Church History

A friend named Philip wrote and asked me this question:
Christ is Risen. And we with him. I was talking to Evangelical friends who directed me to some historical websites about the Marburg meeting of the Protestant Reformers. You have just finished your Dr. Luther tour of Germany. It seems that the Protestants did agree on most issues, original sin, justification by faith, the sacraments. The only thing that Luther and Zwingli disagreed on was the Eucharist at the Marburg meeting 1529.
I responded:
Yes, they agreed on 15 out of 16, but on the 16th they could come to no agreement. Number 16 was a biggie, it was the Eucharist. After their disagreements and wrangling some of the Reformers left saying, “You are of a different spirit” and “You are no longer my brother!”
Marburg is an example of the chaos brought about by private interpretation of Scripture with no authority or Church to adjudicate and direct. Chaos, acrimony, schism and more schisms.
The Marburg participants had opinions about the Eucharist–everywhere from not quite Catholic to the bread and wine being completely symbolic. It demonstrated that the “Reformers” had no mechanism of authority or unity and that one issue spiraled into so many other differences and disagreements that it was not long that Luther was approving 100,000 peasants killed because they practiced his principle of “private interpretation” and disagreed with him. Calvin went off in his own direction and soon Reformed and Lutheran churches were competing. Calvin had Servetus burned at the stake in Geneva because he disagreed with him.
Marburg with the symbol of the disunity that would roar through the sects. Whereas the words, “This is My Body” had one meaning for 1500 years, shortly after the Marburg Colloquy there was a book published entitled, “Two Hundred Definitions of ‘This is My Body.’” Very soon Luther rejected 5 of the sacraments and gave the institution of marriage into the hands of the State thus taking it away from the authority of the Church. He rejected ordination, confession, marriage and last rites.
Protestants may try to put a happy face on it, but it was the first apple to fall from the tree and soon it was a rain of apples. Today’s 4,000+ sects, denominations, factions and cults show the disaster of the “Reformation” — which was really a deformation.
Here are a few quotes to confirm my points”
[N]ew sects always rise up against me, . . . we are attacked by so many sects which constantly disagree with one another – sometimes they even originate within our own ranks – . . . (Letters III, ed. and tr. Gottfried G. Krodel; to James Propst, 15 Sep. 1538; in LW, v. 50)
 Dave Armstrong, The Catholic Luther, n.d.
Luther wrote: [K]now that our friendly conference at Marburg is now at an end, and that we are in perfect union in all points except that our opponents insist that there is simply bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, and that Christ is only in it in a spiritual sense. Today the landgrave did his best to make us united, hoping that even though we disagreed yet we should hold each other as brothers and members of Christ. He worked hard for it, but we would not call them brothers or members of Christ, although we wish them well and desire to remain at peace. (To Catharine Luther, 4 Oct. 1529; in LL2)
 Dave Armstrong, The Catholic Luther, n.d.
From the Protestant Magazine Christian History, So the German and Swiss reformations continued their separate ways. Luther asserted, “One side in this controversy belongs to the Devil and is God’s enemy”—and he did not mean his party. To Luther, his opponents, like Erasmus, allowed human reason to intrude on the plain words of Scripture. They required Christians to bring something of their own to salvation. Each brought to mind exactly the struggles he found in the monastery. Therefore, Luther could see no reason to be more charitable with “the false brethren” than he was with enemies from Rome.
Zwingli, in particular, resented Luther’s condescending tone. He felt the Wittenberg reformer had treated him “like an ass.” On the other side, thirteen years after Marburg, Luther was still complaining about Ulrich Zwingli’s “Swiss dialect” and his pompous insistence on speaking Greek at every opportunity. Luther declared, “I’ve bitten into many a nut, believing it to be good, only to find it wormy. Zwingli and Erasmus are nothing but wormy nuts that taste like crap in one’s mouth!”
The bad blood between the two reformers set a pattern for Protestant non-cooperation that has lasted to today.
 Robert D. Linder, “Allies or Enemies,” Christian History Magazine-Issue 39: Martin Luther: The Later Years (Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today, 1993).

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Steve at Wittenberg Door in Germany

Martin Luther and the Protestant “Reformation” – or rather, “the Deformation”  Just back from a trip to Martin Luther sites in Germany, Steve Ray discusses the man, his ideas, and his effect on the Church.

(PICTURE: Steve posting “500 Reasons to Be Catholic” on the Wittenberg Door in Wittenberg Germany. To watch the 2-minute video of the event, click here.

Click here to listen or download.

1.  Regarding the “reformers”, Romans 8 sounds like predestination so can Steve please give some clarification on that topic?

2.  In recent times the Pope and others honor Martin Luther? Is the Pope a heretic? How should we respond?

3.  What does it mean for the Church to be “apostolic”? How can I explain it to my Protestant friends who think they have it too?

4.  Why didn’t the Church stop Luther?

5.  The Church was corrupt at the time of the Reformation which is why Luther was able to do what he did, correct?

6.  What is the definition of a heretic? How are Protestants not heretics if they believe what Luther believed?

7.  Did the Catholic theologians of the time argue with Luther, especially defending Apostolic Succession in order to demonstrate that Luther was wrong?

