Church History

The Trail of Blood

by Steve Ray

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 behind a trail of blood.

I used to believe this premise and now that I have looked more carefully I wrote an article about this booklet and this the idea Baptists are the true Christians that have survived Catholic attempts to destroy them. Here is how my article begins:

“When Baptists attempt to discover the origins of their tradition they are faced with a historical dilemma. The search for Baptists roots hits a dead end in the sixteenth century.

Most acknowledge that Baptist tradition is a tributary flowing out of the Protestant Reformation, but others attempt to discover a line of historical continuity, of doctrine and practice, back to Jesus and even John the Baptist. These Baptists are commonly referred to “Baptist Successionists”. . . “

Audio Podcast here.

-For my full article on the Trail of Blood, click here (pdf).
-For more such articles and letters, click here.

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At the 20219 investiture of new Knights and Dames into the North Central Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, I was asked to give the keynote talk on Sunday morning with a good number of bishops in attendance and several renowned theologians and radio personalities.

IMGP1378(Photo: Janet and I with Patriarch of Jerusalem Saba at Mass at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Easter 2004)

Janet and I have been members of this order for nearly 20 years now. Since Janet and I have been to Israel over 180 times, I assumed they would request a talk on the Holy Land, the Holy Sepulchre and the local Christians that we support. So I accepted.

But as the date drew nearer I asked which topic was chosen for me. The Lieutenant of the North Central Lieutenancy informed me, you shall speak on “How can a John Paul II Catholic Survive in a Pope Francis World”.

I was a bit shocked but said I would do it. Having written two books on the Papacy published by Ignatius Press (The Papacy and Upon this Rock) and an on-location document (Peter, Keeper of the Keys) I have a bit of knowledge about the papacy.

The talk was given the morning after I returned home from Israel at 10 PM the night before. I was exhausted and jetlagged but asked God for strength and clarity. Hope you find the talk helpful and encouraging in these strange days in which we live.

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It is not an understatement to say the St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was eaten by lions in Rome in AD 106 is one of my favorite men of all time. He was a link to help me grasp the Catholic Church. He dragged me in with his seven letters.

So it was with interest that I read John C. Evans treatise of St. Ignatius, his times, his associates, his speculated relationship with St. John and the Blessed Virgin Mary, with Peter and others. The star of Bethlehem association is also an interesting twist.

John Evans shared this with me and it intrigued me enough that I wanted to share it. Everything below the line of asterisks belongs to John Evans.

Below the article is a video of John interviewing me about the life of the Holy Family in their own historical context.

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Ignatius of Antioch and The Christmas Star

Through the Eyes of John and Mary

A brief hypothesis on chapters 18 and 19 of Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Ephesians and his primary sources.

Disclaimer:
The following consists of a blog entry and not an exhaustive study of the questions raised. As such, it is intended as a rough outline of my thesis and is subject to critique, revision, and further dialogue.

downloadThe letter to the Ephesians attributed to the early second-century martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, conspicuously stands out from the six other epistles generally believed to be authentic by mainstream voices in the field of patristics. This is largely due to a famous or infamous passage toward the end of the letter, comprising of chapters 18 and 19 in which Ignatius, on his way to execution in Rome, seemingly diverts from the flow of his discourse to expound the events surrounding the passion and nativity of Christ.

The minimalist scholar will inevitably hold to the conviction that these references comprise of merely one layer in a series of “ecclesiastical traditions” of dubious origin with little to no foundation in the person of the historical Jesus. Such a conviction, however, is founded on the presupposition that either the apostolic memory died before Ignatius gave his life in Rome toward the very dawn of the second century or that the successors to the Apostles had little concern for historicity as we would conceive of it. However, such a presupposition ignores two steady streams of evidence branching from a wealth of patristic sources.

Most would place the death of John, the last surviving apostle, to circa A.D 90 in Ephesus, hardly twenty years before the martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch. John was active in Asia Minor toward the end of his life and according to the second-century father Irenaeus, a well-known student of Polycarp, he was responsible for combating heretical sects toward the close of the first century, which sought to distort the memory of what the rest of the twelve witnessed and died defending.

met+stills.00_01_58_10.Still003John was an eyewitness of the crucifixion of Jesus, was caretaker for His Mother in Ephesus, until her passing or assumption, possibly in the 60s, and is listed as a pillar of the faith by Paul alongside James, the brother or cousin of the Lord. There is also the witness of Papias. Papias authored an “exposition on the oracles of the Lord,” which is now lost. However, fragments survive. Papias claims to have faithfully passed on what he learned from a series of eyewitnesses of “the truth” and to have an interest in truth as it factually happened, and he references the name “John” twice. As we read:….

