Apologetics

Steve Ray PWAThis ends Sunday, October 25 for free, but you can purchase a premium pass any time.

The world’s largest Catholic Apologetics Conference with 50+ of the best speakers will be FREE and available on the internet this weekend. Be sure to click here for free registration.

My topic will be “Why Sola Scriptura Can Never Work: A Short History of the Bible.” It is the first time I’ve given this talk and I am excited about it. A lot of visuals go with the talk.

PWA-VCC-SM-Conference General-Update

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Today is the feast day of one of my all-time favorite heroes. HE made me Catholic.

[For my 90-minute adventure documentary on Ignatius of Antioch along with four other Apostolic Fathers, get Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith. For more info see below.]

There are Apostolic Fathers and Fathers of the Church. What is the difference? Fathers of the Church are those bishops, priests, and theologians of the first eight centuries who taught and wrote and who helped define the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

IMG_2667Apostolic Fathers fit into that category but they have a subcategory of their own – the KNEW the Apostles. They did not have New Testaments under their arms but they did have the voice of the Apostles ringing in their ears. They learned personally from the Apostles.

Look at this chart below to see how close they are to the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. These are the guys who made me Catholic. If you haven’t read their writings, you should. (I don’t know who made the chart but would love to give him credit if I find out.)

Here is a chart I made for our documentary Apostolic Fathers: Handing on the Faith.

Timeline 2 copy_supersmall.jpgDownload a Free copy of the Apostolic Fathers Timeline

 

This amazing Timeline drives home the point of how close these men were to Jesus and the Apostles. It demonstrates how Catholic the first Christians really were!

 


 The Apostolic Fathers faced Emperors, heretics and lions but these heroes of the Catholic faith never lost courage. Chains, prisons and blood-soaked arenas did not stop the early Christians from witnessing for Christ and handing on the Apostolic Tradition.

ApostolicFathersCover.jpg

Strap on your sandals and step back in time to discover the “Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith”

Comprehensive 28-Page Study Guide
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith
Bloopers and Outtakes
Conversation with Steve Ray and Fr. Benedict Groeschel

English and Spanish subtitles
Feature running time: 90 minutes, extras 30 minutes

Buy it HERE

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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 the “Catholic Answers Live” show last Monday to clarify the Orthodox position on authority in the Church.

STEVE RAY (SR): I remember Constantine. And the studio cut us off before we got very far in our conversation.

CR: My exact question was that, if Christ gave St Peter the Keys to the Kingdom, why isn’t the current Bishop of Antioch the head of the universal Church since St Peter was the founding bishop of that city several years before he became the bishop of Rome? Part of your response was that he was also the first bishop of Jerusalem. The Apostle James was Jerusalem’s first bishop.

SR: Jesus promised him the keys to Peter in Matthew 16:19. The Royal Steward steps up to his position of authority when appointed, especially to fill in for the King in his absence. Once Jesus ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit fell Peter picked up those keys and exercised his authority on the day of Pentecost. From that point on we hear no words of the other Eleven. Except for Paul, none of the others have any recorded words in Acts. Peter is the Bishop, the Pope and the visible Head of the Church from that point.

In his massive history of the Church, Warren Carroll gives a very cogent outline of Peter’s movements. You can read this list here as I provided in my book Upon this Rock.

30 AD Death and Resurrection of Jesus
30-37 Peter head of the Church in Jerusalem
38-39 Peter’s Missionary journeys along Mediterranean Coast and Samaria
40-41 Peter in Antioch
42 Imprisonment in Jerusalem and departure to “another place.’
42-49 First sojourn to Rome
49 Expulsion from Rome by edict of Claudius
49-50 In Jerusalem for the Apostolic Council (Acts 15)
50–54 In Antioch, Bithynia, Pontus, Asia, and Cappadocia (or some of them)
54–57 Second sojourn in Rome; Gospel of Mark written under Peter’s direction
57–62 In Bithynia, Pontus, and Cappadocia (or some of them); Mark in Alexandria, Egypt
62–67 Third sojourn in Rome; canonical Epistles of Peter; Mark with Peter in Rome
67 Martyrdom in Rome and burial near the Necropolis at the Vatican

You say that the Apostle James was the first bishop of Jerusalem. If you referring to James the son of Zebedee, you are incorrect because he was killed by the sword about 42 AD as recorded in Acts 12:2. The James that became bishop of Jerusalem was James “the Lord’s brother” (Gal 1:19). He was referred to as James the Righteous. He became bishop of Jerusalem after Peter’s departure for Antioch around 40-41.