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Germany Trip Summary, Comments, Farewells and Departure

by Steve Ray on September 15, 2017

After eight days of intense touring of Germany and following all the sites of Martin Luther and the “Protestant Devolution” we finally said our goodbyes, shared our comments about the trip and headed home. But the trip was not only about Martin Luther and the Protestant rebellion. We also explored and toured the life of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, understood World War II, the Nazi and Soviet Communist eras, the divided Berlin and the suffering of the people behind the Iron Curtain. The trip was also kind of like EWTN’s show The Journey Home with lots of conversion and vocation stories along the way including our local guide Klara who was an atheist in Czechoslovakia and has recently become a Catholic. But it was also a beautiful tour of Germany which is full of history, rustic castles, idyllic rivers and villages, old churches and excellent food and drink. We learned a lot and even though I knew much about Martin Luther and the whole Protestant situation I think I doubled my knowledge by visiting all the sites and sharing the information among the group and especially with Ken Hensley’s excellent teaching. For those who want to learn more about Martin Luther, John Calvin and the whole Protestant revolt visit www.kennethhensley.com. More than half of the people on this trip it traveled with us before and again we bonded into a very close group of friends. There was no wrangling or discontentment among the group at all. It was smooth and harmonious and full of personal and spiritual growth and development. Everyone’s faith was deepened in the conviction that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of the truth and is, in fact, the church that Jesus founded 2000 years ago and that Martin Luther introduced a great rupture into that unity which has brought chaos into the modern Western world. We especially enjoyed celebrating Mass with these holy priests in cities that have become radically Lutheran. We again proclaimed the truth of the Catholic faith in the cities that have been deprived in many ways through their protest and separation from the unity of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church. I think we were the only Catholic group to take a trip like this on the 500 anniversary of the “Protestant Reformation”. I’m certainly glad that we planned and executed this trip and it was a marvelous experience for all of us.  We expect to do this trip again in about five years.

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Luther’s Young Years, Monastery and Birth & Death

September 11, 2017

Eisleben: birth and baptism of Luther. Also where he preach his last sermons and died. This was also the town of St. Gertrude the Great. We has Mass at St. Gertrude’s with another fantastic homily. Mansfeld: Luther’s childhood home and church where he sang in the choir and served as an altar boy. He was […]

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Delivered “500 Reasons to Be Catholic” to Luther at Wittenburg Door

September 9, 2017

Today we went to Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany. I had promised people I would deliver their “95 Reasons for being Catholic.” We ended up with many hundreds of reasons that were sent to me. I kept my promise today and delivered them to Martin Luther in person. I could not mail them to the […]

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Steve’s Interview of Luther & the Reformation with Al Kresta

May 12, 2017

This was a fun and informative interview as an introduction to this 500th Anniversary of the Luther’s actions which started the Protestant Reformation (or Deformation, depending on how you look at it). Click this LINK, then click on the + sign for Hour One and move the slider to 8:20 where the interview begins. It […]

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(Link Fixed) The Other Catholics: A Short Guide to the Eastern Catholic Churches

May 5, 2017

Since we are in Jerusalem, where many of the Eastern Catholic Churches converge, I decided to share this excellent article. I found it very helpful. Many think the name of “our church” is the “Roman Catholic Church” — but that is only the name of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. The “Catholic Church” […]

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The Sign of the Cross: It’s History, Meaning and Biblical Basis

May 5, 2017

SIGN OF THE CROSS By Steve Ray The Sign of the Cross is a ritual gesture by which we confess two important mysteries: the Trinity and the centrality of the Cross. It is the most common and visible means by which we confess our faith. The Sign of the Cross is made by touching the […]

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Trail of Blood: Do Baptists Have a Claim to the Original Church?

March 23, 2017

What is the history of Baptists? Can they trace their roots back to the 1st century? Many ”fundamentalist” Baptists believe they can. Are they correct? There is a booklet that is very popular among this fundamentalist crowd. It is entitled “The Trail of Blood”. The booklet claims that Catholics persecuted the true Christians — the Baptists — leaving […]

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Forty Frozen Martyrs – we honor them today March 10

March 9, 2017

In my talk Swimming Upstream I usually tell the story of 40 Roman soldiers who chose to freeze naked on a frozen lake in 320 AD rather than deny Jesus Christ. St. Basil, Doctor of the Church, told of the heroic martyrdom of 40 soldiers in a homily. They had been executed fifty years before […]

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“Council of Jamnia” and Old Testament Book Collection

February 4, 2017

The Old Testament Canon and the “Council of Jamnia” Many popular myths are believed simply because people want to believe them—not because they are true. Wishful thinking is a poor substitute for truth. It is always preferable for one to dig deep and discover the facts and not just believe things because one wants them […]

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Did St. Ignatius of Antioch REALLY Believe in Transubstantiation in the 1st Century?

January 10, 2017

A friend and fellow pilgrim got in a row with a friend on Facebook and asked for my help. You might enjoy the question and the answer. My friend wrote: “I have a quick apologetic question.  A Protestant Facebook page was denying the Eucharist and I pasted St Ignatius’ quote about the Eucharist, “Let us […]

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The Eucharist and the Fathers of the Church: Article by Steve Ray

January 2, 2017

The Eucharist and the Fathers of the Church, by Steve Ray The word “Eucharist” was used early in the Church to describe the Body and Blood of Christ under the forms of bread and wine. Eucharist comes from the Greek word for “thanks” (eucharistia), describing Christ’s actions: “And when he had given thanks, he broke […]

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Steve’s Interview on Guadalupe and Conversion of Human Sacrificing Aztecs

December 14, 2016
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At Guadalupe All Day! Wow! Conversion of the Americas

December 12, 2016

Join  us as we tour the whole shrine and grounds of Guadalupe along with a special Mass in front of the Tilma of Our Lady. Amazing climb to the top of Tepeyac Hill where Our Lady appeared to St. Juan Diego. For the homily in front of the image of Guadalupe, click here.

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Quiz: Did Jesus Found a Church and If So, Where Is It?

November 4, 2016

I am sharing this from John Martignoni’s e-mail and website at www.BibleChristianSociety.com. Thanks for your good work John! 1) Did Jesus found a church?  A) Yes; Matt 16:18  2) How many churches did Jesus found?  A) One; the church is the Body of Christ and there is only one body of Christ – Rom 12:5, […]

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