Apologetics

St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”:

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven.’

“And again He says to him after His resurrection: ‘Feed my sheep.’ On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair.

“So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”

To read the whole article and see all the pictures, click here or on the pictures above.

For my DVD “Peter, Keeper of the Keys” and my book “Upon this Rock: Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church”, click here http://www.SteveRaysStore.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my talk on “Peter: the Rock, the Keys & the Chair” Hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!

{ 2 comments }

Prepare for the Skyline of the Future: Islam!

by Steve Ray on February 22, 2019

I wrote this several years ago while in Adana Turkey and thought it worthy to post again, especially since I am seeing it again, everywhere I go in the world. I my country hometown in Michigan the Muslims have built the largest mosque in America. But I shouldn’t get ahead of my story.

Europe is full of magnificent churches—Gothic, Baroque and even modern. Their steeples and crosses still dominate much of the skyline. They stand as impressive monuments to the Christian faith that built the free world and brought beauty and justice out of a pagan, barbarian wilderness.

Notre Dame.jpgToday the churches in Europe are becoming museum pieces recalling the lost faith and  collapsing backbone of Europe. (Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral to left)

Paganism is on the rise — and along with it something just as alarming. The skyline will soon change, not only for Europe but for the whole Western World, including the United States. You will soon see new structures piercing the sky!

But before I tell you how your view of today’s horizon will change, let me tell you about what happened to Turkey. Then you will see that it can happen—and if we don’t move quickly, it will happen again.

Janet and I are now in Turkey with our Skyline Productions video crew working on our next documentary Apostolic Fathers for the Footprints of God series. We are driving/flying with our crew from one Christian site to another. This country is often called the Second Holy Land—why? Because it contains more Christian sites than anywhere other than Israel.

For a few examples: Antioch is where we were first called Christians, Tarsus was the home town of St. Paul, and Lystra the home city of St. Timothy.

JohnsTomb.jpgBut, Turkey is also home to the Seven Church of Revelation. The Blessed Virgin Mary lived here with the Apostle St. John. Selçuk still boasts the tomb of St. John (see picture to right). Istanbul (Constantinople) was once a proud patriarchate of the Catholic Church and home to Ecumenical Councils.

Actually, the first Seven Ecumenical Councils were held here, including Constantinople, Chalcedon, and Nicea—from which we got Nicene Creed recited each Sunday. And don’t forget the Council of Ephesus which defined Mary as the Theotokos, the Mother of God.

And if you remember your New Testament, you will recognize cities that were in today’s Turkey: Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians. Turkey is also the land of martyrs, Fathers and Doctors of the Church like Sts. Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, and Basil the Great to name just a few.

So, when I look out over the horizon from my hotel room window, do I see the beautiful churches that once marked the skyline of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey)?

Nope. Sorry. I see something else.

skyline.jpgFrom my window just now, I counted no less than nineteen minarets! What are minarets? They are the tall slender towers above an Islamic mosque from which the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer (Notice two pictures from my hotel window–one wide shot with no less than five minarets; the second at the bottom of this blog showing a large mosque across the river. There is only one Catholic Church within a hundred miles of where I am now).

What happened to the churches? Let’s go to Istanbul together and I will show you! I have frequently visited the Hagia Sophia—the Church of Holy Wisdom. It was the glory of Christendom and for over a thousand years it had the largest dome — until St. Peter’s was built in Rome. Many people thought the dome stayed up by a direct miracle of God. How else could something so expansive stay up without crashing down?

Hagia1.jpgBut when the Muslims conquered Contantinople they defaced the church, painted over the golden icons of our Blessed Mother and turned the spectacular church into a mosque. The crosses came down and the minarets went up.

Today the Hagia Sophia is a museum! (picture of modern Hagia Sophia to left)

It has been predicted that within fifty years Europe’s skyline will change. It will become a Muslim empire. Steeples will come down and minarets will go up. No longer will you hear bells — you will hear muezzin wailing from the balconies of slender minarets.

