A Heartfelt Farewell to the Presbyterian Church in America

Posted by on June 4, 2012 in The PCA | 450 comments

I submitted the following letter a couple of days ago. Please be in prayer for my family during this difficult time….

May 31, 2012

To the Clerk and Credentials Committee of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery,

In many ways this is one of the most difficult letters I have ever had to write, and I pray that it will be received in the spirit with which I intend it: one of humility and respect.

When I was ordained in this presbytery in 2004, I vowed before God that I “sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures,” and further, that “if at any time I find myself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine I will, on my own initiative, make known to my Presbytery the change which has taken place in my views since the assumption of this ordination vow.” In keeping with this solemn vow, I feel duty-bound to disclose some changes to my views which have developed over the past few years, relating to the issues of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide specifically.

Concerning the former, 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.

Regarding Sola Fide, I have become convinced that the teaching that sinners are justified by a once-for-all declaration of acquittal on God’s part, based upon the imputation of Christ’s righteousness received by faith alone, is not reflective of the teaching of the New Testament as a whole. I have come to believe that a much more biblical paradigm for understanding the gospel—and one that has much greater explanatory value for understanding Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John—is one that sets forth the New Covenant work of the Spirit, procured through the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, as internally inscribing God’s law and enabling believers to exhibit love of God and neighbor, thereby fulfilling the law in order to gain their eternal inheritance (Rom. 8:1-4). While this is all accomplished entirely by God’s grace through the merits of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, it is at the same time not something that occurs through the imputation of an external and alien righteousness received through faith alone. Rather, as Paul says, God’s people are justified by a faith that works through love—itself the fruit of the Spirit—and with God’s law inscribed on our hearts and minds we sow to the Spirit and reap everlasting life (Gal. 5:4-6, 14, 16, 22; 6:8).

Due to the fact that these disagreements strike at the very core of the system of doctrine set forth in our Standards, I feel that I have no other choice than to tender my resignation from the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America.

I would like to express my gratitude to the godly and faithful men of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery for the eight years I have been a member of this body. My desire when I joined was to remain pastoring in Woodinville for my entire life and ministry, and it is with deep disappointment and regret that this will not be the case. My sincere hope is that the fathers, brothers, and friends I have gotten to know here will keep me in their prayers, and forgive me for any offense I may have caused during my involvement in the case against TE Leithart, as well as for any offense I may be presently causing by breaking my ordination vows.

With sadness and a heavy heart,

Jason Stellman


  1. May God bless you and your family in this difficult time. No doubt you do this at great personal cost.

    May He also have mercy on those who would otherwise assert your eternal salvation had committed any number of crimes or sins yet so readily toss you to hellfire for no longer believing that salvation is a once-and-done event rather than a process.

    Strangely enough one of the strongest testaments against the doctrine of the persistence of the saints is the persistent assertion that those who believe that doctrine and then later reject it are no longer saved.

  2. It's appreciated. A few of the session members have already made this point, but I want to reiterate it: we love Jason. We always have and we always will. AND while some of the members are undoubtedly struggling and all of us are hurt, the way in which this situation has been handled from all sides (from Jason, from the session, and from the church members) could not be more gracious or glorifying to God.

    Those of you who don't personally know Jason and who don't belong to the church will likely not take my word for it. But we deeply appreciate Jason's ministry for the past seven years and are humbled by his godly way of departing from us.

  3. Mike,

    Actually that's quite helpful. The internet is no sincere community in the sense in which you guys exist as a particular church and I'm thankful for y'alls(sorry texan)willingness to forgive and seek understanding if not reconciliation and soldier on. God bless you guys.

  4. John, please. You make this whole process sound much more nefarious than it actually was. Everyone knows that questions began arising for Jason a few years ago. He spoke with a number of people about it, which was part of the process. You weren't the only person he “confided” in, and of course he asked you to be discrete about it! He fully hoped to find the answers within reformed theology, and if that had been the case, the indiscretion of those he felt were capable of helping him on his way and being discrete about it could cause unnecessary complications.

    Why don't you also disclose that “the process came out in emails with other people near the end of 2009” because you were the one that forwarded on your conversations with Jason. Obviously the readers of those emails didn't think the issue was nearly as severe as you did at the time and allowed Jason the kindness and time to study those things, hoping that he would eventually uphold the WCF and his ordination vows. As someone who has been close to the situation from day one, I'm still baffled by your insistence that Jason has been dishonest in any way. Obviously, there's some personal issue on your side that inhibits your ability to be charitable in any way in this situation. Perhaps it's simply the fact that in 2009 he eventually felt you had very little to offer him despite your rabid email tomes and that you're capacity for discretion and kindness towards those you don't agree with didn't exist.

    As to your pornography analogy, I'm just glad you're not a minister whose responsibility it is to use analogies to teach people.

  5. I know..it being so impossible to understand and all!

  6. @Mike — how does one depart the faith in a 'Godly' way?

  7. Could people please stop welcoming Jason into the Catholic Church until he makes an official announcement, please? Give this man time. This is an enormous decision, one I hope I never have to make.

    You're in my prayers Jason, and you also have my utmost respect no matter where this leads you.

  8. Jason
    I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
    Welcome Home.

  9. Leaving aside Mr. Bugay's unworthy insinuation about Mr. Spellman's motives, I wonder whether godshammer would say the same thing about a Catholic priest who became Protestant. Does having had a ministry position in one church, and then abandoning it for another, disqualify you from ministry in your new church? Or only when you disapprove of the direction of the move?

  10. Dear Jason
    May the Lord richly bless you for being willing to forsake all to follow Him. The path is narrow that leads to life.
    I will keep you and your family in my prayers, especially for your finances as I know you have sacrificed much to cross the Tiber. Welcome home!

  11. Wow, I'm really sad to have read this. While I grieve Jason's journey taking what I believe to be a bad turn, and pray that he returns to the truth of scripture, the most saddening part of reading this was seeing the comments of many people on here. I'm a pretty dedicated PCAer, but if I had to align myself with either Jason or John Bugay and some of the others who make hateful comments like he does, I'll stay with Jason every time. He may be wrong in his beliefs, but he's actually acknowledging and struggling with difficult issues, rather than being high and mighty, judgmental, hateful, and all around the opposite of Christ-like. Even the assertation that you can do as Christ did (such as in cleansing the temple) shows the ridiculous level of your pride. Christ did not tell his apostles to be hateful, and his righteous anger cannot be remotely compared with the garbage some of you are spewing here.

    Jason, I have often wanted to leave the Reformed tradition, not because of major theological differences, but because of this pervasive hateful attitude. I wish you the best as you seek truth. Never stop seeking truth, just perhaps look for it among people who can present it in a loving and Christ-like manner. If you are patient enough to put up with the crap on this site, I give you much credit. I would not tolerate it in any respectable manner.

  12. I don't condemn John Bugay's tone at all. When fighting with the Judaizers, Paul wished that they would mutilate themselves… I guess those heaping on John for being a bit angry at Jason would dump all over Paul as well… and that Jesus fellow for calling the Pharisees white-washed tombs.

