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The Journey Home - Dec 9 - Jason Stellman - former Calvinist pastor
EWTN ^ | December 9, 2013 | Marcus Grodi

Posted on 12/09/2013 2:43:18 PM PST by NYer

Mon. Dec. 9 at 8:00 PM ET
Fri. Dec. 13 at 1:00 PM ET

JASON STELLMAN
Guest Jason Stellman, a former Presbyterian minister, tells Marcus what convinced him that the Catholic Church is the true Church.


CONVERSION STORY - I Fought the Church, and the Church Won

This is a guest post by Jason Stellman. Jason was born and raised in Orange County, CA, and served as a missionary with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in Uganda (’91-’92) and in Hungary (’94-’00). After becoming Reformed and being subsequently “dismissed” from ministry with Calvary, he went to Westminster Seminary California where he received an M.Div. in 2004. After graduation he was ordained by the Pacific Northwest Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America and called to plant Exile Presbyterian Church in the Seattle area, where he served from 2004 until resigning in the Spring of 2012. He is the author of Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and the Not Yet (Reformation Trust, 2009), and The Destiny of the Species (forthcoming from Wipf and Stock Publications). In 2011 he served as the prosecutor in the trial of Peter Leithart in the Pacific Northwest Presbytery of the PCA. He currently resides in the Seattle area with his wife and three children. He was received into full communion with the Catholic Church on September 23, 2012.


Jason Stellman

Part of me has wished for a while now that I was born early enough to have been a fan of The Clash back in the Seventies. The first song I ever heard by them (several years after its release) was their cover of Sonny Curtis’s hit, the chorus of which goes, “I fought the law, and the law won.” Despite being a fairly law-abiding guy, I can relate to being on the losing side of a battle, only mine was not against the law, but against the Church.

As many of you know, I recently resigned from my pastoral ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America (you can read my resignation letter here, as well as some clarifying posts here and here). My stated reasons for stepping down were that I could no longer in good conscience uphold my ordination vow that as a PCA minister I sincerely accept the Westminster Confession and Catechisms as containing the system of doctrine taught in Holy Scripture. More specifically, I no longer see the Reformed doctrines of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide as faithfully reflecting what the Bible teaches, which is why I will, Lord willing, be received into full communion with the Catholic Church sometime in the next several months.

The purpose of this piece is not to unpack those claims in detail (there will be plenty of time for that in the future), but rather to provide a little more insight into the process that led up to my resignation, as well as to respond briefly to those who have sought to analyze me and the supposed internal psychological factors that must have led to my making such a drastic decision.

The Lure of Rome?

One of the things I found especially curious (slash bemusing, slash maddening) while reading the diagnoses of my volunteer analysts was the fact that my being drawn to, or lured by, Rome was simply assumed, and that the only real question was what, exactly, was it that ultimately did it. Was it some positive aspect of Catholicism that appealed to me, or was it a nagging drawback of Protestantism that finally proved to be the deal-breaker?

Now, I realize that I went into a period of radio silence during the weeks following my resignation (one that was not exactly self-imposed, but that has turned out to be a blessing), and that this created something of a vacuum that invited speculation on the part of some. But now that I am no longer “off the grid,” I would like to clear something up once and for all:

Catholicism never held any allure for me, nor do I find it particularly alluring now.

Now to be honest there has always been an attraction of a “Wouldn’t-it-be-nice” or “stained-glass-windows-are-rad” variety, but when it came to an actual positive drawing to Rome or a negative driving away from Geneva, there has never been any such thing. In fact, since much of my theological output has been part of the public domain for so long (especially in the form of my preaching, teaching, and writing), this claim of mine can actually be proven. If anyone cares to go back and listen to or read what I was talking about right up until the day I was confronted with the claims of the Catholic Church as they relate to those of Protestantism, the inquirer will easily discover that I was about as staunchly confessional an Old School Presbyterian as anyone would want to meet. There was not even the slightest hint of discontent with my ecclesiastical identity, not a trace of longing for greater certitude, nor a smidgen of regret that my soteriology didn’t have enough works in it.

I will raise the pot even more: I wrote a book whose entire purpose was to demonstrate, in the highest and most attractive terms possible, how ironically boastworthy all the supposed disadvantages of amillennial Protestantism are. Messiness? Lack of infallible certitude? The need for faith over sight? Check, check, and check.

