Ask Fred > Faith > Could you share some thoughts about Ray Stedman?

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Dear Fred

I noticed you were a friend of Ray Stedman's, perhaps you could share some of your thoughts about him?

Fred's Response

I'm so glad that you have found Ray Stedman's website. I know of no one who can interpret the Scripture quite as clearly as he. Once I asked him if he ever got burned out like many pastors and he said, "How can I get burned out discovering the mysteries of God?" He was always excited about Scriptural study. I also remember the last time I visited with him. It was on the way to the airport on a Saturday night and I asked him what he was going to be teaching the next day. "I'm going to tell them to stop praying for what they've already got. He was teaching Ephesians and he simply wanted them to realize what they possessed in Christ. Many times they were praying for things they already had. They just needed to have a realization of their blessings. Another time we were talking about Scripture had meant to us and he said, "My life changed when I found out that God was FOR me and not AGAINST me." So often we think of God in a judgmental sense rather than a bestowal sense. This misconception of God causes us so much anxiety. Probably the most unique thing about Ray was his total freedom from ego. Oswald Chambers talks about going through the white funeral of losing our ego before we go through the black funeral of losing our life. Ray was probably one of the very few men that I've ever known who I felt had truly gone through the white funeral. He showed no evidence of ego problems. Ray didn't look like the usual preacher, nor did he really act that way. He didn't have the theological brogue nor theatrical piety that would keep other people at a distance. I remember when the gay community was meeting at Stanford to discuss homosexuality and the church. Ray and one of his interns went without any fanfare. When a subject came up on which he knew a great deal he joined in. It became apparent that there were many questions so he invited them to come to his church and they would be totally welcomed. I am sure they left with a different impression than they came with about what the church was all about. They brought up the woman at the well and Jesus' acceptance of her. Ray said, "Yes, He accepted her, but after she accepted Him, she was never the same again." Thank you for bringing these wonderful memories to Ray to life again.