Like it or not, it’s in The Book

Anti-Christian, sanctimonious bigots are on the loose in every walk of life: in government, in the media, in business, in entertainment, and in sports. They are out to destroy Christianity, the very foundation of our culture and way of life. It is in their way. It must be weakened, distorted and diluted to suit the progressive fads and fashions of the time. Torchbearers for the Old Time Religion like Folau stand in their way and must be cashiered with extreme prejudice.

It is clear from the Bible — however it is spun — that homosexual acts are regarded as sinful. This is not fundamentalist Christianity as some know-nothings describe it. It is Christianity.

Genesis and Leviticus set out the position plainly in the Old Testament. St Paul’s letters to the Romans (1:26-27), to Timothy (1:9-10) and to the Corinthians (6:9-10) make it plain in the New Testament. With the proviso, so far as I can tell, that only in Romans are female homosexual acts condemned as sinful. Israel Folau was quoting from Corinthians.

I make this last point because in the space of a day or so at the beginning of the week I heard a commentator on The Bolt Report go uncorrected in sourcing Folau’s quote to the Old Testament. As then did some panellist on a Channel 7 morning program – which I caught inadvertently when switching channels. Their point in attributing the quote to the Old Testament was that it was redundant since the emergence of Christianity.

Of course, the Old Testament is an integral part of Christianity in any event but, as it happens, it’s all there too in the New Testament. But perspective is needed. Homosexuality isn’t singled out. Lots of other sins are condemned. Sins are part and parcel of our separation from God. They are inevitable. We all, without exception, commit them. As a general rule, therefore, it is best not to feel holier than thou and start casting stones and judging others.

As a reminder, this is what Folau posted on Instagram in April which caused all of the trouble:

WARNING Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters HELL AWAITS YOU Repent! Only Jesus Saves.

The applicable passage from Corinthians varies a bit depending on the version of the Bible. This extract is from the New International Version:

Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

I am not sure from which Bible Folau is quoting but there is a close enough match between the texts, as there is across all versions. I saw one commentator make an issue of Folau using “Hell” as the punishment for non-repentant sinners rather than the seemingly milder punishment of being banned from God’s kingdom. This from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Hell consists of in the eternal damnation of those who die in mortal sin through their own free choice. The principal suffering of hell is eternal separation from God in whom alone we can have the life and happiness for which we were created and for which we long.

So, it is clear enough, Folau is quite entitled to use the word ‘hell’. And for a preacher, there is no point in glossing over revealed truth. “You’re going to hell unless you repent and turn to Christ,” has rather more oomph to it than you’re going to be separated from God. But they are one and same thing.  

Australians still enjoy the freedom to quote from the Bible, including from Corinthians. Don’t we? Yet for this ‘transgression’ the bigots of our time want Folau’s livelihood forfeited. It is shameful and, I trust, legally untenable.

It is important to say in all of this that homosexuals should not be made to feel singled out. It is always important for Christians to make it abundantly clear that we are all sinners. There is nothing in Christianity which says that homosexuals are less likely to inherit the kingdom of God than are heterosexuals. And Paul made that clear.

This is what Paul wrote immediately after the passage quoted above:

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

That is to say, we (without exception) are saved, and only saved, by repenting and turning to Christ.  Note, this is exactly how Folau ended his post. In sum, his post in its entirety is Christologically sound.

For atheists who believe we are all unlikely accidental products of cosmic forces none of this makes any sense. That’s fine so long as they understand the importance of religious liberty and free speech, as many do. In a different ballpark all together is Rod Bower, the Anglican minister at Gosford. He thinks Folau is wrong. He said so on the message board outside his church. He needs to make the worldwide Anglican community privy to his sin-sanitized version of the Bible. No point in repenting of non-transgressions.

20 comments
  • rod.stuart

    Excellently written.
    Time and time again people remark that they don’t “agree” with Israel but understand how important it is that he has the freedom to express it.
    The first question that entered my mind was “What precisely do you disagree with?”
    Do you not agree that it is “in the book?”
    The whole issue demonstrates how fully the ability to think has been downtrodden, not to mention a reckoning with what is in the Good Book”.

