Apologetics

An Eastern Orthodox Christian wrote to complain about, or to see how we Catholics explain the Immaculate Conception. He said he had asked many Catholics and none could answer. I find that hard to believe.

After I answered his long and slightly edgy e-mail, I received his response – “Thanks.”

Picture One: Statue of Mary in Nazareth entitled “Mary of Nazareth” which is one of my favorites! Second picture is me falling in the mud in our documentary “Mary, Mother of God” when I explained the Immaculate Conception.

Here are the Eastern Orthodoxes two questions, and my simple answers:

mary_nazareth2HIS QUESTION: If Mary the Mother of God was born without original sin, and was pure and could not sin, then how could she have possibly said “No” to God’s messenger, the Archangel Gabriel?

Why were God and the angels “holding their collective breaths” (as the Basilica of the Annunciation notes in Nazareth) if they knew that she was going to have to say “Yes”, because she could not deny God’s will, which would have been a sin?

MY RESPONSE: REMEMBER THAT THE FIRST EVE WAS ALSO “CONCEIVED IMMACULATELY” — SHE WAS SINLESS, WITHOUT THE STAIN OF ORIGINAL SIN OR ANY ACTUAL SIN.

YET, SHE WAS ABLE TO CHOSE SIN. MARY, THE 2ND EVE COULD ALSO HAVE SAID NO TO GOD AND SINNED, JUST LIKE THE FIRST “IMMACULATELY CONCEIVED” EVE. THAT IS WHY MARY IS SO SPECIAL —- SHE RESISTED SIN LIKE THE FIRST EVE DIDN’T DO. EVE TIED THE KNOT OF SIN; MARY UNTIED IT.

HIS QUESTION: By declaring the Immaculate Conception, suddenly, Mary the Mother of God became very unlike us; her purity became unachievable for us mere mortals born with “original sin”; and she became a model of Godliness that we can never achieve on earth. The best human example of humility and obedience that Christians had been able to strive towards for 1,800 years was taken away and transformed into a something different, something suprahuman.

Steve_Closeup_mud@600MY RESPONSE: NOTHING HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY. SHE WAS GIVEN SANCTIFYING GRACE AT THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION, THE REST OF US NINE MONTHS LATER AT OUR INFANT BAPTISM. SHE COULD HAVE SINNED, BUT DIDN’T. WE CAN AVOID SIN BUT DON’T. THAT IS WHY CATHOLICS LOVE HER.

BEING IMMACULATELY CONCEIVED DID NOT MAKE HER SUPERHUMAN; RATHER IT MAKES HER TRULY HUMAN IN THE FULL SENSE OF THE WORD, A MODEL FOR US ALL TO STRIVE FOR.

SHE NEEDED A SAVIOR (“MY SPIRIT REJOICES IN GOD MY SAVIOR”) LIKE WE DO BUT FOR HE PREVENTED HER FROM FALLING INTO THE MUD WHEREAS WE’VE ALL BEEN SAVED BY BEING PULLED OUT AND CLEANED UP.

EVEN THE ORTHODOX REFER TO MARY AS THE ALL HOLY ONE. IT IS REALLY THE SAME THING, JUST CATHOLICS GAVE IT A FORMAL DEFINITION.

HOPE THAT HELPS. HAPPY EASTER.

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This is always an interesting topic that floods the phone lines. I am posting this again for the Drew Mariani Show today by popular demand discussing how we as Catholics can relate to and influence our family and friends – especially during the upcoming holidays.

Ready to go! Family life can cause tension and strife among those we love most. How can we take the high road and be a positive influence for Jesus and his Catholic Church?

To read my article in Catholic Answers Magazine, click here.

It used to be “Six Rules” but it is now “Seven Rules.”      Here they are: 1) Don’t Argue, 2) Love them more than ever, 3) Pray and make sacrifices, 4) Show the Joy of the Lord, 5) Do your homework, 6) Be patient, 7) Ask God to bring someone else into their lives to influence them because they are not going to listen to you.

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New Convert Holds His Ground with a Street Preacher

by Steve Ray on November 17, 2019

I was so delighted to receive this e-mail that I had to reshare it with everyone! Darrell should be a model for all of us!!

Hi Steve,

Just had to share this…I was visiting San Antonio this weekend and as I walked around the riverwalk section of town, a gentleman approached me with a gospel tract. When he asked, “Are you sure you are saved?”, I thought to myself, “What would Steve say?”

After thinking for a second, I smiled and told him, “Absolutely–I’m saved the bible way!”  When he asked what I meant by my (your) response, the ensuing answer led to an hour-long conversation with me doing my best to give rock-solid (no pun intended) answers to each of his skeptical questions. I even raised some points for which he had no “packaged” answers.

