Reviews, Critiques, Surveys

When reading the Bible devoid of its historical and textual context, there is no context except the context which any person might supply for it.

or put otherwise,

A text without a context is a pretext.

I always get frustrated when self-proclaimed Bible students or teachers start pontificating about the meaning of the Bible and theology without a clue what they are talking about or what the Bible is talking about. We had a classic example of this in our family this week. A Fundamentalist condemned us Catholics for emphasizing the need for good works (cp. James 2:24) using verses like Romans 3:28 that says, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.”

IMGP0964.JPGWith great ignorance the Fundamentalist said “This verse proves you Catholics wrong. We are saved by faith alone and not by good works.”

Such blithering nonsense has nothing to do with Romans 3:28 — which is not a Catholic-Protestant debate but a Jewish-Gentile debate. But in an argument like this the Fundamentalist ignores the historical and textual context. He uses the Bible verse as a club–as a proof-text to promote his Fundamentalist traditions of men. He creates his OWN context to the detriment of the historical and textual context. It is his argument to trip up Catholics who are not well catechized in their faith.

In Romans and Galatians (and Acts 15) this is the argument: Can an uncircumcized Gentile become Christian (follower of the Jesus the JEWISH Messiah) without first becooming a Jew by being circumcized and obeying all the Laws of Moses and regulations of the Pharisees?

circumcision.gif“Works of the Law” is a technical term. It refers to those actions that made Jews distinct from the Gentiles. Paul says we are not justified by “works of the Law” or Mosaic circumcision and prescribing to all the 613 laws of Moses, but rather by faith.

This is how the Catholic Church understands the New Testament and why the Fundamentalist who takes verses out of their context plays the fool and twists the Scriptures to their own confusion and the confusion of all those who are foolish enough to listen to them.

For more on this read my earlier blogs “Flint Knives and the Gospel” and “St. Paul Did Not Write to Us.”

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Trump Body Slams CNN

by Steve Ray on July 3, 2017

The Left has no sense of humor or perspective. When leftists practice real violence (black hoods, beatings and all) there is no sense of outrage or condemnation.  But when there’s a humorous tweet there’s all kinds of condemnation and outrage, huffing, puffing and sputtering.

Most Americans know exactly what Trump’s tweet was saying. Only the myopic, humorless media and Left is clueless. CNN has been lying and defaming Trump, Christians, middle America, Conservatives  and normal Americans like me for a long time. Trump is resisting them and hopefully taking them down. This was just a humorous parody on that. Lighten up LEFT!

Below is an interesting article I think puts it in perspective:

When leftists have real violence there is no condemnation but when there’s a humorous tweet there’s all kinds of condemnation and out rage.

Frankly, one of the problems with the Left is they have no sense of humor or FairPlay whatsoever.

Monday, July 03, 2017
Byron York: Washington Post | Reflections on the president’s tweet
by Byron York | Jul 2, 2017, 9:48 PM

“There is a relaxed way to read President Trump’s tweet, and there is an alarmed way to read it. The media-politico complex is choosing alarmed, with a vengeance. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
There is a relaxed way to read President Trump’s tweet, and there is an alarmed way to read it. The media-politico complex is choosing alarmed, with a vengeance. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In the run-up to the Iraq war, a Bush White House official explained to me that 9/11 had changed the way we read national security intelligence. There was a relaxed way to read intelligence, he said, and there was an alarmed way to read intelligence. September 11 proved that we had to read intelligence — say, on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — in an alarmed way to avoid another disaster. Therefore, we had to invade Iraq.

I thought of that conversation amid the reaction to President Trump’s latest tweet, showing him taking down CNN in a World Wrestling Entertainment video. There is a relaxed way to read the tweet, and there is an alarmed way to read the tweet. The media-politico complex is choosing the alarmed way, with a vengeance.

The relaxed way to read the tweet is that the president is — among other things — an entertainer. He was an entertainer when he was a real estate developer, he was an entertainer when he was a reality show producer and star, and he is an entertainer as president. That doesn’t mean he is not other things — Trump Tower really was built, for example — but it means that he knows how to communicate in the style of an entertainer. That’s what he did in the WWE tweet.

The alarmed way to read the tweet is that the president is inciting violence against journalists. That is the way that most journalists chose to see it. “The president of the United States is encouraging violence against journalists,” tweeted Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg Sunday morning, reflecting what dozens of other establishment journalists were saying. CNN’s statement in reaction to the president, plus that of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said much the same thing.

It’s just an impression, but one could note that some journalists seemed more alarmed by the president’s tweets than by other recent examples of violent political expression — Kathy Griffin holding what appeared to be Trump’s bloody, severed head, or the Trump-as-Caesar assassination, for example. That is probably because many journalists are simply more worried about the prospect of right-wing violence than they are about the prospect of left-wing violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a favored source among some reporters, did not built up a nine-figure endowment by warning about violence from the Left.

Even with a real act of politically-motivated violence — the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, which turned out to be a left-wing attack — some found it less terrifying than the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords, which in a weird way was not politically motivated at all. Yes, all media outlets covered the Scalise shooting wall-to-wall on the first day, and on the second. But on the third? As Commentary editor John Podhoretz noted recently, “The news media focused on the Giffords shooting with little else in the mix for a week. Three days post-baseball field and they’re moving on.”

