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.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Another Reformed Pastor Crossing the Tiber

Pastor Jason Stellman from Exile Presbyterian Church in Woodinville, Washington (Home of Mackie Mixers , btw) has decided to leave the reformed confession. Though he hasn't explicitly said yet, it's fairly obvious he is coming home to the Catholic faith. He has spent a fair amount of time on the Called to Communion blog and one of the comments on his post indicate he has been visiting with well-known Catholic convert/apologist/blogger Mark Shea.
   Stellman has been a member of Calvary Chapel until becoming reformed then going to Westminster Seminary in California receiving his M.Div. He also has written two books and is a blogger. He also spent time in Africa and eastern Europe as a missionary.

"I have begun to doubt whether the Bible alone can be said to be our only infallible authority for faith and practice, and despite my efforts (and those of others) to dispel these doubts, they have only become more pronounced. In my own reading of the New Testament, the believer is never instructed to consult Scripture alone in order to adjudicate disputes or determine matters of doctrine (one obvious reason for this is that the early church existed at a time when the 27-book New Testament had either not been begun, completed, or recognized as canonical). The picture the New Testament paints is one in which the ordained leadership of the visible church gathers to bind and loose in Jesus’ Name and with his authority, with the Old Testament Scriptures being called upon as witnesses to the apostles’ and elders’ message (Matt. 18:18-19; Acts 15:6-29), with no indication in Scripture that such ecclesiastical authority was to cease and eventually give way to Sola Scriptura (meaning that the doctrine fails its own test). Moreover, unless the church’s interpretation of Scripture is divinely protected from error at least under certain conditions, then what we call the “orthodox” understanding of doctrines like the Trinity or the hypostatic union is reduced to mere fallible human opinion. I have searched long and hard, but have found no solution within the Sola Scriptura paradigm to this devastating conclusion." 

Do pray for Jason and his family as this represents not only a loss of family and friends but of his livelihood. Given the intense vitriol and hateful invectives and accusations leveled at him on his blog from his reformed brethren (up to 312 comments so far) it would do him some good to give him a Hearty Catholic Welcome home! So if you can hold your nose, wander over to his comment box and deposit some love to balance the hate from his co-religionists.

(This reminds me of a few years ago when James White linked my blog. I had over 700 comments in less than 24 hours, many calling me names that rhymed with prostrate.)


Blogger Theo said...


June 06, 2012 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Renee Lin said...

Have you read Jason's recent blogposts on Catholicism? Interesting stuff - I particularly liked his "Movement of Jah People."

May God guide his path!

June 07, 2012 8:25 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

i did just check that out. Very interesting. Clearly a person of good will!

June 07, 2012 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really do have to hold your nose a bit, don't you. Some commenters are desperately throwing whatever anti-Catholic grenades they can come up with in order to try and stop the conversion. Some sound actually quite reasonable if you don't know your Christian history very well. If you do know actual Christian history, you are appalled at the misinformation out there. I am praying for this fine convert who clearly loves the Lord. Julie

June 08, 2012 11:41 AM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Julie, most of the comments were the same old empty mindless diatribe the reformed bunch parrot from the swan and white websites. "He left the gospel" He never knew the gospel. He traded sola fide for "works righteousness." It amazes me how they can write such stuff. I do wonder if any of them ever bothered to open a catechism, or better yet, read from one on line. So sad, but they make a great negative endorsement for reformed theology when you see the fruits of it manifested from their comments. Same biting sarcastic comments you see all over the "interwebs." When you don't think your behavior has anything to do with your salvation you can be as nasty or spiteful or perverse as you desire with no repercussions. That has been borne out by Dr. Beckwith's combox upon his conversion and now Pastor Stellman, when he hasn't even officially announced he is becoming Catholic yet!

June 08, 2012 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Renee Lin said...

It's probably not a coincidence that James White, whom Jason apparently consulted vis-a-vis his doubts concerning the two Solas, recently podcasted on the subject of Catholicism in general and the Called to Communion blog in particular (disparagingly referring to it as "Called to Confusion"). He warned potential converts that the grass is not greener on the other side of the Tiber. And yet, it seems like lately there are more and more potential (and actual) converts....

June 09, 2012 9:31 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

it is truly unfortuante that Mr. white chooses to sarcastically malign the Called to Communion folks. They are probably a group of the brightest and most learned converts from reformed theology out there, and yet have an amazing irenic tone in dealing with their many critics and interlopers. Clearly the fruits of the sacramental life are regularly on display on that blog.
Regarding the grass not being greener, I would like to see someone do an expose on how many converts turn around and go back to protestantism after converting. I have seen two or three in 8 years, personally. Most of the people I have seen convert or revert never looked back. Many actually had their relationship with Christ enhanced and deepened greatly by the practice of their Catholic faith.

June 10, 2012 8:42 AM  
Blogger Chad Toney said...

Not only is the grass greener, it's real grass (not invisible grass)!

June 11, 2012 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russ, you explain it very well. Judging from the comments, the reformed folk are leaving Jesus out of the equation. It troubles me. It seems to all boil down to, I hate Catholics and you need to hate Catholics and if you become one you are going to hell. It has gone beyond them caring about what Catholics really believe, or what Jesus wants. Julie

June 12, 2012 7:54 AM  

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