There’s nothing better than stories about celebrities and athletes who don’t just have faith but live out their faith in spite of the inevitable persecution that comes along with being a bold follower of Christ in this day and age.
Speaking out against the spiritual repercussions of homosexuality can be particularly daring, but is nonetheless vital to saving souls.
In Australia, Rugby player Israel Folau has caused a meltdown by asserting that “hell awaits” gay people. Last week, the Wallabies and New South Wales Waratahs fullback posted an image on Instagram and listed “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters” and stated that “Hell awaits you.”
In the caption, he wrote: “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.”
This was accompanied with the Bible verse:
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
Rugby Australia said in a statement Monday that Folau had “committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct warranting termination of his employment contract.” Folau has 48 hours to accept the sanction or he will face a code of conduct hearing. The post has not been removed.
After the controversy erupted, Folau said to the Sydney Morning Herald, “I’ll stand on what the Bible says…I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people’s reactions are the total opposite to how I’m sharing it.”
In a society where feelings reign supreme, we cannot expect those who do not follow the Lord Jesus to understand the truth which Folau is attempting to share; truth hurts feelings.
While it has come to be viewed as “hateful” to warn the world of the punishment for sin, it is not out of hate, but love, that we profess biblical truths about these taboo subjects.
We would be remiss as Christians not to warn those around us of the actual imminent danger they could one day face, and it is interesting to note that no one seems to be running to the defense of alcoholics, drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, or idolaters, but Folau, like millions of Christians around the world, knows that these are all sins that are all in danger of the judgment.
The very same judgment every Christian would face had they not accepted Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
It is important to point out that Folau is not saying gay people will go to hell because they are gay, he is saying gay people will go to hell because they are sinners. Homosexuality is one of many sins listed several times in the Bible. His most recent post highlights this but, according to social laws, you cannot speak out against any group within the protected LGBT community.
Folau has spoken out on this subject before; in 2018 he made a similar post warning that homosexuals would go to hell if they did not repent of their sin.
“It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.” Raelene Castle, Rugby Australia chief executive said.
So much for being protected for religious convictions. You are not allowed to have a stand contrary to someone’s sexual preference and you are also not allowed to have religious convictions that offend others. Hypocrisy anyone?
It is inspiring to see a successful, famous athlete taking a stand for the love of the Lord versus the love of the game. He’s risking a lot by saying these things, which is a very important lesson to many of us, who have far fewer people paying attention to our daily actions and yet typically avoid being so bold on the highly controversial subject of homosexuality.
“First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever he wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it.” Folau said of the controversy. “In saying that, obviously I love playing footsy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.”
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