I am proud of Israel Folau who stood for God and His holiness. There are many Christians who truly follow Jesus are being persecuted and killed for their faith around the world and we cannot compare them with Israel Folau losing his million dollar contract. But, Israel had found a great pearl that is worth more than anything the world has to offer, that is, the kingdom of God.
Even though the quote by Israel Folau was mostly from Paul who I don’t believe, the condemnation on all sinners including homosexuals are destined for hell unless they repent, is an undeniable truth of Scripture. This post is neither about Israel Folau nor about the world which persecutes him. This post is about some hypocrites who claim to be Christians but know nothing about Jesus Christ and His teachings.
This post is a reply to Brian Houston for his article in The Sydney Morning Herald, A message to Folau: The world doesn’t need more judgmental Christians
Yet, as Christians, it is equally important to look at ourselves and our own failings and imperfections. If you look at the list of sins that Izzy listed there’s not too many people he’s left out, including Christians. There isn’t a person on earth who hasn’t told a lie or put something before God (idolatry).Brian Houston, Founder and senior pastor, Hillsong Church
Is Brian Houston describing regarding himself as being sinful? How does he know if all the people on this earth are sinful or not? Is he taking the place of God declaring himself to be “all knowing”? I believe he was misled by Paul (Rom 3:10) who misquoted Psalms which refers to atheists (Ps 14:1-3) rejecting what the Father (Eze 14:14) and the Son (John 1:47) said about certain people being righteous.
While sin is a real issue, the God I know and seek to follow is a God of love. He says that He did not come to condemn the world, He came to save it. And as Christians we would do well to follow the example of the founder of our faith. I believe there is a heaven and a hell but if you study scripture you won’t read about Jesus screaming to people that they are all going to hell. In fact Jesus, John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul, all kept their harshest criticism for those who were religious and judgmental.Brian Houston, Founder and senior pastor, Hillsong Church
It is amazing how these people can speak lies and twist Scripture. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who happens to be an Assembly of God Christian says Israel Folau’s remarks ‘terribly insensitive’? Did I hear
Scott Morrison accusing Christ’s rebuke of Pharisees, sinners, woes and curses against those who sin and don’t repent as ‘terribly insensitive’? Was John the Baptist preaching God’s love?
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” … And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. … His winnowing fan [is] in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”Matt 3:1-2, 10, 12
The message of John the Baptist was repentance or hell fire.
But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison. … he sent and had John beheaded in prison.Luke 3:19-20; Matt 14:10
According to Brian Houston, what John the Baptist did was religious and judgmental, and not showing God’s love. He may probably write an article titled, A message to John the Baptist: The world doesn’t need more judgmental preachers. John the Baptist was beheaded for questioning Herod’s adultery. Brian Houston must be ashamed to even quote John the Baptist.
But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.Matt 5:22
The very first sermon of Jesus called the sermon on the mount includes hellfire and judgments. This was not directed to those who are religious and judgmental but to the multitudes.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” … Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.John 14:21, 23-24
God does not even love sinners.
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.John 15:14
Nor is Jesus a friend of sinners. What kind of God’s love is Brian Houston suggesting to preach to sinners like homosexual and adulterers? There is no God’s love for them since those who walk in darkness are already condemned. Even in the story of the prodigal son, the father patiently awaits for the second son to repent, turn from his ways and return. The father refers to the prodigal son as “dead” and will “perish” if he didn’t turn from his evil ways. Is Brian preaching about the father who is awaiting without telling the second son that his ways will lead to death?
There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all [other] Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all [other] men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”Luke 13:1-5
If Jesus was living today on this earth, He would have said this: “Do you suppose the victims of Christchurch attack were worse sinners because they suffered such things? I tell you not. Unless all sinners including homosexuals and adulterers repent of their sins and turn back from their sinful ways, they will all likewise perish.”
Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? … Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill [Him.]Matt 23:33, 26:3-4
Jesus was crucified for His religious and judgmental statements.
In 40 years of telling people about the good news of Jesus, I have seen that the “turn or burn”, approach to proclaiming the message of Christianity alienates people. Scaring people doesn’t draw them into the love of Jesus.Brian Houston, Founder and senior pastor, Hillsong Church
Let’s see what Jesus is saying:
Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” So they went out and preached that [people] should repent.Mark 6:10-12
Jesus is sending His disciple to preach repentance and those who reject will receive worse than fire and brimstone from heaven. Not once did He sent His disciples to preach God’s love.