  • Tezza

    Thanks Peter – well argued, and I wasn’t previously aware of any biblical injection against lesbians.
    The remaining issue of interest is the argument by gays and other Folau critics that while the other claimed sins on the lists are chosen behaviours and arguably immoral (with the exception of being an atheist which somehow creeps into Israel’s list), being gay is neither. Promiscuity may be said to be a sin, but gays may say ‘we can now be married, so why isn’t gay sex in a committed relationship within marriage as blameless as heterosexual sex within marriage?’

    When I was last receiving Catholic instruction (about 60 years ago), some relatively liberal Catholics argued being homosexual was not a sin, but homosexual sex was the sin. This left me wondering why the 3 Abrahamic religions (and others, I gather) so strongly and uniformly prohibit at least male homosexual activity? I had always imagined that was because anal sex is unhealthy, as Augusto Zimmermann has documented (https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2017/08/childrens-welfare-sex-families/). Thus the prohibition against gay sex is like the prohibition against eating pork or shellfish, and could be treated the same way: go ahead if you understand the risks and are careful.

    What do others think? Are we even allowed to pose such questions?

  • lloveday

    Also from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
    “…homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law.”
    .
    I cannot see how sodomy can be natural – the penis has the dual functions of passing urine and sperm, the anus and rectum are for the excretion of faeces, and are unsuited for penetration, sensibly requiring lubrication and if it is not lubricated prior to penetration, damage to the wall or lining is likely to occur. I presume it is a learned, not innate, act.
    .
    Further, the Catechism acknowledges – “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible”.
    But I don’t see how that attraction can be an innate inclination towards sodomy.
    .
    Nor is the number of men and women who have, for instance, kleptomaniac tendencies, violence tendencies, and dare I say it, paedophilic tendencies negligible.
    .
    Then “This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial”.
    .
    We all have trials but we also have control over what we do – kleptomaniacs control their urge to steal or suffer the legal consequences, many control their urge to tell the boss to shove it or risk loss of employment and income, others control their instinct to give a neighbour’s brat a clip under the ear, President Carter said “I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times” but controlled himself (me too, and I warrant most men) ……
    .
    And my final quote:
    “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.
    .
    Which seems to me to be what Folau does – he wrote of homosexual acts, not feelings.

  • Peter Smith

    Tezza, wouldn’t it be a stretch compare the prohibition against eating shellfish or pork with a collection of sins which include thievery? Anyway you might recall that Christ made the point Matthew 15:11 that what comes out your mouth is far more important than what you put in it.
    Good pick up of “atheists” in Folau’s post by the way. I must admit to having read over it.

  • Andrew Campbell

    xx

  • Andrew Campbell

    You don’t get much of an understanding of ‘hell’ from either the Old Testament (that cruel and capricious god) or even from the Apostle Paul (that nasty misogynist legalist who perverted the beautiful teaching of Jesus). No. Like it or not, the idea in our head of hell as a place of fire and devils and pain comes from Jesus Himself (Matthew 25v41; Luke 16v23). It is very much part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5v22; 5v29; 7v13). And if I am going to call myself a Christ-ian, I have to take seriously what Christ says. Yes, the good things, and the difficult things.

  • deric davidson

    The proposition that people are born homosexual is as far as I know not been established scientifically. Yet it is often cited publicly by homosexual advocates. There is no ‘gay’ gene yet discovered from my understanding. This sort of proposition is not only morally dangerous it is socially and culturally dangerous. Is pedophilia a sexual behavior that people are born with? If homosexuality is a ‘legitimate’ sexual orientation can it be argued that pedophilia is a ‘legitimate’ sexual orientation. Bestiality? Incest? This is a slippery slope we should not be advocating. By the way if you try posting these sorts of comments in comments columns in online news outlets you will be censored by the moderators. Offensive apparently.
    Homosexuality has destroyed the Catholic Church at its highest levels in the last 50-60 years and statistics show a direct correlation of a rise in homosexuality among priests and pedophilia which is by and large homosexual in nature (80%+) i.e. abuse of boys from 13+ years up to young men in seminaries. These are also regarded as offensive comments and will not be published in any secular news outlet.

