Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Did Jason Stellman Deny the Gospel?

We hear so much about the gospel. But do we really even know what the gospel is? In 2000 years I am afraid that we have lost sight of what the gospel is.  Jason Stellman, Reformed pastor, has decided to leave the protestant communion and is considering a leap across the Tiber to the Catholic faith. Immediately, the blogosphere became inflamed with comments from his former co-religionists like these: "Jason Stellman has denied the gospel." He has walked away from the gospel." "Perhaps he never understood the message of the gospel." Reading these comments helped me to conclude that, sadly, there may actually be many people today who have no clue what the gospel is.


Saint Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians what the gospel is:    15:1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas(Peter), then to the twelve…4

So it appears from scripture that the gospel message which we should receive and stand on and hold firmly to is this: Jesus died for our sins, was buried, raised on the 3rd day and appeared to Peter and then the rest of the disciples. Did Jason Stellman deny that? Not that I could see. He even states he still loves Jesus and I assume he still believes he died for his sins and rose from the dead and appeared to Peter and the others.  That is the gospel and Jason Stellman has not denied that. I suspect that those who insist that Pastor Stellman denied the gospel actually are those who may believe another gospel which Saint Paul warned us about. (Galatians 1)

(As an aside, Saint Paul makes it crystal clear that one must hold to the gospel message firmly less they believe in vain. He was not a Once Saved Always Saved proponent.)

What Jason Stellman has done is to disagree with a theological school of thought developed 1600 years after the gospel was first passed on by the apostles and their successors. He no longer holds to the suppositions of this school of theology and according to them has denied what they think the gospel is. But in reality, he has not denied the gospel at all  if your definition is based on the plain reading of scripture.  If Pastor Stellman does come home to Rome, he will be asked if he believes all that the Church teaches at the vigil Mass. If he says "yes," then each Sunday at Mass he will stand with the faithful and pray the 1700 year old creed which is a recapitulation of....The Gospel!

14 Comments:

Anonymous susie said...

Excellent, Russ! Amen!

June 14, 2012 9:34 AM  
Blogger gyles melson said...

Mr. Stellman denies the Protestant approach Of The Bible but is trying to accept the Catholic approach Of The Bible.

June 14, 2012 8:45 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

@gyles: Exactly! He denies the way in which the bible is interpreted by protestants, but has never denied the gospel as described in the scriptures themselves. Those who claim he has denied the gospel have "another gospel" that is based on novel interpretations of the scripture that are only 500 years old. He is guilty of doubting the reformers, and that does not make him a gospel denier.

June 14, 2012 9:14 PM  
Blogger gyles melson said...

Indeed! Our sadly separated non-catholic Brothers and Sisters in-Christ only approach Their way. Which is saddening! They never the courage to approach it Historically From the easiest Doctrines and Dogmas To the toughest. They need more Help From The Paraclete to understand The Relationship between Sacred Scripture and Sacred Authority.

June 15, 2012 2:38 AM  
Blogger gyles melson said...

Please correct me if I'm wrong, that makes him a denier of Reformist Interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

June 15, 2012 2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading a bunch of the comments over there, I see there is a lot of bigotry out there disguised as concern for salvation. Some of those people aren't really concerned for our souls. They hate us like the KKK hates us. They don't care to learn what we Catholics really believe. Because they KNOW. Like bigots KNOW. And Christian pastors should NEVER use misinformation to sustain and grow their flocks. And if the Bible is their final authority, I will eat my hat. Because it is Pastor So-and-So who is telling them what the Bible says.
Don't get me wrong. I will gladly suffer anything for Jesus. But there something at play here that is very NOT Christian, and is more the Ugly American in the Evangelical landscape. Julie

June 15, 2012 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read some of the posts and was shocked at some of the things that were said and the spirit in which they were said. If this is the fruit that the Reformed theology is producing (which is not Christ like at all) It's no wonder that Jason is leaving Geneva and heading to Rome. Catholics have the assurance from Jesus Christ that the Church that He established is the Pillar and Bulwark of Truth, That the Holy Spirit will guide Her into ALL Truth and that the Gates of Hell will NOT prevail against her. Those who walk away from Her walk away from these promises and have to trust in their own insight. Is it any wonder there is so much division and confusion in Protestantism? God Bless Jason and his family, I'll be praying or them.

June 17, 2012 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I read some of those comments, those are some bitter people. I can't help but wonder if this is what happens to your spirit once you believe in "double predestination" The idea that some people are created by God to go straight to Hell no matter what they do is bizarre. Even more suspect is the idea that if you are a Calvinist YOU are one of the ones "predestined" to go to Heaven. How is that not a cult? God Bless Jason, can't blame him for leaving, lots of mean spirited people in that Presbyterian "church" I will pray for them as well.