Further still, so far from longing for a type of kinder, gentler Catholicism that I could disguise in Reformed garb, I was the prosecutor in a doctrinal trial against a fellow minister in my presbytery for espousing views that I, and many others, considered dangerously close to being Catholic. No, there was never any desire to place human works anywhere but where the Reformed confessions say they belong: in the category of sanctification and never justification.

In a word, I was as happy and comfortable in my confessional Presbyterian skin as anyone, and the trust I had earned from many well-known and respected Reformed theologians, as well as having graduated with honors from one of the most confessionally staunch and academically rigorous Reformed seminaries in the nation, should be sufficient to dispel any notions that I never really understood Reformed theology in the first place or that I was always a Catholic in Protestant clothing.

Driven, Not Drawn

One of the things that made fighting against the claims of the Catholic Church so frustrating was that there was no single, knock-down-drag-out argument to refute; neither was there an isolated passage of Scripture or silver-bullet issue of theology to deal with. If it had been simply a matter of answering one specific challenge that came from a single direction, the battle would have been much easier to win. But as it happened, there were two distinct issues that were coming under attack (Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide), and the attacks were coming from multiple directions: the biblical, the historical, and, in the case of Sola Scriptura, the philosophical as well.

In the case of Sola Scriptura, I, as a self-described Reformed non-evangelical, considered the distinction between Solo- and Sola Scriptura as absolutely essential to my own spiritual identity. It was the evangelicals who were the heirs of Anabaptism, not the Reformed; it was the evangelicals who espoused “no creed but Christ,” not the Reformed; it was the evangelicals who interpreted the Bible in isolation from history and tradition, not the Reformed. Therefore as one can imagine, when I was confronted with Catholic claims that called this crucial distinction into question, it was a sucker-punch of epic proportions. Needless to say, my confessional brethren and I did not appreciate our ancestral city of Geneva being confused with Saddleback.

But the more I read and wrestled, the more I began to see that Geneva was not being “confused with” Saddleback at all; the two were just different sides of the same coin (or to be more precise with the metaphor, they were sister-cities in the same Protestant county). Readers of this site have no need for the arguments to be rehearsed here, so suffice it to say that, philosophically speaking, it became clear to me that Sola Scriptura could not provide a way to speak meaningfully about the necessary distinction between orthodoxy and heresy (or even between essentials and non-essentials); neither could it justify the 27-book New Testament canon, create the unity that that canon demands, or provide the means of avoiding the schism that that canon condemns.

Historically speaking, the idea that the written Word of God is formally sufficient for all things related to faith and practice, such that anyone of normal intelligence and reasonably good intentions could read it and deduce from it what is necessary for orthodoxy and orthopraxy, is not a position that I see reflected in the writings of the early Church fathers. While there are plenty of statements in their writings that speak in glowing terms about the qualitative uniqueness of Scripture, those statements, for them, do not do away with the need for Scripture to be interpreted by the Church in a binding and authoritative way when necessary.

This discovery in the church fathers is unsurprising if the same position can be found in the New Testament itself, which I now believe it can. To cite but one example, the Church in her earliest days was confronted with a question that Jesus had not addressed with any specificity or directness, namely, the question of Gentile inclusion in the family of God. In order to answer this question, the apostles and elders of the Church gathered together in council to hear all sides and reach a verdict. What is especially interesting about Luke’s account of the Jerusalem Council is the role that Scripture played, as well as the nature of the verdict rendered. Concerning the former, James’s citation of Amos is curious in that the passage in the prophet seems to have little to do with the matter at hand, and yet James cites Amos’s words about the tent of David being rebuilt to demonstrate that full Gentile membership in the Church fulfills that prophecy. Moreover, Scripture functioned for the Bishop of Jerusalem not as the judge that settled the dispute, but rather as a witness that testified to what settled it, namely, the judgment of the apostles and elders. Rather than saying, “We agree with Scripture,” he says in effect, “Scripture agrees with us” (v. 15, 19). And finally, when the decision is ultimately reached, it is understood by the apostles and elders not as an optional and fallible position with which the faithful may safely disagree if they remain biblically unconvinced, but rather as an authoritative and binding pronouncement that was bound in heaven even as it was on earth (v. 28). Despite some superficial similarities, no existing Protestant denomination with an operating norm of Sola Scriptura can replicate the dynamic, or claim the authority of the Jerusalem Council (or of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon for that matter). The fact that the Bible’s own example of how Church courts operate was hamstrung by Protestantism’s view of biblical authority was something I began to find disturbingly ironic.

