Israel Folau has spoken out about the Australian bushfire crisis once again, questioning why it takes such a tragedy for people to turn to God.
The devout Christian caused outrage last year when he said the deadly bushfires were God’s way of punishing Australia for legalising same-sex marriage.
And he addressed the bushfires again on Sunday at the Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Sydney.
“We look around and see certain things that are happening around the world — famines, earthquakes, wars, rumours of wars, kingdom rising against kingdom, nation against nation — that’s the beginning of signs, no doubt about it,” he said while regularly wiping away tears.
“We look at this country here and all these devastating bushfires that are happening. I see on the news and the mainstream media saying there’s a lot of people out there, because of the things they’ve lost and it’s been a tragic event for this country … you see people saying they’ve never prayed so hard in their life.
“Why does it take something so devastating like the bushfires for people to humble themselves and get down on their knees and ask God for help?
“The scriptures say God turns his face against the wicked and doesn’t hear their prayers. But for us, as born-again believers, Christians in the faith, we need to pray that because of what’s happening now in this nation with these devastating fires … that this event can cause people to turn and come to the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what our prayer is. It needs to be that.”
Folau then read a passage from 1 Peter 3:12, saying: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
He then addressed those watching his sermon live on Facebook and said: “Those that are listening live please don’t take this the wrong way with the scriptures stating that God turns His face against evil.”
“God can turn something so devastating and so tragic into something good and cause you to come to know who he is.”
Nobody cares what he has to say 🤦♂️— run to raise funds (@troy1784) January 12, 2020
Israel Folau is my punishment for opening Twitter. https://t.co/ZXhzjGRwoW— Alexandra Carlton (@Alex_Carlton) January 12, 2020
Israel Folau can maybe donate some of thoes millions the football league gave him to shut up to help the bushfire relief instead of telling us we are all going to hell, beware the false idols who only want money and material things like multiple houses...— Walley P Gs (@P__WalleyXx) January 12, 2020
Stop putting Israel Folau on TV he’s had his 5 minutes of fame— justfab (@MyfabDarren) January 12, 2020
Folau’s controversial bushfire comments
Folau was slammed last year when he said the bushfires were a “little taste of God’s judgment”.
“Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things have come, in a short period of time,” he said.
“You think it’s a coincidence or not? God is speaking to you guys. Australia, you need to repent.”
The former Wallabies star later attempted to clarify his statements.
“What I was referring to in terms of the natural disasters that are happening now wasn’t a direct, I guess, message to the people that are affected,” Folau said.
“It was just a timely reminder of God’s word and trying to point people onto the path of righteousness.”
In April, Folau posted on social media that Hell awaits those including homosexuals, fornicators and liars.
Rugby Australia terminated his contract and he took his case to the Federal Court, alleging restraint of trade on religious grounds.
A confidential settlement was reached in December.