Adventurous last day! Israel Museum, feet in Jordan River, Jericho, Qumran, floating in Dead Sea, riding camels – Farewells and final comments. Final pilgrimage homily here.

 

Fun Farewells and Comments

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What Does “Water and Spirit” Mean?

by Steve Ray on September 26, 2016

Since we are at the VERY place 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, chapter 3, Jesus told Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews and a Pharisee, that one must be born ‘from above’ (Gr. anothen) in order to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus asked if one could enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born. But Jesus told him that one must be born ‘of the Spirit’ in order to enter the kingdom of God.

A better translation of John 3.5 would read: “… except a man be born of water—even of the Spirit—he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” The little greek word kai is often translated “even”—which I believe better conveys the Lord’s meaning here. He is contrasting the water of the womb and fleshly birth, with the water of the Spirit and heavenly birth.

Water is often symbolic of the Holy Spirit in scripture (John 4.10-14; 7.37-39; Revelation 22.1, 17; Isaiah 12.3; 44.3; Matthew 3.11; Mark 1.8; Luke 3.16; John 1.33).

So I responded:

Hello Friend

Thanks for your recent e-mail. In reading even the first part of the article you sent I see it is exactly the arguments I used before I realized better and became Catholic. The paragraph referred to is utter nonsense and though the author cites a lot of Scripture, his reasoning and conclusion are blatantly unscriptural. I tried to explain to you the biblical understanding of “born again” when we had lunch but I saw at the time that you either were not listening or it went right over your head — I’m not sure which.

1_9_baptism_lordMy Comments:
First, the Greek word anothen can and does mean both “born again” or “born from above”. They both apply. John frequently uses words with two meanings (eg. pneuma which means both “wind” and “spirit”).

Born of water and the Spirit“: Using the word “even” instead of “and“ is NOT a better translation. It is a cop-out. The little Greek word “kai” is the common word for “and” and only if someone has a Fundamentalist doctrinal bias would they try to slip the word “even” into the translation. It is dishonest and I am surprised you would fall for it.

John 3:5 in the best Evangelical Translations of the Bible
Here are you major Protestant translations. Notice NONE of them cheat and use the word “even”! Why not? Because they know something your web author is being dishonest about. Like you said to me, “Please study carefully with an open heart to the Holy Spirit” (and not to denominational bigots who twist Scripture to teach the doctrines of men). This is just one sampling of how I could decimate the whole article if I considered it worthy of my time — which I don’t.

The King James Version The New International Version Young’s Literal Translation The Revised Standard Version The New Jerusalem Bible The Good News Translation The Contemporary English Version
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 5 Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born of water, and the Spirit, he is not able to enter into the reign of God; 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 5 Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit; 5 “I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus. “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 5 Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that before you can get into God’s kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit.

So, if the best translation is of kai is actually “even”, then why don’t the best Protesant translations use “even” instead of “and“? Huh?

The Very First Christians (unanimously!!)
By the way, notice how the very first Christians interpreted John 3:5 below. Look how far you have strayed for the Early Church, the followers of the first apostles and the martyrs and champions of the faith.

St. Justin Martyr (c. 100-c. 165), “Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated [reborn]: in the name of God the Father . . . and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing of water. For Christ said, ‘Except you be born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ . . . The reason for doing this, we have learned from the Apostles” (The First Apology 1, 61) (Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985],1:183).

St. Theophilus of Antioch (died c. 185 A.D.), who first coined the word “Trinity,” writes, “Those things which were created from the waters [Gen 1] were blessed by God, so that this might also be a sign that men would at a future time receive repentance and remission of sins through water and the bath of regeneration” (To Autolycus 2, 16) (William Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers [Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970], 1:75).

Origen (c. 185-c. 254) “The Church received from the Apostles the tradition [custom] of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit” (Commentary on Romans 5, 9) (Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, 1:209).

St. Augustine (AD 354-430) “Who is so wicked as to want to exclude infants from the kingdom of heaven by prohibiting their being baptized and born again in Christ?” (Pecc. merit. 3, 6, 12) (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ed. Philip Schaff [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publ., 1971], 5:244). “This [infant baptism] the Church always had, always held; this she received from the faith of our ancestors; this she perseveringly guards even to the end” (Sermon 11, De Verb Apost) (Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. Charles Herbermann, et al, [New York: Robert Appleton, 1907], 2:270).

Protestant Commentators
“Even” (no pun intended) scholarly Evangelical commentators will tell you the truth about this verse:

Baptist commentator George Beasley-Murray wrote in one of the most solid Evangelical commentaries on John’s Gospel, “Suggestions like these do not do justice to the text [of John 3:5] and have not commended themselves to scholarly opinion. It would seem that the text relates birth from above to baptism and the Holy Spirit” (Word Biblical Commentary: John, [Waco, TX: Word Books, 1987],36:48).

Protestant commentator R.V.G. Tasker agreed, “In light of the reference to the practice by Jesus of water baptism in verse 22, it is difficult to avoid construing the words ‘of water and of the Spirit’ conjunctively, and regarding them as a description of Christian baptism, in which cleansing and endowment are both essential elements” (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: The Gospel According to St. John [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publ., 1977], 4: 71).