And America? We are losing our faith too, and our backbone. Will we be far behind Europe? I don’t think so. Islam has 1 billion followers, many of who will stop at nothing short of world domination. They won’t call it that, of course. They will say the world is now as Allah willed it.

Skyline3.jpgAnd like the Hagia Sophia—your church, and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC and St. Patrick’s in New York will still pierce the skyline, but no longer as steeples. They will sport the latest in minarets. And our grandchildren’s’ children will wonder why we caved in so easily—why we lost our faith and our backbone.

Oh, so you don’t believe it can happen to us? Neither did the Byzantine Empire, the powerhouse of Christianity in the East! But, the East fell to Islam and the West may fall as well. Maybe not by military might, but by religious indifference, population control, and secularism. Islam can overtake us by persistence, population growth, and religious fervor.

What was once part of a powerful Christian Empire is now 99% Muslim. Out of a population of about 75 million, there are only 60,000 Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestants, etc.). The past screams to us but will we listen.

Prepare to see the new skyline; prepare to be awakened at 4 AM with the wail of the muezzin.

Far-fetched? Read this article about Holland.

St. Ignatius, pray for us. Sts. Polycarp, Irenaeus and John Chysostom, pray for us!

{ 23 comments }

Grilled salmon sizzled on his plate as Andy and his family sat down for dinner. No sooner had they crossed themselves to bless the food than the doorbell rang. Andrew dragged himself to answer the door while his family began eating.

Two smiling faces peered in the door. “Good evening, we hope we’re not interrupting your dinner.” Rolling his eyes, Andy responded, “Can I help you?”

door-to-door-salesmanThe first smiling face said, “We are from the local Baptist church and stopped by to see if you are born again.”

Andy had been a Catholic all his life and remembered hearing that phrase somewhere in his past, but at this moment he hesitated. “Well, ahh, I’m a Catholic.”

The second smiling face displayed a hint of glee, “Can we come in and share the Gospel with you?” Andy blurted out, “Actually, we are in the middle of dinner – maybe another time.” “OK”, said the delighted Baptists, “how about next Tuesday evening?”

Andy sighed and agreed. Sitting down to cold salmon, he realized he had his work cut out for him. After dinner, he retreated to his den, grabbed his Bible and Catechism and got to work.

Take a few minutes and study along with Andy as he prepares for the Tuesday visit and the inevitable debate on the much-abused phrase “born again”. Andy started by reading the third chapter of St. John’s gospel. Open your Bible and read along with Andy. Andy began his mission with a barrage of questions.

Is the phrase “born again” in the Bible (Jn 3:3)? Does the Catechism mention this “new birth” (CCC 720, 591)? To understand, Andy thought about Nicodemus. What do Nicodemus and his legalistic system represent (Ro 7:5-6; CCC 1963)? Can the Jewish Law bring new birth and salvation? Is being born of the seed of Abraham sufficient for salvation (Mt 3:8-9; Jn 8:33-47)? What is Jesus bringing to Mankind (Heb 9:15; 12:24; Lk 22:20; CCC 292)?

For the whole article and lesson, click here. Prepare yourself and your children for the inevitable question.

{ 0 comments }

Did Jesus Ascend into Heaven from Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12) or from Bethany (Luke 24:50)?

February 19, 2019

Since we are on the Mount of Olives today I thought I would address a common concern. One of our past pilgrims wrote to me expressing an apparent contradiction in the Bible about what I had said in Israel. The wording in the two verses below is what caused the confusion. Acts 1:12  “[After the Ascension] they […]

Read the full article →

Explaining Catholic View of Covenants with a Dispensational Baptist

February 18, 2019

A Baptist antagonist claimed he had the proper view of God’s plan of salvation – working through dispensations. I explained to him the more substantial, biblical and Catholic concept of covenants. I think you will enjoy the chart which makes salvation history easy to visualize and comprehend. ********************************************** Hello Jerry: It was good talking with […]

Read the full article →

Is Faith Alone the Basis for the Final Judgment?