    Sometimes, it's just best to call something as it is…

  13. Timothy, the main problem is not John Bugay's tone. While it's obnoxious, the problem is the false accusations he continues to spew despite knowing relatively little of Jason personally or how he's actually conducted himself throughout the last few years. As an example, he made this statement which he cannot back up: “Jason only lied to his congregation for three years while wringing his hands and collecting a salary.”

  14. Are you the same person that referred to my church as a cult? Then what would be the point in trying to explain that in no way do any of us belive (**including the Presbytery**) that Jason is unsaved? What creedence would you give my opinion if I come from “a cult”?

  15. I've tried posting this a couple times now with no success, so here's one more shot. As someone who has recently left the Reformed faith (within this past year), I would urge you to look into Confessional Lutheranism before making the jump East or to Rome. Read the Book of Concord, which teaches the historic Christian faith, which Rome departed from and seperated itself from the apostalic church when they approved their wayward doctrines in the Council of Trent. Also check out Gene Veith's Spirituality of the Cross, Daniel Preus' Why I am a Lutheran, and the Lutheran Difference. Read through Nicolaus Hunnius' Diaskepsis Theologica: A theological examination of the fundamental difference between Evangelical Lutheran doctrine and Calvinist or Reformed teaching as well as Martin Chemnitz' Exposition of the Council of Trent. The narrow Lutheran middle has preserved the historic teachings of the church against the errors of both Protestants and Catholics. And we are just as happy to accept mystery as the EO, whose synergism and views on original sin should cause much to think about. Blessings, brother, as you continue to pursue the truth.

  16. Fr. Bryan,

    I cannot speak for others but my words were, “God bless you and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide you into all truth” offered with continued prayers. Having made this enormous decision myself I understand the import. I have no expectation other than Jason doing whatever it is that God would have him do. So, I agree with not saying anything prematurely.

  17. Get the Robe! The Golden Ring! Kill the Fatted Calf! Our BROTHER! WHo was onc LOST has been FOUND! You are absolutely RIGHT! Jason, I am praying for you. The journey toward truth is difficult but the only journey to take. Amen Allelluia!

  18. Brother, you have my prayers.

  19. Can't we just love Jesus? I just want to go to heaven.

  20. I am sorry you are recieving such negative comments on this. I think it may be because some people are unwilling to examine this in depth for themselves in order to present well thought out arguments for their position as opposed to such attacks. Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins are two people who may understand where you are coming from and what you are going through. I highly recomend looking up their websites and maybe contacting them as well as reading some of their books. Prayers for you and your family.

  21. Scriptualist,
    what a joke
    “Jason has betrayed Jesus Christ”?

    Why not point the finger where it belongs
    Calvin, Luther, and all who participate in their demonic rebellion (is there any other type of rebellion?)

    Sanctimonious pigs of Deformed Christianity.
    You sicken me with your neo-humanist, man-glorifying heresy of Sola Scriptura.
    And then, when one has the audacity to actually question the doctrines of demons propagated by the fat monk and the lying lawyer, you feed the demonic frenzy and repudiate Charity.


  22. Tim,
    Are you truly that ignorant of Church History? “If you join with Rome you are knowingly entering into a community that has simply jettisoned the saving gospel of Christ”

    If you were to spend the time actually reading the Apostolic Fathers, you would see the Catholic Church.
    If you were to actually to read any Christianity prior to the time that Luther rebelled against Christ and His Church, you would see the Catholic Church.

    Apparently, your cult has blinded you to truth.

  23. Q: “Kevin, did the council of Trent pronounce anathemas upon Protestants?”

    A: “Yes. Love hurts. ;-)”

    Indeed. And so when Protestants contend that Jason is apostasizing to a Church that anathematizes the Gospel, they are concerned that he is or he may be committing the Judaizer Heresy in Galatians and be himself accursed.

  24. For whom do you speak?

  25. The Justice League of America.

  26. Can't say that I'm surprised, Jason. Is it any wonder that the theology of Cornelius Van Til leads to Rome?

    Charlie J. Ray, Reasonable Christian blog.

  27. Jesus was also persecuted and his character assassinated and if we are to be his diciples He said we must take up our cross and follow HIM—- Jason my heart goes out to you and to your family as you obviously did not enter into this lightly, but by your diligent search for TRUTH have come to this painful decision——I would like to welcome you “HOME” my dear brother in Christ!!!

  28. May the Holy Spirit be your guide!

  29. John,

    I think your attitude is very refreshing. Sarcasm has won many souls, and has advanced God's Kingdom in so many great ways. Please, keep up that kind of wit.


    Regardless of your the views that led you to this letter, as a brother in Christ may I please thank you for taking your vows seriously, for being honest, and for being brave enough to share this with the people of God?

  30. I don't think that's a legitimate Augustine quotation. Do you have a citation for it? If you do, Mark Shea wants to give you $100:


  31. I don't think that's a legitimate quotation from St. Augustine. Do you have a citation for it? If so, go to Mark Shea's website – he'll give you $100 for it.

  32. “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”

  33. Those questioning Jason's integrity need to take a deep breathe. He has and continues to be a close friend and his integrity is one thing that is above reproach. I question his decision but not his character. If anyone that knows Jason well wants to question his character go ahead but near as I can tell it is a small number of people that only know JJS that are taking shots. Jason is more than a blogger he is a husband, son, father, and friend.

  34. Reading the comments from the reformed brethren here makes me wonder if their belief that you can't lose your salvation is such a good belief. Clearly , there is no need to behave in any Christ-like manner since there is no downside to ripping a brother to shreds. Christ's admonition that calling a brother a fool and being in danger of hell fire obviously doesn't apply to the reformed elect. Most interesting is that at the end of the day, the reformed presbyterians don't even truly believe in their own doctrines of grace. It is quite obvious from the comments you reformed folks believe you can lose your salvation if you turn from sola fide and sola scriptura, despite believing in Christ for salvation. Run Jason Run!

  35. Jason, I don't know you, but I read some of comments in response to your post with real sadness. I left Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide behind a while ago, though my journey led me to Anabaptism. There were many steps along that road, but John Howard Yoder's, 'The Priestly Kingdom' springs to mind. Whatever your destination, peace be with you.

    Phil Wood

  36. Thank you for this post! I've nearly forgotten what I want to say, the comments just go on and on and on and on… kind of like the song that never ends, eh?

    Thank you for sharing your letter with us, as well as your concerns. As to your next step, I pray that God strengthens you and encourages you, as many seem to want to tear you down. I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace; “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)!

    God bless you, and peace be with you!

  37. Praying for you and your family. I can only imagine the quandry you are facing.

  38. Comparing an interest in the Church Christ founded to porn addiction is wicked. More wicked than setting up a website to promote a pro-abortion, anti-family politician like you did.

    You really need to check yourself, John. You confuse a vicious contrarianism with virtue. I do not say that spitefully. You are not getting the healing and support you need where you are. Your true Church is waiting for you to come back home.


  39. He probably wasn't if he is straying from something that you believe.

  40. Jason,
    May God bless you and your family in this difficult time. As you might remember, I sent a similar letter to my PCA congregation here in the Twin Cities in 2010 (you commented on my blog). As hard as that was for me, this must be exponetially harder for you because your lifes work is involved. It takes courage to do what you have done.
    Wherever you end up, whether it is in communion with the chair of Peter or not, I will pray for you and yours.

