The shooting started, help!

by JesseRay on June 28, 2017

We encountered the Israeli military with an arsenal of AR-15’s two days ago, but thankfully that’s not the kind of shooting I’m talking about. We’re shooting with HD cameras out in the hot, hot desert of the Middle East for the next release of a Footprints of God film, the 9th in the series.

On this adventure, Elijah & Elisha: Conscience of the Kingdom, we take you on location to make tangible the life and works of these great prophets. We started in Jordan, made our way through Israel and Palestine, through some military-protected zones. Our next stop is Egypt. You can track our progress and read more about our encounter with military personnel at FOGhelp.com

As you might imagine, this project is not cheap. Over a half million dollars will be spent before we complete this and the final film, Doctors of the Church. Your prayers and financial support are greatly needed if we are to complete these films. Please visit FOGHELP.com to see what we’re creating, and if you like it consider donating.

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We had to drive into the Palestinian West Bank to go to Sebaste in Samaria. We arrived at the mosque which is built over the tombs of Elisha and John the Baptist. This is a pretty tense area right now and there were signs warning us to not go in but we had to get the footage :-)

It was pretty hot today and  we were sweating like crazy and drinking lots of water but we got everything on film that we needed and it’s pretty exciting stuff.

We even found a huge statue of the pagan god Baal which continued to seduce the Israelites. I stood on the steps  of King Ahab and Jezebel’s famous Ivory Palace where Elijah pointed his finger at King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and told them there would be no rain  …

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St. Paul did not Write to Us!

by Steve Ray on June 28, 2017

When arguments about salvation arise between Catholics and Protestants, the Bibles are usually opened to Galatians and Romans. Are we saved by faith alone or are works involved? Protestants quickly accuse Catholics of teaching a salvation based on works and Catholics quickly point out that Protestants have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction by refusing to accept human cooperation and obedience as necessary to the process. As final proof of their point, Protestants will quote Romans 3:28: “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.” That should end the argument right? Salvation is not by good works or obedience, but by faith alone? So, the combatants rush to the books of Galatians and Romans to solve this Catholic-Protestant disagreement. But there is a huge problem here. Paul did not write these letters to us and he knew nothing of the Catholic-Protestant debate. The huge problem we have is the problem of anachronism.
 
Do you know what the word “anachronism” means? According to the Collins English Dictionary it comes from a Greek word for “mistake in chronology” or “error in time reference”. Anachronistic is defined as “1. the representation of an event, person, or thing in a historical context in which it could not have occurred or existed; 2. a person or thing that belongs or seems to belong to another time.”

The problem is that when Paul wrote these two letters he was not writing them to us today. He was writing to the Gentiles and Jews of the first century. He didn’t know about the Catholic–Protestant debate. He was not writing to Germans like Martin Luther or Americans like us. He was writing to people two thousand years ago living in places like Iconium, Pamphylia, Lystra, Galatia and Rome. They were not having a raging Protestant–Catholic debate. These good folks were having a Jewish–Gentile debate which was a whole world away. To read our current situation back into Asia Minor, Palestine, and Europe of the first century is a classic case of anachronism.

Paul preached that uncircumcised gentiles could be saved without circumcision and a slavish obedience to the 613 laws of Moses–along with all the ceremonial rituals. Some Jewish believers, on the other hand said, “Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and if you want to become a Christian you must become a Jew first.” They couldn’t have said it any clearer than in Acts 15:1: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” They want to impose the “works of the Law” referred to above in Romans 3:28 upon the gentiles. It had nothing whatever to do with Catholics and good works. It has to with Gentiles coming into the Body of Christ by faith and obedience, not by becoming circumcised Jews.

Abraham, the father of the Jews, was the prime example or case in point. Was he saved by circumcision and by obeying all the laws of Moses? Heavens no! He was saved while an uncircumcised pagan gentile living in Ur of the Chaldees, a thousand miles to east of Israel. Circumcision was only given as a sign of the covenant, not the means of salvation. And he did not obey the 613 laws of Moses since they would not even exist for another six hundred years or so. Abraham was saved by the grace of God and his belief and obedience and not by “the works of the Law” (See Romans 4 and James 2).

This is exactly what Catholics teach! We are not anachronistic. We understand Galatians and Romans  within their proper chronology. Paul wrote to that particular age and culture with its particular problems. We live in a different age and culture with different particular problems. But, even though Paul didn’t specifically write his letters to us, if we study the cultural climate in which they were written, and stay faithful to the tradition in which they were passed on to us, the Holy Spirit (the primary author of the letters) will help us apply the principles and truth of those letters to our current situation.

