URGENT WARNING FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS

Francis Chan, Ravi Zacharias Issue Urgent Warning to American Christians

“There is something about the American culture that can soften us. What can we do about it?” pastor and author Francis Chan asked during a recent question-and-answer discussion with apologist Ravi Zacharias.

While Christians around the globe face the worst persecution in modern history, American Christians often choose distraction over spending time with the Lord.

“Does that mean we just resolve and say, ‘Well, I live in America. We can only go so far in our walk with the Lord ’cause we’re not persecuted’? Absolutely not. But there are things we need to do just even in our own prayer lives, when Scripture says to be sober-minded and self-controlled for the sake of your prayers,” Chan said.

“That thought of being clear-minded rather than filling your mind with mindless texts and Facebook posts and videos and movies so where, when it’s time to pray, our mind is going everywhere and we lose touch with reality. And that’s the problem. That’s what keeps us from some of this depth and this time with the Lord. I see it. I feel it slipping away.”

Watch the video to see the Q & A session with Francis Chan and Ravi Zacharias. It does not start until 6 minutes into the video so be patient it is worth the wait.

IN THE LAST DAYS LAWLESSNESS WILL ABOUND

When I read this article, Tel Aviv Pride Parade Held With 250,000 Attendants Celebrating LGBTQ, it confirmed how quickly the world is rejecting God and therefore the Christian/Judaeo values.

It is like when Joshua died: “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know God nor the work He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals (simply other Gods).” Judges 2:10-11

It all comes down to whether you believe in the Creator that established Israel as His nation to reveal His truth about this Cosmos or not. Israel exists only because God has performed miracle after miracle to ensure its survival.

This same Creator has revealed we are made in His image to be in relationship with Him but also to be obedient to His commandments. When we obey, God blesses us, when we disobey He disciplines us. This is so true of His nation, Israel.

God has judged Israel repeatedly in the past, what do you think God will do to Israel in the light of Israel voted “The Most Gay -Friendly City in the World”?

TEL AVIV PRIDE PARADE HELD WITH 250,000 ATTENDANTS CELEBRATING LGBTQ

Voted the world’s “Best Gay City” by GayCities.com and “The Most Gay-Friendly City in the World” by Wow Travel, Tel Aviv’s Pride parade is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading LGBTQ events, attracting thousands of visitors from around the globe.

Tel Aviv Pride Parade kicks off, 2019.

Tomer Versace, one of the drag queens performing, told The Jerusalem Post that the day represents “free love, freedom. You can be whoever you want to be without judgement and without hypocrisy. It’s all about acceptance.

What’s going on in Tel Aviv is an achievement, in my eyes, of Israeli society,” said city councilman Etai Pinkas, noting that the city and the parade reflected reality. “It didn’t happen because of the government, but it’s here and we can be proud of it. Showing it is not telling a lie. On the other hand it’s very convenient… but the government is doing nothing – nothing! – about the [LGBTQ] community’s equality.”

According to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, “Tel Aviv, which has already been acknowledged as the world’s ‘most gay-friendly city’ and as a beacon for liberty, pluralism and tolerance, is proud to be home to a large and diverse LGBTQ population. The Tel Aviv Pride parade is not just a celebration, but an important declaration of support and an opportunity to promote equal rights for all. We will continue to support and celebrate our local LGBTQ culture and act as a welcoming destination for the international gay community.”

In solidarity with the event, the US Embassy branch office in Tel Aviv decorated its building with rainbow flag banners. A photo of the building decked out in two rainbow banners and rainbow streamers was published on the US Embassy in Jerusalem’s official Twitter account on Thursday.

This year Birthright Israel got involved in Tel Aviv Pride, with 300 participants taking part in the parade, according to Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark.

Ariel Berry, who is currently leading his third Birthright group as a staffer, took part in the parade this year. Identifying as gay and non-binary, Berry was raised in an atheist household but is now traditional. He said he wants young Jews struggling with their identity – whether it be their sexuality or their gender – to know “that they can find a way to collaborate their two identities – being Jewish and queer. You don’t have to choose one or the other, and sacrifice part of yourself.”

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day (The Day the Lord Comes) will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God (in Jerusalem) showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

 

ARE OUR CHURCHES PREPARING US FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION?

Jesus taught explicitly that one of the ways you will know His return is imminent is you will see the Antichrist claiming to be God in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation–spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place. . .  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)

Paul confirms that the Antichrist will come before Jesus returns to Rapture the Saints:

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”                         (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).

John records numerous instances in the Book of Revelation of Jesus warning the saints to become Overcomers of the beast’s system (e.g. Revelation 14:9–12).

In the light of all these Scriptures, why do so many hold on to the Pretribulation Rapture position? Could it be, because we don’t want to believe that God would put us through the intense persecution that the Bible tells us Christians will endure during the last seven years before Jesus returns? It is described as a time of tribulation and great tribulation after the midpoint when the Antichrist “takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”.

None of us like the thought that we may have to die for our Christian faith under the regime of the Antichrist. But it is God’s will that ultimately matters. He knows better than us, therefore we need to trust His will because it is all-wise, all-good, all-sovereign.

I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways”, says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts your thoughts.” 

It may be God’s will that we confront the Antichrist system. We need to trust God, as have many martyrs before us, that He will be with us in the ordeal. What an honour it would be; to be a witness for the true God of the universe, to give glory to Him and to receive a martyrs crown. Pray God will give us the strength to stand up boldly for Him.

God may very well call us to be a Daniel and stand up to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol. Or Daniel’s companions, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego) confined to the fiery furnace. Or to be a David and stand up to Goliath when he mocked and blasphemed his God. 

Many churches in America and many in Australia stay away from the  subject of “end times” altogether, but many also preach the Pretribulation Rapture position, in both cases they are not preparing their congregations for the coming tribulation. Even worse they are not challenging their congregations about the urgency of the hour and the need to get about our Father’s business and obey Jesus command to preach the Gospel and make disciples.

 

 

A WORLD IN CRISIS : BANKRUPT GOVERNMENTS PROMISING THE IMPOSSIBLE

Everyone needs to read the article “Energy Solution Hinges on New Technology” which appeared in The Weekend Australian, Saturday June 15th 2019 by Dr Bjorn Lomborg, president of the think tank Copenhagen Consensus Centre. He has been named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. I have reproduced it below in an amended form.

The reality is, today, solar and wind energy together deliver only about 1 per cent of global energy. The International Energy Agency estimates that even by 2040 these will cover a little more than 4 per cent of global energy.

The idea that we already have the needed technology to phase out quickly from fossil fuels is nonsense, so before we can establish what the solution to climate change really looks like, we first need to dismantle the faulty idea that we have the solution already.

One of the world’s leading energy researchers, Czech-Canadian Vaclav Smil, has said:

The great hope for a quick and sweeping transition to renewable energy is wishful thinking.”

Former US vice-president Al Gore’s chief scientific adviser, Jim Hansen, who put global warming on the agenda back in 1988, agreed, saying:

Suggesting that renewable’s will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

The recent “hoo-ha” or “brouhaha” by climate change activists, involving thousands of children skipping school to be involved in street protests in Australia, over the Adani Coal Mine, demonstrates that the belief that we already have the solutions is a delusion on a planetary scale. It may be comforting to tell ourselves that global warming is effectively solved. It’s dangerous because it leads to us taking at face value promises and vows that have no chance of being enacted. And it is reckless because it stops us from focusing on what we need to do instead.

If we do care to fix climate, we need to change course. This was clearly shown by 27 of the world’s top climate economists and three Nobel laureates who looked at the whole gamut of climate solutions for Copenhagen Consensus.

If we keep doing what we’ve done so far and make more promises to cut carbon in ineffective ways such as subsidising wind and solar, each dollar spent will avoid only 3c of climate damage.

Recently, the 10-year, $US10 billion public investment into shale gas in the US proved to be a great way to cut carbon. While it wasn’t intended as ­climate policy, it led the way for a surge in production of cheap gas, which out competed a significant part of US coal consumption. Because gas emits about half the CO2 of coal, the US has reduced emissions more than any other country in the past 10 years.

France has an extremely low level of carbon dioxide emissions per capita from electricity generation since over 90% of its electricity is nuclear (58 nuclear reactors) or hydro. Why isn’t nuclear on the table in other countries, particularly Australia with some of the biggest reserves of uranium ore?

Politicians across the world happily promise to emit net zero CO2 by 2050, knowing they will be long retired from politics when those vows are broken. Achieving this will be almost impossibly expensive, likely provoking “yellow vest” street riots long before their conclusion.

After New Zealand made its 2050 zero emissions promise, the government commissioned a report on the costs. The report found that achieving this goal in the most cost-effective manner would cost more than last year’s entire national budget on social security, welfare, health, education, police, courts, defence, environment and every other part of government combined. Each and every year.

UN Losing Credibility:

UN secretary-general ­Antonio Guterres is inviting all heads of state to New York next September to promise jointly to cut global emissions to zero by 2050. To see exactly how unrealistic this is, look at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s five policy scenarios for the 21st century. The most optimistic “sustainable” scenario puts on green-tinted glasses to envisage a world in which the rich countries happily accept having their energy availability cut in half and people in the poor world accept they will never catch up even to half of rich-world energy availability.

We have a world in crisis with politicians living in “Lalaland”. To quote again, former US vice-president Al Gore’s chief scientific adviser, Jim Hansen “suggesting that renewable s will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

Surely, for the Bible believing Christian, this is further evidence we are living in the prophesied end times prior to Jesus return to rule with a rod of iron for one thousand years, as revealed in Revelation 20.

 

HOW TO PREPARE FOR JESUS SECOND COMING

Most evangelical Christians, that I know, believe we’re living in the prophesied end times, but for many it has made little difference to their lifestyle. There is no sense of urgency to get about their Heavenly Father’s business or to understand where we are on God’s historical timeline. Fortunately, Nelson Walters has put together this video, “How to Prepare for the Last Days – It first answers three fundamental questions:

  1. Have the end times begun?
  2. I’m saved, what else do I need to do?
  3. What are God’s purposes for the end times?

Once these questions are answered, everyone will want to see the rest of the video to learn Jesus’s special commands for the last days and the believers’ role in them.

WHAT IS TRUTH?

TRUTH IS PRECIOUS BEYOND ALL MEASURE – THAT WHICH AGREES WITH FINAL REALITY.

Ultimately, only our Creator can know the TRUTH of His creation, the WHY, HOW, WHEN and WHERE. Fortunately, our Creator has revealed the TRUTH to us in His Word, The Bible. The proof of its authenticity is PROPHECY. Much of the Bible is prophecy. It reveals future events, e.g. there were more than 300 prophecies of Jesus first coming, many 700 years before the events took place. Moreover, there are far more prophecies about Jesus second coming and many are unfolding in our time.

When Jesus was brought before the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, prior to His crucifixion, Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?” This question was prompted by a previous question to Jesus: “Are you a king then?Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I am come into the world, that I should bear witness to the TRUTH. Everyone who is of the TRUTH hears My voice. John 18:37   

Jesus said to Thomas, I am the way, the TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.John 14:6

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees or knows Him; but you know Him for He dwells with you and be in you..” John 14:16

Jesus prayed to our heavenly Father, Sanctify them by your TRUTH. Your word is TRUTH.John 17:17

If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you FREE.” John 8:31-32

Sadly, Paul tells us what the world has done: “exchanged the TRUTH of God for the LIE, and served and worshiped the creature rather than the Creator.” Romans 1:25

Originally, the purpose of education had the right foundation – main end of a person is to know God, so Theology was the basis for all other study. Biblical truth was the foundation on which all else: ideas , philosophy etc was built. True education was built on a Biblical foundation and Christian principles. Listen to this short video on Harvard, as to its origin and purpose.

That has all changed due to materialism/evolution, liberalism, secularism, humanism. Cultural elites have grown hostile to Biblical Christianity, accepting evolution as fact. One of Satan’s greatest lies is evolution, substituting it for creation, as the basis for the origin of God’s Cosmos. Check out http://www.creation.com for all you need to counter this lie.

Deception is far more common than truth today. This is why things reported in the media are now more likely to be false or at least distorted. You can also now count on the same from most of the pulpits in the American church. The message of the typical American church today would be unrecognisable to the apostles of the first century. The same is true in most of the western world.

The disconnect from truth has come the same way in the media that it has in the church. Of course, this is not true in every church or the entire media. It’s easy to see in the media how there is now a tendency to report what they want to be true rather than what is true. Is that not how we have changed the gospel, the church, and even our concept of God into what we want them to be rather than how they are?

As mentioned, there are many end times prophecies. Peter talks of the mockery in the Last Days.  “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the “last days”, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming (Jesus Second Coming)?” For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. For this they wilfully forget ; that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed  perished being flooded by water (Noah’s Flood). But the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:3-7

Note: they wilfully forget God judged the entire earth with Noah’s Flood just 4,000 years ago, only eight people survived. Otherwise, the prophesied coming judgement with fire may also be true.

GREAT PRAYER FOR TRUMP BY DAVID PLATT

President Donald Trump made a brief unannounced visit to McLean Bible Church Sunday morning where Pastor David Platt prayed for him on stage.

