An exclusive report has been published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, providing ‘new’ information about Israel Folau and his church, suggesting their theology is extreme and out of touch with mainstream Christianity. The article seems to be aimed further pushing wedges between Israel Folau and those who have been supporting him (which is partly odd given there are many non-Christians supporting him)
1. We mustn’t ignore credible information, even if it may be uncomfortable. Should it be accurate, Christians will be concerned.
2. Some of the reported information is yet to be confirmed. Given much of the SMH reporting on Israel Folau, it is unsurprising that readers receive this new article with some suspicion. An example would be John Tait’s attempt to deconstruct Folau’s use of the Bible in the offending post, Did Israel Folau actually misquote the Bible? Hell, yes (read my response to this inaccurate piece here ).
3. Some of the information isn’t new and hasn’t been hidden by Christians. For example, Folau’s view on the Trinity. On April 11th, 2019 I wrote,
“More important, someone has brought to my attention that Folau seems, at the very least, to be confused by the Christian teaching of the Trinity. His comments on the Trinity that have been shared with me are troubling, to say the least. This doesn’t negate the 5 points made in this post, but it may cause us to reevaluate Folau’s understanding of Christianity. I suspect that many Christians, in explaining God, fall into one Trinitarian heresy or another, simply because they haven’t been taught the Scriptures well. Perhaps he needs a Christian brother to get alongside him and disciple him with a Bible in hand (don’t we all?). The doctrine of the Trinity, however, is too important, too central to the Christian faith, for us to ignore.”
4. Most Protestant Christians have serious concerns over some key Roman Catholic doctrines and many Christians also share concerns over the teaching and practices at Hillsong. There is nothing exceptional in this
5. Orthodox Christian doctrine matters more to Christians than politics and law.
6. Current Christian advocacy for religious freedom has not only been about Christians but about sustaining a positive social pluralism in Australia for all Australians.
7. Even if Israel Folau’s theology is heterodox, that does not diminish the issue of his wrongful sacking by Rugby Australia. Should only mainstream Christianity be protected by commonsense and law?
I will add an eighth: two things can be true at the same time: Folau’s post was close to the mark (in terms of reflecting classical Christian teaching) and his views on the Trinity and some other matters is wide of the mark (not reflecting classical Christian teaching). The latter doesn’t preclude the former from being accurate.