    Peace to you sir,

    David Meyer

  41. Wow… What an experience-reading the original post, then the reactions. if I say anything in response, will I get pidgeon-holed right away?
    Let me not object to Mr. Bugay's various comments as others have, but offer up a biblical observation. When Jesus told his disciples that one of his apostles was betraying him, they didn't all react with, “I told you Judas was waffling about this for the past three years…” No, they asked, “Lord, is it I?”
    I know that later, in Acts, when they replaced Judas, they made some severe pronouncements about his latter end, destiny and hypocricy. And, even in the Gospel it says that he was a theif, but that was Inspired monday morning quarterback commentary. John and Matthew didn't know before hand, or during the time of Judas' apostacy that he was already going 'soft' – etc.
    I think we have a desire to be able to read men's souls, don't we? We would like to have assurance of other men's salvation and even damnation… to what end?
    Sure, it seems odd that this man who was the prosecutor of Leithart is now (by these accounts) headed to Rome. But, as some have pointed out, maybe – just maybe – he was misreading both the Westminster Standards (like on the Solas) and – perhaps, dare I say – Leithart's understanding of things?
    Personally, I have had to tell my former Presbytery, as an RPCNA pastor, that I had serious doubts about some things in the RP Testimony (anent exclusive Psalmody and the RPCNA understanding of the RPW) and those doubts blossomed to the point that I felt internally compelled to seek ministry outside the bounds of the Covenanter denomination. But, I don't think that the fact that Jason had questions and doubts during the past few years meant that he was a dishonest pastor! When he came to the point of concluding that he could no longer affirm certain vital doctrines in the Standards, he resigned. Thank God for that! Praise the Lord that he has enough 'clarity' in his own mind to honestly deny what he formerly affirmed. Now, I pray that he will come back to the fulness of the truth that the Reformed Standards proclaim. But, I think we should shake hands with him as he exits, not kick him in the butt. We should let him know that we hope he'll come back home with a deepened understanding and greater love of the Lord and a more fully developed grasp of the whole Gospel. And, we should pray that his journey will be challenging to us. I am often impressed with the cultist's convictions and labors in their heresies, and challenged to love Jesus more by emulating their level of commitment. Wisdom takes time, and it chastens our pride when we see how foolishly and arrogantly we have held true things in the wrong way. I don't believe all Romanists are buring their way to hell. I don't think it is a good indicator for a Reformed minister to go to Rome, but I am not sure that it is the sin leading unto death. I think we can and may and should pray for this brother in the ministry to return, like Peter, after he is converted, so that he may strengthen his brethren.

  42. Was there a fire sale on vitriol down at the PCA book shop or what?

  43. Well said…

  44. Well said wounded pastor. I also am appalled and hope these men never go through a season of doubt. They will remember the harshness with which they have executed judgment of this man's heart, mind and soul. You all would do much more for him by shutting your mouths and praying for him.

  45. Has there been a single comment coming from the people whom Jason has walked among on a weekly and daily basis, in person, who have heard him preach, that is condemning of his ministry among us over the last years? Several hundred posts, and yet those personally rubbing shoulders with him have only spoken of him with high regard and deep affection. Our family is of his congregation that he is leaving now. While we do not agree with his journey, we have no stone to throw. Does it mean nothing that we as a church body cannot agree with the vitriol leveled at him here? That we respect and love him and his family? And the cult comment was utmost nonsense. Try a church of redeemed sinners attempting humbly to love one another and walk in the light of His Word, grateful for what He is doing among us even through this difficult time.

  46. I have been attending Exile for about six months,as someone from the OPC,considering becoming a member of Exile.I've talked to him a few times,but don't know him well.I respect Jason's integrity as a brother in the lord.God is a big God and is working in Jason's life right now,he is going with his conscience wherever it leads.I don't know how the church will do without him,but the session is very strong.As a youth teacher for years,I understand in a VERY small way,what it is like to teach some things that I have questions about or in some cases disagree with.And to walk away from people you love very much is so heart breaking.I saw and felt the tears in his eyes as he faced the congregation and said his farewell.I can't say I agree with ya on these things Jason,but love your book. God bless you Brother Jason,I hope you still take me up on “that cup of coffee” some day.You are still an encouragement to me!

  47. Jason, I will be praying for you and your family. I don't pretend to know what ecclesial road you are on, but I know that it will almost certainly involve pain. I have been there. I am a former “Reformed Baptist” who returned to the Catholic Church in 2010. In 2008, I would have said that anyone who made such a move was almost certainly not a Christian. I was wrong, very wrong, about that– but then, in my former circles, many (most?) of us strongly believed such things, based on our own Calvinistic interpretations of Scripture and what we were taught by our pastors from Scripture. I thought that J.I. Packer was “blurring the lines of the Gospel” by even being involved in Evangelicals and Catholics Together. It was a very serious, agonizing, humbling process of Scripture study, reading of the early Church Fathers, prayer, and study of Protestant and Catholic (and some Orthodox) apologetics (both individually, and with an elder in my church at the time) which ultimately brought me to very different conclusions, and which necessitated my return to the Catholic Church. Any person here who thinks that serious Protestants who become Catholic or Orthodox don't care very, very deeply about what the Bible teaches should spend some time engaging with people at “Called to Communion” and other sites. In many ways, it was the Bible which brought me back to the Catholic Church.

  48. Jason, hello. I believe in two justifications, and neither contradicts the other. The first is by faith alone and confers the alien righteousness of Christ for ever. The other is by works, and are necessary for the other justification mentioned in James.

    I believe that you have confused the two.

    Please email me at roger du barry @ talk talk . net

    Or call me at (UK) 01258 451 080 or (UK) 07960 886 041

  49. Hi Jason,

    I do have one easy question for you.

    You wrote: “…then what we call the “orthodox” understanding of doctrines like the Trinity or the hypostatic union is reduced to mere fallible human opinion.”

    Since you assert that the church was kept from error in articulating the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, I have one question for you: does the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity include or exclude the filioque clause?

    We know that the filioque clause, found in the Nicene Creed, was added centuries later in the West (but still to this day rejected by the East). So, which creed is fallible and which is infallible? Did the Church fall into error in the 4th century because it did not include the filioque clause? Did the Church fall into error centuries later when the West added it (the East would say so)? And how do you know this?

    Praying for you, your family, and Exile Pres,

  50. Jason,

    I also assume that you read both William Whitaker’s Disputations on Holy Scripture and WIlliam Goode’s 3 volume Divine Rule of Faith and Practice in their entirety and found them both wanting?


  51. Well said, Marcelo. God bless you. Julie

  52. God bless you for allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life even though, as you can see by the comments here, it is and will bring you much vitriol but ALSO the greatest joy from the very church Jesus Himself founded. Welcome Home!!!! 🙂 Julie

  53. My prayers are with you Jason – from a former Mormon who was received into the Catholic church this Easter. I know how difficult these changes can be. I lost my employment and almost lost my family over my conversion. On the doctrinal side, at least you didn't have to struggle with coming to terms with basic dogmas such as there being only one God, the Holy Trinity, and creation from nothing like I did!

  54. Even while Saul held the cloaks of those attacking Stephen, Christ was preparing him to become Paul. Even while Jason prosecuted the “heresy” of rejecting the innovation of the solas, Christ was preparing him to embrace orthodoxy. This is nothing new, really.