For those reasons — the fact that many journalists are more worried about the prospect of right-wing violence than left-wing violence, plus their belief that Trump is a threat to freedom of the press — many in the reporting and commentary world chose to read the president’s tweet in the most alarmed way possible.

So back to Iraq. As it turned out, the most alarmed reading of the intelligence led to a disastrous mistake, the invasion of Iraq. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to read things in an alarmed way. It just means it’s hard to know at the time.”

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Why I Like Thomas Williams and Breitbart News

by Steve Ray on June 8, 2017

Yeah, I know it gets a bad rap in the local “Main Street Media” but if you shake off their bias and take a closer look it’s a pretty good place to find out what’s really going on.

My friend Thomas Williams is the Rome correspondent and I have nothing but respect for this guy.

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MEDJUGORJE – the Beginning of the End?

May 18, 2017

Patrick Coffin summarizes situation at Medjugorje.

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Fantastic Movie for Whole Family – “Lion”

May 13, 2017

On the plane to Fatima. Watched a FANTASTIC movie about adoption, love, redemption and family just now on the plane. A movie from India. It is worthy of an evening with popcorn and a box of Kleenex.. I think everyone will agree it would be good for the kids too. Redemption, hope, family… Oh, it […]

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Are You Buying REAL Holy Land Olive Wood Products? or Chinese Cheap Imports?

April 30, 2017

Tomorrow morning we will take our group to Bethlehem to buy quality Olive Wood products make and sold by the local Christians. When we bring our groups here we only take them to shops that sell the REAL DEAL, real Olive Wood products carved by the local Christians who are in much need of our help. In […]

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Reclaim the Presence of God and Dinnertime for the Family

April 7, 2017

Paraclete Press has come out with a delightful book to help families practice the presence of God and help make dinner fun. I wish I had written this book! Check out”Feeding Your Family’s Soul – Dinner Table Spirituality” Not only spirituality but fun things to make dinner and enjoyable family get-together. I echo Fr. Andrew […]

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Trail of Blood: Do Baptists Have a Claim to the Original Church?

March 23, 2017

What is the history of Baptists? Can they trace their roots back to the 1st century? Many ”fundamentalist” Baptists believe they can. Are they correct? There is a booklet that is very popular among this fundamentalist crowd. It is entitled “The Trail of Blood”. The booklet claims that Catholics persecuted the true Christians — the Baptists — leaving […]

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Did the Pope Change Doctrine with Amoris Laetitia?

February 24, 2017

I AM A LAWYER, NOT A MIND-READER February 23, 2017 By Canon Lawyer Ed Peters, Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ echoing of claims that Amoris laetitia changed no doctrines occasioned a question for me: Am I the only (or among the few) Amoris critics who agrees with Amoris defenders that Pope Francis made no doctrinal changes in […]

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‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian

January 12, 2017

Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List. Jeremy Weber  Posted in Christianity Today   1/11/2017 09:00AM For the third year in a row, the modern persecution of Christians worldwide has hit another record high. But the primary cause, Islamic extremism, now has a rival: ethnic nationalism. Thus, Asia increasingly merits […]

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Tomorrow She is Canonized! Books to Read about “Saint” Mother Teresa with Reviews by our Rome Guide Liz Lev

September 3, 2016

“The long-awaited canonization of Mother Teresa has sparked a renewed interest in her astounding life. Her name has become synonymous with selfless love and service to the poor, sick, disabled and dying. “I’m no Mother Teresa” was once a frequent refrain as we backed off from tasks that seemed too demanding or humiliating, and her […]

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Nice Review of my Book “Crossing the Tiber”

June 15, 2016

The diocese of Tyler Texas has a beautiful glossy magazine and this issue is about apologetics. Excellent magazine. This month has a review of my book Crossing the Tiber and Hahn’s book Rome Sweet Home. The priest who wrote the article says these are “books to give away” and tells how he buys them for […]

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Interview with German Philosopher and Friend of St. JP II: Robert Spaemann on Pope Francis’ “Amoris Laetitia”

April 30, 2016

Stuttgart, Germany, Apr 29, 2016 / 10:49 am (CNA).- Greatly valued as an advisor by Saint John Paul II, a friend of Benedict XVI, and widely held to be the most important German Catholic philosopher of recent decades, Robert Spaemann, emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Munich, expressed a distinctly critical interpretation of Amoris […]

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Eternal Security: Is Baptist Pastor Charles Stanley Right?

April 8, 2016

ETERNAL SECURITY (Once Saved-Always Saved): Analyzing a Sermon by Baptist Pastor, Charles Stanley By Steve Ray Hello Protestant Friend: Even though I have watched his show off and on over the months, I had no intention of watching Charles Stanley on television last night. It was just that I was tired after getting home and […]

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A New Creed for the Modern World

September 21, 2015

Everyone knows the ancient Christian creeds are outdated and passé. It is time we have a new creed that fits everyone in our brave new modern world.  We believe that God is in all of us; He has been created in our image We believe that each one must find the truth that is right […]

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Pope Francis’s Encyclical: Updates, Reviews, Critiques

June 23, 2015

A lot is being said about Laudato Si both from supporters and critics — of which I guess I am both. I would fall in the camp of the Acton Institute… Here are eight links worth reading and watching as you digest and work through the new encyclical. 1) Acton Institute critique by my friend […]

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