Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
What Steve Ray Doesn't Want You To Think About
08/27/2007 - James WhiteSteve Ray won't give up. I have never seen such a dogged attempt to avoid admitting, "OK, I am wrong." Here is page 16 from The World Christian Encyclopedia:
Click here for an image twice the size and, at least on my system, actually readable despite the pdf shading. Here is Ray's version.
Please note what this material, which Ray claims he has always possessed, says. Here you have the Protestant denominations listed. Let's pass over all the discussion I've offered of the inclusion of non-Trinitarians in the list, or how irrelevant sola scriptura actually is to how these denominations arose. Here are the facts Steve Ray knows, but won't discuss:
FACT: This source lists 27 Protestant groups.
FACT: This source lists 8,973 "denominations" under "Protestant"
So what does he do when he has been all along claiming the 33,000 number represents Protestants derived from the Reformation due to sola scriptura? What does he do? Well, he takes the Protestant category, lumps the "Independents" in as "Protestants" (including Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gnostics, Bogomils, and even Swedenborgianists!), then, so desperate is the man, he then grabs such groups as "Arab radio/TV network" (19 denominations worth!) and "Japanese Oneness Pentecostal" (14 denominations worth) to help pad his numbers! And so while his source limited "Protestant" to 8973 (third column from the right in the graphic I am providing), Ray ignores the delineations of the source itself, ignores that the 33,000 number included Rome and the Orthodox, ignores that 2/3 of the "denominations" are not even identified as historic denominations, ignores that sola scriptura had absolutely nothing to do with the founding of such groups as Mormonism (think about that one a second and try not to laugh), and has the temerity to post this:
My Sincere Apology:Just in passing, Ray's numbers are wrong. It's a 5.6% error, not a 0.056% error. (Hat Tip Mylo Hatzenbuhler!)
So, what do we have? Cut out the Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Marginal Christian groups and you end up with 31,121 Protestant and Independent Protestant denominations. So, I sincerely apologize for being 1,879 too high when I said the number was 33,000. That works out to 0.056% in error. You all have my sincere apology :-)
However, by now, 7 years beyond 2,000 AD, I suspect my number is now too low and maybe I should raise it to 39,000, the number listed on the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary site.
In fact, if you will go through the listing of some of the other groups Ray wants to drop into the "Protestant" category and blame on sola scriptura and the Reformation, we will need to include (from the very same source he is citing):
- British Israelite (8 denominations)
- Afro-Caribbean Zionist (only one of them, but surely due to sola scriptura!)
- Gay/Lesbian homosexual tradition (Yeah, right).
- White-led Word of Faith/Prosperity (17 denominations)
- Latin-rite Catholic (Yeah, they are Protestants)
- Independent Jehovah's Witnesses (8 denominations)
- No-Church Movement
- Old Catholic (26 denominations laid at the feet of sola scriptura)
- Isolated Radio Churches (I just report the facts)
- Single Congregation(s): one single autonomous congregation (I guess this was the "it doesn't fit anywhere else" category--and, of course, this is due to sola scriptura too!)
Well, what do you say in response to all of that? You can say, "Steve Ray does not want to relinquish the baseball bat he has been using to smash non-Catholics over the head, despite the fact that it has no meaning to any serious-minded individual."
Obviously, we will not get any honesty out of Ray about his error. He is willing to throw his integrity under the bus in the face of overwhelming documentation and respond with laughter and mockery. It is the way of the Catholic Convert, evidently.
But let's consider this. Ray posted a link to page 11 of this same source, which I had mentioned in my first response on this topic. On that page you will find the following graphic. This is a listing of who has killed the most Christians over the history of the church. You will note that the vast majority have come from secular governments (communism was, and still is, great at creating martyrs). Islam is no slouch either. But there in the #5 slot is none other than Rome herself, with the blood of nearly 5 million martyrs on her hands.
My point is not to defend this source's claim at this point. Ray cites the source, he must believe it! But in any case, let's say I were to go about for a lengthy period of time claiming that Roman Catholicism is guilty of murdering 18 million martyrs, and I cited this source as my basis for so doing. And so finally one day, someone tired of hearing this argument, went to the source and said, "Hey, wait a minute---the source says 4.95 million martyrs, not 18. You have inflated the number by 3.6x! The actual number cited is much smaller!" Now, what if I replied with something like this, "Oh, so you think 4.95 million is good! What a horrible person you are! Don't you know even one martyr is too many? And besides, it lists Eastern Orthodox as killing 600,000, and we know they are really just Catholics at heart, you know! And those animists bow down to statues just like Roman Catholics do! So you see, if you put those numbers together...." Would any Roman Catholic in their right mind accept such argumentation? I would surely hope not! And yet, that is exactly what we have coming from Steve Ray, with the complicit assistance of a whole range of his compatriots in the Roman Catholic apologetics movement.
So really, if they are willing to blame the "Gay/Lesbian homosexual tradition" along with the Mormons on sola scriptura, what does this say about their reasoning and argumentation in general? Are you led to believe they are doing their homework to accurately represent, say, the early church writers, when they are willing to seriously suggest that groups as disparate as these are somehow related?