Fresh footage of Folau sermon emerges
Video footage of Israel Folau giving a sermon at church last month denouncing those who celebrate Christmas and Easter has emerged in the wake of his latest anti-gay comments.
On Thursday night Rugby Australia announced it intends to terminate Folau's contract after the Wallabies star posted a message on Instagram declaring homosexuals will go to hell unless they repent for their "sins".
Folau, a devout Christian, has caused controversy by posting similar views on social media in the past and RA boss Raelene Castle has taken a stand by sacking the 30-year-old because "Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality".
As the fallout from the damaging scandal continues just months out from the Rugby World Cup in Japan, footage of Folau preaching to fellow churchgoers - obtained by The Daily Telegraph - reveals just how deep his faith runs.
In the video, Folau reads one Bible passage about "heathens" who partake in Christmas and Easter-related customs that are done "in vain".
"That's another tradition that is man made and we always have to go back to what the Bible says about what He (God) says," Folau said in his address.
"God is clearly saying, 'Do not follow the way of the heathen', which is what he's speaking of these people here, the custom. These people do it in vain. There's no point to doing it.
"If we don't go back to the scriptures and see what God says, we can easily fall into the tradition of man, thinking we're doing the right thing.
"There's a whole lot of people that go to church, but they're not following the doctrine of Christ."
Folau criticised pastors who accept money for spreading God's word and also took aim at people who go to church but don't read the Bible thoroughly to see what God says about certain matters.
"The problem with a lot of people today is they don't read the word, they go to church on Sunday, listen to what the pastor says, and that's it," Folau said. "They don't go back home to check for what the word of God says."
Folau said it was wrong to hold up Jesus' mother Mary as an idol worthy of worship, as the Catholic Church does, and called on people to evaluate whether they're making the mistake of idolising unnecessary things like money or material possessions, which they worship more than God.
"What does the Catholic Church do? They create an image of Mary and Jesus and totally go against what God's word is," Folau said. "This is what I'm talking about, the difference between man's doctrine and tradition verses God's word.
"We as people put something up in front of him to worship."
Folau attempted to explain his faith in an article for the PlayersVoice website last year. He opened it with the statement: "People's lives are not for me to judge."
But a scan of his Instagram page shows quotes stating the opposite.
"Anyone who knows me knows I am not the type to upset people intentionally," Folau wrote for the PlayersVoice.
"Since my social media posts were publicised, it has been suggested that I am homophobic and bigoted and that I have a problem with gay people. This could not be further from the truth.
"I fronted the cover of the Star Observer magazine to show my support for the Bingham Cup, which is an international gay rugby competition for both men and women. I believe in inclusion. In my heart, I know I do not have any phobia towards anyone."
Folau was widely condemned for his most recent homophobic comments as fellow rugby stars, Hillsong pastor Brian Houston and even New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern came out swinging against the rugby icon.
As talk turns to what the future holds for Folau's sporting career, a return to the NRL is not an option after the league slammed the door shut on a potential code hop.
Australian Rugby League Committee (ARLC) chairman Peter Beattie said the dual international failed the character test and the NRL would not register a contract should he come calling.
"Israel Folau fails the NRL's inclusiveness culture, which is a policy strongly supported by the ARLC," Beattie told AAP.
"The ARLC therefore would not support his registration to play NRL".
Folau played 91 matches for Melbourne and Brisbane as well as eight State of Origin matches for Queensland and eight Tests before switching to the AFL and rugby union. It was touted North Queensland could be interested in his services after Ben Barba received a life ban and the Cowboys missed out on Valentine Holmes, who's in the US pursuing his NFL dream.
But any hope of Folau returning to the game in which he made his name is now gone and his future now appears to lie in overseas rugby union.