  55. Strangely enough one of the strongest testaments against the doctrine of the persistence of the saints is the persistent assertion that those who once believed that doctrine and then later reject it are no longer saved.

  56. I came across your post via a facebook link, and while I never comment on posts, I could only skim about ten of the comments before deciding that I absolutely had to do so here. It is obvious that your faith and beliefs mean a great deal to you and that you are seeking truth regardless of the personal cost. You're now a new hero of mine for being willing to stare honestly at questions. May you be surrounded by those who understand the journey of questioning and hold this sacred journey safely within compassionate hands and know that you have offered courage to others you have never met who are also on their own pilgrimage.

  57. Extremely well said.

  58. Thank you for your well thought out and explained conflict with your ordination vows. From my own bias, I do hope that the Catholic Church benefits from you. May you be held up to Jesus in your discernment of your future.

    Tota Tua,

  59. No matter what trials assault us, we know the pneuma-wind of the Christos Messiah blows wherever it pleases, and it is both Comforter and Judge, Giver and Taker, gift and cadge. And so let the inner annihilation, the dark night of rage and terror, have its reign before a holy and terrible God who is familiar and strange in the midst of the test. May the Christos Messiah be with each of you, even as you rage and bless in the same breath.


  60. Best post I've read yet on this… the only part sadder is that while JSS and every other Christian around here seem to divide, split, prosecute and spew vitriol at each other over theology, they all agree on U2 and Radiohead… Talk about missing the forest for the trees… Good grief…

  61. Jason,
    Though you probably do not know me, I saw some of your respectful posts over at Called to Communion and was very much impressed by your class and integrity. May God continue to bless you in this life and the next. In all things keep to prayer and God will guide you home.

    God bless,
    Steven R

  62. Thank you, Randy, for pointing out the fact that John Bugay can't seem to understand. Wrestling with one's belief and adamantly changing one's belief are two vastly different things.

    John [who seems to have something personal against JJS] cannot seem to answer to this.

    May the Lord carry Jason and his family through this difficult time.

  63. Praise be to God for continuing to elighten and help you grow in faith and love of Him. Prayers for you and your family and welcome home!

  64. Brother,

    our family's prayers are with you and yours. i'm so sad over all the ugly responses. I appreciate your intellectual honesty, as someone who has struggled with those same issues from within the PCA. blessings – and looking forward to when Christ's Church will be TRULY ONE again. Come, Lord Jesus.

  65. Yea, I take comfort that he held to none of your theological positions, and is speaking about you.

  66. David, that is exactly the problem. Pastors stay reformed because they get paid to do so. Your pastor is scared out of his mind of me, and is why when I presented him with a peer reviewed book on Christology he refused to read it. He, on the other hand, cannot give me one scholar in theology or church history that agrees with him. How many paychecks has Adam cashed while being so dishonest? I think that is stealing from God.

  67. Your life, Jason, has been a diligent search for the truth. May God, who is Truth, be your reward!

    Many are praying for you!

  68. Yes, considering the political winds are even blowing towards penalties for being Catholic, I doubt anyone would choose this for anything other than Truth (and oddly my salary hasn't changed since my conversion)…and as there are as many teachings as there are empty 7/11 New Gospel Holiness Churches of . . . maybe all Christians should indeed humbly seek to find the “One Flock” so we truly serve the “One Shepherd” John 10:16

  69. I am a complete outsider to this conversation (and one whose interpretation of Paul might be seen as part of the larger theological problem), so please forgive the intrusion. But as a one-time member, many years ago, of a similar Presbyterian denomination, I understand the tenor and tone and passion of this conversation, especially (unfortunately) its more acerbic dimensions. Nevertheless, simply as a fellow Christian, it grieves me and brings to mind the Lord's words to the church in Ephesus, which was apparently zealous for orthodox doctrine: “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Rev 2:4). Orthodoxy (real or imagined) without love requires repentance, not repetition.

    I am grateful, as a Protestant, that I teach in a Catholic theological institution where members of PCA, PCUSA, Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, Orthodox, and many other churches study, pray, and practice their faith together in a spirit of unity in diversity. I hope and pray that such a Spirit could reign in love in this situation.

  70. I am a complete an absolute nobody who, after being a Protestant for 28 years, converted to Catholicism in 2009. My wife of 33 years remains so. There is no point it trying to explain to some people how I came to a decision I never thought I would make or even entertain. I tried to explain. I tried to let them know that, because of a whole host of cumulative changes which they may not even care about, I saw no other door open for me. It doesn't matter. They don't understand. I don't really have a problem with that. How many times in the past have I truly understood why someone did something I thought was crazy? It's just how it is. But it wold be nice, regardless of understanding, if those who name Christ as Lord were confident enough in being in the Vine that the threat they feel by another's change didn't prevent them from following the Golden Rule.

  71. Wandered in here and now I will wander right out. Good luck with being a blessing to the Nations, folks.

  72. I am appalled by the self-evident snark prevalent throughout this thread, but I also find much grace in the generous and charitable contributions by what appears to be a 70/30 (or better) majority of you.

    I am a faithful, cradle Catholic (full disclosure), and I'm aware I'm a guest in someone else's “house” – even if he is in transition – so I'll limit my remarks accordingly.

    I wish Jason Godspeed on his quest for Truth. I do NOT know where he will land, and I recognize I cannot read his heart. More importantly, and as the majority of you have done, I WILL NOT attempt to do so, no matter how much evidence my discerning “powers” can muster to support a conclusion so tempting to proclaim.

    It would be all too easy to gloat – or appear to do so – over the reports that Jason is leaning in a direction which takes him to Rome or to Orthodoxy. While that evidence is admittedly strong, both appropriate behavior and a commitment to reading hearts prohibit me from doing so.

    Thirdly, I observe that folks like John Bugay and others in his corner accuse others of being judgmental. This falsely based attitude is a disease which not only infects my Church but apparently every other; indeed, it emanates from the profoundly secularist culture outside church walls and has established quite the beachhead throughout Christianity.

    Like most words, the word judgment has several meanings. We ARE called not to judge, and by that several things are meant.

    1. Never to judge anyone to hell – or into heaven, for that matter.
    2. Never to read what's in their heart: their motives, desires, honesty, etc.
    3. Never to derive pleasure or self-satisfaction from admonishment of another's shortcomings or sins.

    Appropriate judgment, which secularism despises (hence the false prohibition rampant among laity and clergy in my Church and most likely all others, from what I've seen and read), means we are called to exercise good judgment about a number of things:

    1. With whom we keep company
    2. Evaluating appropriate words, actions, and consequences, beforehand and afterwards

    That list could grow (indeed, you could add to it) organically, but I need only illustrate that both are discernment.

  73. Just a few more words to finish my contribution:

    John, your retort that others are judging you because they state you are obnoxious (and describing your behavior justifying that observation) is NOT judgment in the self-excusing manner you imply, but it is judgment only as discernment.

    Most of you acquit yourselves as Christians quite well. The pain felt among this community is palpable (another argument against gloating), but the commitment to living out a charitable and Christ-like response to Jason and is also discernable.

    Rest assured, we have similar brothers among us who struggle in their own hearts over how to say something critical, and that battle begins over whether we are the ones to say it at all.

