Steve’s Writings

Discussing St. John’s Gospel with Al Kresta

by Steve Ray on January 10, 2020

image001Yesterday I was on Al Kresta’s Show on Ave Maria Radio for an hour discussing my book “St. John’s Gospel, a Bible Study Guide & Commentary.”

I have provided the audio link below so you can listen to the podcast. It was a very fun and interesting romp through the deep and intriguing Gospel of St. John. It was not originally intended to be a whole hour show, but it was going so well and interesting that they asked me to stay the whole hour. Enjoy!

We talk about my book on St. John’s Gospel and how to do Bible studies.

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How Many Denominations are Too Many?

by Steve Ray on 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.”

WorldChristianEncyclopedia.jpgIn the meantime, this morning I post my discussion on the number of denominations in the world today and how sola Scriptura has been a huge factor in causing, or at least, facilitating this scandalous situation. I’ve been accused of “spinning,” the issue of denominationalism and schisms and factions. But there ARE such things and too many as you will see.

(World Christian Encyclopedia from which Protestant and other groups outside the Catholic Church are listed and numbered in excess of 33,000 denominations. In the attached article I provide links to the pages and numbers in question.)

SheepFlock.jpg Some don’t want to admit that sola Scriptura is an unbiblical and destructive doctrine. Some ignore the fact that Jesus wants Christians to be one, with a visible unity so the world can see it and proclaim, “Ah, see the Christians? Their unity demonstrates visibly that the Father has certainly sent the Son” (John 17:22-23). The opposite then must also be true. If there are divisions and schisms the world has the right to conclude that the Father did not send the Son.

The great number of denominations and factions has done great damage to the reputation and credibility of Christianity. Whether it is 33,000 or whatever large number, it is grossly wrong. Christians ought to fix it by rallying around the shepherd Jesus appointed on the Sea of Galilee after his resurrection (where we will be today) (Jn 21:15-17; Matt 16:18-19).

“Do you love Me? Shepherd My sheep, tend My lambs.” If there is a command that the Shepherd lead, there is an implicit command for the sheep to follow and obey.

How many denominations equals more than one. Jesus wants ONE flock (John 10:16). How many does it take to cause Jesus pain?

Sheep scatter easily, I know because I have rented flocks of sheep twice in Bethlehem. And because sheep scatter easily Jesus appointed shepherds and, through apostolic succession they are still pastoring the sheep today with a flock that is larger than all other Christian schisms, sects and factions combined. It is not by chance nor accident. It is by design.

But sheep are still quite willing at times to wander away and gather in little groups outside the fold — to their own detriment. And it is no surprise why many wandering sheep have come back to the fold and many others like me — born outside the true sheepfold of the Catholic Church — have entered the fold with great joy once we discovered it.

Now, one question that comes up. Aren’t there 242 “Catholic denominations” mentioned in the Oxford Dictionary you quote? I am not sure of the actual number, but there are a good number of Catholic schisms that have broke with Rome and set up their own “popes” and continue to call themselves Catholics. So, yes, you can say there are a lot of Catholic schisms, or if you prefer, denominations, along with Orthodox, Copts and others. It is a shame on all counts.

There are also many rites loyal to Rome which some may consider different “denominations” even though in their case it would be incorrect to do so. There are groups like the Maronites, Melkites, Greek Catholics, etc. who have separate names but are all Catholic and in union with Rome.

I write this blog and article to encourage the faithful and to defend the faith of the “one holy, Catholic and apostolic Church” and those who love the faith.

FastFoodResaurants.jpgMy paper begins: “The other day I drove through town and on one side of the street there was McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Macaroni Grill, Arby’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Big Boys and Taco Bell. 

“On the other side of the street, I saw church buildings: Presbyterian, Lutheran, Assemblies of God, Nazarene, Methodist, Reformed Baptist, Free Will Baptist, American Baptist, Southern Baptist, Missionary Baptist, Progressive Missionary Baptist and . . . 

“We live in a consumer society and unhappily too many people choose a “church” along Main Street the same way their appetites and tastes dictate which fast food joint they go to. And just like people jump from one restaurant to another, many Christians jump from one church to another. It is often called “church hopping” from the pews, or “sheep stealing” from the pulpit.” . . .

Click here for the rest of the story :-)

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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 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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Purgatory? Doesn’t that Deny the Work of Christ?

September 18, 2019

What’s the Deal with Purgatory? by Steve Ray Isn’t the finished work of Christ sufficient? Didn’t he pay for all my sins? Why the heck do Catholics teach that we have to suffer in Purgatory for our sins? Plus, the Bible never mentions purgatory so it must be an unbiblical doctrine, right. Wow! Sounds like […]

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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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A Page from my New Book on Genesis

July 31, 2019

This book has been on the back burner for quite a few years. But I took five weeks off this summer to finish it. About 12 hours a day since June 28 and I am almost done. Just putting the finishing touches on it this week before leaving for the Family Conference in Wichita, two […]

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Finalizing My Book on Genesis…Here are a Few Favorite Paragraphs about Creation

July 17, 2019

Here are a few paragraphs from my new book on Genesis which is nearly done. Genesis 2:7 is foundational and crucial to the whole story of the cosmos, Man and salvation. God takes dust or clay from the ground and like a potter he fashions a human being. The scientific formulas used by God still […]

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Sympathy for Cradle Catholics Who Can’t Explain or Defend the Faith

July 5, 2019

I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across. As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street […]

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Entering the Empty Tomb; A Contrast – Now and Back Then

April 19, 2019

It looks different today, but the place is the same. It is darker now, covered with a dome that blocks the sun. There is no grass, no hillside, no trees waving their leaves nearby. Instead there are the hushed voices of hundreds of people, the Muslim call to prayer echoing in the distance and the […]

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My New Book “Papacy”: National Catholic Register’s Nice Review (and my response to 2 points)

April 1, 2019

First, I want to thank John Grodelski and National Catholic Register for deeming my new book worthy of a book review. It was fair and balanced review for which I am grateful. You can read his review and my response below or here on my website documents page. ****************************************** An Introduction to the History of […]

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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. […]

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Jesus Was A Jew and Why You Can’t Understand the Bible without Knowing That

December 28, 2018

Since we are at the Western Wall today, where the Temple stood in Jesus’ day, it is appropriate to discuss this. Jesus loved the Jewish Temple and called it his Father’s house. ************************************************ Jesus was a Jew. This fact may escape the casual reader of the New Testament, but it is crucial to understanding Jesus […]

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Interview on my new book “The Papacy” with Catholic World Report

December 8, 2018

CWR: When you were a Baptist and looking at the Catholic Church from the outside, what did you think about the papacy? Stephen K. Ray: A year before I was born my parents became Baptists; they prayed for kids and I was born a year later. My father was taught to be very anti-Catholic. He […]

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Catholic Church: “Don’t Read the Bible!”

December 1, 2018

We often hear that the Catholic Church has forbidden the reading of the Bible! Have you heard this? Yeah, me too! But, this is another one of those big myths which has worked its way into the popular dialog but one that has not been proved from Church teaching and documents. There are two good […]

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