I know the family resemblance is…lacking, but the behavior resemblance is quite compelling. And the hat helps. (ht: MB)
Steve Ray is still a fundamentalist. Now, I use that term not in its historical sense, but in the sense Ray himself uses it, descriptive of his “former life” before his conversion to Rome. But Ray’s mindset has not changed an iota from that which he describes as his own. In fact, as I was considering his recent behavior, his response on the Assumption, etc., I suddenly realized who Steve Ray reminds me of: Dave Hunt. Yes, good ol’ Dave Hunt, the man who can keep repeating long-exploded arguments ad nauseum (do I have to say much more than “Spurgeon on the atonement” and “the Hebrew original of Acts 1-15”?), and who is able to see on a page of text only that which his indelibly imprinted traditions allow him to see. Hunt almost never responds to in-depth criticism of his views, and he very clearly avoids spending much time reading “the other side.” And remember Dave’s words to me on KPXQ a number of years ago when I pointed out that he was relying not upon the text but upon his traditions? “James, I have no traditions.”
Steve Ray is Dave Hunt in papal garb. He describes his own background as follows:
I was saturated with Baptist tradition from my days in diapers. The Baptist tradition was drilled into me through years of sermons, Sunday School, Daily Vacation Bible School, WMUZ Christian radio, books upon books and daily by my mom and dad.
I also used to claim thatI do not have tradition; I come to the Bible objectively and let it speak for itself! I was wrong. No one comes to the Bible without a preconceived tradition, engrained presuppositions or influence from other preachers, writers and opinions. Many people catch their traditions like one catches the measles, by being close to someone else that has them.
Steve Ray claims his background was in the kind of Baptist fundamentalism that has no concept of its place in history nor its deep traditions. That would mean his was a fundamentalism marked by ignorance. He seems to think that everyone else has his past, especially those who would knowingly reject Rome’s pretensions. He’s wrong, but that’s his assumption. He even seems to think all fundamentalists are pre-millenial rapture theorists as well (he uses that as an example in his paper). What is clear is that Ray has not seriously interacted with anything other than this kind of “Jack Chick/Dave Hunt” style fundamentalism. His writings prove the point.
Sadly, Ray’s writings are marked by constant ad-hominemcommentary and language. I took just a moment or two to collect the following from a single blog post and the first few pages of Ray’s pdf response:
ruffles the feathers of anti-Catholics…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.”…my old impoverished theology and anti-Catholicism and its lame attack on the Assumption and Queenship of Mary. I just learned too muchto stay a member of the Fundamentalist camp with their Fundamentalist tradition….red-faced huffing and puffing…tussle with them every time they step unto the playground with their taunts and jeers…anti-Catholic naysayers who want to jump in with red-faced indignation …surrounded by a lot of ranting and raving …waste my time because of one anti-Catholicwebsite, …I used to parrot the same things in my past life.
This is the same kind of language and mindset you find in the worst of fundamentalist writings, always defining others based upon your own mindset and viewpoint. Anyone who disagrees with Ray is an anti-Catholic, and many fundamentalists have the very same kind of facile mindset about anyone who disagrees with them. Likewise, Ray now considers himself so much better educated, more intelligent, than his former compatriots who are just a bunch of red-faced children on the playground, taunting and jeering. He truly believes this—just as Dave Hunt’s followers believe they are just so much more faithful to God by ignoring the critiques of their traditions. See?
Many before me have noted that the converts to Catholicism who have then taken up the apologetic sword in defense of Catholicism tend to bring their Protestantism with them. Ray does so with a vengeance. And when it comes to his sources and his arguments, once again, the parallels between himself and men like Chick and Hunt are undeniable. For example:
Our source of authority is not the Bible alone. We can thank God and the Catholic Church for that. Just look at the mass confusion this invented doctrine of sola Scriptura has inflicted upon Protestants as theyve split and scattered into over 33,000 different competing groups with biblical interpretations that go all over the map.5
5 World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press, 2001), pg. 10.
Ray is surely not alone in making this claim. Roman Catholic apologists across the board have repeated the “sola scriptura leads to anarchy, look at the
23,000, 25,000, 27,000, 30,000, 33,000 denominations it has spawned” line. But is there any merit to this argument? Or is it a wonderful example of just how shallow and untruthful Rome’s arguments are? To that topic I turn in my next blog entry.