This coming week (June 14-18) we have an intense study of Galatians and Romans going on in our house from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Jimmy Akin is currently screaming his way across the entire USA on Amtrak and will arrive at our home Sunday evening. He will stay in one of our guest rooms and lead the discussion with a motivated group that wants to leave anachronism behind and discuss these two letters of St. Paul in their historical context. I will give you a report on our study in the days to come.

By the way, can you imagine how difficult evangelism would have been in the first century if every male who believed in Christ had to be circumcised? They would have asked Paul “You want us to cut off what?”

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Pastor Bob “Preaches the Word” (Discussing A Sermon on Baptism)

June 27, 2017

Pastor Bob Preaches The Word (or does he?) By Steve Ray Josh left Sunday services full of excitement, anxious to discuss Pastor Bob’s sermon with his sister Jennifer who had recently converted to the Catholic Church. The pastor had explained how salvation was by “faith alone” and not by rituals and works. He was anxious […]

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Shooting in Jordan Valley and Jericho – Exciting Day!

June 26, 2017

Busy day today in Jericho, the Jordan Valley and the birthplace of Elisha the prophet (Abel-Mahola). We were in a restricted military zone, with landmine signs and electric fences. Got all our filming just in time before the military pulled in and surrounded us with five vehicles and told us to leave with M-16s all […]

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2 Corinthians: St. Paul Bears His Soul

June 26, 2017

(In this article I emphasize Paul and his apostolic calling along with the actual letter. In 1 Corinthians I emphasized the city of Corinth, the immorality and the actual letter.) The water was cold and his legs were numb. His skin was wrinkled after the many hours of bobbing in the waves desperately clinging to […]

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EWTN and Reporter Pentin on Bishops Asking Pope for Meeting to Clarify “Amoris Laetitia”

June 25, 2017

Why is the Pope refusing to respond to Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other cardinals to clarify whether Amoris Laetitia is intended to allow divorced and civilly remarried to participate in the sacraments?

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1 Corinthians: Standing Firm in a Pagan Culture

June 25, 2017

(In this article I emphasize the city of Corinth, the immorality and the actual letter; in the next article on 2 Corinthians I will emphasize Paul and his apostolic calling along with the actual letter.) It was a wicked city. The sandals from travelers of every country in the Empire trudged over its cobblestone streets. […]

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Alcohol, Mary, & Miracles — Hard Verses with Steve Ray, John 2:1-12

June 24, 2017

Last week Marcus Grodi invited me to Coming Home Network to record a new episode of EWTN’s “The Journey Home” which will be aired the 1st week of Febrary. We also recorded a segment of Deep in Scripture. We discussed John 2, Alcohol, Mary and Miracles (audio below). Check out the Coming Home Networks website […]

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Meet St. Paul as he Writes to the Romans; A Brief Study to Make it Easy

June 23, 2017

I love St. Paul and love to write about him and his epistles. I also enjoyed traveling through six countries filming his life story and theology. St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is often seen as impossible to understand except by theologians — and most skip right over this masterpiece. With hopes that you will […]

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Does John 3:16 Teach “Faith Alone”? (Link fixed)

June 22, 2017

 My mother asked me, “How would you like fifty cents?” I quickly responded, “I would like it very much.” What a silly question to ask an seven year old. Of course I would like fifty cents. Fifty cents was a lot of money when I was a little boy. My mother continued, “Here is a […]

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Acts of the Apostles: The Birth of the Catholic Church

June 21, 2017

Being seasick is terrible. I experienced it earlier this year while fishing all night on the Sea of Galilee. Fishermen and travelers in the first century were often nauseated while bobbing up and down on the seas of the Roman Empire. St. Paul’s most faithful of friends was writing the life of Christ and the […]

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Up to my Butt in the Muddy Jordan!

June 20, 2017

Today we finished up our filming in Jordan and tomorrow we drive across the border into Israel. Here is a 57 second clip of me in the muddy Jordan River.

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Last Day of Filming in Jordan

June 20, 2017

We finished up our filming in Jordan today. We finished our last six scenes at the Jordan River. I had to get in up to my thighs. It’s the muddiest river you ever saw :-) Yesterday the sun are so hot and bright we had to discontinue at 2:00 PM because the cameras just could […]

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Do Catholics Worship Mary?

June 20, 2017

In response to the show I did with Drew Mariani on Relevant Radio: I thought it would be a good time to respond to an e-mail I received a while ago. It was a questions from a friend wrote to ask me for my take on Mary. He was corresponding with someone that said Catholics […]

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St. John’s Gospel: Spiritual Depths of a Master Story-Teller

June 19, 2017

St. John’s Gospel: the Theological and Spiritual Gospel By Steve Ray Eagles soar high above the surface of the earth. Their eyes survey the farthest reaches of the horizon — the connection of heaven to earth is in perspective from their lofty vantage point. From our earthbound perspective, the eagle is suspended between heaven and […]

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