June 17, 2012 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Hughuenot said...

Don't know if you let Protestants post here, but we take a denial of sola fide as a denial of the gospel.

The simple facts of 1 Cor. 15:3f are not sufficient grounds for justification according to your system, and hence, our contention that Mr Stellman is denying the gospel.

June 18, 2012 12:15 AM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

@Hugh:
Sola fide IS NOT supported by scripture, or even found in scripture. Your contention that denying sola fide is a denial of the gospel is a "doctrine of men."

You have proved my point that there are many that don't even know what the gospel is. They have attached interpretations and man made schemes of justification that are clearly not in the definition of what the gospel is ,( if you are going to believe Saint Paul over Calvin.)

Jason Stellman has not denied the gospel. He has denied his belief in the doctrines of men as proponed by the reformers.

June 18, 2012 7:16 AM  
Blogger Hughuenot said...

Thanks, Russ. 1 Cor 15:3f tell of the objective work of Christ "for our sins" (those of believers/ the elect*) plus nothing. Sola fide is by good and necessary consequence deduced from Scripture, not proof-texted from one verse.

Paul's letters repeatedly point only to Jesus Christ. The absence of any other external element (treasury of merit, saints' prayers, indulgences, etc.) or of any personal achievement ("work") on our part in the epistles teach us that sola fide is certainly biblical, and the only hope one has to know that one is God's child.

* Elaborated in Ephesians 1 and elsewhere.

June 19, 2012 2:15 PM  
Blogger Hughuenot said...

Thanks, Russ. 1 Cor 15:3f tell of the objective work of Christ "for our sins" (those of believers/ the elect*) plus nothing. Sola fide is by good and necessary consequence deduced from Scripture, not proof-texted from one verse.

Paul's letters repeatedly point only to Jesus Christ. The absence of any other external element (treasury of merit, saints' prayers, indulgences, etc.) or of any personal achievement ("work") on our part in the epistles teach us that sola fide is certainly biblical, and the only hope one has to know that one is God's child.

* Elaborated in Ephesians 1 and elsewhere.

June 19, 2012 2:15 PM  
Blogger Hughuenot said...

Gyles is correct: Jason accepts Rome's interpretation. But he errs in saying that one has access to Christ the Roman way.

The Bible way (those despised solas) is all of God's grace through faith in Christ plus nothing. How can that be less certain and assuring than Rome's dogmas, doctrines, councils, et. al.?

June 19, 2012 2:20 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

@Hugh: You say; Russ. 1 Cor 15:3f tell of the objective work of Christ "for our sins" (those of believers/ the elect*) plus nothing. Sola fide is by good and necessary consequence deduced from Scripture, not proof-texted from one verse.
That statement above is your personal opinion in attempting to articulate a novel belief that is approximately 500 years old. vs the 2000 year old teaching of the Church that Faith Without Works is dead. It's ironic that a protestant accuses a Catholic of proof-texting, probably because there is no scripture in the bible that supports "faith alone." But there is an enormous support of faith without works being dead including Matt 25, and multiple other Pauline epistles who encouraged us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Getting back to the point of my blog post, to re-iterate once again, Jason Stellman has not denied the gospel. He has denied the reformed view which is an "added to" gospel opposed to the true gospel passed on by the apostles.
Protestants have a magisterial teaching authority found in the doctrines of grace or the westminster confession which is only 4-500 years old. Catholics have a magisterial teaching authority that dates back to Christ himself who said "He who hears you hears me." You use your own authority to interpret scripture the way you wish to conform to the reformer's novel doctrines. (known as eisegesis) I rely on the Catholic Church to teach me what the Holy Spirit promises He would do... Lead us in all truth.
Your gospel is not the same one that was preached by the apostles. It is a one developed by the reformers. You can choose who you want to submit to. I submit to Christ's church, you submit to Calvin. Based on that though, it is wrong and disingenuous to accuse Pastor Stellman of denying the gospel. No, he denied your novel articulation of it, which has no semblance to the teachings of the Catholic faith passed on from Jesus to the apostles to the bishops to us and is 100 percent in harmony with holy Scripture. The Church teaches nothing that is opposed to scripture, but the doctrine of sola fide can't be found in scripture, only in the complicated articulations of protestants who must do linguistic and mental gymnastics with God's Holy Word to make it appear to say what they want it to.

Check out the Catechism of the Catholic faith here, if you truly desire to know what the Church teaches about the relationship of grace and faith and works and their role in our salvation. It is quite different than what protestants attempt to claim the Church is teaching.

Here is yet another source of the Catholic teaching. I realize Hugh, there's a good chance you won't even consider reading these links but I am posting them for the sake of others who visit.

June 19, 2012 8:12 PM  

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