Poland 4: Mountains of Zakopane!

by Steve Ray on August 25, 2019

So we begin our 4th day here in Poland. What a glorious morning up in the mountains of Zakopane in our chalet-like 5-star hotel. I’m going to have a hard time getting everyone to leave here in two days ?

We started the day by visiting one of the old wooden churches built out of timber 100 years ago. So quaint and beautiful. Then we took the tram up Guba?ówka Mountain for a view of Zakopane from the sky. Everybody got coffee and drinks and we enjoyed the time. Then shopping and gawking along Kripowski Street.

After our free time, we had a “Highlander’s Lunch” at Zohylina Yzno Restaurant. Mass at Our Lady of Fatima in the woods (homily here soon) then more free time to walk around Kripowski Street with the open-air markets, shops and restaurants. Rest of the day free.

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Poland 4: Mountains of Zakopane!

by Steve Ray on August 25, 2019

So we begin our 4th day here in Poland. What a glorious morning up in the mountains of Zakopane in our chalet-like 5-star hotel. I’m going to have a hard time getting everyone to leave here in two days ?

We started the day by visiting one of the old wooden churches built out of timber 100 years ago. So quaint and beautiful. Then we took the tram up Guba?ówka Mountain for a view of Zakopane from the sky. Everybody got coffee and drinks and we enjoyed the time. Then shopping and gawking along Kripowski Street.

After our free time, we had a “Highlander’s Lunch” at Zohylina Yzno Restaurant. Mass at Our Lady of Fatima in the woods (homily here soon) then more free time to walk around Kripowski Street with the open-air markets, shops and restaurants. Rest of the day free.

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Today (Monday) I will be on the radio with Gary Michuta at 1 PM at https://virginmostpowerfulradio.org/. Hope you can listen in.

Our topic will be Abraham, Father of Faith & Works. I am looking forward to this live show. In honor of this event today I am posting this article on Abraham, a critique I made of a book falsely claiming Abraham was saved by “faith alone.”

Was Abraham saved by Faith Alone? By Steve Ray

imgres-1You say, “Of course Abraham was saved by faith alone! Doesn’t the Bible make that perfectly clear, especially in Paul’s letters? And didn’t Luther’s German translation inform the masses that the words “faith” and “alone” belonged together like bread and butter? Abraham was saved by faith alone!”

Well, maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t, but the Bible certainly throws some question on this well-known Protestant cliché. Let’s find out how and when Abraham was really “saved.” Fundamentalist Protestants like to tell us that we are saved at “one-point-in-time when we “simply believe.” In other words mental assent to the simple gospel gives us a free passage to heaven.

imagesSince Abraham is used in the New Testament as the quintessential example of justification by faith, let’s see if we can pin-point the moment when Abraham believed? Can we locate the exact moment he was “saved”? Since this was such a momentous occasion in the history of mankind, and in the drama of salvation history, it should be clearly shown when Abraham actually believed and was reckoned as righteous. From unbelief to belief, from no faith to saving faith.

Protestants (e.g., John Ankerberg in Protestants and Catholics, Do They Now Agree? [Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publ., 1995) like to say the word “justify” as used by James really means “vindicate,” and that “vindicate” has nothing to do with salvation, but has to do with the proving of the believer’s faith—Abraham’s faith. You really should have addressed the major weakness of this perspective: it is not the faith that is being justified by works—it is the man.

images-1How can we justify this? If our theory holds true shouldn’t we read, “Was not Abraham our father’s faith justified (vindicated) by works?” making it clear that it is his faith, and not his person. Instead we read, unfortunately, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works?” This observation does not set well with our interpretation.

In your book you say that it is always the faith that is proven by works, whereas the Apostle James seems to say it is the person. We should try to figure out how James could have worded this passage more carefully so Catholics don’t get the wrong idea and misunderstand the gospel. You also say in your book (p. 37) that “Paul is writing about a person being justified before God, while James is writing about a man being justified before men. Men cannot see another person’s heart as God can.”

imgresSomehow we have to more careful in this theory, or else we end up scratching a few verses out of the story of Abraham in Genesis. Was it men who were testing Abraham’s faith? The book of Genesis says, no. It was God who was testing Abraham in Genesis 22, not men. You write that James is referring to justification before men (p. 37), because God can already see the heart. I noticed in reading James & Peter, by Harry Ironside, that he agrees with you on this point.

But the problem seems to be that it was God who was testing Abraham in Genesis, because Moses wrote, “Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham . . . ” (Gen. 22:1) Notice it was not men who were finding out what was in Abraham’s heart— whether he had true faith—it was God.