February 16, 2019

Dear Jerry: I had no intention of writing you again this soon but after having dinner with your brother the other day and picking up a copy of a booklet you gave him entitled Studies In Contrasts: The Doctrine of Salvation (by Herb Vander Lugt and published by the Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, MI.), […]

Read the full article →

Hundreds of my Audio and Visual Presentations & Radio Shows

February 15, 2019

Some have asked me how to access my talks and radio shows. First, you can search YouTube with “Steve Ray” and there are scores of them for free. We also have a webpage with links to hundreds of past talks, radio interviews, etc. Hope you find them helpful to build and support your Faith in […]

Read the full article →

Pastor Bob “Preaches the Word” (Discussing A Sermon on Baptism)

February 13, 2019

Pastor Bob Preaches The Word (or does he?) By Steve Ray Josh left Sunday services full of excitement, anxious to discuss Pastor Bob’s sermon with his sister Jennifer who had recently converted to the Catholic Church. The pastor had explained how salvation was by “faith alone” and not by rituals and works. He was anxious […]

Read the full article →

Cross vs. Crucifix

February 11, 2019

(A letter Steve wrote to an Evangelical friend asking for an explanation of the Crucifix) Dear Protestant Friend: You display a bare cross in your homes; we display the cross and the crucifix. What is the difference and why? The cross is an upright post with a crossbeam in the shape of a “T”. A […]

Read the full article →

Why Did Some of these Catholics Leave to Join the Baptists, and what did we do?

February 9, 2019

Fr. McDonald is a marvelous priest serving in the Lansing diocese here in Michigan. Before I tell the story I have to make an observation: the people north of Lansing have been blessed beyond measure with such a pastor! They should love and support and encourage such priests without measure! They are blessed to have […]

Read the full article →

Catholic Doctrines in Scripture by Topic. Save or print 87- page Resource

February 8, 2019

Catholic Doctrines in Scripture, Compiled by Greg Oatis            Click here for document Introduction                                                          3 Preface                                                                 4 Church Authority and Papal Infallibility                     5 Peter as First Pope                                                 8 Apostolic Succession                                               11 Ordination and Priesthood                                       12 Salvation Not By Faith Alone/Not Assured                  14 Doctrines                                                              21 Free Will                                                              21 Abortion                                                               23  Contraception                                                        24 Homosexuality                                                       […]

Read the full article →

Baptist in a Protestant Bookstore – Interesting Conversation

February 7, 2019

Dear Jerry: I am writing a short letter to thank you for approaching me in the bookstore yesterday to talk, and to make a few comments on our earlier discussion. As always it was fun talking with you Jerry. I always look forward to such times; they are a high point in my week. I […]

Read the full article →

Explaining to Family Why He Left the Denominations for the Catholic Church

January 9, 2019

This new convert sent me a nice e-mail thanking me. I asked if I could share it on my blog. He agreed but asked to remain anonymous and I agreed. He said, “I converted because I lost all the discussions I had with a Catholic workmate – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. One problem […]

Read the full article →

Who Chose the Books of the Bible? Are the Books “Self-authenticating”?

January 8, 2019

Are the Books of the New Testament “Self-Authenticating” or was the Catholic Church Necessary to Define the Canon of Scripture? By Steve Ray Hello Protestant Friend: I was very happy to receive your twenty-five-page letter which claimed that sola Scriptura (Bible alone) and sola fide (faith alone) were the faith and teaching of the Apostles. […]

Read the full article →

Sherlock Holmes an Idolater – Praying to People?

January 7, 2019

Last night my wife and I were watching an episode of Sherlock Holmes on TV. He has always been one of my favorite characters and I can remember reading all the stories to our kids as they grew up. On TV I think Jeremy Brett does the best portrayal and it is always a delightful […]

Read the full article →

Mass with 2 Protestants and 1 Crucifix

January 5, 2019

A while ago we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar. I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same — “CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS […]

Read the full article →