Religious Debates - keep it civil

KJ Apa’s response to a bigot.

Long version:
Israel Folau is a rugby player and apparently a “devout Christian”. Someone recently asked him on Twitter what was God’s plan for gays, and Folau’s response: “Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”

Naturally this has caused a lot of outrage (and I love the fact that this does cause outrage these days).
KJ Apa (who is also a Christian) just responded:

Now that is more like what a Christian should be.



It is so easy to judge others. People should read Romans 2 and reflect on the message therein before they judge.

Folau’s response was poorly phrased, but probably what he though was accurate, based on the question and his understanding… from what you posted, he was not asked his own opinion, nor did he give it. However the question was vague and likely meant as a trap. (Like, for example, when Jesus was asked about taxes… “It’s a trap!”)
It is generally better to point back to what God says on a subject, than answer in a way that can be interpreted as one’s own opinion or judgement. (Not saying I’ve never messed that up, though.)

@Ook was correct, it is not our place to judge. But that’s incomplete. It is God’s place to judge.

If you trace it through the Bible, all humans have a sin-nature, inherited from Adam & Eve. So, by default, all humans are sinners. The penalty for sin is death… for everyone. God is the judge.
But if:

  • you believe that Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life on earth as God’s Son, and
  • you believe that He died to pay the penalty for our sins, and
  • you accept** Jesus’ gift of salvation made possible by Him paying our penalty
    ** accept by professing faith in Him as your Lord and Savior…

Then, God forgives you of your sins and accepts you into His family.

If, on the other hand, you do not believe, accept, and profess, then at the end times, you will be judged by Jesus and condemned for your sins. (Revelation is not an easy read, but an interesting study.)

So, really, the tweeted question was loaded because it specified gay people. Yes, there are acts that God calls detestable, but that does not mean that one sin is greater than another. Murder is a sin; the penalty is death. Stealing is a sin; the penalty is death. Coveting is a sin; the penalty is death. Lying is a sin; the penalty, in the end, is eternal death, in the lake of fire… just like for every other sin.

@Ook referenced Romans, and there is a lot of good teaching in there, and a lot of what Paul teaches is a repeat of what Jesus taught: love one another, even your enemy; pray for your enemy; do good toward your enemy; build each other up instead of tearing each other down; don’t judge because that’s not our place; don’t worry about God’s judgement of others, but worry about cleaning up our own house. (Not saying ‘be uncaring’ - not supposed to be happy that someone else will be judged for their wrongdoings. But rather, pray for them, give gentle correction, gentle correction in private rather than publicly for all to see, share the Truth that God loves them and wants the best for them. Etc.) Again, in no way do I resemble perfect; I have many failings and shortcomings. But I get daily reminders of where I need to improve and strive to be better.

If you think about it, all the people who turned around and publicly chastised Folau are practicing the very act for which they’re condemning him. Hmmm.:thinking:

  • and obey the 10 Commandments, which, due to our sinful nature, is impossible, but is made possible by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
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Part of the problem with what you say is that what Folau actually said was that being gay is a sin in and of itself. It isn’t. It is something inherent. You cannot repent of being gay any more than you can repent of being an Anglo-Saxon male (though some people have tried).

Whether or not it’s against God’s will for people to act on their sexuality is a matter for debate.
I suspect that you and I are going to disagree on that one. In my view, if God is omniscient then He knew that some people would be gay. In fact He made people that way. He also made people so that most people have an inbuilt need for companionship.