Moving on to Sola Fide, I found myself wrestling with this issue from both a historical and biblical perspective as well, and this is what ultimately proved to be the coup de grâce for me as a Protestant. As long as I believed that Catholicism mucked up the gospel so severely, its arguments about authority remained merely annoying, like a stone in my shoe that I would eventually get used to (after all, better to be unauthoritatively right about justification than authoritatively wrong about it). But when I began to dig into the issue more deeply and seek to understand Rome on its own terms, I began to experience what some have referred to as a “paradigm crisis.” A severe one.

As a Protestant minister, I had always operated under the assumption that the fullest treatment of the gospel, and of justification in particular, came from the apostle Paul, and that the rest of what the New Testament had to say on these issues should be filtered through him. But as I began to investigate again things that I had thought were long-settled for me, I began to discover just how problematic that hermeneutical approach really was. If justification by faith alone was indeed “the article on which the church stands or falls,” as Reformed theology claimed, then wouldn’t we expect it to have been taught by Jesus himself, somewhere? Moreover, wouldn’t John have taught it, too? And Peter, and James? Shoot, wouldn’t Paul himself have taught the imputation of alien righteousness somewhere outside of just two of his thirteen epistles?

Having realized that I was using a few select (and hermeneutically debatable) passages from Romans and Galatians as the filter through which I understood everything else the New Testament had to say about salvation, I began to conclude that such an approach was as arbitrary as it was irresponsible. I then sought to identify a paradigm, or simple statement of the gospel, that provided more explanatory value than Sola Fide did. As I hope to unpack in more detail eventually, I have come to understand the gospel in terms of the New Covenant gift of the Spirit, procured through the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, who causes fruit to be borne in our lives by reproducing the image of the Son in the adopted children of the Father. If love of God and neighbor fulfills the law, and if the fruit of the Spirit is love, having been shed abroad by the Spirit in our hearts, then it seems to follow that the promise of the gospel is equivalent with the promise of the New Covenant that God’s law will no longer be external to the believer, but will be written upon his mind and heart, such that its righteous demands are fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. And again unsurprisingly, when I turned to the early Church fathers, and especially Augustine, it was this very understanding of the gospel that I encountered over and over again.

Conclusion

While the case for the Catholic Church may not be immediately obvious or easily winnable, the fact remains that Rome’s claims are philosophically compelling, historically plausible, and biblically persuasive. Yet despite the claims of most Reformed believers who, when wrestling with the issue of people like me leaving Geneva for the supposedly-greener pastures of Rome, insist that such a move betrays a “quest for illegitimate religious certainty,” the fact is that if it is a sense of personal and psychological certitude that one is searching for, Catholicism will more than likely disappoint. Ironically enough, Protestantism provides more certitude for the seeker than Catholicism does, since the ultimate basis for the truthfulness of its claims is one’s agreement with one’s self and one’s own interpretation of Scripture. But if what you are searching for is not subjective certitude but the Church that Jesus founded, the Catholic Church’s case for being that Church, when harkened to with charity, humility, and faith seeking understanding, is as compelling as it is disruptive.

And make no mistake, the Catholic Church is disruptive. It is audacious and confrontational, sucker-punching and line-in-the-sand drawing. Like the Lion Aslan from C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, it is not a tame Church, and will make no promise not to devour and discomfit its subjects as they partake of its life-giving water, causing them to constantly bend the knee and cede their worldly wisdom to the foolishness of the cross. In the words of Aslan to Jill, who expressed fear about letting down her guard to drink from the water by which he stood, “There are no other streams.” Or the words of Peter to Jesus when asked if the Twelve would forsake Him because of His difficult and demanding message, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

The Catholic Church, wistfully alluring? Hardly. Tidy and tame? Not by a long shot, for once discovered it demands that the seeker relinquish the one thing above all others that offers him confidence, namely, his own autonomy. In fact, submitting oneself to the authority of the Catholic Church is the most harrowing experience a person will ever endure, which is why the suggestion that converts from Geneva to Rome are simply opting for a feel-good, fairy-tale romance betraying an “over-realized eschatology” and desire to skip blissfully down the yellow-brick road to heaven, utterly trivializes the entire ordeal.