For the whole article, click here to visit John C Evans’ Book and Spade website. You comment on the article below AND learn more about this fascinating young man named John C. Evans and write to him at https://www.bookandspade.com/contact.

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Delivered “500 Reasons to Be Catholic” to Luther at Wittenburg Door

November 25, 2020

I was thinking about Martin Luther and the great schism of the Western Church and thought I would share again our visit to the Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany three years ago. Janet and I took a group of hardy Catholic converts to Germany to follow the footprints of Martin Luther and the Protestant revolt […]

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Dear Protestant: Where Did You Get Your Bible?

November 22, 2020

From Little Catholic Bubble website Leila@LittleCatholicBubble Dear Protestant: Where did you get your New Testament? At least a couple of times every week, Protestants use New Testament verses to show me where the Catholic Church is wrong about something. I always make them take the necessary step back by asking the following: “Where did you get your […]

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Responding to an Eastern Orthodox Christian who challenged me about the Papacy on Catholic Answers Live

October 14, 2020

When I was last on Catholic Answers Live last week Constantine Regas called in to defend the Eastern Orthodox position against the Catholic Church’s teaching on Peter and the Primacy of Rome. Constantine’s words are in BLUE and my responses are in BLACK. I appreciated Constantine’s irenic tone and honest demeanor.  CONSTANTINE REGAS (CR): I called […]

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The Catholic Church and Her 23 Liturgical Rites

August 24, 2020

I was recently asked if there was a difference between the “Catholic Church” and the “Roman Catholic Church”. Are they the same thing? What is the correct name of our Church? So I provided this simple answer (PDF version here). The official name of our church is “Catholic Church”. But the Church has 23 different […]

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The Catholic Church: the First Abolitionist, Church Never Endorsed Slavery

July 28, 2020

Crisis Magazine has come out with a good and insightful article debunking the idea that the Catholic Church endorsed and promoted slavery. The modern anti-Christian, anti-history narrative takes it for granted that the Church was either a promoter of slavery, or at best complicit or it turned a blind eye. This article by Paul Kengor […]

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Peter and the Primacy in Scripture and the Early Church Discussion

July 16, 2020

Had another great evening with William Albrecht and Michael Lofton on their popular and wide-ranging Reason & Theology show. It was a great time of discussion, challenge and digging deep into the issue of the primage of Peter and Rome in Scripture and the Church Fathers – East and West. Enjoy the lively discussion…. Throughout […]

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Baptists at the Council of Nicea?

May 19, 2020

Written by Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem. Nicea, August 24, A.D. 325, 7:41 p.m.    “That was powerful preaching, Brother Athanasius. Powerful! Amen! I want to invite any of you folks in the back to approach the altar here and receive the Lord into your hearts. Just come on up. We’ve got brothers and sisters up here […]

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The Dark Side of Luther – by Steve Wood

March 25, 2020

The Dark Side of Luther  (View online version at Steve Woods site here)     This is the last of my newsletters responding to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I’m sending you some of the overlooked statements of Luther revealing his thoughts on Catholics, his claim to infallibility, and his hatred of the […]

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Catherine of Siena and Leaving the Church

February 5, 2020

What this 14th-century mystic can teach us about fidelity to Christ and to a Church in crisis Thomas McDermott, OP In the wake of so many clerical sex abuse scandals, too many people the Catholic Church appears hypocritical and bankrupt morally and spiritually. In the midst of such trying times, how can Catholics justify remaining […]

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Imagine the Music in Hagia Sophia, Largest Church for 1,000 Years

January 21, 2020

For 1,000 years the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) was the largest church in the world. What would it have sounded like to attend the Easter Vigil with all those newly baptized Christians singing in their native language of Greek with Doctor of the Church, St. John Chrysostom presiding. Coming in from the farms […]

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Did St. Ignatius of Antioch REALLY Believe in Transubstantiation in the 1st Century?

January 6, 2020

A friend and fellow pilgrim got in a row with a friend on Facebook and asked for my help. You might enjoy the question and the answer. My friend wrote: “I have a quick apologetic question.  A Protestant Facebook page was denying the Eucharist and I pasted St Ignatius’ quote about the Eucharist, “Let us […]

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Aztecs, Human Sacrifice, Abortion and Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 12, 2019

Today we visited the Aztec Temple in Mexico City. The cathedral of Mexico City was built right next to the 500-year temple. I did a lot of study on the Aztecs and their massive human sacrifices and cannibalism. I realized there was a great tie-in with the Catholic faith, the sacrifice of Christ and abortion […]

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Did the Church Ever Support Slavery?

October 20, 2019

By Steve Weidenkopf   September 18, 2017 Many years ago I attended a conference organized by a national Catholic organization on the topics of marriage and human sexuality. One of the speakers was a professor from Creighton University who, in the middle of his talk on contraception, launched into a long tangent about how the Church had […]

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