t it surprise me? He was bloodless and cold by nature.

  • Tony Willis

    Thanks for a nice piece Dave. Jude tells us to have compassion on some and others save with fear; which is why Folau’s blunt evangelism may not be “less effective than many equally uncompromising but more gently worded alternatives”.

    I recon the Christian Israel Folau will respond to every slander, slight and hateful thought thrown his way with forgiveness and deepening prayer. And Scripture tells us Israel Folau’s prayers (as a righteous man) are a delight to God, while those of the ungodly are an abomination to the Lord. Despite appearances, Israel will come off better than the virtue signalling, Offended Masses.

    The heathen do rage and the people do imagine a vain thing, kings and rulers set themselves against the Lord and against his anointed.
    But God….laughs them to scorn.
    And God….knows how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished.

    Jude 1:22-23
    Proverbs 15:8
    Psalm 2
    2 Peter 2:9

  • Doubting Thomas

    I don’t normally read Alan Jones, but in today’s Australian he has an excellent defence of Israel Folau and scathing criticism of the spineless Rugby teammates and hangers-on who have deserted him.

  • lloveday

    Tried again at The Australian – rejected again.
    ********************
    “This implies, of course, that Folau assumes homosexuals are capable of changing their sexuality, …”

    The same as Obama assumed of himself –

    The Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow wrote (in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama), and it’s not been contested: “Obama wrote somewhat elusively to his first intimate girlfriend that he had thought about and considered gayness, but ultimately had decided that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex”.

  • Calvin Timms

    The family is away at the in-laws so flicking through the ol’ Stan I stumbled across Dead Poets Society… which I hadn’t seen in years. I enjoyed it but the ‘walking in the courtyard scene made me think of this thread I had read earlier in the day. The script is something like this…

    Now, I didn’t bring them up here to ridicule
    them. I brought them up here to illustrate
    the point of conformity: the difficulty in
    maintaining your own beliefs in the face
    of others. Now, those of you — I see
    the look in your eyes like, “I would’ve
    walked differently.” Well, ask
    yourselves why you were clapping. Now,
    we all have a great need for acceptance.
    But you must trust that your beliefs are
    unique, your own, even though others may
    think them odd or unpopular, even though
    the herd may go, “That’s baaaaad.” Robert
    Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a
    wood and I, I took the one less traveled
    by, and that has made all the
    difference.” Now, I want you to find
    your own walk right now. Your own way of
    striding, pacing. Any direction.
    Anything you want. Whether it’s proud,
    whether it’s silly, anything. Gentlemen,
    the courtyard is yours.

    The courtyard doesn’t seem to be ours anymore.

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