    One last point I'd like to make. A couple folks here claim Jason is an apostate who has betrayed Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Aside from the fact we know not yet where he'll go, I find it ironic that among most Catholics faithful to the Magisterium the attitude towards our separated brethren is that you are in error, but hardly ever are any of you characterized as heretics, apostates, or evil in any way. Unfortunately, we have our hard-bitten trads, too, but they keep mostly to themselves and don't have the run of the pews, so to speak.

    Interestingly, I notice something similar within the secular political divide. I intend not political discussion but only to place two attitudes side-by-side in comparison.

    When I was a lefty it was commonplace for us to view conservatives of all stripes (Republican, Libertarian, neo-conservatives, etc.) as evil and motivated to kill old people & children, and to destroy the environment. It bothered me a bit because it seemed obvious that conservatives had to live in the same environment we accused them of wishing to destroy, and presumably most had children and parents of their own.

    Years later, as a conservative, I see the attitude is unchanged or worsened on the Left. We and our motives (reading the heart, again) are seen as evil. Yet, most conservatives see rank and file liberals and other flavors of the left as in error, and not evil.

    I won't posit the underlying connection (if any) but the similarity is striking. I wonder: what's up with that?

    Have any of you noticed this dynamic among your own church communities?

    That's enough. I'm done. Thank you for allowing me to witness the majority of you living out reasonable and charitable Christianity here. Your display of holding to your own beliefs while being truly non-judgmental of Jason until you have the necessary information is highly commendable.

    God bless you all, especially Father Dale. Keep blessing them all, Father Dale.

  74. Jason, my prayers are with you my friend. A friend of mine who swam the Tiber ran across your site an mentioned some of the comments on this post. I felt like I should swing by and let you know to take heart and be encouraged. I was a “jet-fuel” Calvinist for a long time and have since left for Orthodoxy. Seeing the vitriol in the comments here reminds me of why I left and why I've never looked back. I wish the best for you on your journey whether it leads to the Tiber or the Bosphorus. It may be difficult right now and you'll have to put up with the venom of those who are hurt by your decision, but following Christ and becoming united to the Church is worth it.

  75. Jason,

    As someone who knows zero about you, and had never even heard of you before this, let me say that I admire your courage on several fronts. First, to actually read the Bible and not just sign on to a system of dogmas. Second, to follow your convictions (not too many in this day in age will do that). I also admire the fact that you're not afraid to allow comments to your post (I'm looking at you Justin Taylor) despite the completely un-Christian tone in many of them. I've found that those who are interested in pushing an agenda are the ones who are afraid of contrary opinions. Next, know that you're not alone in the conclusions you've come to. There are many of us who long ago wondered how the Church functioned in the days before the NT existed. There are many of us who have looked for, and not found, the verse in the Bible that tells us to go by SS. There are many of us who've rejected what SS has come to mean in this day in age: each person reading the Bible and then deciding for themself what it means. Lastly, many hear have indicated that you are heading to Rome. I would humbly ask you to at least consider Constantinople.

  76. Hope we can say “Welcome Home” to you soon, Jason,

    As a former Baptist pastor who is now excited to be a New Evangelization Catholic, I'm excited about the plans that the Lord has for your future ministry. I encourage you to seek full Communion in the Catholic Church, to continue preaching and teaching the Sacred Scriptures, and to specifically use your gifts to help train up a new generation of priests who will not only be faithful confessors and celebrants of the Mass, but mighty preachers as well.

    I have no desire to wade deeply into this cesspool of prideful and uncharitable comments, but I do have to say this to Mr. Bugay: you seem to take great pride in your theological knowledge and unswerving defense of orthodoxy. And maybe, at the end of the day, it will be proven that you are right. But your comments are so utterly devoid of love and humility (though you, perhaps predictably, justify your actions with Scripture) that I would be remiss if I did encourage you to examine your own soul, to see if you are truly in the faith.

    And to the person who suggested that Mr. Stellman's rejection of Sola Fida somehow led to the immediate forfeit of his soul…really? My right relationship with God is dependent on an intellectual assent to a theory of justification that even noted Protestant theologian and historian Alister McGrath called “theological novum”? I'm made right with God by intellectually affirming a theory of justification which cannot be found in the earliest centuries of Christianity?


  77. In the Philippines if someone does not believe in Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide-he is really a Catholic-and we do not treat them as brethren. They are a mission field. But if someone was once with us and then left-then we judged him to have the spirit of the anti-Christ.

  78. Jason,
    I understand. Son of a Protestant minister and having studied theology for many years, at age 68 I joined the Catholic Church this year.
    Your two points are well stated. I may be a weak Catholic but I am comfortable with most doctrines (forget extreme Mariology and the saints).
    I am saved by God's grace and rest very comfortably in His mercy.
    There is great latitude in the Catholic Church, I stand with the U.S. Council of Bishops having rejected Two Kingdom theology, and am free to serve God by serving my fellow man in public service. Many Protestants have abandoned responsibility to society. We may not bring in the Kingdom in fulness but we can demonstrate to the world what it is through our lives and affect others positively by it.
    My prayers are with you. Stand firm and follow the truth.
    Be at peace.

  79. I agree, thank you from this Anglican who is more catholic than the PCA and less Catholic than Rome 🙂

  80. yes JohnB, a shock it was to find out that my pastor was feeling this way AND for a few years. Hard not to feel betrayed. Disappointing to find out that much of my pastor's time was spent “blogging” and entertaining Catholism rather than shepparding. It has yet to be seen if he will come to repentance.

  81. It is admirable that you have held to your oath.

  82. Indeed. Jason's profession provokes great sadness. May we all pray for him. At the same time, may we pray for the congregation that will now be left in possible confusion. Let us pray for a godly pastor to arrive.

  83. Or did He?

  84. Seems to me like the only choice was honesty or not.

  85. wow gentlemen, I am so shocked at most of you! JJS, I pray for you and your family, that the Holy Spirit guides you to where you are meant to be. I also pray that the comments of these men do not discourage you from following God's path for you. I remain ever convinced that my ancestors gave me the greatest gift ever by their faith and convictions, I have never seen such maligning by men who profess to know Christ Jesus. I will also pray for all of you who are in need of knowing God's love….

    JJS, where ever you go, know that following Our Lord is not always the easy path but ALWAYS the right path…

    Love of Christ be with you JJS!

  86. For all the people who are hateful and disrespectful. Check this out.http://youtu.be/Vu4eRverZbg

  87. Just a nit-pick, that quote isn't Augustine. At best, it's a paraphrase of Dorothy Day.

  88. Just a nit-pick, that quote isn't Augustine.

  89. Saw this from Patrick Vandapool's site. As a new convert myself, I will pray for you and your family. May you have courage and integrity in your search for truth – and may God bring you home, to his one Church. I'm grieved, but not surprised at the responses from these fellow “Christians”…may God have mercy on us all.

    (Definitely check out the stories of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Francis de Sales and Cardinal Newman!) Keep calm and Catholic on.

  90. Troll.

  91. God bless brother. I just left an evangelical seminary in February to become Catholic. I hated the idea and fought it really hard. Same problems with sola scriptura as you!


  92. May God bless you Jason and keep providing you guidance and spiritual clarity!

  93. May God keep pouring his blessings on you Jason and provide spiritual clarity, strength and meekness to you. My prayers are with you and your family!

