Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Dear Jason: the Church Won? You Didn't Even Throw a Punch, My Friend
07/24/2012 - James WhiteJason Stellman just announced his defection to Romanism in these words:
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.Just a few weeks ago I leaned over and looked Jason in the eye. He was sitting on the couch in my office, a matter of feet from where I am sitting right now. I'm sure he noted with some humor my lava lamps, which would have been directly behind me as I spoke. "If you are going to Rome, go all the way. Mary, Popes, the whole nine yards. Then debate me on it." He laughed.
As I sadly read the above cited words I could not help but shake my head. Jason knows the Apostles did not teach what Rome teaches on so many things. He knows there wasn't a single person at Nicea who believes what Rome requires him to believe de fide today, and that he has to buy into a massively complex, easily challenged house of philosophical cards to keep the Roman authority system standing. I do not understand what drives the kind of agnosticism about the authority of God's Word that has driven him into a system that offers no peace and no finished work of Christ. He refused to defend Romanism when we talked, he only wanted to pose hypotheticals that Rome has no meaningful answer to. But in any case, I can report with honesty that I gave it to him straight: if he went to Rome, he was abandoning the gospel, abandoning his call, abandoning all that is good and right and just and true, for a man-made system of endless penances, alter Christi, non-perfecting sacrifices, satis passio, and enough mythical dogmas about Mary to make the devotees of the Queen of Heaven blush. It will not satisfy, it will leave him empty and forlorn, once that initial "honeymoon" phase is over. When he sees it from the inside, when the glow of the New Convert Syndrome wears off, he will see he has accomplished nothing outside of the destruction of his own ministry and the trust others had placed in him. It is sad to see, but he will have to testify: I warned him clearly, and without compromise. I even asked him, "Has anyone else spoken to you with as much passion?" "No" was his reply.
Immature Christians are often troubled by conversion stories like Jason's. Look! A minister joined Rome! Look, another joined Islam! Another became a Mormon! Look how many have left the faith and become agnostic or even atheist! There must be something wrong! Such immaturity is borne out of an ignorance of the context of the early Church. The little epistle of First John shows us that even during the days when the Apostles still lived, apostasy was rampant. Opposition was everywhere. False teachers flourished. And the young Christian body could see, out there in the fellowships of the anti-Christs, those who had once stood with them and made a profession of faith. Has Christ failed? Is the Gospel without power? No, the problem here is a false assumption: that it is God's intention for the church to ever live in ease, without opposition, without false brethren and false teachers to battle, without persecution from the world, and tribulation within. No one who seriously reads the NT literature would come to that conclusion, but sadly, that is the idea many have. John told the young believers,
They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.There is a reason for apostasy: "so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." The gospel drives out the hypocrite, the false professor. In fact, if hypocrites and false professors are comfortable in your church, then you have a good reason to question whether the gospel is being preached with clarity and power. Christ knows His sheep. They hear His voice. They do not listen to a man who claims to be the Vicar of Christ, who arrogantly allows himself to be called "Holy Father." They are satisfied with His Word, which is why false teachers tirelessly seek to inculcate dissatisfaction and distrust in the Word. That is how they get the false disciples to follow them. And we see it happen every day. We should expect to see it happening every day. It is a fulfillment of God's Word.
(1 John 2:19)
For more on 1 John 2:19: