Christians will continue to proclaim the gospel regardless of the punishment handed out to rugby star Israel Folau, evangelical leader Phillip Jensen has said.
On Tuesday, Folau was found to have committed a “high level breach” of Rugby Australia’s code of conduct for posting an Instagram picture that was inspired by the Bible.
A three-person panel is currently deciding what sanction to give the full back.
Speaking before the panel’s decision, Jensen said while some might disagree with the way Folau expressed himself, the heart of his message was that people need Jesus to save them from their sins.
In a talk to theological students the former Dean of Sydney’s St Andrew’s Cathedral said if they believed fundamental truths about Christianity they are “on the same team” as Folau.
Stating that the gospel of Jesus was always going to be offensive, he said that for those who believe it is good news.
“One thing is certain, whether Christianity is or is not excluded from professional sport we will continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus and call upon all people to repent”, he concluded on his personal blog.
Religious liberty group the Australian Christian Lobby said the ruling against Folau was setting a “dangerous precedent for religious freedom in Australia”.
Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi described it as “extraordinary that quoting from the bestselling book in the history of the world is a breach of contract”.
In April, as the row was developing, Folau told reporters: “First and foremost, I live for God now.
Jesus comes first
“If that’s not to continue playing, so be it. In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it.
“But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.”