God cared so much for the eternity of humankind that he sent his only son to die in order that he might make a way for restoration and reconciliation. The problem with harsh comments in the media and disparaging statements on social media is that they create a further wedge between God and people.Brian Houston, Founder and senior pastor, Hillsong Church
Who will quote the remaining of what Jesus spoke?
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. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”John 3:19-21
Does Brian Houston know that those who love darkness like homosexuals and adulterers and those who do evil were already condemned unless they repent, turn back from their evil ways and come to Jesus?
The world doesn’t need more judgmental Christians. In the eyes of many, the church is not relevant to their lives and is seen to be stuck in the past.
But this is not the church I know. The church is a group of diverse (and imperfect) people who have all been captivated and adopted into the same story – with Jesus at the centre. The central storyline of our faith is a story of love and redemption, a story of forgiveness and acceptance, a story of undeserved grace and unreserved mercy. I have been the grateful recipient of all of these truths, and so has Folau, Court and anyone else who has personally experienced the love of Christ.Brian Houston, Founder and senior pastor, Hillsong Church
What kind of undeserved grace is Brain talking about? Don’t he know that we must be worthy to attain eternal life (Luke 20:35)? and we must enter by the narrow gate and walk through the difficult path (Matt 7:13-14)? Even the word “grace” never came from Christ’s mouth.
What church is Brain talking about? The church where Christ is denying access to the tree of life for believers who don’t overcome (Rev 2:7)? The church where Christ is allowing believers who don’t overcome to get hurt from the second death (Rev 2:11)? The church where Christ will fight against believers who eat things sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality (Rev 2:16)? The church where Christ will push believers who commit adultery with a self-claimed prophetess inside the church into great tribulation and kill her children (Rev 2:22-23)? The church where Christ will blot the names of believers from the book of life if they defile their garments (Rev 3:4-5)? The church where Christ will not keep the believers from the hour of trial if they had not kept His command to persevere (Rev 3:10)? The church where Christ will vomit believers out of His mouth if their works are lukewarm (Rev 3:15-16)? Brain can, of course, add statements like Christ is doing all these out of “love” to deceive His flock. After all, the flock wants to get deceived, which is why they go to his church.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.John 16:33
Finally, Jesus never said anyone will experience His love. The only thing all who follow Christ will experience is the peace even in the midst of persecution.
I would never compromise the integrity of Biblical teaching and I believe that the Bible is clear about the consequences of sin. However, as Christians we are first called to love God and love other people, including those who believe differently to us.Brian Houston, Founder and senior pastor, Hillsong Church
Jesus never asked any of His disciples to love other people but His disciples and those who obey Him. He always asked to love one another within His disciples (John 15:12), the least among Christ’s brethren (Matt 25:40) who do God’s will (Mark 3:35) and love pagans who show mercy towards us as He explained in the good Samaritan (Luke 10:36-37). The rest is all being merciful, compassionate and not striking back (Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27-36). He even asked us to treat all sinners who refuse to hear, repent or ask forgiveness as strangers (Matt 18:17). Christians are called to shake the dust of the feet if anyone does not hear, not go behind and love them.
And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Therefore the wrath of the LORD [is] upon you.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.2 Chr 19:2; Jas 4:4
How is Brian Houston suggesting to love the world without becoming an enemy of God and avoid His wrath on Him?
I admire Israel Folau as not only a sportsperson but as a man who won’t compromise his beliefs and is not afraid to stand up for Christ. I respect others who have also been criticised for their beliefs, such as Margaret Court. Freedom of religion is paramount in a society like Australia and no one should be condemned for holding firm convictions.
I hope Izzy is extended some grace from all Australians. He is young and sincere and passionate about his relationship with God. We have all made mistakes when it comes to speaking too quickly, judging too harshly or being blinded by our own stubbornness. The world is a better place when we all look at ourselves and recognise our own human failings, and we can extend the same grace to him as we’d like others to show us.Brian Houston, Founder and senior pastor, Hillsong Church
Did you notice the sandwich approach of how Brain is using positive messages to sandwich negative messages that are against Israel Folau’s actions? It’s a hypocritical way of writing used by many who want to insert a message that is against them by sandwiching between praises of them.
… I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral (including adulterers and homosexuals), sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.Jesus Christ (Rev 21:6-8)
For whoever is ashamed of Jesus and His words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38).