In a word, I fought the Church, and the Church won. And what it did was beat me, but it didn’t draw me, entice me, or lure me by playing upon some deep, latent psychosis or desire on my part for something Protestantism just couldn’t provide. Catholicism went from being so obviously ridiculous that it wasn’t even worth bothering to oppose, to being something whose claims were so audacious that I couldn’t help opposing them. But what it never was, was attractive, and in many ways it still isn’t.

But what Catholicism is, I have come to discover, is true.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian
KEYWORDS: willconvertforfood
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1 posted on 12/09/2013 2:43:18 PM PST by NYer
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To: Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 12/09/2013 2:44:14 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: NYer

**But as it happened, there were two distinct issues that were coming under attack (Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide), and the attacks were coming from multiple directions: the biblical, the historical, and, in the case of Sola Scriptura, the philosophical as well.**

versus his last statement:

**But what Catholicism is, I have come to discover, is true.**

Wise man!


3 posted on 12/09/2013 2:51:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa to Presbyterian Calvinist, to Roman Catholic, What’s next—— A kibbutz?


4 posted on 12/09/2013 3:07:01 PM PST by Tom Bombadil
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To: NYer

“Liberal Protestant Gets Wet”


5 posted on 12/09/2013 3:13:32 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (I grew up in America. I now live in the United States..)
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To: NYer
Historically speaking, the idea that the written Word of God is formally sufficient for all things related to faith and practice, such that anyone of normal intelligence and reasonably good intentions could read it and deduce from it what is necessary for orthodoxy and orthopraxy, is not a position that I see reflected in the writings of the early Church fathers.

You don't even have to read these "coming home" musings any more ... they are all the same ... the early church fathers ...

The low view of scripture is ripping apart the Protestant church as a whole ...

6 posted on 12/09/2013 3:14:13 PM PST by dartuser
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To: NYer

Welcome Home!


7 posted on 12/09/2013 3:16:18 PM PST by NKP_Vet
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To: NYer

The interesting thing with these Catholic conversion stories is that there is never a testimony...Never a salvation experience, while those leaving the Catholic religion often cite the reason for leaving is because of a salvation experience with Jesus Christ...


8 posted on 12/09/2013 3:39:13 PM PST by Iscool
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
“Liberal Protestant Gets Wet”

Check this out: A Decent Sandwich in New York

9 posted on 12/09/2013 3:40:41 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: Tom Bombadil
Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa to Presbyterian Calvinist, to Roman Catholic, What’s next—— A kibbutz?

I attended Calvary Chapel in Fairfield, CA. I don't get it.

10 posted on 12/09/2013 3:41:07 PM PST by Mark17 (Chicago Blackhawks: Stanley Cup champions 2010, 2013. Vietnam Veteran, 70-71)
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To: dartuser

**the early church fathers ...**

There’s truth there’ have you read any of them?


11 posted on 12/09/2013 3:42:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Iscool

He told his story. That is his testimony.


12 posted on 12/09/2013 3:43:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Mark17

You probably aren’t enough of a theology technician.


13 posted on 12/09/2013 3:48:22 PM PST by Tom Bombadil
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To: Tom Bombadil
Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa to Presbyterian Calvinist, to Roman Catholic, What’s next—— A kibbutz?

My thoughts also. A bit of a wanderer.

His website is mostly about publicity for Jason. Speaking engagements, mp3s, video, his blog. No sense of wrenching life change here.

14 posted on 12/09/2013 3:48:57 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means.")
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To: Salvation
He told his story. That is his testimony.

Born again Christians know what I am talking about...

15 posted on 12/09/2013 4:06:11 PM PST by Iscool
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To: Iscool
>> The interesting thing with these Catholic conversion stories is that there is never a testimony...Never a salvation experience, while those leaving the Catholic religion often cite the reason for leaving is because of a salvation experience with Jesus Christ...<<

That’s exactly what I was thinking about when I read through that.