This was the first time since my conversion to the Church that I’ve really engaged in apologetics and defended the faith adequately. What made it more interesting is that this guy is a fallen-away Catholic and an MD who has started a small church of his own (At one point I even suggested that he was, in a sense, a self-appointed pope!).

After we shook hands, I walked away and overheard him telling others on his mission team, “Wow, that was a very intellectual argument!” It turned out to be the highlight of my weekend.  I am so grateful for all the work that you and other notable converts have done, through your books, CDs and videos,  to get me to this point.

Safe travels, Darrell

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How Many Denominations are Too Many?

November 16, 2019

We are currently in Israel with a group of 152 excited pilgrims. I have written a paper on the scandal of demoninations. This blog is an introduction to that paper I wrote entitled “The ‘Myth’ of 33,000 Denominations and Swallowing the Holy Ghost Feathers and All.” In the meantime, this morning I post my discussion on the […]

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

October 15, 2019

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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What is “Organized Religion”?

October 11, 2019

Hey Steve: while I was on a business trip I had a good conversation with my friends, one who is agnostic and the other an Evangelical.  Both of them agreed they didn’t believe in “organized religion”.  From your Protestant background is there a specific meaning to that term or is it just another way to […]

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Sherlock Holmes: Is this a Real Bible Study?

October 9, 2019

The Case for you – Sherlock Holmes: Stan filled the fireplace and lit the oak logs to make the living room cozy for the arriving guests. The Bible Study had been announced at Mass, and now suddenly it was here. Stan and Suzie had been Catholics all their lives, but they had never really studied […]

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Mary and the Apostles are Dead! Only Jesus can Mediate for Us! Really?

October 8, 2019

 Confusion of Many Protestants Too often well-meaning Protestants get confused and accuse of things that are outright nonsense if not lies. It is usually because they never take the time to really understand what the Catholic Church actually teaches and practices. Below is a good example of a kind and well-meaning Protestant pastor who wrote […]

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Steve’s Short Story “The Last Nightmare” Might Scare the Hell Out of You!

October 4, 2019

The Last Nightmare A Short and Terrifying Story by Steve Ray Everything went blank for a moment, but that moment seemed like eternity. He felt a motion, not with wind and breeze, but a motion none the less. He was traveling, moving, floating, transcending-he wasn’t really sure. The sudden blackness gave him time to regain […]

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What Does “Water and Spirit” Mean?

October 2, 2019

Since we were just at the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized in water and the Spirit came down, I thought I would share this post again. A while ago a Protestant friend tried to prove that Born Again by “water and Spirit” did not mean baptism. Here is one paragraph that he sent me: In John, […]

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Kissing Statues

October 1, 2019

A while ago in Jerusalem I awoke to the loud and intrusive Muslim “call to prayer”, church bells ringing and horns honking. I read this email that came from the United Kingdom… It read, “Hi Steve! I know you are a busy man. Please answer the above issue when the time permits you. I am a Catholic […]

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“Rome vs. the Bible” vs. Reality

September 27, 2019

A friend named Poor Knight for the Lord put up a blog recently refuting a list of lies about the Catholic Faith (another refutation is here). I have copied it here for your edification. I put up a similar article a week ago and throught this would be a good supplement. POOR KNIGHT WRITES: There are […]

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A Baptist Friend Asks: The Bible Says “All have sinned” so how can Mary be Immaculate?

September 25, 2019

A Southern Baptist writes: I am a Southern  Baptist who has a lot of respect for the Catholic faith. The Immaculate Conception is a hard concept for me. Does it also include the belief that Mary never sinned? How does that pass muster with Rom. 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the […]

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What Do We Mean by “Unanimous Consent of the Fathers”

September 24, 2019

Unanimous Consent of the Fathers By Steve Ray The Unanimous Consent of the Fathers (unanimem consensum Patrum) refers to the morally unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers on certain doctrines as revealed by God and interpretations of Scripture as received by the universal Church. The individual Fathers are not personally infallible, and a discrepancy by […]

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If There is No Infallible Teacher, What Good is an Infallible Bible?

September 23, 2019

My good friend and fellow convert, Stan Williams posed the question “What good is an infallible Bible without an infallible teacher? I RESPONDED: The NT never claims infallibly for itself or its Table of Contents. Without an authoritative Church and without the Infallible Interpreter we don’t even have an infallible book. STAN WILLIAMS WROTE: I have […]

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Short Primer on the Mass

September 21, 2019

A while ago a Lutheran attended Mass with me. To prepare him in advance for what he was going to experience, I put together this short “Primer on the Mass.” I hope you find it helpful and useful. Pleases share if with family and friends if you think it could help them to understand.  Click […]

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