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Steve Irwin Became Born Again Christian Rumour

Summary:
Forwarded email claims that Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin became a born again Christian shortly before he died (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, September 2006)
Subject: Good News about Steve Irwin

I want to inform Creation Ministries International that Steve Irwin became a born again Christian two and a half weeks ago at the Kings Church AOG Buderim, Queensland Australia, going forward publically before the congregation to ask Christ to become his Lord and Saviour.

Many of us will now spend eternity with him. I am sure Terri is comforted as a Christian in the fact that she will be with Jesus and also Steve again for eternity. Steve declared the day before he died that he was the happiest he had ever been in his whole life.

Pastor Robyn Reiser

Noosa Christian Outreach Centre



Commentary:
Soon after the tragic and untimely death of Steve Irwin on 4th September 2006, a rumour began circulating via email that claimed the Crocodile Hunter had recently converted to Christianity. According to the message, Steve had been "born again" during a church service at Kings Church AOG Buderim in Queensland, Australia just weeks before his fatal encounter with a stingray while filming in North Queensland.

However, the church named in the message has denied that such a conversion took place. An official response previously published on the church's website stated:
Steve Penny wishes to advise that the story of Steve Irwin's conversion to Christianity in Kings Christian Church is unfounded. Further investigation has failed to substantiate rumours of his conversion in any church on the Sunshine Coast.
The rumour gained momentum after a staff member forwarded an email sent to Creation Ministries International by Pastor Robyn Reiser. However, a subsequent investigation by CMI could not substantiate the claims in the "conversion" stories:
We have investigated the claims to the best of our ability, including phoning several of the churches and individuals involved. Though we were able to substantiate our earlier suggestion that Steve’s wife Terri was a churchgoing Christian, the stories of Steve himself ‘coming forward’ can at this stage not be substantiated. In fact, there is serious reason to doubt that this happened, at least not in the way that the stories claim.
Pastor Reiser worked at a different church than the one in which the conversion was alleged to have taken place and there is no claim that she was actually present during the service mentioned in the message. Although she apparently had a genuine belief that the conversion claims were factual, the contents of her message to CMI was seemingly based on false information passed on to her by others.

The email has now been forwarded around the world and mutated versions have began to emerge. Forwarding this message will serve no good purpose and may cause even more pain for Steve's grieving family and friends. Creation Ministries International asks that the message not be spread further:
We would urge Christians not to be involved in circulating the R.R. email or any other unconfirmed reports. It is, ultimately, a matter between Steve Irwin and His Creator—and if the event did occur, then since Terri Irwin is a believer, she will be highly motivated to let the world know.

References:
Crocodile Hunter—those conversion accounts—are they true?
Sydney Morning Herald: Christians fed to lyings: Irwin no convert

Last updated: 27th September 2006
First published: 27th September 2006

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen