Coming to Christ, Down Under

Nothing in My Hand I Bring: Understanding the Differences Between Roman Catholic and Protestant Beliefs
By Ray Galea
Matthias Media, 2007, 121 pages

Over the past three and a half years, I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing many books that examined the differences between Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism, but this little book is extremely well done.

Author and minister, Ray Galea, begins his testimony with his experiences growing up with his family as part of a Catholic community in Australia. Like most Catholics, Ray and his family participated in the rituals of their religion, but had no personal trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. Ray began reading the Bible as a college student and discovered many differences between God’s Word and Catholicism. He eventually accepted Christ as Savior by faith alone and joined a conservative Anglican church, much to his family’s disappointment.

Ray’s testimony mirrors my own in many ways. When a Catholic first begins to understand the Gospel, they think about how accepting Christ as Savior will affect their relationships with their Catholic family and friends. For many Catholics, their religion is a big part of their “tribal” identity and when they accept Christ, they know they will face opposition from family and friends and be labeled a “Bible banger,” as one who “takes religion way too seriously,” and as a traitor to their church and parents. These are the chains of popularity and acceptance, but who would choose them over a sweet, saving relationship with the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? After accepting Christ, all such concerns are rendered inconsequential.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:37-39

Ray then addresses some of the major differences between Bible Christianity and Catholicism including short chapters on the mass, authority, justification, and Mary. The last chapter examines Catholicism’s relatively new ecumenical and interfaith approach, which teaches that people of all religions and even atheists can also merit Heaven if they “sincerely follow the light they have been given,” whatever that means. Of course, the main difference between Catholicism and Bible Christianity is their respective gospels. Catholics believe in salvation by sacramental grace and merit while Bible Christians believe in the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE, without one, single claim of merit or entitlement of our own. Have YOU trusted in Christ as your Savior by faith alone?

Ray writes in a warm, inviting, personal style and covers the topics without using a lot of unnecessary theological jargon. This is a very good introductory book for Catholics who are curious about Biblical Christianity and for evangelicals who are curious about the main beliefs of Catholicism, but don’t care to wade through a 400-page tome. Highly recommended. Order from Matthias Media here. The publisher also offers two additional books about Catholicism, “Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories” (see my review here) and “The Road Once Travelled: Fresh Thoughts on Catholicism.”

16 thoughts on “Coming to Christ, Down Under

  1. Thank you for writing this article! This is really, really interesting to hear of a Ray Galea from Australia who has come to faith in Jesus Christ through God’s grace and has written this book! The reason being is that there is also an RC priest in Australia who was born in Malta, his name is Rob Galea…and I wonder if they are related? He’s become known for his music, appearance on XFactor, appeal to the youth etc (and yeah, we see RCs crossing freely into “contemporary Christian music circles”, such as Matt Maher and Audrey Assad – who was raised Protestant but in later life became a R Catholic) and they are accepted as true bros and sisters in the same faith and promoted as such. Does your church sing “Your Grace is Enough” or “Lord I Need You?” (which is based on the beautiful hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour”) these as written/co-written by Matt Maher – and why does my heart clench when I hear those of this religion singing hymns of those who wrote them, expressing their deep relationship with God the Father and His Son, but instead it’s been a rehash without this same faith and life change….well, guess “Amazing Grace” has been sung by anyone and everyone too without any thought of the gracious salvation it is ringing out or the songwriter’s testimony … yeah musos can be pretty lax/shallow with what they believe and (non-musos can be too of course.) Anyway, I’ll be looking out for Ray’s book. Thanks again!

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    1. Hi Cassey, Thank for your comments! I was tied up with all sorts of things so I apologize for the delay. The author of this book, Ray Galea, also writes about his Maltese ethnicity. He’s a pastor of a church in NSW. See here:
      http://mbm.org.au/staff/

      Ray was born in Australia and I couldn’t find any connection between him and the priest. Yes, music has become a tool for ecumenism. Matt Maher believes in a different gospel. He sings to a god that is part of a salvation system of sacramental grace and merit. But my God has saved me by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Maher is not singing to my God. Compromise and betrayal are rampant in the evangelical church.

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    1. Thanks, Jim! I’m grateful for Matthias Media. It appears they have many connections to the Anglican church in Australia. Evidently, the Anglican church in Australia is much more conservative than in Great Britain or here in the U.S.

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      1. Thank you Tom, I read my first comment back later and thought…oh dear – I went OT and on a bit of a rant there! :/ Thank you for your gracious reply, and also looking into if the two Galeas might be related. And, you summed up the current sad/sinful state of the evangelical church perfectly (along with Matt Maher’s belief in another gospel altogether, so true).