As many of you know, I recommend the resources produced by David Platt that are available on http://www.radical.net, so I am pleased that Donald Trump was led to visit McLean Bible Church and be prayed for by David Platt. I am convinced Donald Trump was Holy Spirit led. This was no coincidence.

 

“Oh God, we praise You as the one universal king over all,” Platt prayed with one hand holding an open Bible and the other hand on Trump’s back. “You are our leader and our lord and we worship You. There is one God and one savior and it’s You. Your name is Jesus and we exalt you, Jesus.

“And we know, we need Your mercy. We need Your grace, we need Your help, we need Your wisdom in our country. And so we stand right now, on behalf of our president, and we pray for Your grace, and Your mercy, and Your wisdom upon him.

“God, we pray that he would know how much You love him. So much that You sent Jesus to die for his sins, our sins, so we pray that he would look to You. That he would trust in You. That he would lean on You. That he would govern and make decisions in ways that are good for justice, and good for righteousness, and good for equity, every good path.

“Lord we pray, we pray that You would give him all the grace he needs to govern in ways we just saw in 1 Timothy, chapter 2, that will lead to peaceful and quiet lives, Godly and dignified in every way.

“God, we pray for your blessing, in that way, upon his family. We pray that you would give them strength, we pray that you give them clarity, wisdom.

“Wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Please, oh God, give him wisdom. And help him to lead our country, alongside other leaders.

“We pray today for leaders in Congress. We pray for leaders in courts. We pray for leaders at national and state levels.

“Please, oh God, help us to look to You. Help us to trust in Your word. Help us to seek Your wisdom and live in ways that reflect Your love and Your grace, Your righteousness and Your justice. We pray for Your blessings on our president toward that end. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

 

LAWLESSNESS IN THE LAST DAYS

Jesus said that just before His return to rule and reign in the Millennium with a rod of iron, that the world would be in a state of lawlessness, as in the days of Noah. God has told us exactly what will unfold in the years before He returns. The Old Testament, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, contains over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His birth, life, death and resurrection. Sadly, the religious people of His day, the Sadducee’s and Pharisee’s didn’t get it and whilst there are far more prophecies about Jesus second coming than His first coming, the religious people of our day are not getting it as well. Wake up church.

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man (JESUS) be.” Matthew 24:37

The following report reveals that the world is totally out of control and governments have run out of options to fix it. Whilst these are the figures for the USA, let me tell you the numbers for Europe, China, Japan are worse. What follows is anarchy and we are seeing it more and more as is shown in France with the Yellow Vest movement.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, America’s national debt was 22 trillion dollars on December 31, 2018. 

The U.S. will have had a deficit in 88 out of 100 years and only 4 out of 62 years with a surplus.

America can’t even balance a single year’s budget, much less start paying down its net debt. We regret to conclude realistically THE ACCUMULATED DEBT IS UNPAYABLE.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the interest expense on debt is expected to increase 186% to $929 billion annually by 2029 — surpassing all categories except for Medicare and Social Security. That is almost a trillion dollars annually! While these projections assume interest rates on 10-year Treasury bonds will remain below 3.8%,

A ONE PERCENT HIGHER-THAN-EXPECTED INTEREST RATE ON THE 10-YEAR BONDS WOULD ADD ANOTHER $1.9 TRILLION IN OVERALL INTEREST EXPENSE! 

 

FORMER HOMOSEXUALS CHOOSE CHRIST AND HOLINESS OVER SIN

Governments legislating it is illegal to present God’s truth about the homosexual lifestyle should have attended the Washington Freedom March where Millennials and Gen-Xers stood together, unified with a voice that declared freedom is possible through Christ. The message is what so many need to hear but has been so quickly shunned. It lacks popularity but is packed with power. Christianity is not a group that we join because we agree philosophically. It is something we become a part of because the actual spirit that raised Jesus from the dead takes up residence in us, to become our counsellor, teacher, and comforter as we confront the impossibilities of life.

Participants in the 2019 D.C. Freedom March.

They stood together, each one with their own story of how Christ came into their heart and gave them a brand-new life. These young people were vibrant and energetic. Their enthusiasm was clearly visible as they shared their testimonies of coming out of darkness into the marvellous light of Christ. 1 Peter 2:9 says in the Message Bible, “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

This march represented so much more than just a group of people gathering to share their thoughts. This was a march in the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. This was a true declaration that Jesus is not dormant or dead. He is very much alive and able to change lives.

