Rugby Player Raises Hell

Rugby Player Raises Hell

What’s the best punishment for someone who says the unrepentant will go to Hell?

Yes, you read that right. How should we penalize somebody who says such a hurtful thing that Hell exists and that some choose to go there?

That question is being asked in earnest Down Under right now. And Stream readers can be an enormous help in answering.

Into the Scrum

Here’s the story. Israel Folau is a Rugby player for Australia’s Wallabies. By all accounts his performance is unparalleled, “one of the code’s most marketable players.”

Folau is also a devout Christian. He himself tells us what happened after making an Instagram post.

…I was asked a question by somebody about what God’s plan is for gay people.

My response to the question is what I believe God’s plan is for all sinners, according to my understanding of my Bible teachings, specifically 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor the drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

I do not know the person who asked the question, but that didn’t matter. I believed he was looking for guidance and I answered him honestly and from the heart. I know a lot of people will find that difficult to understand, but I believe the Bible is the truth and sometimes the truth can be difficult to hear.

Folau said God’s plan for gay people was “Hell…unless they repent of their sins and turn to God” (ellipsis original).

Into Hell

Hell for the unrepentant is also God’s plan for Stream authors—and, yes, readers, too. This news would not seem to be controversial because this has been the well known teaching of Christianity since its inception. The news shouldn’t be painful, either, because repentance is free and easy. And recommended.

Even more calming is the realization you do not have to believe anybody goes to Hell. You are free to dismiss and ignore those people like Folau who say Hell is real. There is thus no good reason to become upset by anybody who calls for repentance.

Still, some cannot bear to hear Hell exists, especially when the news comes from a celebrity.

The media reacted to Folau’s “homophobic” remarks as if they were being chased by a machete-wielding maniac. The Guardian reported: that you should click here to read the rest.

Many thanks to Gary Luke for alerting us to this story.


  1. Why should they care? The Pope said there is no such thing as Hell, so there’s nothing to worry about.

  2. Joy

    God is ultimately just. How he carries out that justice is unknowable.

    It is not for power hungry authors to tell other people they will go to hell. This is very clearly forbidden by Christ. Ignore it at your own peril. One of the few occasions where he actually rebuked someone. So more careful reading and contemplation is needed. Of all of the New Testament with emphasis on what is remembered in the gospels. Those who become lost in metaphor easily need more helping determining what is intended. Those with no personal revelation on which to draw, which also helps understanding of matters Christian, may struggle with recognising what is closest to ultimate truth. Nothing new there.

    The other factor is that most people who don’t believe in God are utterly unaffected by the threat. Only those who are faithful really take any notice. They therefore understand that God is just and what that means. So telling people they are going to hell, to their face and causing deliberate unwarranted harm is simply abusive. The claim does not have to be true yet the intent to want another to burn for eternity is not in keeping with what Jesus taught people to do.

    There is much abuse of individuals and using the bible without understanding of what the bible is teaching. For example, imagine a really sick individual who doesn’t really believe in God at all but who finds it expedient to use the philosophy to manipulate and achieve his ends? Some very clever people do this. To children and adults.

    God can tell the difference between fear of exposure and repentance, for example.
    God knows when you are telling the truth. He knows what you believe and why.
    He knows what you have done.

    I notice a bit of a shift in the right direction though, repentance must come prior to forgiveness. No special mechanism is man’s construction is required. God knows. However, if a person cannot be repentant and truthful to his fellow creatures, how can he be repentant to God. How will God view this ‘repentance’?

    God can tell the guilty from the innocent. That is what gives many faithful people hope. Ultimate justice.

  3. Marc Meinzer

    The reality of life after death, heaven, hell, or even reincarnation for the purpose of gradually perfecting one’s soul, and indeed the very existence of souls, is in no way dependent upon the belief or disbelief of individual persons. In other words, either such things or states of being exist or not, regardless of what anyone might think or believe. Even such a cautious approach to such realities is generally rejected out of hand by secularists, which basically makes such rationalists stupid, at least in terms of their grasp of philosophical or occult possibilities. It must be remembered that there are indeed unbelievers in religion who still entertain the reality of such things. But then, how many convinced rationalists have even been open minded enough to read books such as “The Occult”, by Colin Wilson? The answer of course is “not many”.

  4. Ken

    I don’t see the story on this one, or, if there is a story Briggs missed it completely this time:

    That someone, especially some celebrity figure, would say anything about gays that is less than wholeheartedly positive about gays, transgenders, etc., etc., should expect –as should any spectator such as us– that the response will be one of indignant outrage on an exaggerated scale (unless one has just slipped out of a coma, or been rescued from a remote area, etc. after over a decade of isolation).

    The Aus. Ruby celeb stated his belief gays, if they don’t repent, will go to Hell … the media erupted with exaggerated indignant outrage. Nothing surprising about that.

    Perhaps what is surprising, as the BBC reported (see headline, Rugby Australia ‘accepts’ Folau’s explanation in anti-gay row), Rugy Australia will not sanction the player, for good reason, and, intends to keep him with the team even beyond the current contract.

    The following are quotes from the article:

    Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle says Folau will not be sanctioned

    “In his article, Israel clearly articulated his religious beliefs and why his faith is important to him and has provided context behind his social media comment,” she said.

    “In his own words, Israel said that he did not intend to upset people intentionally or bring hurt to the game. We accept Israel’s position.”

    Rugby Australia has said it would like to him to remain with the team next year.

    If there’s news with this, its that Rugby Australia is not folding under pressure from external interest groups, and/or, that it has the sophistication to parse the player’s remarks to understand they are his own reflective of his values — and his opinion was solicited, and provided with no intent to upset others (its not like the player was forcing his views on anyone). Rugby Australia didn’t even ask for an apology [or so it appears]!

    One can almost envision how, if the outrage by special interests persists and leads to some directed activism, those actions might even qualify as a “hate crime” … if Australia has such a thing.

    (this last point regarding “diversity” is basically the same as observed & mentioned by Briggs, like many others, in the past; its a point worth repeating … kind of surprised Briggs didn’t weave that one into today’s essay)

    This also hi-lights the Left’s version of “diversity” (“diversity” includes diversity of perspective/opinion] — “diversity” is ok…but…only as long as the “right”/”correct” views/perspectives/opinions are held/expressed.

    On the theological point — IF Hell exists can be debated, and among believers, what exactly Hell consists of/entails for those there is far & away a murkier unknown with so many views tainted by in-authoritative literature (e.g. Milton’s Paradise Lost). That brings up another, somewhat related, theological theme:

    Consider Jesus’ bit about being guilty if one looks with heartfelt lust at another (Matt 5:27-28) — that individual might behave in a manner indistinguishable from a bona-fide saint. The difference is that the saint is saintly out of a desire to be “good” whereas the other, with heartfelt lust (or whatever), might appear to us mortals as equally “good” — but arises only out of a selfish motive to avoid torment.

    In past posts Briggs has expressed [in so many words] the common view that belief in God/fear of Hell is what keeps people on the straight & narrow … that atheists or others unrestricted by faith, will sin, perhaps egregiously. The falsity of that should be readily apparent … and more to the point, the extreme inability of any of us to observe another’s behavior and deduce their “goodness” therefrom is limited, often very very wrong, because we cannot know their actual underlying motives.

    Let us also recall the longstanding tradition in the Church — baptism was postponed by choice until just before death to help ensure the soon-to-be-released soul was pure (the notion of purgatory [or indulgences] hadn’t been concocted yet). If it was valid then, it may be still valid…and who’s to say, because they cannot know, if a given gay/trans/etc. doesn’t have a genuine conversion right before death?

    Its really not for us to be passing judgement.

  5. Simon Platt

    Good article.

    Wrong team. Wrong game. But good article!

  6. Dr K.A. Rodgers

    Down Under the story has been an on-going media beat up for over a week. They MSM won’t leave it alone particularly since other players have entered the fray on the social media attacking Folau. Classic dog-and-bone behavior on media’s part withe SJW component to the fore.

    However, the illustration at the top of the piece is of Rugby League players. Folau was a League player but was offered more money to play Rugby Union. He has become the star player of the Australian team and it is in that capacity he has made his comments.

  7. Simon Platt

    Wrong team and game in the photo, I mean, not the article.

    Sorry to be a pedant. I almost can’t help it.

  8. JH

    It seems that we teach others how to treat us on earth. And for Christians, they would also show their God how to judge them. To judge or not to judge. What a complicated decision this seems to be.

    Repentance is free and easy!? WOW.

  9. Ray

    The bible condemns any number of behaviors, for example stealing. Why aren’t people that believe stealing is sinful behavior called kleptophobic?

  10. Anon

    We don’t want God to be just (we may end up being a whole lot sorrier than we expected); we need Him to be merciful.

  11. Joy

    Anon doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Perhaps confused about who God actually is?

    Matthew’s Gospel has the most references to judgement and hell. It seems most people get as far as the first few chapters and give up.

    In the sermon on the mount it is written that saying, ‘thou fool’ is enough to be at risk of hellfire.

    It also says if your right eye offends thee pluck it out! same for your right hand or any other body part. Lest it affect the rest. I not not too many people walking around with gouged eyes.

    A differentiation is made between judgement and hellfire, too. Jesus gives examples of scenarios, parables and types of sin. He condemns nobody right there and then, according to Matthew.

    Careful reading of this and all of the gospels is necessary. Each one giving different accounts. Jesus’s actual words not recorded except for about five or six words. See the gospels side by side as Prof Kieth Ward suggests in a synoptic view of the gospels.
    There is not one person alive who is without sin. Some seem to be forgetting this, conveniently.
    It’s a given and does not need repeating except for the Sunday school child or the really ignorant.

  12. Joy

    Dr Rogers,
    Don’t say go and bone or milking the cow! It has other connotations.
    A metaphor is not your own these days.
    You could find yourself part of a cult, or sailing away in a pea green boat.
    …and mind your capitals. You can go down for that, too.
    These reactionaries and gallons don’t have much sense of humour. They they’re spotting and think they see nazi’s, neocons, witches, SJMw’s Snowflakes, demons, not to mention the Russians or the secret societies.
    All I see amidst the fray is terrorism, perversion and a lot of idle hands with no taste in music!
    Isreal iz’s song IS a good song!
    and laughter is contagious as anger and fretfulness are.

    Australia is a world leader when it comes to what is known as progressivism. Climate change is swallowed hook line and sinker. All thoroughly modern ideas mixed with a dose of old fashioned chauvinism.
    “Put another witch on the barbie.”
    OOpse, I said Barbie!
    and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…

  13. Joy

    for goodness sake, “dog and bone”.
    Also watch the highlight line which appears in the comment box.

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