16 posted on 12/09/2013 4:22:49 PM PST by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
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To: Iscool

There is a difference between having no relationship with Christ and His Church and entering into a fuller relationship with Christ and His Church. The Church does not deny that the separated brethren retain a fair portion of the truth and many of them do have real, true relationships with Christ—and those embracing the truths as found therein in pursuit of Christ are not necessarily turning from a horribly wicked or godless life.


17 posted on 12/09/2013 4:24:10 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Alex Murphy
Money sentence from your link:

"First, as is so common with such things, he fails to state accurately the position is supposed to be abandoning. He says, “I have begun to doubt whether the Bible alone can be said to be our only infallible authority for faith and practice.” But of course, that is not the formulation of sola Scriptura at all. Protestants hold that Scripture is the only “ultimate and infallible” authority for faith and practice."

typical...

18 posted on 12/09/2013 4:26:13 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (I grew up in America. I now live in the United States..)
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To: Tom Bombadil
“After becoming Reformed and being subsequently “dismissed” from ministry with Calvary”

“Dismissed” was he? Hmmm.

19 posted on 12/09/2013 4:26:16 PM PST by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
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To: NYer

That final sentence, that the one thing the Catholic Church is, is true....is to me a huge crock!

My question to the good reverend/priest/ father would be: Come on, Preach! What was the great TRUTH that pulled you across the divide? Was it purgatory....or indulgences....or papal infallibity or one of their other unscriptural concoctions?

P.S. What happens to the wife and kiddies as you launch into your latest fad?


20 posted on 12/09/2013 4:28:03 PM PST by Tucker39
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To: Iscool; Mark17

This is a live. call in program. You can also submit your questions via email.


21 posted on 12/09/2013 4:29:27 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: Hieronymus; Iscool; CynicalBear

..so “separated brethren” retain a “fair portion of the truth”? Who decides just what that fair portion actually consists of? Everything the Catholic Church teaches and believes is anathema to non-catholics. Please name for me one thing that the RCC considers “fair portion” of the truth that non-catholics “retain”.


22 posted on 12/09/2013 4:32:50 PM PST by smvoice (HELP! I'm trapped inside this body and I can't get out!)
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To: smvoice

The Catholic baseline is a valid Trinitarian Baptism—this was hashed out in the 4th century during the Donatist controversy. To manage to have retained a valid Baptism generally requires a certain respect for other things that Christ passed on. For example, it is not unusual to find non-Catholics who still hold to the Church teaching that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

I don’t think that all non-Catholics find these beliefs abhorrent.


23 posted on 12/09/2013 4:41:38 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Lee N. Field
My thoughts also. A bit of a wanderer. His website is mostly about publicity for Jason. Speaking engagements, mp3s, video, his blog. No sense of wrenching life change here.

Good point. As far as I can ascertain, here is Spellman's chronology:

1977 - (born)
1991-1992 - (age 15) missionary with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in Uganda
1994-2000 - (age 17-23) missionary with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in Hungary
2000 - (age 24) enrolled at Westminster Seminary California
2003 - (age 27) expelled from Calvary Chapel
2004 - (age 28) received an M.Div. from Westminster Seminary California
2004 - (age 28) Ordained in PCA denomination, "planted" Exile Presbyterian Church in the Seattle area
2011 - (age 35) served as PCA prosecutor in "Federal Vision" trial of PCA pastor Peter Leithart
2012 - (age 36) resigned pastoral ordination in PCA denomination
2012 - (age 36) converted to Catholicism

24 posted on 12/09/2013 4:42:01 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: Hieronymus; Iscool; CynicalBear

Is this your understanding, Iscool, or Cynical Bear? Is this the “portion of the truth” that we non-catholics possess? As far as the “inerrant Word of God”, yes, this would be a start. IF Catholics truly believed that, and did not put their stock into the Church’s extra biblical doctrines, traditions that make up the RCC. Traditions are on an equal standing with Scripture, according to the RCC. So, once again,when we dig deeper, we find that we in no way agree with this.


25 posted on 12/09/2013 4:46:26 PM PST by smvoice (HELP! I'm trapped inside this body and I can't get out!)
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To: Salvation
Of course ... but I don't read them through the filter of Roman Catholic doctrine.
26 posted on 12/09/2013 4:53:49 PM PST by dartuser
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To: Salvation
There’s truth there’ have you read any of them?

There's heresy there too ... a ton.