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  2. Ray Galea is a very zealous Anglican evangelical and an excellent speaker. His book was published in 2008 to coincide with pope Benedict XVI visit to Sydney for World Youth Day, (incidentally Hillsong ‘Church’ were heavily involved in promoting this event). Myself and several other believers handed out several thousand tracts to RC youth and had some interesting discussions in the streets of Sydney.
    Ray’s book must have hit a nerve with the RCC because a local RC apologist Robert Haddad wrote a book titled: “Answering the Anti-Catholic Challenge-A response to Ray Galea’s ‘Nothing in my hand I bring'”

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    1. Thanks for this background info. I thoroughly enjoyed Ray’s book as you can tell from my review. Copies of Haddad’s book are prohibitively priced at Amazon but I see he has a You Tube video covering the same material that I’ll be listening to. Thanks!

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    2. Thanks for your comment Bob, that’s very interesting! Hope and pray that the Sydney youth you came in contact with were compelled by your discussions to turn to the only Truth! And yes, Ray’s book must have hit a nerve!! 😊

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  3. Oh dear Tom, you’ll find it rather interesting watching those YouTube vids on Robert Hadad and the response to Ray Galea’s book plus his “testimony” – How Billy Graham caused to to be Catholic (title something like that!) watched them while I worked today, but was very distracted and disturbed…a lot of resources were put into the anti response book to Galea’s!!
    Side notes:
    Purchased a copy today of Ray Galea’s book (as Koorong here is having a sale).
    Looked at your book list quickly too and glad to see some titles/authors I recognise, in particular Dave Hunt and Terry Arnold.

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    1. Thanks Cassey! I’ve gotten through about 40 minutes of Haddad’s attack on Galea, all of the usual RCC apologetics. I hope to listen to the last 30 minutes this afternoon. I often wonder what motivates these conservative Catholics to so passionately defend their church when their prelates and clergy teach all non-Catholic religionists and even atheists can also merit Heaven if they are “sincere and good.” Conservative Catholics also have their hands full with their own pope Francis who is changing doctrines held to be infallible by previous popes. You’ll enjoy Galea’s book. A very good primer on the major differences. Thanks for checking out my book list. I’ve read Hunt’s book, which is very good. I checked out Koorong’s site for the first time and I see they offer many, many books from Catholic authors, such is the state of evangelicalism today. It’s interesting to me that Anglicans in Australia are so doctrinally conservative and are opposing Rome. You can’t get much more liberal than the Episcopal church here in the U.S.

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  4. Actually I think I watched a book launch (X5 vids) not the Haddad video re: book, so I’ll have to watch that at some time – as I certainly won’t be purchasing the book. Really excited to share a verse my husband shared with me this morning: “And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.” Acts 16:4. Haddad had done intense study on early writers etc such as Justus, Polycarp etc can’t recall them all, saying they had “delivered the teaching that the miraculous bread and wine changes into the body and blood of Jesus” (transubstantiation) and this tradition/teaching came “directly from Peter!” But that beautiful verse of Scripture is again God’s faithfulness to provide us a sword to defend the Truth! Even though we can’t find out info definitely what went on back then and someone like me has little knowledge of early Christian times! 😊 Haddad said that if he was convinced that this teaching was true (transubstantiation) then everything else that the RCC taught is truth! So he got convinced after reading a very old book, “Question Box” by Conway. It “answered all his questions.” Obviously the Holy Spirit and faithful Christians had witnessed to him, but he rejected this, he made his decision (hopefully not the last important one though!) Haddad is now head of the New Evangelistism for Catholic Education office. Yes it is crazy that times have changed and the way of salvation in the RCC is much “broader” and yet they feel “uncomfortable” and a need to go after those like Galea…yeah, wonder why!?! Wow, got so much to say, but this is a public arena. I can’t comment too much about Anglicans in Aust, to me some churches seem almost like the RCC except without statues, beads, celibate priests (some “ordained” women priests now) others are very Pentecostal/liberal. A few years ago the pastor at the Baptist Union church we attended would source Matthias Media Bible study material, however the differing authors was pretty broad – some were really good encouraging you to question and learn more with discussions etc, others dry and borderline legalistic or just not helping students dig into anything deeper, religious. But yes, something remarkable was started in Matthias Media, prayerfully they stay true to God’s Word, the preaching of the Gospel of Truth & His will! And commenting on another issue, may the truth come to light fully with Pell before the courts. Have you heard of the Broken Rites website? Absolutely horrific! And we’ve recently watched film, Spotlight re: Boston’s discovery of abuse.

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    1. Thanks, Cassey. I did finish Haddad’s video yesterday afternoon. More of the same. Thanks for the verse! Yes, we must proclaim God’s Word alone. Trying to find support in the “fathers” is going to be disappointing for evangelicals (and Catholics). I appreciate the information on the situation in AU. Yes, we must always be cautious. So many are following the way of ecumenism with Rome. Matthias Media sent a short catalog when I ordered “The Road Once Travelled Booklet” and a lot of the material looked good. I have been watching and commenting on the legal proceedings regarding Pell. I didn’t know about Broken Rites but thanks to you I do now. It’s important work. I was very grateful for the release of Spotlight and its award of Best Picture in 2016. The confidence of many Catholics was/is shaken by this scandal and I pray the Holy Spirit uses this crisis to lead many to Jesus Christ.

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