Doctor of the Church, St. John Chrysostom (an Eastern bishop) says, “‘And having spoken thus,’ the Evangelist declared, ‘he said, “Follow me.” ’ In these words He was once again referring indirectly to His solicitude for Peter and to the fact that He was on terms of intimate friendship with him. And, if someone should say: ‘How is it, then, that it was James who received the bishop’s chair in Jerusalem?’ I would make this reply: that Christ appointed this man [Peter], not merely to a chair, but as teacher of the world.” (John Chrysostom, Commentary on Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist: Homilies 48–88, trans. Thomas Aquinas Goggin, vol. 41, The Fathers of the Church (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959), 473.)

Peter was the leader of Jerusalem for 10 years before going to Antioch for 2 years then ending up as the leader of the Church in Rome about 42 AD.

CR: The point I was making is that primacy of honor (not authority which rests with Christ alone) was given to the bishop of Rome because it was capital of the empire.

SR: Unfortunately, you are incorrect again. Never was the phrase “primacy of honor” used until after the Eastern churches broke away from Rome, took a new name (Orthodox) and used this phrase as a justification for rejecting the honorary and jurisdictional authority of Rome. One only needs to read history to find the Eastern churches in heresy for much of their existence and always depending on Rome to establish the truth of the faith and to appoint orthodox bishops in Eastern churches.

Rome was established as the See of Peter because Peter chose it to be. Jerusalem had become a backwater city after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and the 10th Legion. Yes, Rome was the capital of the Empire and the hub of the wheel (“all roads lead to Rome”). Peter and Paul established the Church of Rome by their blood and it was by their appointment, the See of Peter and the Head of the Church.

Of course, Jesus is the head of the Church. But he left his royal steward with the keys of the kingdom as a visible head of the Church and a source of unity. There is no contradiction here.

CR: The second canon of the Second Ecumenical Council A.D. 381 explains this clearly. After the capital was moved to Constantinople, primacy of honor became shared. Feel free to investigate.

SR: I see you do not provide the quote from the source you cite. It is easy to say a council said this or that, but proving it is quite another thing. And claiming the primacy was “shared” is an eastern idea and refuted by the facts of the first 1000 years of the Church. This I have made abundantly clear in my book Upon this Rock.

Yet in that very Council, in the beginning of the very next Cano  it contradicts tour claim. Here is the except from that Canon of that Council:

Canon III
The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome.
Ancient Epitome of Canon III: The bishop of Constantinople is to be honoured next after the bishop of Rome.

CR: I also noticed that the above comment (among others) was edited out of yesterday’s rebroadcast.

SR: I am not aware of that, nor is that under my care. The sound techs at Catholic Answers Live handle what is posted in the podcast.

CR: One last point if I may: All the Eastern bishops can trace their authority back to one of the Apostles. The Vatican recognizes this and therefore acknowledges the validity of the Orthodox priesthood and sacraments.

SR: We have no argument here. That is why we consider the eastern churches to be legitimate churches. We don’t consider Protestants to be churches since they have lost the apostolic succession, which the Eastern Orthodox churches have maintained. However, that has nothing to do with the fact that Rome has the primacy both in honor and in jurisdiction. The Eastern churches are in schism and we all hope that one day there will again be unity.

St. Pope John Paul II said it best when he stated his desire that the Western and Eastern lungs be breathing together again in one united Body of Christ.

If you are interested in my thorough study on all of these matters, in which I interact a great deal with Orthodox theologians, I suggest you get my book referenced below.

