Apologetics

Last night my wife and I were watching an episode of Sherlock Holmes on TV. He has always been one of my favorite characters and I can remember reading all the stories to our kids as they grew up. On TV I think Jeremy Brett does the best portrayal and it is always a delightful evening to cuddle up and watch another episode.

Last night we were watching “The Copper Beeches” and Sherlock was interviewing a young lady. Her case bored him. But as her story developed, Sherlock became intrigued. He leaned back and said, “Pray, continue.” 

SherlockPrays.jpgMy wife hit the pause button! “What did he say?” We listened again. Sure enough, the Great Sherlock used the word pray when talking to a woman.

But doesn’t “pray” mean worship? In our old Evangelical Protestant days we assumed PRAY was synonymous with WORSHIP. But that was because we were ignorant of our own English language (blame the public schools). 

In the English language, the word pray is much less ostentatious than we Evangelicals blew it up to be. Here is what Wiktionary says,  

1. To petition or solicit help from a supernatural or higher being.
2. To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
3. (Christianity) to talk to God for any reason.

The least significant usage of the word is to “talk to God” which is still a far cry from falling on one’s face in adoration and worship—an action reserved for the Trinity alone. 

It primarily means to ask of a higher being—which could certainly mean a superior in business, or law or in heaven—for a favor or for their help. It means to ask any person for aid or for their time.  

What was Sherlock Holmes asking when he “prayed” to this woman? He was saying, “Please, I ask you to continue.” Did he worship the woman? Of course not. 

But if we earthy humans ask the assistance and intercession of those who have preceded us to heaven, are we worshiping them or somehow giving them glory that belongs to God alone? CommunionofSaints.jpg

Well let’s ask this—if I ask my brother or sister in Christ on earth to “pray” for me, am I taking away from the glory of God by “praying” or asking them to “pray” or ask God to help me? Of course not, because prayer (talking and asking) and worship are two very different things. 

If I ask a saint who is already in heaven to petition God for me, am I committing idolatry? What foolishness, or course not. I am simply acknowledging that I am not the only Christian in the universe and that the Church is not just made up of me or many earthlings.

Christians, such as Mary and the Apostles, are not dead and gone. They are very much alive before the throne of God. It is made up of all of us still waiting for heaven, but it is also made up of those who have gone on before us with the sign of faith.

You may get asked, “Where in the Bible does it say we should pray to dead saints?” And my answer is always the same, “Where does the Bible say that saints are dead? We Catholic believe in Eternal Life!” 

Again, it is the Evangelical who not only misunderstands spiritual things, but also the English language. I was the most guilty of all, but I had ears to hear (thanks be to God) and I now understand the cosmic reality of the Church and the Communion of Saints. I am much the richer for it. 

Like Sherlock, I can pray to or ask any human creature for information or intercession or help. But it is God alone that I worship. I will ask or pray to any of his people, on earth or in heaven—asking them to intercede or pray for me to the Lord our God. We are after all a big family and the God whom we worship is the Father of us all.

I am so glad I found the Catholic Church and escaped the muddle of mucked up ideas I used to call “Bible-only Christianity.”

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The topic was “Steve Ray’s Six Rules for Dealing with Non-Catholics.” It is always a very popular topic because it’s where we all live.

For a list of the Six Rules and to read the Catholic Answers Magazine article I wrote on the subject, see the blog post above or click here.

1) It was a very fun show; an hour flew by in minutes :-)  You can listen on-line here and find other ways to listen here

2) My friend is an atheist/agnostic; how do I reach her?

3) How do I get my wife to be understand the Catholic faith and join me in the Church?

4) My girlfriend has reservations about being baptized; what should I tell her?

5) My non-Catholic nephew is getting married in a non-Catholic ceremony; should our family go to the wedding?

6) How does 2 John 10 apply to evangelizing non-Catholics and Christians? Doesn’t it say we should not have them in our homes?

7) From Ireland: Many Catholics have turned away from the faith partly because of a hostile media. What can we do to counteract this trend?

 

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Kenneth Copeland is a Pentecostal preacher who has championed the “name it, claim it” tradition in Protestantism. He has an “empire” which he has built that spreads across the world with tens of thousands of followers, or more.

I remember as a teenager listening to him on TV and radio with my parents. Many of our friends at the time were followers of his teachings. 

Click on this image to watch the video

There would have been no more unlikely candidate to correspond lovingly back-and-forth on video with Pope Francis than Copeland. He admits this himself in the video. And he even brought up a Anglican priest named Tony Palmer to address his auditorium full of Charismatic leaders at their leader’s conference. The topic was unity and the end of the protest of Protestantism. Quite amazing actually.