  • Tezza

    I agree with Peter’s observation that it would be a stretch to compare the prohibition against eating shellfish or pork with a collection of sins which include thievery. I was trying to distinguish between ‘sins’ that are usually concluded to be wrong or immoral from many ethical frameworks – utilitarian, the ‘golden rule’ etc – and Biblical strictures against what seem to be ‘victimless crimes’ such as eating shellfish or homosexual sex.

    I suspect that putting us back in St Paul’s times, these ‘victimless crimes’ were not regarded as matters of indifference to the community, but as an actual threat to its health. Perhaps some of them still are. We’ll never know if we stifle articulation of views contrary to prevailing woke opinion.

  • Mohsen

    deric,
    The fact that the practice of homosexuality has apparently been around for millennia could be a cause for its practicers and advocates to demand recognition as an orientation or tendency. Accepting it as such won’t and shouldn’t result in a slippery slope. Kleptomania, paedophilia, and sexual desire for bestiality can also be recognized as orientations or tendencies. But only homosexuality which is the actual consequence of the homosexuals’ tendencies can demand and be given and is acceptance ; the rest cannot demand and will not and should not (one would expect) be given that acceptance: In case of paedophilia and bestiality, one party involved in the act is not considered (by those who are in the position of giving consideration and recognition) mature, wise, intelligent or independent enough to make decisions for himself or itself; decisions are made for them; also, criminalizing paedophilia and bestiality indicates that the most powerful agent in the country has decided that it is only its prerogative, no one else’s, to be the decision maker for and on behalf of the children and the beasts; hence, for example, a parent’s consent for his child’s sexual involvement will be worthless, and the agent will punish him along with the paedophile!
    In case of Kleptomania, one party has given no consent, and presumably been harmed and has a complaint.

  • Mohsen

    Tezza,
    Jesus proclaimed that he was the son of the God of the Old Testament. In Leviticus, God makes known his views on homosexuality (male homosexuality): He calls it detestable and commands that the homosexuals be put to death. St Paul would be somehow repeating what was told in the Old Testament. From our standpoint, it being a victimless crime or not, or even being a crime or not, is irrelevant; the god of the Old Testament sees it as detestable, and I don’t think he explains why; regardless,he can do anything and holds any views he wants, and he doesn’t have to explain it to anyone. After all, he’s the God.

  • lloveday

    Peter Singer was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for “eminent service to philosophy and bioethics as a leader of public debate and communicator of ideas in the areas of global poverty, animal welfare and the human condition”.
    .
    In an interview by Marvin Olasky 8 years before being awarded the AC, Singer gave the following opinions:
    .
    When asked about the morality of necrophilia Singer said, “There’s no moral problem with that.”
    What about bestiality? Is it morally acceptable to have sex with animals so long as they seem willing to do so? Singer’s answer: “I would ask, ‘What’s holding you back from a more fulfilling relationship?’ (but) it’s not wrong inherently in a moral sense.”
    When asked if it was morally acceptable for parents to conceive and give birth to a child specifically to kill him, take his organs and transplant them into their ill older children Singer answered, “It’s difficult to warm to parents who can take such a detached view, (but) they’re not doing something really wrong in itself.”
    When asked if there was anything wrong with a society in which children are bred for spare parts on a massive scale he said “No.”
    He also affirms that it is ethically permissible to kill 1-year-olds with physical or mental disabilities, although ideally the question of infanticide would be “raised as soon as possible after birth.”
    .
    The awarding of an AC is approved by the Governor-General, presumably on the advice of the PM who was then Gillard.

  • Stoneboat

    Thank you Peter, for your straight-shooting piece at a time when light and truth seem to be in short supply.

    Israel Folau’s admonitions/exhortations/ preaching is entirely God-honouring, Christ-centred and loving. The fact that he has met with such vitriol and rancour is no surprise, given that the Lord Himself stated plainly that if the world hates his disciples, know that they hated Him first because the world’s deeds are evil.

