Biblical Exposition

Evangelicals Guide To Catholic View of Justification

by Steve Ray on October 14, 2017

Steve Wood was a Protestant pastor before converting to Catholicism and starting Dads.org. He has just published an excellent book “Grace & Justification: An Evangelicals Guide to Catholics Beliefs.”

Steve latest newsletter summarizes some of his book and gives good insights — especially in this 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Revolt.

Here is his newsletter article: “Two Words that Unlock the Catholic Understanding of Justification”

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 6.33.38 PM“The Protestant understanding of justification is a legal one. God is viewed as a merciful judge before whom the sinner stands guilty. The judge declares the sinner, “Not guilty.” Although there’s no inward change in the person, the great gift of no more condemnation is received by faith.

While Catholics don’t deny that there’s a forensic nature to justification, they believe that there’s a more profound change that occurs in justification than just going from guilty to not guilty.

In the Catholic understanding of justification, God is primarily viewed as a father. The sinful person is forgiven and restored to the family fellowship as a child of the Heavenly Father, just like the prodigal son in Luke 15.

This restoration as a son of God is called adoption, which is the central truth in Catholic beliefs on justification. Divine adoption is the inconceivably merciful and gracious acceptance of those justified into the divine family and a sharing of kinship with God the Father.

The Council of Trent gave a summary of justification as follows:
“The justification of the sinner [is] a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior.”

Similarly, section 1996 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on justification, highlights becoming a child of God as a key aspect of justification:
“Our justification is by the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God.”

Protestants believe in adoption, but as separate and subsequent to justification. Catholics believe adoption is the core of justification and a central concept of faith….”

 For the whole article like HERE. To see or buy his book, click HERE.

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Jewish JesusJesus was a Jew. This fact may escape the casual reader of the New Testament, but it is crucial to understanding Jesus and the book written about him—the Bible. Unhappily, in 21st century America we are far removed from the land of Israel and the ancient culture of Jesus and his Jewish ancestors.

Let me ask you a few questions. Were you born and raised in Israel? Did you study the Torah with the rabbis from an early age? Have you traversed the rocky hills and dusty paths to celebrate the mandatory feasts in Jerusalem? Do you speak Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic? I havn’t found anyone in my Catholic parish who has these credentials.

Without this background, we are at a great disadvantage when studying the Bible and its central character. 

Jesus in SynagogueWhen we open the pages of our English Bible, we find a Jewish book! The setting revolves around Israel and the worship of Yahweh.

With one exception, the more than forty biblical writers were all Jews, and the exception was most likely a Jewish proselyte. (Do you know who the only non-Jewish author in the Bible is? I’ll give you a few hints: he was a physician, one of St. Paul’s co-workers, and he wrote the first history of the Church.)   

The point is, how can we understand the Bible and the teaching surrounding our Lord Jesus and salvation without understanding his people, his culture, and his Jewish identity?

To read the whole article, click here.

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Nativity and Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

by Steve Ray on September 8, 2017

The birth and presentation of Mary is described in the early 2nd century document known and loved by the first Christians. It is the source for the names of Mary’s parents Joachim and Anna. It is entitled “The Protoevangelium of James.”  It is fascinating.

I have only provided the first 1/3 of the document. The second part is about Joseph and Mary’s betrothal. The third about the birth of Jesus.

The Protoevangelium of James 
The Birth of Mary the Holy Mother of God,
and Very Glorious Mother of Jesus Christ

In Honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8.

IN THE RECORDS OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL was Joachim, a man rich exceedingly; and he brought his offerings double, saying: There shall be of my superabundance to all the people, and there shall be the offering for my forgiveness to the Lord for a propitiation for me. For the great day of the Lord was at hand, and the sons of Israel were bringing their offerings. And there stood over against him Rubim, saying: It is not meet for thee first to bring thine offerings, because thou hast not made seed in Israel. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and went away to the registers of the twelve tribes of the people, saying: I shall see the registers of the twelve tribes of Israel, as to whether I alone have not made seed in Israel. And he searched, and found that all the righteous had raised up seed in Israel. And he called to mind the patriach Abraham, that in the last day God gave him a son Isaac. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.