For the whole article, click here.  To learn more or purchase our documentary on Abraham filmed in Iraq, Turkey and Israel, click here

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Poland 3: Warsaw to Czestochowa to Zakopane

August 24, 2019

Today we say goodbye to Warsaw as we travel south to Czestochowa where we had Mass (homily here) and where we saw the famous “Black Madonna“. We had lunch and walked around the grounds a bit before boarding the bus again and heading further south to the border between Poland and Slovakia into the mountains […]

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Vine, Branches & Fire: Where Will You End up?

August 24, 2019

One has to take time to care for their land and awhile ago I was cutting wild vines out of the trees and thought of the words of Jesus in John 15:5–6, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much […]

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Poland 2: Niepokalanow and Warsaw

August 23, 2019

After a good night’s sleep, everyone is feeling pretty good today and well-rested. We start the day by driving to the “City of the Immaculata“ which was founded by Saint Maximilian Kolbe and the name of it in Polish is Niepokolanow. It was a beautiful drive for about one hour and when we arrived we started […]

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Did the Bible Always have Chapters & Verses?

August 23, 2019

No! The chapter and verse divisions in the Bible are relatively recent additions to the Bible. Originally it was written in Hebrew and Greek and there were NO chapter and verse divisions–in fact, most of the time there was not even spaces between the words! Interestingly, in the book of Hebrews the writer is quoting […]

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Today in Niepokalanow, Poland: Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s “City of the Immaculata”

August 23, 2019

Niepokalanow, Poland: Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s “City of the Immaculata” Today we are in Niepokalanow where St. Maximilian Kolbe set up the “City of the Immaculata” and helped save Poland’s faith as it was about to descend into the tyranny of the Nazis and the Soviets. Today their Catholic Faith is exemplary. So, I thought I […]

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Arrival in Poland – Blessed Fr.Jerzy Popieluszko

August 22, 2019

Everybody arrived in Poland today in good order, except two pilgrims who missed their connection but will join us soon. We are at the beautiful Westin Hotel in downtown Warsaw and we had Mass at St. Stanislaw Kolska (excellent intro homily here) and a tour of the museum and venerated the tomb of Blessed Fr. […]

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Bias in Bible Translations

August 22, 2019

Translating Holy Scripture is a necessary process by which the sacred text is provided in various languages, usually rendered from the original languages. Not all translations are created equal. Some result from one scholar’s work, others the work of a committee of scholars. Some are literal while others tend toward paraphrase. Translation resembles a sliding […]

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The Cross & the Crucifix: Letter to a Fundamentalist

August 21, 2019

The Cross & the Crucifix (From a letter Steve wrote to a Evangelical Protestant who asked about the Catholic Crucifix) Dear Evangelical Friend: You display a bare cross in your home; we display the cross and the crucifix. What is the difference and why? The cross is an upright post with a crossbeam in the […]

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Big Difference Between Catholics & Protestants – A Joke

August 20, 2019

After leaving their different Sunday services one Sunday afternoon, a little Baptist boy and a Catholic girl met while walking down a dirt road. Since they were both going the same way, they decided that they’d walk together. The road had flooded and there was no way to get across without getting wet. “I tell you what I think I’ll […]

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Woodstock 50 Year Anniversary. I Wasn’t There but Al Kresta Was!

August 20, 2019

Very few events shaped America like Woodstock 50 years ago this week. Al Kresta was there and he shares his memories and thoughts on this watershed event. Click here to hear his comments.

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Leaving for Poland Today: Introducing our Poland Pilgrimage with 2 Podcasts with Al Kresta Live

August 19, 2019

Recently Al Kresta and I recorded two shows about Poland. You can listen to them here. Since we are leaving for Poland today, I thought it a good idea to re-share them and the commentary below. In the first, I  tell of our adventures smuggling Bibles, medicine and money into Poland in 1983 when it […]

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Reading the Bible

August 18, 2019

A Little Poem about Bible Context I supposed I knew my Bible, Reading piecemeal, hit or miss, Now a bit of John or Matthew, Now a snatch of Genesis, Certain chapters of Isaiah, Certain Psalms (the twenty-third), Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs — Yes, I thought I knew the Word! But I found that […]

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Solzhenhitsyn on “Group-think Control”

August 17, 2019

This episode is in Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, Vol. 1.  It shows the stupidity and mind control that totalitarian, socialist and intolerant governments and groups can impose upon people. It shows what can happen if we move toward socialism and Communism in our country with the liberals and the Far Left pushing their agenda and […]

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