As for what the bible says, context matters. There’s a passage in the bible where one of the apostles preaches in an area that is a matriarchal society. Because it’s a matriarchal society and the apostle comes from a patriarchal society, he makes the rule that women can’t preach in that society. For a long time though (and even now in some backwards places) people took that passage out of context and applied it everywhere so that it meant that no women can preach anywhere at any time.
You also need to take the times into account as well. In the context of the times, pork and shellfish were hugely risky foods, and they were therefore anathema. That’s not the case now so we eat both.
Also in the context of the times, adultery was hugely disruptive. Adulterers were therefore stoned to death. There are people in this forum who are technically adulterers - anyone who is divorced and remarried. We don’t stone them to death any more, it’s just not an issue.
Homosexuality is in the same boat. In the context of the times it was disruptive. Now it’s not. I could point you to lots of sites that justify that homosexuality should not be considered a mortal sin any more, just as you can probably point me to as many sites that say it should. At the end of the day we need to make our own minds up. I choose not to believe that God would condemn people for living in a supporting, loving relationship. And if He does, then he’s not a God I choose to believe in.

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I don’t think gay people are anymore bound for hell than anyone else. I think what people think of as adultery in modern times is hugely destructive, and maybe a light stoning is appropriate. There are quite a few men raising children that aren’t theirs, and women sharing their husband without their knowledge.

Homosexuality is just sexuality, I left a church because they were leaving the parent church because they weren’t strict enough on homosexuality. It’s not my cup of tea, and it’s sometimes icky to me, but so are hickies, and liver and onions.

I had to parse that a couple times.

Parent church: Not too strict on homosexuality
Local branch: Wants to be stricter
Woodman: Leaves local branch because he’s more aligned with the parent church than the local branch

Did I get that right?

Yes, that’s right. Church of God started allowing homosexuals more part in the church and the pastor called a vote to leave the larger church and go independent.

I didn’t like the tone of the sermons about it, I didn’t like the attitude about it, and I was uncomfortable with the whole thing. I put down my family veto on it.

My church doesn’t condone homosexuality, but it also doesn’t condone pre marital sex, it does realize that people are people and Jesus is the one who saves us all. It’s not my place to decide who is sinning and who isn’t and how they are.

Apologies for not replying sooner. I was not ignoring you; I was out for Scout stuff, then last week was super busy at work.

TL:DR - It is none of my business what someone does with whatever equipment they have in their pants.

Right, people can debate it until they’re blue in the face, but other than what He shares with us in the Bible, we just don’t know the mind of God. Yes, a lot of the rules were for the context of the time. Proper cooking techniques (and hygiene) were not yet known or common practice, thus no pork and other risky foods; once we were cooking food thoroughly, we were told that they were on the menu. But I have never seen it written where God deemed acceptable the activities that got Sodom and Gomorrah wiped out. Just sayin’.

But here’s the thing… I’m not the Judge. My time studying the Bible is my personal time with God. My job is to worry about my own house, not everyone else’s. (Before pointing out the dust in the brother’s eye, worry about the (twig, branch, plank depending on translation) in my own eye.)
The thing I object to is people equating ‘judge’ with ‘condemn’. Or to put it another way, in the same way it is not for me to judge and condemn, it is not my place to judge and (condone / deem acceptable / proclaim righteous / etc.)
Someone doesn’t think that God thinks [whatever] is a sin; that’s between them and God. Not my problem. (that’s a poor way to put it - it sound flippant, but it more or less gets the point across.) Which reminds me of another thing I object to - people debate whether [whatever] is right or wrong, but they don’t mention that God forgives. And He gives us instruction on how to be forgiven. Who hasn’t seen a sign with “John 3:16” somewhere in their life? (John 3:17 is pretty good, too: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”) That’s the Good News that we’re supposed to be spreading, rather than the judgement and division.

I think your view is a lot more Christian than Folau’s.
However, given that there is some debate about what Sodom and Gomorrah were actually destroyed for, I think you might want to use a different example for that.

I wasn’t aware that the prohibition on shellfish and pork were actually lifted - that’s one of the things that the sites I’ve read tend to skip over. Was that something that Jesus said? Did he also lift the taboos on tattoos?
I guess he did stop the stoning of adulterers with “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. That’s another thing that gets ignored.