2. And his wife Anna mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness. And the great day of the Lord was at hand; and Judith her maid-servant said: How long dost thou humiliate thy soul? Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand, and it is unlawful for thee to mourn. But take this head-band, which the woman that made it gave to me; for it is not proper that I should wear it, because I am a maid-servant, and it has a royal appearance. And Anna said: Depart from me; for I have not done such things, and the Lord has brought me very low. I fear that some wicked person has given it to thee, and thou hast come to make me a sharer in thy sin. And Judith said: Why should I curse thee, seeing that the Lord hath shut thy womb, so as not to give thee fruit in Israel? And Anna was grieved exceedingly, and put off her garments of mourning, and cleaned her head, and put on her wedding garments, and about the ninth hour went down to the garden to walk. And she saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as Thou didst bless the womb of Sarah, and didst give her a son Isaac.

3. And gazing towards the heaven, she saw a sparrow’s nest in the laurel, and made a lamentation in herself, saying: Alas! who begot me? and what womb produced me? because I have become a curse in the presence of the sons of Israel, and I have been reproached, and they have driven me in derision out of the temple of the Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the fowls of the heaven, because even the fowls of the heaven are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the beasts of the earth, because even the beasts of the earth are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like these waters, because even these waters are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like this earth, because even the earth bringeth forth its fruits in season, and blesseth Thee, O Lord.

4. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive, and shall bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life. And, behold, two angels came, saying to her: Behold, Joachim thy husband is coming with his flocks. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God hath heard thy prayer Go down hence; for, behold, thy wife Anna shall conceive. And Joachim went down and called his shepherds, saying: Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall be for the priests and the elders; and a hundred goats for all the people. And, behold, Joachim came with his flocks; and Anna stood by the gate, and saw Joachim coming, and she ran anti hung upon his neck, saying: Now I know that the Lord God hath blessed me exceedingly; for, behold the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive. And Joachim rested the first day in his house.

images5. And on the following day he brought his offerings, saying in himself: If the Lord God has been rendered gracious to me, the plate on the priest’s forehead will make it manifest to me. And Joachim brought his offerings, and observed attentively the priest’s plate when he went up to the altar of the Lord, and he saw no sin in himself. And Joachim said: Now I know that the Lord has been gracious unto me, and has remitted all my sins. And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified, and departed to his own house. And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? and she said: A girl. And said Anna: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anna was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.

Statue in the Church of St. Ann, Mary’s birthplace in Jerusalem

7. And her months were added to the child. And the child was two years old, and Joachim said: Let us take her up to the temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord send to us, and our offering be not received. And Anna said: Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother. And Joachim said: So let us wait. And the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.

Ann-Joachim-Mary-233x3008. And her parents went down marveling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel. And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of the priests, saying: Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, test perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest: Thou standest by the altar of the Lord; go in, and pray concerning her; and whatever the Lord shall manifest unto thee, that also will we do. And the high priest went in, taking the robe with the twelve bells into the holy of holies; and he prayed concerning her. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him, saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias, go out and assemble the widowers of the people, and let them bring each his rod; and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went out through all the circuit of Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all ran.

Click here for the rest of the document

 

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My Talk at Primacy of Peter: Understanding John 21 and Jesus’ Appearance at the Sea of Galilee

September 6, 2017

Since I am doing a show on this topic today with Spirit Catholic Radio (listen live from 9:10-9:40 AM Eastern time) and since will be at this site called Primacy of St. Peter along the shore of Galilee four more times this year… …I thought I would share my teaching that I give all our […]

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Steve Ray on EWTN’s “Franciscan University Presents…”