  94. Once saved always saved – so no matter what Jason does he still remains saved. Right?

  95. I am a little confused, all of you who are criticizing Jason believe in Sola Fide do you not? If you TRULY affirm that all believers are saved by faith alone in Christ and Jason affirms that he believes in Jesus Christ and accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior where is all this anger coming from and why did you abandon your belief in Sola Fide so quickly with regard to Jason? Not to mention your replies are not Christ like at all. Are your responses suppose to be a witness to your deep love for Jesus Christ and his suffering on the cross? You should be ashamed of yourselves. This is my first impression of the PCA and I have to to say I am shocked and saddened by some of these hateful posts. Hang in there Jason, wherever you end up we love you and you are in our prayers. Put Satan behind you brother, he is the accuser and wants your heart to be heavy, trust in Jesus Christ brother. Go in Peace…..

    Chuck, Catholic Revert, thank God for His unending Mercy.

  96. Fascinating, Protestants hold to being “saved by faith alone” when James 2:24 explicitly says that man is NOT saved by faith alone. How about the 7 books that are now missing from the original 1611 KJV? And where do you find the words Double Predestination in scripture? Where in scripture does it speak about John Calvin being a Prophet? Amazing, thanks for a fascinating look into the PCA, can't blame Jason for leaving….

  97. That “critique” of the Catholic Church (Or Rome as you said) can also apply (and does in my opinion) to many Evangelical Communities (reformed,etc…) where man made traditions and doctrines have taken center stage over and above Christ.

    It saddens me when we make harsh comments in the name of truth (with a capital T) and create this “inside / outside” form of communication, as if we are excluded from any theological inaccuracies. Let's stop wounding our brothers & sisters and instead seek ways to minister to one another in gentleness.

    Don't know anything about Jason Stellman, but can certainly appreciate much of what he wrote above (whether I am in some, no, or full agreement).

    This whole comment thread has possibly shined some light on why St. Paul 🙂 might have instructed those in his letter to the Galatians “you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”

    Christ be All.


  98. Thank you for your intellectual honesty. Your courage is admirable.

  99. I only read the first third of this massively long list of comments, so I'm sorry if I'm breaking any conventions.

    To those who grieve Jason's decision, remember that the Roman Catholic Church is a Christian one. He is in no way turning his back on Christ. Rather, celebrate that he is determined to find the truth and that he will go to great lengths for it, wherever that may lead.

  100. While as a cradle Catholic I would pray that Jason is coming “Home to Rome” in the footsteps of Scott Hahn, this is the *beginning* of his journey, not the end. If anything, I can name several liturgical Protestant denominations he might stop at along the way, not to mention if he's moving towards Apostolic Authority, there's also the Eastern Orthodox schism, and even if he becomes convinced of the See of Peter as First Among Equals, the Latin Rite is NOT the only rite in Catholicism, there are also the Eastern Rites. So to accuse him of taking this jump all at once is quite illogical.

  101. I'd really like to hear your breakdown of 1 Timothy 4 and 2 Thessalonians 2 at this point. As a person who grew up Roman Catholic, until the Holy Spirit opened my eyes at 19 and I discovered the Book of Romans which I figured would be a coronation of Roman Catholic beliefs – was anything but…. I can't imagine how someone can go from a reformed perspective to Roman Catholicism….

    For example you now worship at a church that believes Mary was both immaculately conceived without the stain of sin… and remained without the stain of sin to the point that she was assumed into heaven and also a perpetual virgin… By the way… by Jewish law this is impossible… she would have been in sin by never consummating her marriage with Joseph.

    Oh and enjoy embracing the Alexandria Jew's Canon for the Old Testament instead of the actual Jewish Canon for the Old Testament. I mean you now get to enjoy lines of scripture such as “The birth of a daughter is a loss” and trying to figure out which one of the multiple recorded versions of Antiochos Ephiphanes death really occurred.

    Maybe you should seek out scripture for Mary's own words at the wedding feast “Do whatever he tells you to” and realize it's good advice. We can only know what he tells us to do – by our daily bread… which is of course the very WORD of God. Not a sacrament infused with some fables and worldly superstitions.

    Remember unlike the confession which exceptions are allowed to be taken… in theory if you are a papist are you allowed to take any? Because then you would be failing to acknowledge the Pope as your worldly Vicar of Christ… and would ultimately be by extension no better than the reformers.

    I'm praying for you.

  102. Jason,
    I will always love and care for you and your family. I wil forever remember your sermon “ALL IN”, about serving Jesus with all your heart. Allowing His word to penartate my heart. His word, will never return void. My prayer is that Jesus will never stop working on our hearts through the truth of his word. It's time for us to grab that beer i promises a while ago, love you bro. As you would say, Deacon Dalke

  103. Good to hear from you, Eric. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!

  104. I feel sad for those who think their works can contribute anything to their justification. They're deluded. Christ did it ALL for us. Scripture has authority over the church, not the other way around.

  105. For those who are interested, Devin Rose has a post about Imputed Righteousness that totally vindicates Jason's move.

  106. Sometimes when I'm feeling nervous, I soak my feet in mayonnaise. Then I take a walk and count all the blue jays — there's a zillion of them! All of you should try this. It might make you all less crabby; less likely to hit the crack pipe so often. Also, I think you're all wrong and I'm really right. Pax Romanoff!

  107. As a nearly lifelong S. Baptist, but a layman, I evolved to essentially the same conclusions several years ago. It necessitated a search for a new kind of Christian church, which fortunately I was able to find. Though not faced with the same magnitude of consequence as that flowing from the decision your own integrity dictated, I can identify to some extent with the wrestling involved. I expect your courage and forthrightness will make a significant difference to some others as well. Thank you, and blessings in the days to come.

  108. Who in the $@!& would consider God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ after reading some of the crap replies from “Christians” on this post. Presbyterians… burning people at the stake since 1553. Congratulations you guys have still got it!

    I do however, appreciate some of the redemptive candor displayed by many others in response to this post.

  109. Who in the ____ would consider God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ after reading some of the _____ replies from “Christians” on this post. Presbyterians… burning people at the stake since 1553. Congratulations you guys have still got it!

    I do however, appreciate some of the redemptive candor displayed by many others in response to this post.

  110. I am a Christian who just happened on this letter — and the endless squabbling and posturing that follows in these comments. Most of you strike me as arguing over the amount of mint to tithe and who is right, absolutely blind to the call of Christ to love, support, believe in and respect all brothers and sisters, doing so with very well-called-for humility!


  111. John,
    You stated: “…he was wringing his hands about this four years ago. How honest can he have been in the interim?” Now we probably have a greater perspective on what really happened with Calvary Chapel as well, don't we. The truth eventually comes out.

  112. That's ridiculous. You have no idea what you're talking about.

  113. John,
    Now you know what he did to Calvary Chapel. I'm seeing a pattern here. If he wasn't honest with Calvary Chapel for the year of hand wringing over reform doctrine, and now not honest with the PCA, then can we really trust this guy at all in terms of what he believes or is this his latest “the flavor of the month” belief? I knew Jason Stellman a bit and found him to be self-important and overbearing in his intellectual haughtiness. Not surprised at all with this. Just feel sorry for his wife, Alida, and the kids.