While the LGBTQ community has no hesitation in parading its doctrines and agendas before anyone, this Freedom March gave the ex-homosexual a clear voice. They were able to declare openly, right in our nation’s capital, that the lifestyle they once embraced was not God’s will for their life or anyone else’s life. They were able to freely stand up and say that they chose Christ and holiness over all of their sins.

There were no hidden agendas. Everyone was accepted. There were so many people from all cultures and nationalities. Everyone was important, no matter what titles they held or didn’t have. The love and respect for each other was so apparent.

They spoke for the countless people who were not able to march and could not attend. They spoke for the person struggling with their sexuality. They spoke for the person who is gender disoriented and insecure. They spoke for the cross-dresser and the transgender. They spoke for everyone and anyone who is unsure of themselves and unable to find love and hope. They marched to show that there is hope and there is unconditional love available through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Freedom March declared to everyone that our God is not dead. He is very much alive in anyone who will allow Him to come in. No one is refused. No sin is too ugly or vile. Jesus stands with outstretched arms for everyone (Ps. 136:12). That is true freedom, and it is only found in our loving Savior, Jesus Christ.

FOLAU’S FAITH COMPELLED HIM TO SHOUT A WARNING: REPENT

This article by Kel Richards appeared in this morning’s newspaper The Australian. Thousands of Australians will read and be challenged by this Gospel message. I never thought I would see the Gospel preached so well in a major Australian newspaper.

Israel Folau was only following God’s command:

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom:  Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all suffering and teaching.”  2 Timothy 4:1-2

Israel Folau criticised several groups in his Instagram post, but only one of them has complained.

“On April 10, Israel Folau posted on his Instagram account the following message: “Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.” Next to this big, bold statement was the message: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

This eye-catching text was from the Bible, a loose paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

If someone else had posted this it would almost certainly have slipped under the radar. But Folau was being watched. Partly this is because of his brilliance as a footballer. He holds the record for the most tries scored in Super Rugby. In 2007 he won rugby league’s Dally M Rookie of the Year award for having scored the most tries in his debut year. In that same year he was the all-time youngest international player (he was 18 at the time).

But it looks as though Folau was also being watched for an opportunity to punish him for being a Christian; indeed, for being a blunt defender of the classic, conservative Christian faith.

The attack on Folau provoked an unexpected reaction: many Aussies were unhappy. They flooded open-line radio with calls in support of the right of Folau to hold and express his faith. This support was not limited to the 52.1 per cent of Australians who called themselves Christian in the 2016 census. A bucket load of callers took the line of “I don’t support what he said or the way he said it, but, hey the bloke’s obviously sincere so why is he being bashed up like this?”

Whether articulated or not, the underlying feeling of much of this response was: Australia is a free country. There was a distinct unease about the possibility of losing at least some degree of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief and freedom of religion in this wide, brown land.

Tone deaf to the electorate Bill Shorten came down on the wrong side of this debate in the election campaign. Ignoring section 116 of the Constitution, which says there shall be no religious test for public office, Shorten demanded to know where Scott Morrison stood on the “gays/hell” issue. This blunder won him no friends (apart from the inner-city crowd, who were already on his side).

For Rugby Australia this is a lose-lose debate. The religious test they applied to Folau’s employment looked so unfair to him that he bypassed their internal appeal process as pointless and announced his intention to test them in the courts. So Rugby Australia now will either lose the court battle or lose its major sponsor. It has already lost its best player.

This is no storm in a tea cup: this is central to Australia’s character as a nation and raises three questions:
 Why should there be penalties for defending classical Christianity?
 Why do the rights of one group trump all other rights?
 What is the actual content of the view he is defending?

Let’s tackle them. First, why should there be penalties for defending classic, conservative Christianity? It’s not as though Christianity is an eccentric, minority belief system. It’s the largest faith on earth with 2.3 billion followers.

Some will say people can believe what they like in private but the views of classic Christianity do not belong in the public arena. The problem is that Jesus ruled out that option when he said: “Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

So according to Jesus there is no such thing as private Christianity — there is only whole-of-life Christianity (public and private). Being a Christian means speaking about it. The Christian faith is part of our community and not a private matter.

Some politicians will say, “Well, we have to balance the rights of Christians to speak their faith aloud with the right of homosexuals not to be offended.” But from the words of Jesus it is clear that telling Christians they are not permitted to speak their faith aloud is telling them they are not permitted to be Christian.