Look what Martin Luther said!  “Here [John 3:5] Christ is speaking of Baptism, of real and natural water such as a cow may drink. . . . Here Christ also speaks of the Holy Spirit and teaches us to regard Baptism as a spiritual, yes, a Spirit-filled water, in which the Holy Spirit is present and active. . . . And thus the person who has been baptized is said to be born anew. . . . . In this passage Christ declares that whoever is not born anew of the water and the Holy Spirit cannot come into the kingdom of God. Therefore God’s words dare not be tampered with. Of course, we are well aware that Baptism is natural water. But after the Holy Spirit is added to it, we have more than mere water. It becomes a veritable bath of rejuvenation, a living bath which washes and purges man of sin and death, which cleanses him of all sin” (“Sermons on the Gospel of St. John” Luther’s Works ed. Jaroslav Pelikan [St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publ. House, 1957], 22:283).

Keep an open mind Friend! Come home to where you belong.

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4:00 AM wake-up?? Are you crazy?? Yes, crazy like a fox — and everyone thanked us later. What an amazing morning walking the Via Dolorosa arriving at Calvary for Mass and then an entrance into the Tomb on Sunday morning.

We came back the to the Notre Dame for breakfast and then off to the Western Wall (for Steve’s talk see below) and the Holy Shroud Exhibit. The afternoon was free but included a delectable lunch at Rossini’s in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem.

Everyone had the afternoon free to explore, nap, pray and discover. We had a magnificent dinner on the rooftop of Jerusalem! Enjoy!

Steve’s talk at Western Wall

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Great Pictures, Charts and Info on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

September 25, 2016

Since we are having Mass in the Holy Sepulchre early this morning I wanted to share these many beautiful and helpful picture, diagrams, charts and more about the Holy Sepulchre. See all this wealth of information written and visual. For me this is the most holy and important spot in the Universe. It is where […]

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Mass at Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives, Upper Room and more

September 24, 2016

Lots of tears at the powerful Mass at Gethsemane. For the homily, click here. The Our Father in multiple languages on Mount of Olives. Steve’s “Story of Salvation History” before going to the Upper Room and more. Steve’s talk at Gethsemane:

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Was Jesus Really Born at THAT Place in Bethlehem?

September 24, 2016

Today we are having Mass at Gethsemane on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. How do we know this is really Gethsemane? And tomorrow we have Mass at Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Really? How do we know? Yesterday we venerated the place Jesus was born in Bethlehem and had Mass in the […]

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Bethlehem All Day: Nativity, Mass in a Cave, Passover Lamb and Dancing!

September 23, 2016

Great day in Bethlehem! Enjoy! For the homily in Bethlehem’s caves, click here.

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I Choose the Narrow Gate; Wanna Join Me?

September 23, 2016

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13–14)

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Boating on Galilee, the Eucharist and Capernaum, Up to Jerusalem, Meeting with Bishop

September 22, 2016

Enjoy today’s adventures! Boat ride on Galilee, viewing ancient 1st century boat, Mass in Capernaum where Jesus said, “Eat My Flesh”, eating St. Peter’s fish. Steve’s conversion story on the drive to Jerusalem, arrival at the Catholic Notre Dame Hotel, meeting with the Bishop of Jerusalem, great dinner and bed…ready for Bethlehem tomorrow.

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Have Kids? Know Kids? Do They Know about the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy?

September 22, 2016

It is not always easy to pass the Faith on to the next generation and we can use all the help we can get. Ken Davidson has produced a lot of things to share with our kids. He has a new product in his Holy Heroes that will help kids understand and practice the Works […]

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Beatitudes, “You are Peter”, Multiplication of Loaves, Primacy of Peter, Magdala and an Over the Top Dinner

September 21, 2016

To much to say. You will just have to watch the videos. Too much for 15 minute YouTube limitations so we did two 10 minute videos. Enjoy! For Fr. Xavier’s homily at Beatitudes, click here. Part I Part II

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Understanding St. Matthew and his Gospel

September 21, 2016

Since it is the Feast Day of St. Matthew, let’s learn a lot about him. Matthew: Understanding the Tax Collector and his Gospel By Steve Ray If looks could kill, he’d be dead. The Jews glared at Levi as he counted his coins. Tax collectors in Israel had great wealth and were considered renegades and […]

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Mount of Transfiguration, Wedding Renewals at Cana, Exploring Nazareth

September 20, 2016

Another great day with a fun and attentive group. First we had Mass on the top of the Mount of Transfiguration. For the homily, click here. Second, we renewed wedding vows in Cana of Galilee, had a great lunch in Nazareth and then went to the Church of Annunciation.  We prayed the Rosary at the […]

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Knights of Columbus Interviews Steve Ray with excerpts from his Footprints Movies

September 20, 2016

This was a fun interview. Starts with my conversion and continues to discuss and show portions of Steve’s documentaries on St. Paul and also Apostolic Fathers. Enjoy! If you would like to help us continue the series — and finish the last two episodes please make a contribution at www.FOGHelp.com. Thanks.

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Arrival in Israel

September 19, 2016

FAMILY AND FRIENDS: please leave comments below to your friends and family here in the pilgrimage and I will read them on the bus each day :-) First day of our September pilgrimage is off to a great start. Everyone arrived in good shape and we are now in Tiberias. We just had a wonderful […]

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Google Earth Captured Satellite Image of Moses Crossing Red Sea!

September 19, 2016

The guys at Glue Society (Warning: not all of their stuff is edifying) have provided some unique Google Earth shots from biblical times including the creation of the Garden of Eden, the Crucifixion, the landing of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat and now (to the left) Moses Crossing the Red Sea. You can see them […]

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