Bishop of Grafton on Folau’s words: like justifying “ethnic cleansing or slavery”

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The recently installed Bishop of Grafton, Dr Murray Harvey, has chosen to wade publicly into the Israel Folau debate with a press release issued right before the hearing which took place over this weekend.

In his release Harvey accuses Folau of using “threatening” words and argues that if his statements are allowed to stand then it is the equivalent of justifying ethnic cleansing and slavery.

The full statement follows:


It’s hard to know what to make of this. Folau’s statement was pretty clear:

It is, of course, not a threat but a warning – indeed a loving warning to repent on the basis that “Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him”.

Here at we want to suggest that Dr Harvey should issue some more press releases because there are people out there making bigger threats than Folau. For instance, this guy should get a rocket:

Luke 13:1   Now there were some present on that occasion who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 He answered them, “Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered these things? 3 No, I tell you! But unless you repent, you will all perish as well! 4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them, do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who live in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you! But unless you repent you will all perish as well!”

Luke 13:1-5 (NET)

Now there’s a threat if ever I saw one. He doesn’t just have a small list like the narrow-minded Apostle Paul in 1Cor. 6:9-10 (which Folau quotes in his post along with Gal. 5).

No, whoever that hater is in Luke 13 … well he just used hate speech to threaten and vilify everyone.


That’s the last thing a Christian should do. Someone should find out who he is and tell him to change his attitude and send a positive message about his faith and promote social inclusion (although what could be more socially inclusive than including all of society in your “threat”?).

As for community well-being, surely telling people that they will perish if they don’t repent can’t be good for anyone. Someone tell Dr. Harvey so he can sort this dangerous bigot out.

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Robert Bruce

    Just when Dean Jenks had buried Christian concepts such as atonement for sins through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and salvation to eternal life through God’s grace for those repent and believe, the liberal Diocese of Grafton has managed to Trump it all by its bishop’s recent press release.

    Thanks to Bishop Harvey’s explanation we can now understand what we somehow missed in Issy Folau’s post. The good bishop helps us see that Issy “claims that free speech gives him the right to say anything he wants”. Weren’t we silly not to have noticed that? Thank you Bishop Harvey, now we can appreciate that naughty Issy was really saying ethnic cleansing and slavery are justified by divine approval. Could we ask you to explain things to us more often so we don’t get confused by truth, logic and evidence? It would make our simple lives much easier if we could rely on you to do all our thinking for us.

    As for that other naughty person whom David is referring to, thank heavens he has no role in the Diocese of Grafton’s messages for its people. Everything would be turned upside down if his messages were allowed to be aired in the diocese. However might things end then?

  2. Peter Barnes

    There might not be much under it but the bishop has an impressive tea cosy on his head.

    1. Robert Bruce

      That’s not a tea cosy! Anyone can see it’s a dunce’s cap!

  3. Alida

    David, why don’t you issue a press statement in support of Israel Folau? And any faithful bishops reading this blog, why not make a press statement in support of Israel and free speech.

    1. David Ould

      hi Alida. I’m a nobody so I don’t think anyone would care what I said. I do note that the Archbishop of Sydney has issued a release.

      correction – sorry Alida, I was wrong. No such release.

  4. Robert Bruce

    Being serious for a moment, if that’s possible in the face of such nonsense, what could the bishop’s motivation be for speaking out as he did?

    Does he perhaps see Issy Folau’s and the Bible’s warnings to those who make the deliberate choice to practise evil homosexual perversions as threats to his own position and the positions and lifestyles of those gathered around him?

    Is there an even darker agenda (although it is hard to imagine anything more satanic)?

    One can only wonder.

  5. James Warren

    I can’t work out why The Right Reverend Dr. Murray Harvey would not have at least checked God’s Word before making such a statement. At least now he can readily apologise and clarify why God says what he says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and how it’s so very loving to warn people of such eternal danger, and find the joy that Job found in Job 6:10. Such a great opportunity for a bishop to express the forgiveness and grace that God so readily extends to us, even when we make such a mistake of denying God’s Word and so deserting a faithful brother in his very hour of need.

  6. Bruce Wearne

    Thus spake the Bishop: “I call upon Israel Folau and other high profile role models to carefully use the platform they have to send a positive message about their faith, promote social inclusion and community well-being.”
    I read this fellow’s “Media Statement” and conclude that the treacherous affirmations of same-sex marriage by Anglican Bishops across the Anglican Communion in Australia back in “survey-time” 2017 have little impact upon his horizon. But nevertheless, it is very difficult to read this “media release” as anything other than an attempt to re-direct criticism of Anglican church leadership by focusing attention upon a fellow (Christian). A little web research would reveal that this fellow has, for some years, been consistently open in his Christian profession knowing that as a “role-model” his “potential impact” upon “impressionable young [people]” is great. So let us consider what it means to a professional sportsman to be aligned with a sport, the corporate management of which, is imbued with “codes of conduct” sentences of which challenge his Christian profession. That Israel might have already been “carefully using” his media platform seems to play no part at all in this high-handed”Media Release”.
    We might have expected that a Christian Bishop, pastorally sensitive in the “use” of his platform, would have said something to assist Israel and others by pointing out that the said “hateful” Biblical passage goes on “and such were some of you …” In Paul’s terms, he was actually sending a “positive message about the faith, [to] promote genuine social inclusion and community well-being” by reminding the Corinthian blockheaded believers that they “were washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”? And to do that he calls a spade a spade. (He doesn’t there give permission to Bishops to call a same-sex relationship a marriage – to the contrary).
    This media statement doesn’t perform such a pastoral service. Is the Bishop too concerned with presenting himself as a rugby follower? If so, we should ask whether he has truly grasped the idolatrous (love of money) heart of professionalised, commercialised rugby? (A question we could also validly put to Israel).The Bishop, like the ARU, is not concerned with sporting idolatry, which is the place to begin when dealing with the disagreements over code of conduct constraints that Israel’s post has raised.
    Instead, the Bishop is fixated, as the mass media is, upon one of the listed offences and so he avoids reassuring Israel despite any indiscretion the Facebook subscriber may have made by not proclaiming Paul’s remedial action completed by Jesus Christ with greater clarity. This completion of the work of Jesus Christ plays no part whatsoever in the “media statement”. The Bishop is blind sided by his rugby obsession, let alone his obsessive attention to No.2 sin on the published list. And so he concludes with “calling upon” Israel to be more careful in future.
    You too Bishop … indeed, and if you are going to reach outside the Anglican flock to demonstrate your pastoral concern, are you going to answer questions about the “actual impact” of Anglican episcopal “role modelling” upon the young people who are still enrolled as students in Anglican schools? What has the role-modelling impact been there?

  7. linda nolan

    If quoting Biblical passages & urging sinners to repent is hate speech, I suggest the Bishop has been a hater far longer than Israel Falou. In private enterprise, the Bishop would be considered as having “plateaued”.

    1. Warren R

      what the Bishop of Grafton has NOT done is read the bible, otherwise he would not have made his statement about Israel Folau. the Bishop of Grafton is just apologizing for the christian faith rather than standing firm with christian beliefs. The bishop should read the passages in the bible about Sodom and Gomorrah and what happened to the sodomites.He follows a growing list of so called church leaders afraid of upsetting the minority groups, they will get more support by standing by the Bible and not making excuses, your either accept the bible as a whole with no exclusions or find another belief.

  8. Greg Colby

    I think you’re stretching it to call Folau’s posting of a meme a “loving” warning.

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