Which brings us to the second question: why should the rights of one group trump all other rights? In this case it appears that the right of homosexuals not to be offended trumps the right of Christians to be as Christian as Jesus intended. It is especially interesting to note that Folau included eight groups in his post — none of the others has complained.

Surely the issue is that none of those seven other groups is demanding approval from everyone. On the whole, drunks, adulterers and the rest don’t care whether you approve or disapprove of them.

The homosexual community, however, appears not to be willing to accept disapproval. They may say all they want is tolerance. But that’s looking increasingly like a dishonest claim. They won’t, it seems, settle for anything short of complete approval.

Devout Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, atheists, Christians or Calathumpians don’t expect you to approve of them. They think they’re right, and if you believe differently you’re wrong — and they’re quite happy to debate this with you. But they don’t demand that you be legally compelled to approve of them, and legally silenced and punished if you disapprove.

Which brings us to the third question: what is the actual content of the view Folau is defending? Is it simply a system of morality? Folau lists eight behaviours that with the support of the Bible he says are proscribed — unacceptable to God — so it could certainly look like a question of morality.

In part this is a problem created by the brevity of social media posts, which don’t allow for nuance. But Folau himself is pointing beyond simple moral judgment when he writes that “Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him”.

He is drawing attention to the fact that classical Christianity is certainly about judgment, but it is also about sacrifice and forgiveness. For 2000 years Christians have been calling it “good news” because the news that God loves you despite your behaviour and offers forgiveness can only count as very good news, indeed.

This good news Folau is talking about addresses the fact of death. The Christian world view says “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

The point is that life is a journey and, like every journey, it has an end. It would be intelligent to give some thought to how and where the journey of life might end. You might protest: but we can’t know! It’s not possible to know what death will be like and whether we might survive it, and, if so, what that survival might be like.

Picture it as being like a group of travellers walking down a long country road. They fall into an argument about where the road will end. One of them may claim it ends at a steep cliff face and that’s it. Someone else may suggest it ends at a railway station where a train is waiting to take you back to the beginning so you can do the journey all over again. Yet another may suggest the road of life ends in a garden and, just like Christmas, everyone will get gifts and be happy. Another may argue there are two cities at the end of the road: a comfortable one (“heaven”) and a bleak one (“hell”) and that we can be switched from the bad option to the good option as a free gift because the lord of the road loves the travellers and has paid for the gift.

That is pretty much the state of the debate in the modern world, and that brings us back to Folau’s warning that we should avoid hell.

Cartoonists have had a lot of fun will hell through the years, picturing comic demons in red tights with pitchforks prodding hapless condemned souls into furnaces. However, all the amusing things, or silly things, that have ever been said about hell, or thought about hell, spring from our reluctance to seriously consider death — what it is and what it means.

Here’s a practical definition: death really means separation.

For a start, death is the separation of the mind (or soul if you prefer) from the body. Most human beings who have ever lived, from Plato to now, have believed that the mind (or soul) will survive this separation. If it doesn’t, then that answers our question of destination. But if it does it means we are on the right track in thinking about death as separation.

But there is another separation that counts as death: separation from God. In classical Christianity separation from God is spiritual death. This separation from God shows itself in a wide range of behaviours, including the eight behaviours listed by Folau in his Instagram post, but not limited to those eight. Because, according to the classically Christian world view, we are designed to function plugged in to God; once we are unplugged (separated) we are like an unplugged appliance — we don’t function properly or we don’t function at all.

That’s the danger Folau believed he was warning people against. He thought he was warning his followers that those people who ignore God, choose to be separated from God, are sending a message; are saying to God, “just leave me alone”. The danger is God will take them at their word: they will be cut off from God forever.

That being “cut off” is what hell is. Not the funny cartoons of demons with pitchforks but being cut off, isolated, exiled, expelled, separated. When Jesus himself pronounces judgment on people the words he says are “depart from me”, adding, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).

But as Folau’s short post indicates, there is more to the story. Here’s the completion of those words from the Bible quoted above: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:27-28).

There is the offer of God’s love and forgiveness and restoration: switching at life’s end from the bad option (separation, isolation, “hell”) to the good option (connection, community, “heaven”) as a free gift. From the point of view of classical Christianity, Folau saw people in danger and shouted out a warning. In other words, the intention of his message was the exact opposite to how it has been portrayed. And for that Folau is being punished.

Kel Richards is an author, journalist, radio personality and lay canon at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney. He is the author of The Aussie Bible.