This video shows the Kenneth Copeland leadership conference giving a prime-time slot to Anglican Bishop. Tony Palmer to share that the whole basis of the Protestant Reformation is now resolved and there no more reason for protestation.

The Pope spontaneously addressing Copeland's conference

He then shows a personal video that Bp. Tony made of Pope Francis addressing the conference participants, decrying the sins that have created our separation and asking for their prayers. Then Kenneth Copeland and leaders respond praying in the Spirit for Pope Francis and sending him back a video telling him that they love him!

This video is 45 minutes long and worth watching. It is divided up this way:

It starts with Kenneth Copeland praying and introducing Anglican Bishop Tony Palmer who gives his story of his conversion to liturgical worship and his friendship with Pope Francis before he was pope.

Then we see a video the Pope sent to Kenneth Copeland and his leadership conference and Kenneth Copeland the conference responding back to the Pope. Quite remarkable and demonstrates a move toward unity in much of Christianity.

You can watch the video by clicking on either of the images above.

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What Does God See When He Opens His Eyes?

March 8, 2014

Recently we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar. I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same – ”CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS NO LONGER [...]

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Can Evangelicals and Catholics be Friends?

March 2, 2014

Catholics Can Learn a Good Deal From Them But Big Differences Remain By Father Dwight Longenecker ROME, February 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Last week Evangelical Anglican Bishop Tony Palmer spoke to a gathering of Pentecostal Christian leaders in America and showed them a personal video greeting from Pope Francis. Bishop Palmer became friends with Pope [...]

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Are You Born Again?

February 16, 2014

 It seems that God is kind of predictable in a way :-) since He always starts new things in the same way – with “water and the Spirit“. Consider the following: 1) The first creation came from the the earth which was covered with WATER and the SPIRIT hovered over the waters and from the water emerged [...]

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Jeremiah Condemns Worship of Queen of Heaven

February 15, 2014

I recently received an e-mail.  How would you answer this question? Now if I could get past Jeremiah, chapter 44, I’d really be a happy camper, (LOL).  Stumbled on that passage this morning and wondered about the “Queen of Heaven” that the people of Judah were burning incense to.  God sure was mad! Who was this [...]

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Eternal Security: Is Baptist Pastor Charles Stanley Right?

February 11, 2014

ETERNAL SECURITY (Once Saved-Always Saved): Analyzing a Sermon by Baptist Pastor, Charles Stanley By Steve Ray Hello Protestant Friend: Even though I have watched his show off and on over the months, I had no intention of watching Charles Stanley on television last night. It was just that I was tired after getting home and [...]

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What Does “Water and Spirit” Mean?

February 3, 2014

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 [...]

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Response to an Ex-Catholic, now Baptist

January 26, 2014

I received an e-mail from a Southern Baptist and decided to take a few minutes to respond. Thought others might be edified by it so I have posted it here without using his name. His e-mail is contained in regular text and my response is in CAPITAL LETTERS. **************************************************** HELLO FRIEND: I WILL ANSWER BRIEFLY [...]

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Patrick Madrid in Phoenix to Help you Learn Your Faith

January 10, 2014

Patrick Madrid is joined by Peter Kreeft to teach you to explain and defend the Faith. It will be a great opportunity and I encourage people to attend. Patrick Madrid writes, In 1 Peter 3:15, the Bible tells us to, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for [...]

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St. Ignatius Steps on Luther; Mary Throws Luther out of Heaven

December 26, 2013

Two great Jesuit churches stand near each other in Rome. One is the Church of St. Ignatius and the other the Church of Gesu (Jesus). Both are imposing and majestic and reflect the glory of the Jesuits in their heyday.  The one to the left is called the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. In Italian [...]

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Some Catholics Live in Nutsville; Does the Sun Really Revolve Around the Earth?

December 16, 2013

They wake up every morning and think the sun revolves around the earth. They live in a different universe than the rest of us. They want you to join their new alternate reality. These folks are marginalized and relatively unknown – and for good reason. They live in Nutsville, a cult that dwells on the [...]

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Steve’s Short Story “The Last Nightmare” Might Scare the Hell Out of You!

November 25, 2013

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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Pope Francis’ Homily to Close the Year of Faith

November 24, 2013

This Year of Faith was a great year and inspired many to take their faith seriously. I admire Pope Benedict for instituting the Year of Faith and Pope Francis for closing it out with class. What was the Year of Faith? It is very simple: 1) Learn you faith; 2) Live your faith; 3) Share [...]

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The Three Tombs – Which is the Real One?

November 23, 2013

For a journey to visit three tombs in Jerusalem, click here.

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