27 posted on 12/09/2013 4:57:31 PM PST by dartuser
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To: smvoice

First of all, the words “for example” indicate that much more may be possessed, and that it may be possible to possess a fair bit without possessing this particular bit.

Secondly, yes Catholics are required to believe that Scripture is Inerrant, and to deny this position is to be a heretic.

If you want details on what Catholics are required to believe, here are two documents for you:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19900524_theologian-vocation_en.html
http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfadtu.htm

Paragraphs 5 and 11 contain much, but include holding everything in Scripture. If someone holds some of these teachings, they certainly have something.


28 posted on 12/09/2013 4:57:37 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: smvoice; Hieronymus; Iscool
>>Who decides just what that fair portion actually consists of?<<

That seems to be part of the problem with the RCC doesn’t it? If they don’t hold scripture as the ultimate authority then it becomes one man’s word over another. The Catholics, the Mormons, Islam, and others claim they have what God really meant and have added what God added after He said don’t add anything.

29 posted on 12/09/2013 4:58:37 PM PST by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
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To: Hieronymus

Paragraphs 5 and 11 of the second document.


30 posted on 12/09/2013 4:58:39 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: smvoice; Hieronymus; Iscool

I hesitate to agree with anything the Catholic Church says they believe. I can say I believe in the virgin birth but that means something totally different than when a Catholic says it. I can say communion of saints but it means something different than when Catholics say it. Asking me to agree with anything the Catholic Church says is asking for a long discussion of what the Catholic means when they say anything.


31 posted on 12/09/2013 5:01:30 PM PST by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
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To: CynicalBear; smvoice

For that matter, there isn’t a real point in going around a “measuring” who holds what percentage of the truth, so the Church doesn’t go around measuring. A few distinctions are made on the Sacramental level—Baptism vs. no Baptism is the most basic, but there is also recognition of a distinction between folks like the Orthodox, with valid Holy Order, and those who do not have Bishops in the Catholic understanding of the term.


32 posted on 12/09/2013 5:03:13 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: CynicalBear

IMHO, very good point.


33 posted on 12/09/2013 5:05:04 PM PST by Mad Dawg (In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.)
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To: dartuser

Exactly what heresy are you speaking about?

On whose authority is this heresy pronounced?


34 posted on 12/09/2013 5:06:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
Thanks!    Wouldn't miss it for anything.    I love watching all these Calvinists coming home to the Catholic Church.    (There have been so many of them lately!)

(It is on right now -- Monday evening, 8 PM Eastern -- and can be seen at EWTN.COM "Television" U.S. online streaming.)

35 posted on 12/09/2013 5:10:41 PM PST by Heart-Rest (Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Gal 6:7)
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To: CynicalBear; Iscool; Hieronymus

And that is the great gulf between us. Words MEAN something. And any thinking person would study the scriptures to see if those things which were being taught were so, according to GOD. So do away with everything that MAN has written, and you are left with one priceless item: God’s Word of Truth. There just is no way around this. Either He has given to us His revelation to man, or He is piece-mealing it together, and giving it out in doses. And this from the Creator of the Universe, who desires above all else, to be reconciled to man through the finished work of Christ.


36 posted on 12/09/2013 5:18:57 PM PST by smvoice (HELP! I'm trapped inside this body and I can't get out!)
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To: smvoice
Is this your understanding, Iscool, or Cynical Bear? Is this the “portion of the truth” that we non-catholics possess? As far as the “inerrant Word of God”, yes, this would be a start. IF Catholics truly believed that, and did not put their stock into the Church’s extra biblical doctrines, traditions that make up the RCC. Traditions are on an equal standing with Scripture, according to the RCC. So, once again,when we dig deeper, we find that we in no way agree with this.

I don't even believe we agree on what makes the Trinity...But no, we don't agree on that...We don't even agree what the bible is...

There may be some Protestants who agree with them but I am not one of those...

37 posted on 12/09/2013 5:20:29 PM PST by Iscool
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To: Iscool
There may be some Protestants who agree with them but I am not one of those...

IOW, you agree with...yourself.

38 posted on 12/09/2013 5:27:21 PM PST by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: NYer

Not this old chestNUT again.

Catholics sure seem to like making celebrities of the few Protestants who move across the Tiber. Yet, I’m always impressed by the number of former Catholics whom I constantly meet in our own church.