(I’m not being sarcastic or snarky here, btw, my questions are genuine)

I really think he worded his response poorly, and that twitter is a bad place for a theological debate. Any text based medium is less than optimal. No inflection, no nuance. But thank you. :slight_smile:

What in the Bible isn’t debated, eh? Ha! The way I read it, the angels were sent because of general wickedness, the “welcome party” exacerbated the situation and gave an example of the wickedness. Sodomy didn’t get it’s name from nowhere. But they had a whole lotta shenanigans going on, nooo shortage.

Yes, but again, some debate that, too. Mark 7, I think. But I’m not a big memorizer.
Found it -

“Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)” Mark 7:18b-19

It is mentioned elsewhere, too, but that quote/translation is debated. I don’t know about tattoos. Are they specifically prohibited; I guess maybe the would come under treating your body as a temple? Tats aren’t on my radar.
Good point on the stoning; good example of judging isn’t our job.

Gotcha. I appreciate ya. Like I said, text is not the best medium for debate, so the clarification is appreciated, along with your not taking my comments as hard core Bible-thumper. (Bible-Thumper (noun) - What my buddy calls those who are way over the top, judgmental, legalistic, and generally bad examples of Christianity.)

Generally, I’m not very public about my beliefs - not all in-your-face like some can be. Maybe that was Folau’s problem - it isn’t a subject for wide area broadcast. Just spitballing.

Anyway, we have a saner, more level-headed group here than most of the interwebs, so I guess I felt is was a safe place to share. BSF is studying Romans right now, wrapping up the year, so the issue of not being judgmental was fresh on my mind.

Shall we start a new thread for religious debates then? :slight_smile: Think it will be better.

I believe you have to set an example to others (no swearing, no stealing, be honest, treat everybody like you would like to be treated etc).

And (as 7th day Adventist) we also believe in the health message of Daniel 1, and Genesis 2.

However, there are a lot of people taking those messages to extremes, and want to force their beliefs down on others (you must not eat meat etc). We still do eat meat, but not so much as before, cutting down gradually on meat, sugar and other food not healthy.

Pork as well as shellfish and certain seafood are strictly out of bounds.

Also I see it totally wrong in trying to force your beliefs onto somebody. We are not on the same spiritual level, and if you do try and force your beliefs down on somebody, you may cause that person to abandon the faith.

Anyway. Good to have a nice discussion without being ridiculed for that. :+1:

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Yes, please. Can a mod please fork the relevant posts from this thread?

Pretty sure that’s in Leviticus or Deuteronomy somewhere.

Matthew 6:5 says you’re doing it right. :slight_smile:

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Separating into its own thread per request.


Generally since Jesus said he’s the new covenant the old testament is a history text. Part of his mission was throwing out the whole “Get to heaven by following all these rules and sacrificing a goat when you don’t do it right, but not that big of a goat, or one that color, no… the other goat… oh forget it, do you have any chickens?”

The way my church looks at it is the only way to heaven is through accepting Jesus as your lord and savior period dot. I cannot get into heaven through my actions. No matter how many good works I perform, if I don’t accept Jesus then I’m not invited to the party. Conversely, if I’m a horrible person and genuinely repent and seek Jesus (It’s assumed that a continuing horrible person wouldn’t actually seek and accept Jesus) then I’m good.

It sounds simple, and it is. But only when looked at from an external viewpoint. There are ways to “work the system” but they don’t work when it matters.

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Of course works is also important (helping the poor and needy, be friendly to all etc) but works alone will not get you into Heaven. You need to build up your faith by works (it sounds silly) but the more you help and uplift others and lead them towards our Lord the more your faith will be strengthened.

Of course the evil one will attack you with everything he have at his disposal.

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Thank you! :slight_smile:

Hope y’all don’t mind an atheist popping in here now and then to comment. It’s so rare that I see civil discussion about this stuff.


True faith should be able to stand up to questions. I am Christian, I read a chapter of the Bible every evening. I still believe in science, debate, and thinking.