  114. Marcelo, the Holy Spirit is truly at work as many leave the various sects of protestantism with their novel doctrines for the fullness of the faith in the Orthodox Church. If this thread is an example of the protestant ethos is it any wonder why they are coming to Orthodoxy in droves

  115. I thank the Lord that through His mercy He has taken me to The Orthodox Churh and out of this Reformed madness…my prayers are with you Jason…

  116. Could you be oversimplifying this issue?

    “And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:16-26

    Faith alone doesn't teach what the Scriptures teach. Read the early Fathers prior to Augustine and the Cappadocian Fathers or even modern Orthodox writers, and you will see a balanced, biblical soteriology that is not based in legalities but in relationship.

  117. My prayers. Have you considered Orthodoxy? If you have not, you should. It alone has preserved the Apostolic Faith.

  118. Jason,
    I just finished a brief 30 minute talk entitled Are You Saved? in which as a Catholic, I tried to address some common misconceptions about the issue of salvation between Protestants and Catholics. If you want a listen, send me your email and I'll send it off to you. Or you can pay $5 and download it from my web site http://www.ResurrectionC.com It might give you some additional perspectives. In 1972, I went from Seattle's Central Presbyterian to the Catholic Church. I don't have the theological depth you do, but hey! Colin LaVergne

  119. Jason, I don't know if my earlier post took so I'll repost.
    I just finished a short talk, 30+ minutes, called Are You Saved? which seeks to address some of the misunderstandings between Protestants and Catholics about a few issues surrounding salvation. I moved from Seattle's Central Presbyterian to the Catholic Church in 1972 (via St. Luke's Episcopal Church). The talk is available as an mp3 so if you send me your email, I will send it to you for free. Or you can download it from my web site, http://www.ResurrectionC.com for $5. I don't have your theological depth, but hey! It might have some points you will find helpful. Colin LaVergne ResurrectionC@gmail.com

  120. False Doctrine? All of the protestant doctrines were based on the Catholic Doctrine! The people who founded all of the other protestant churches took pieces of Catholic Doctrine and adapted it. How can you claim it false? But you know what? The truth is still the truth, even if no one believes it. I learnt that from Venerable Fulton Sheen. Catholics do study the Bible and our church was created by no one less than God Himself, by Jesus, the minute He put His hands on Peter's head.
    You cannot claim it to be false. Much less say that it is the mouth of the lion.
    Destruction? I'll tell you what destruction is. Destruction is men, everytime they get bored under the actual truth, creating a 'new' truth, adapting it from the one before. This is destruction. And this is protestantism.

  121. The Catholic church IS the apostolic church. Catholic, Apostolic and Roman. We follow the apostles teachings, we read and study the Bible. Besides, protestantism was something based on the catholic faith and adapted into each founder's own beliefs. How can protestantism be unity? How can something be true if it was adapted from another truth?

  122. Jason,

    Hi there. This is Nathan, the Lutheran who commented on your “Called to Communion” post “I Fought the Church, and the Church Won”, which has since been taken down.

    Of course, you can understand I am pretty curious about that. I didn't have internet access since I commented and so have no idea about what might have happened.

    Anyways, God's blessings to you. If you'd like to talk more about what I said there, let me know.

    +Nathan Rinne

  123. weswitt wrote:”…Instead, join me in interceding with our all-powerful God in heaven for his soul, and for his family.

    This is very beautiful and very Catholic. As Catholics, we ask those who are members of the body of Christ on earth and those in heaven (aka the communion of saints) to pray for us in our time of need and in thanksgiving. Scripture tells us that this is very pleasing to God.

    Pray for your brother and don't fault him for seeking the Truth.

    Most who have posted here, hold steadfast to the tradition of sola scriptura. If it is truly your beleif, then it would be a better example, to those in your faith tradition, to practice what you profess to believe in. Some may want to study 1 Timothy Chapter 2, as you already know, it teaches on Prayer and Conduct.

    God bless all,

  124. He is no longer “Patriarcha Haereticorum”, but a true Christian, with all its doctrinal potency actualized. =]

    Welcome home, Mr.!

  125. A heartfelt Welcome Home! So very happy for you. Don't get caught up in the public stir. Spend lots of time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Trust me, I've been there.

  126. Well said.

    Sadly, a few of the Reformed bloggers and their followers sometimes do more harm to their cause than good. And I have found there is a propensity from some to attack those who suggest that kinder words are more befitting those who claim to follow Christ.

    Like yourself, there is nothing to be gained by slandering the man's motives and assuming the place of God in judging his heart. Likewise, there is much to be said for his honesty; he has changed his views and may embrace Rome; and he has made this clear to his church and resigned his office.

    Though I believe his new beliefs are wrong, he must follow his conscience. All men must follow conscience. And kicking a man when he is already down and vulnerable, is not only poor taste, but reveals the content of character and soul of those doing the kicking.

    Some – though I hasten to say not all – Reformed people are among the most brutal I have ever encountered. That brutality seems to be notched up on the internet with the cloak of (relative) anonymity.

  127. “Chris, he was wringing his hands about this four years ago. How honest can he have been in the interim? I am asking the question. Did he consult with his old WSC profs and friends? With his congregation?”

    You appear not to understand the manner in which profound and deep-seated beliefs change, and moreover, you seem to assume that it is similar to a gift exchange in the local supermarket. But seldom does one belief immediately replace another. There is a gradual progression in which doubts are pushed aside; the original belief is clung to; and then a new certitude emerges.

    You seem intent on maligning the man as much as possible and asking questions to which you have no right to an answer.

    With all due respect, who he spoke to or consulted over the past three years during his crisis of faith is none of your business (or mine). What suffices is that he has signaled his intent, stepped down from his office, and in so doing burnt many bridges.

    Perhaps as a foreigner I do not understand the culture. Perhaps putting the boot into a vulnerable man is the American way. But is it the Christian way?

  128. “It is foolish and absurd to be mad about John's tone when Jason has committed HIGH TREASON against Jesus Christ.”

    So did Peter.

    “Cut the pious non-sense. Have any of you actually read the Reformers? Have you read how Paul and Jesus talked to false teachers?”

    “Peter? Do you love me? Feed my lambs.”

    False teachers are not the same as a soul who abandons his profession. We are to mourn for them, and:

    “snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh”.

  129. “John has identified a less-than-honorable pattern of behavior, Zrim.”

    According to whom? The comments from his saddened congregation indicate that they have never felt deceived or mislead by Jason Stellman.

    Unfortunately, there is a certain need on the part of some to attack the person as an individual for his change in beliefs. For they appear to believe that one would only change their beliefs if wicked, corrupt, or deceitful. Yet, to those who are structurally minded know that even Satan can appear as an angel of light.

    The greatest aid to the Holy Spirit if (God willing) there is to be rehabilitation for the lost soul, are men and women who exhibit the gentleness and mercy of Jesus Christ to the fallen comrade.

  130. This is just another example of God's sovereignty in election. He is pulling the weeds out of the visible congregations of Christ.

  131. Integrity is a wonderful thing to be displayed.

    I've been a part of the PCA in the past and if there were any doubt in my mind as to the wisdom of your decision, it has been dispelled but many of the responses of condescension and arrogance that you've received here from obvious supporters of PCA doctrine.