39 posted on 12/09/2013 5:33:27 PM PST by HarleyD (...one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.)
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To: HarleyD

Don’t worry about them. They will be back to the Catholic Church before long.


40 posted on 12/09/2013 5:35:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Jim Noble
you agree with...yourself.

Not always, but most of the time...

41 posted on 12/09/2013 6:19:43 PM PST by Iscool
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To: Tom Bombadil
You probably aren’t enough of a theology technician.

Without a doubt, but I read for myself too. I do not trust others to tell me what it says. I research it myself.

42 posted on 12/09/2013 6:48:06 PM PST by Mark17 (Chicago Blackhawks: Stanley Cup champions 2010, 2013. Vietnam Veteran, 70-71)
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To: smvoice

Fully agreed that any virtuous thinking man would study the Scriptures—but if one spends some time studying the Scriptures, one begins to realize that one, like the Ethiopian Eunuch, needs help to delve deeper—St. Augustine’s Preface to his work On Christian Doctrine is both a wonderful reflection upon this and an adequate refutation of Sola Scriptura, followed by a very thoughtful four books meant to aid one in studying Scripture. If one thinks that one can exhaust Scripture one’s self, one is a fool—indeed one can’t exhaust Scripture, but good guides can always help one to delve deeper.

Very briefly, Augustine’s argument goes like this:
If smvoice really believes that people should do away with everything that man is written because it distracts from God, smvoice should stop posting, because he is a man, and thus his posts are something written by a man and, according to his logic, something distracting people from God. If those professing Sola Scriptura were truly intent on proving the truth of their position, none of them would say anything about religion and do nothing to promote religion beyond handing out Bibles with no comment. After 50 years, if this position were true, then the number of those holding it ought to explode, and if it is false, they would plummet.

As for me, I will continue to look to sound guides when plunging into the Word of God, like St. Ephrem, a fourth century Doctor of the Church, and point others towards them. The following is a passage that I have been reading for about a decade when concluding an introductory Scripture course at a Catholic school. I hope you do not find the attitude to offensive: it is a very Catholic passage, as not only is it by a man recognized as a Doctor of the Church, but it is one of only about 400 non-scriptural passages sanctioned for use in the Church’s liturgy.

St. Ephrem, from the Commentary on the Diatessaron

Lord, who can comprehend even one of your words? We lose more of it than we grasp, like those who drink from a living spring. For God’s word offers different facets according to the capacity of the listener, and the Lord has portrayed his message in many colors, so that whoever gazes upon it can see in it what suits him. Within it he has buried manifold treasures, so that each of us might grow rich in seeking them out.
The word of God is a tree of life that offers us blessed fruit from each of its branches. It is like that rock which was struck open in the wilderness, from which all were offered spiritual drink. As the Apostle says: They ate spiritual food and they drank spiritual drink.
And so whenever anyone discovers some part of the treasure, he should not think that he has exhausted God’s word. Instead he should feel that this is all that he was able to find of the wealth contained in it. Nor should he say that the word is weak and sterile or look down on it simply because this portion was all that he happened to find. But precisely because he could not capture it all he should give thanks for its riches.
Be glad then that you are overwhelmed, and do not be saddened because he has overcome you. A thirsty man is happy when he is drinking, and he is not depressed because he cannot exhaust the spring. So let this spring quench your thirst, and not your thirst the spring. For if you can satisfy your thirst without exhausting the spring, then when you thirst again you can drink from it once more; but if when your thirst is sated the spring is also dried up, then your victory would turn to harm.
Be thankful then for what you have received, and do not be saddened at all that such an abundance still remains. What you have received and attained is your present share, while what is left will be your heritage. For what you could not take at one time because of your weakness, you will be able to grasp at another if you only persevere. So do not foolishly try to drain in one draught what cannot be consumed all at once, and do not cease out of faintheartedness from what you will be able to absorb as time goes on.


43 posted on 12/09/2013 6:49:32 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: smvoice

Fully agreed that any virtuous thinking man would study the Scriptures—but if one spends some time studying the Scriptures, one begins to realize that one, like the Ethiopian Eunuch, needs help to delve deeper—St. Augustine’s Preface to his work On Christian Doctrine is both a wonderful reflection upon this and an adequate refutation of Sola Scriptura, followed by a very thoughtful four books meant to aid one in studying Scripture. If one thinks that one can exhaust Scripture one’s self, one is a fool—indeed one can’t exhaust Scripture, but good guides can always help one to delve deeper.

