Seven Statements about the Israel Folau Church revelations

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)

 

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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.

8 thoughts on “Seven Statements about the Israel Folau Church revelations

    • This is why freedom of religion is so closely related to freedom of speech, association etc. I would expect good law to be as open as possible in ruling on cases involving someone’s religious belief. So long as there is no incitement to violence, where is the issue? The state should definitely not be able dictate what is, or is not acceptable doctrine for someone to hold to. To do so would make them into high priests.

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  1. Isreal’s comments he tweeted are mainstream Christianity. All denominations read and preach what is written in the Bible. Any discussion about other conversations, or experiences of third parties, are quite irrelevant to what is being considered. What is the point of trashing his church and beliefs?

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  2. Hi Murray,

    I’ve been in touch with the parent in the story, and with the journalist (because I’ve been vocally concerned about this stuff). The parent sent me the audio recordings of her visit to the Folau’s Bible Study, it’s all totally verifiable.

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    • thanks Nathan. I remember you saying on a facebook thread (a month or 2 ago) that you had been informed that Israel’s theology of the Trinity had grown since he posted a modalist position 1-2 years ago, and that he is moving toward a more accurate view of the Trinity. Can you substantiate that? thanks brother

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  3. Surely now is not the time for arguments between different Protestant Churches, there was more than enough harm done 502yrs ago with the Reformation. As a Catholic I realise that there are several key point differences, however, there is much being done since Vatican 2, with all Christian denominations meeting locally, Nationally, Regionally and Internationally. We must try to work on the doctrines that are the same and not concentrate firstly on our differences. We are all on a journey with Christ, let us encourage one another at this difficult time that we in Australia are experiencing. As said previously in Remarks, all this has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel Folau’s case at hand. As far as I know he is living his life as he understands as a young Christian man. As far as I am aware he doesn’t claim to be a Theologian, he is following what he has been taught. If we have charity, why at this time, are we seeking to critisice other Faiths. Remember the saying that is pretty general throughout, and that is, Why critisice the one with a splinter in his/her eye when you can’t see the beam in your own. Finally, there are billions of Catholics and Christians in the World, they have very deep faith but do you for one minute think that they know all the rich History and Theology of the last 2000 years, since Christ died on the Cross to save each one of us, of course not. Faith is a gift, a gift that not necessarily comes with complete knowledge. Ms June Ross, OP
    Lay Dominican, Perth. Western Australia

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    • Thank you June for commenting.
      The differences between Catholicism and Protestantism are not minor ones. While there are important doctrines that are held by both, views about justification, the role of Mary and of the Pope, and of the authority of the Bible, are all very important. I appreciate that many Catholics don’t necessarily hold to formal Catholic doctrine on all these matters (just as many Protestants don’t hold to their doctrines either).
      Vatican 2, instead of alleviating many concerns, has heightened some and introduced other key concerns, including whether faith in Christ is necessary (something Vatican 2 say is no longer necsesary for salvation).

      I think you are right, that Folau is on a journey and his thinking on different theological issues seems to be changing. I pray that he comes to understand and embrace the Biblical and amazing truth that God is Triune.

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