    Job had better friends.

  132. Bad Catholics become Protestants, Good Protestants become Catholics.

  133. Welcome home, Jason!

  134. Ai yi yi! Except for a handful, most of the comments here from “Christians” are shocking! I'm only a stay-at-home-mom who loves the Lord, but if I'm understanding your theology correctly, the responses seem to be the “fruit” of a false gospel; I mean, if one is already “saved,” then it doesn't matter how one treats his or her neighbor. Please study this page from the Catechism (for all our sakes)! Pay special attention to “Offenses against truth”:
    God bless this man and his family. God bless everyone.

  135. I am happy for your reaching the end of your journey – so many of us have done it the hard way but nothing wasted, as we learned and served all the way. My husband and I were leaders and most active – loved the Lord and always something was missing. We changed denominations from Lutheran (life long) to Presbyterian and then to seeker sensitive churches.

    We never considered being Catholic – ever. Then one day I was 70 and he was 76 and it happened – we went to a Mass at a Cathedral. Everything was there – the Liturgy we had missed so much – but the Worship was there. We had been doing Church History and saw the Church that Jesus started in Matthew 16 with Peter when he said, :”I will build MY Church. . .” and we, that moment, knew we had missed the Real Presence – the Worship – all of it.

    We loved our friends and our past when we came into Full Communion in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We bought it all – we believed everything. My husband went Home in 3 1/2 years ago but we had the fullness of Faith for those years and I am still there at 80, loving every minute of being Catholic. I love the Saints!!!! I love it all.

    It is so hard to explain and I might have, during my years in the past, written many of the more negative comments here . . . sad to say . . . but the only one I want to make today is the Catholic Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church . . . and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. It will stand to the end.

    God bless us all!!! We can count on that!

  136. P.S.
    …should have mentioned I'm a *Catholic* stay-at-home-mom who loves the Lord! 🙂
    …and as a mom, I can say, “Now go study your Catechism!” :-)))





  138. JJS, When i read all the posts and replies above, I remembered immediately what Paul would have gone through when he became a follower of Christ after the damascus experience. His erstwhile colleagues vilified him and tried to kill him for being an apostate, his future community wasnt sure of his motives. Keep strong, he who began his good work in you will be faithful to complete it.

  139. Jason. I was reared in a very staunch PCA home-and my father became a PCA minister as well- with pastors who were some of the leaders in the movement away from the PCUS in the 70s. I am now after a long hiatus from the church slowly becoming Catholic. My finance is Catholic. I would love to discuss sometime the events that led to my awakening from some of the doctrine I have grown to find oppressive and unfortunate. In the past years of my spiritual growth and search, I have found a more loving and peaceful relationship with God. My email is maura_mj@yahoo.com. I am really just looking for support in my transformation and disenchantment with the pca

  140. For Maura:
    God bless you, dear.


  142. The schoolboyish invective with which you presume to publicly smear the motives and mock the struggle of a brother who has — whether correctly or in in error — done the honorable thing (and begged for your prayers), speaks volumes about your own spiritual health and human maturity. Sadly, this is a condition I've observed first-hand in far too many PCA clergy and lay leaders who themselves bear no visible fruit of repentance.

    How's that 2x10x12 helping your eyesight, eh?

  143. I assume, John, that you are writing this with Jesus' love overflowing in your heart and the humble spirit of one who is desirous of winning back and errant brother?

  144. “Anonymous” and Churchmusicguy: Jason and I have some history, of which you are not aware, and so your comments miss the mark by a wide margin.

  145. Welcome from a fellow convert. The spiteful posts show to truly follow Christ requires being shunned by the world.

    The Catholic Church does not “have the gospel?”

    The Catholic Church DETERMINED the canon of the Bible! The Catholic Church determined what the Gospel would be!

    Catholic hands translated, copied, and preserved the Bible through CENTURIES before any Protestant existed!

    No doubt, many people claiming to be Catholic act in contrast to Christian principles. The Devil has always sought to steal that which belongs to God.

    People who become Catholic hear the Good Shepherd and turn in the direction toward His calling voice.

    The teaching of the Catholic Church is that capital punishment is permissible under certain strict conditions, and that abortion is inherently evil. Catholics are not inconsistent, though, in pleading for the condemned– God Himself promised Cain that He would hold accountable anyone who killed Cain. God Himself states, “Vengeance is mine.”

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states a married couple has a duty before God to welcome the “little strangers” He sends them as their children. All Protestants (including Martin Luther himself, who regarded contraception as an absolute abomination), had once rejected contraception. In the 1930s, Protestants embraced contraception–even the Amish do not totally oppose it, despite what the Bible teaches of Onan.

    How can a person on abortifacient contraceptives–who may be secretly aborting their own child AT THE VERY MOMENT they are holding up a protest sign against surgical abortion–NOT see their own eye log? (Catholics who contracept are being DISOBEDIENT to clear Church teaching–Protestant denominations have decreed this mortal sin “acceptable.”)

    Where is their consistency? What is their truth? How can Truth be contradicted? If Truth is Truth, it is IMPOSSIBLE for it to change. Hearken to these words–ABORTION will not be defeated until the CONTRACEPTIVE MINDSET is defeated.

    Contraception refuses to welcome Christ in the “little strangers” he sends us as our own children. Contraception votes “no confidence” in God's providence.

    Today I have five beautiful, breathing examples of why being Catholic matters. Only God knows how many of His precious and beautiful gifts my husband and I refused from Him over the ten years of marriage we contracepted.

    Were it not for the faithful witness of the Roman Catholic Church, we would be emotionally and spiritually impoverished Methodists, contemplating a sad and empty retirement.

    Don't let jealousy of the success of EWTN keep you from contacting Marcus Grodi of the Journey Home. I hope to hear your story of conversion on their program soon.

    God bless you and your family…the detractors cannot ever touch the peace you'll find at “home.” All we can do is pray for God to hasten the day when those not against Him are fully for Him and totally united with and IN Him–one flock under the leadership of one shepherd.


  146. John Bugay,why don't you leave Jason alone and go appoint yourself pastor of your own church? 33,000 other Protestants did it so you might have a future. Welcome home Jason!

  147. JOHN BUGAY is only acting in the spirit of his denomination. Calvinists are snippy people, especially when they encounter Catholics.

    Sounds like he’s fond of throwing stones.

  148. Many blessings to you. These are tough questions and you cared enough to turn your world upside down in order to seek truth. Those who question your salvation really question the Sovereignty of God. God will save whom he will. We see his mercy again and again in scripture with “undesirables” who act with humility, publicly admitting their limitations. Yes, we are called to seek God in His Word. But the interpretation is not self evident, that’s why we have schisms, even in the Presbyterian Church. We have no recourse but to rely on God’s mercy to construct the bridge to Him. The new covenant says the Law is dead unto the goal of salvation. It’s just not possible. But…the Father made a way! Praise our Triune God! Thank you Jesus for, despite your temptation, you persevered and lost not one of your elect (many many of whom are in the Catholic church). Blessings!


  1. Verbum and Preaching, Part 1: A Brief Introduction | Scripture Study Software - [...] conservative Protestant circles. (If you’re interested, you can view my resignation letter here, my appearance on The Journey Home…

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