Very briefly, Augustine’s argument goes like this:
If smvoice really believes that people should do away with everything that man is written because it distracts from God, smvoice should stop posting, because he is a man, and thus his posts are something written by a man and, according to his logic, something distracting people from God. If those professing Sola Scriptura were truly intent on proving the truth of their position, none of them would say anything about religion and do nothing to promote religion beyond handing out Bibles with no comment. After 50 years, if this position were true, then the number of those holding it ought to explode, and if it is false, they would plummet.

As for me, I will continue to look to sound guides when plunging into the Word of God, like St. Ephrem, a fourth century Doctor of the Church, and point others towards them. The following is a passage that I have been reading for about a decade when concluding an introductory Scripture course at a Catholic school. I hope you do not find the attitude to offensive: it is a very Catholic passage, as not only is it by a man recognized as a Doctor of the Church, but it is one of only about 400 non-scriptural passages sanctioned for use in the Church’s liturgy.

St. Ephrem, from the Commentary on the Diatessaron

Lord, who can comprehend even one of your words? We lose more of it than we grasp, like those who drink from a living spring. For God’s word offers different facets according to the capacity of the listener, and the Lord has portrayed his message in many colors, so that whoever gazes upon it can see in it what suits him. Within it he has buried manifold treasures, so that each of us might grow rich in seeking them out.
The word of God is a tree of life that offers us blessed fruit from each of its branches. It is like that rock which was struck open in the wilderness, from which all were offered spiritual drink. As the Apostle says: They ate spiritual food and they drank spiritual drink.
And so whenever anyone discovers some part of the treasure, he should not think that he has exhausted God’s word. Instead he should feel that this is all that he was able to find of the wealth contained in it. Nor should he say that the word is weak and sterile or look down on it simply because this portion was all that he happened to find. But precisely because he could not capture it all he should give thanks for its riches.
Be glad then that you are overwhelmed, and do not be saddened because he has overcome you. A thirsty man is happy when he is drinking, and he is not depressed because he cannot exhaust the spring. So let this spring quench your thirst, and not your thirst the spring. For if you can satisfy your thirst without exhausting the spring, then when you thirst again you can drink from it once more; but if when your thirst is sated the spring is also dried up, then your victory would turn to harm.
Be thankful then for what you have received, and do not be saddened at all that such an abundance still remains. What you have received and attained is your present share, while what is left will be your heritage. For what you could not take at one time because of your weakness, you will be able to grasp at another if you only persevere. So do not foolishly try to drain in one draught what cannot be consumed all at once, and do not cease out of faintheartedness from what you will be able to absorb as time goes on.


44 posted on 12/09/2013 6:49:32 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Hieronymus

Sorry for the double post.


45 posted on 12/09/2013 6:50:20 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Iscool

What you have been reading? Go read Cardinal Henry Newman of his salific experience.


46 posted on 12/09/2013 7:33:23 PM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Salvation

I’m in RCIA right now. I look at this as continuing and deepening the commitment I made praying with one of my teachers at my (Protestant) Christian high school. If I didn’t think of it that way, or didn’t have confidence that I could, I wouldn’t be here right now. Period. (And unlike some politicians I know of, that period doesn’t have an asterisk.)


47 posted on 12/09/2013 7:33:35 PM PST by RichInOC (2013-14 Tiber Swim Team)
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To: NYer

Like I always say, no one wrote an article when I changed from cafholic to Lutheran. Still so glad I followed in Luther’s footsteps!


48 posted on 12/09/2013 7:42:03 PM PST by Moonmad27 ("I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." Jessica Rabbit)
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To: Alex Murphy

So from the age of 15 to 27 he was in Calvary Chapel. And then from either the age of 24 or 27 until he was 36 he was in the PCA. That sounds a lot more stable than many, many Protestants I have met before.


49 posted on 12/09/2013 8:05:14 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: Salvation
Exactly what heresy are you speaking about?

Are you a universalist?

50 posted on 12/09/2013 8:55:27 PM PST by dartuser
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