I appreciate your irenic tone and honest discussion. God bless you my brother in Christ!

(Stephen K. Ray, Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church, Modern Apologetics Library (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 67.)

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Is there Evidence for Jesus outside the Bible?

September 16, 2020

Some people may think Jesus is a mythical figure like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Others think Jesus might be historical but only mentioned in the Bible is the only source of information on the existence of Jesus. They question whether Jesus really existed as a real historical figure. Is the Bible the only […]

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Can Relics and Sacramentals Relay the Power of God?

August 28, 2020

Some might claim that Catholic teaching on relics and Sacramentals is unbiblical. Really? Check out these biblical passages: “So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face CLOTHS or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came […]

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Mary and Jesus More Closely Related than we may have Thought

August 21, 2020

The scientific word is “microchimerism”. It is the transfer of cells from the baby’s body into the mother’s body and the transfer of cells of the mother’s body in the baby’s body. These cells of the baby remain in the mothers’ body after birth. Very interesting indeed when considering the relationship between Jesus and his mother Mary. The microchimerism website […]

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Atheist Thinks we should Sell Churches and give Money to the Poor

August 19, 2020

A friend just shared an objection his atheist friend had to the Catholic Church. It went like this: “My atheist friend told me one of the things she disliked about the church was that they had all these great big fancy churches in poor countries but still asked for money from the poor and why […]

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Are Verses Left Out of Modern Translations of the Bible?

August 16, 2020

Bible Verses Missing in Modern Translations? By Steve Ray       (PDF version here) There are a lot of people today that are what we call “King James only“ Christians. They believe that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is the only inspired version and that modern translations are modernist. One argument for […]

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“Dear Mr. Bible Guy, Thanks for Confronting my Son…”

August 15, 2020

Posted in National Catholic Register: Dear Mr. Bible Guy Who Tried to Convert My Son and His Friends: These kids don’t just know the Bible, the Catechism, and Church history. They know how to think. Excellent article written by Jennifer Fitz Dear Christian Bible Guy, I want to thank you for coming up to my son and […]

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Mary, Assumed into Heaven as the Queen

August 15, 2020

A while ago a man called in to say my argument for the Assumption of Mary including references from the Old Testament was wrong. I had quoted 1 Kings 2:19 where Solomon had raised his mother up to a throne on his right hand to reign as Queen of the Kingdom. The man arguing with me […]

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How Can Mary Be Sinless if She Rejoices in “God my Savior”?

August 14, 2020

A deacon wrote a question the other day about the sinlessness of Mary. Here is his question and my simple response in two parts. “Hello Steve!  I received a question this morning from a very wise and astute co-worker regarding our Blessed Mother. He is NOT Catholic. He asked, “Well!!  If the Blessed Virgin Mary was […]

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Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live: St. John & his Gospel

August 8, 2020

Great fun on Catholic Answers Live! St. John and his gospel may not sound that interesting but it was a lively and VERY interesting show. We started off:  1) Who wrote the gospel and what do we know about him? 2) Tell us about your books “St. John’s Gospel” and how you have gotten to […]

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Why Didn’t Jesus Condemn Homosexuality?

August 3, 2020

Steve’s extensive response to new questions in the ComBox below. For the newly revised and full article click here. IN RESPONSE TO MY BLOG JESUS IS NOT A HOMOPHOBE, ROD WROTE: Rod May 30, 2012 at 10:21 PM Steve, Your posting is remarkable! It is remarkable that, despite your attempts at convincing yourself that Jesus […]

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Was Jesus a Homosexual? Some say “Yes” and try to Prove it from the Bible!

August 2, 2020

After posting my blog entry “Jesus and Homosexuality” I received a correspondence from a Harry H. McCall, a self-proclaimed ex-reverend. He referred me to his blog “Debunking Christianity.” His post was entitled Jesus the Homosexual: Evidence From the Gospels. It is despicable to even say or suggest this of Our Lord but we need to […]

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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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Mass with 2 Protestants and 1 Crucifix

July 14, 2020

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 […]

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