    Elsewhere, the Bible warns that Christians will suffer persecutions and that we are to count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus. The Christian faith comes with a cost, we are in a battle and Christians would do well to remember this.

    Concerning Atheists, they are on ‘the list’, certainly by deed, if not by name because they have rejected God and His son – he that hath the son hath life and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    God requires all His creation to render all praise, all honour and all glory to Him (every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord). A foundational part of honouring God is to take His word seriously – this includes believing what He tells us of the Creation account in Genesis and obeying Jesus, the Word who became flesh.

    What we do with God’s word effects individuals and whole societies. God plainly says that obedience brings blessings and disobedience brings curses, to individuals and nations. The Bible also plainly states that sodomy and lesbian sex are a punishment delivered by God as a consequence of people not honouring God as God. (Romans chapter 1). Read this again; sodomy is not a “lifestyle choice”. Sodomy is punishment inflicted for endlessly provoking God.

    By the time God gives Atheists and idolaters over to a reprobate mind and sodomy, they are nearly too Proud to realise the predicament they are in.

    This is all clearly written in The Book, which God gave for the benefit of all.

  • Stoneboat

    Sorry about the paragraph spacing above – it vanished when posted 😉

  • lloveday

    Stoneboat – I put a fullstop on a line to space paragraphs.

  • pgang

    Nice one Peter. This has needed to be said from day one.

    “It is important to say in all of this that homosexuals should not be made to feel singled out.” That is true, but the irony is that they are singling themselves out. There is of course more to male homosexuality than just immorality. It involves a mindset that is ruthless in its rejection of God, and is therefore often singled out in Biblical history, particularly in the tale of Sodom where it is presented in its purest form.

    Tezza you conflate issues of ritual purity with sins against God’s holiness, which are destructive to creation.

  • whitelaughter

    the claim that homosexuality is hereditary breaks down the moment you look at the figures for identical twins; the odds of both being gay are only about 20% – despite sharing upbringing etc.

    Peter Singer is truly revolting – had to read some of his stuff at uni. One of the examples he uses to support bestiality was when a great ape tried to *rape* a zookeeper – it didn’t even occur to him that the rape was a problem, either.

  • Peter Smith

    Just a thought on the whitelaughter comment. Once you don’t believe in God, I see no problem in inventing your own moral code; hence Singer.

  • PT

    I don’t like Singer. I was reading when I was 3. But according to Singer, it’s at best “borderline” if I have greater awareness etc. than a gorilla at that age! Just surprised he doesn’t claim that a sleeping person has a lower level of sentience than a cow, and hence it is more “ethical” to eat a sleeping person than a cow! I saw his interview with Andrew Denton years ago. A friend of mine thought Singer sounded alright on the basis of that, but the truth was that Denton only asked him lollipop questions, never challenged him on anything, or sought clarifications on any of the apparent double standards Singer had (like on the one hand promoting “animal rights” and on the other “liberating bestiality”)!

  • PT

    Regarding Folau. Let’s say he’d merely attended a Church where the pastor/preacher preached against the sins listed in Corinthians? Or that Corinthians was one of the readings for the day. And some “activist” recorded it and posted it online as this “homophobic” church meeting where Folau was present. Would Ruby Australia have still terminated his contract assuming he didn’t publically repudiate it? I strongly suspect it would have (for fear of upsetting Joyce and the GetUp set). But if they did, it would definitely be religious discrimination.

  • Bwana Neusi

    Has anybody else noticed the perverted inversion that is taking place.
    .
    It used to be that Christians proudly held their faith up for all to see and some were even chastised for not being seen to practice it. Homosexuality on the other hand was seen not only as an abomination of nature, but a mortal sin.
    .
    Now it is the LGBTQI+ that display their calling with “Pride” at every opportunity and are forcing Christianity into the closet by denouncing them as bigots, “Sinning” against the new order.
    .
    Which begs the question. When will the LGBTQI+ cohorts have the courage to take on Islam and its position on homosexuality?

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