September 2, 2017

Join Host Michael Hernon, panelists Dr. Regis Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn, and special guest Steve Ray, Founder of Footprints of God Pilgrimages and Producer of “Abraham: Father of Faith & Works”, as they discuss “Father Abraham” and his role in Salvation History.             Our topic is “Father Abraham” since […]

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“Call No Man Your Father”

September 2, 2017

Why do Catholics call their priests “Father” when Jesus said, “Call no man your father.” If you haven’t heard this question yet, some day you certainly will. We must understand what Jesus was saying and why he was saying it in order to understand his words. I was asked this question again and here is […]

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Fun Show about Nicodemus with Al Kresta

August 31, 2017

Join Al Kresta and myself today at 4:20 PM Eastern time for a fun and energetic discussion of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. They were judges on the Supreme Court of Israel and yet they took huge risks to follow Jesus. We discuss them today on their Feast Day. Listen live at www.avemariaradio.net  or listen […]

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St. Paul to My Owner Philemon: Slaves, Brothers & Redemption

August 26, 2017

St. Paul’s Letter to my Owner Philemon I was a slave—his property. He owned me. He controlled every minute of my life. I could not think, act or decide for myself. I ate and slept when or if he allowed me to. I had no rights, no personal life, and no freedom. Few laws restricted […]

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Mary, Queen of Heaven

August 22, 2017

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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St. Paul to Titus: Organization of the New Testament Church

August 16, 2017

Titus: Organizing the Early Church By Steve Ray [NOTE: In my articles on the Pastoral Epistles, I use each one to relay a theme: 1 Timothy emphasizes Timothy; Titus emphasizes Paul’s ecclesiology; 2 Timothy emphasizes the end of Paul’s life.] Success brings rewards, but it also brings problems and responsibilities. Entrepreneurs are good at starting […]

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My Response: Defending the Assumption & Queenship of Mary

August 15, 2017

Reposting a blog on Assumption I wrote ten years ago. Link to my long defense is here. The Assumption of Mary always ruffles the feathers of anti-Catholics. I understand why. I used to be in their camp — I joined them in lockstep chanting the same slogans and mantras against “Catholic Tradition” and “man-made dogmas.” But […]

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Coming Soon! Elijah & Elisha with Steve Ray, Ignatius Press and Skyline Productions

August 14, 2017

Sunday evening we again fly to Phoenix for the last seven days of post-production on our next Footprints of God documentary “Elijah & Elisha: Conscience of the Kingdom.’ We will shoot a few studio scenes with my Segway, record the Behind the Scenes feature and finish up with music, maps, etc. After this one we […]

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1 Timothy: Paul’s Young Convert and Faithful Fellow-worker

July 31, 2017

[NOTE: In my articles on the Pastoral epistles, I use each one to relay a theme: 1 Timothy emphasizes the life of Timothy; Titus emphasizes Paul’s ecclesiology; 2 Timothy emphasizes the end of Paul’s life.] He was a young man with a past and because of this letter, many were now aware of his past. […]

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2 Thessalonians: Correcting Wrong Ideas about Christ’s Return

July 21, 2017

The messenger clambered off the ship with mixed emotions: joy and distress. The mission had been successful but new problems had arisen. It was like climbing up a sandy slope: three steps up and sliding two steps back. He had to find Paul quickly. The problems were serious and needed immediate attention. When the Church […]

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1 Thessalonians: Paul’s 1st Letter, 2nd Coming of Christ

July 18, 2017

He was chased out of the city and barely escaped under the cover of night. Local friends are good to have at times like this—they can find the city gates in the dark. Traveling by the light of the moon Paul and his companions arrived with the morning dew in Berea only twenty miles to […]

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Colossians, Christ the Head of the Church

July 9, 2017

Pick your god. They are all worshiped here. Choose your favorite from the pantheon. Greek gods, Roman gods, Hittite and Eastern gods and even the Jewish God. Temples abound. Enter and worship the Ephesian Artemis, the Egyptian Isis or Serapis. Bow down to Zeus, Athena, or a fertility goddesses. Purchase an idol to enshrine in […]

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