Saturday, August 03, 2013

Jason Stellman, “Defending the Faith”

Yes, I remember being scoffed at when I said something to the effect that if Jason Stellman converted to Roman Catholicism, they’d turn him into a celebrity.

But that very thing has happened already, as Stellman was one of a number of “headliners” at a recent “Defending the Faith” conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, July 26-28.

Stellman joined Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Patrick Madrid, Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, Peter Kreeft, Mark Shea, Ralph Martin, and others. Stellman’s talk was based on his conversion story as posted at Called to Communion, “I Fought the Church and the Church Won”.

According to Shea, there were some 1500 attendees. He had this to say about Stellman:

the big highlight for me was Jason Stellman's conversion story, which is a true profile in courage. Jason contacted me several years ago because he lives in my area (right across the lake over in Woodinville). We met once and (though I don't remember saying it) he said that in that one meeting I told him I had no doubt in my mind he would become a Catholic. I don't recall saying it but I do recall thinking it as we talked. At any rate, it apparently hit him hard without my realizing it….

His dilemma was that he was a Calvinist pastor who, having acted as prosecutor in a heresy trial against Peter Leithart for exhibiting dangerously Romish tendencies, had himself wound up taking too close a look at the Church's claims and--after immense amounts of prayer, study, and anguish, abandoning all earthly security and the only job had had ever known--entered the Catholic Church in an incredibly gutsy leap of faith. Happily, Fr. Kurt Nagel out at Holy Family in Kirkland was able to hire him for a few months and Jason's congregation was very generous to him in terms of a severance package. Now he's working with Logos Software on an awesome program that I think will do great good. I can't tell you how honored I am to know such a man of integrity.


  1. I wonder what the true ration of Tiber swimmers is.

    For each one person swimming to Rome, how many are fleeing?

  2. Hi Justin,

    You should Google this to be sure, but my recollection is this: based on a Pew study done recently, 1 in 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. That means that there are 33 million Americans, alone, who once belonged to the Roman communion but have left. One study points out that if all 33 MM belonged to one denomination, they would comprise the second largest denomination, behind the faithful Catholics.

    I hope that helps.


  3. Mr. Bugay pardon my question.

    He went for a better market, seeing his present revenue stream was lacking he went for the better offer. I cant see a problem with that, Cash always triumphs, if it does not one should reassess ones priorities. I am a cynical clod and I assume all of you folks are lying, personal experience. But he is just doing what he needs to do to get through the day. It seems to have worked for some of those that lead they got some really good gigs. I take it you disagree with the RCC, I understand they are competition, but I dont get the real disagreement.

    1. Rick, I think he would be appalled by the suggestion that he made money the foundation of his move. But with one hand the statement is made "he left everything", but on the other hand, I was telling him, "don't worry about the money, they'll make you a celebrity". And they did.

      He is not doing "just what he needs to do to get through the day" except that he is relying on his "celebrity" now to earn a living.

      As far as the disagreement between Roman Catholicism and the Reformation, it is the difference between framing the Gospel in a biblical way, and presenting "the Gospel" as "Rome-is-in-charge-and-all-of-our-historical-aberrations-are-now-dogma".

    2. rick isnotmyname,

      Your comments are deeply irrational.

      First of all, why should we think money "always triumphs"? It's easy to think of circumstances where it shouldn't.

      Secondly, why should anybody think "us folks are lying"? There's no reason to think that everybody is lying, and there's much evidence to the contrary (e.g., people suffering and dying in ways that are evidence of their sincerity). You refer to your "personal experience", but how much does your experience tell us about the billions of people who have lived?

      Jason Stellman's apostasy is a bad thing, but why should we think he "needed" it in order to "get through the day"? He apparently didn't think he needed it for the years he lived as a Protestant, and I doubt that you have much information about his financial circumstances just before his apostasy.

      You tell us you "don't get the real disagreement" between Protestants and Catholics. What I don't get is people who have that sort of mindset. You don't see a significant difference between eternal life as a free gift and eternal life as something attained through a lifetime of Roman Catholicism's system of works? You don't see a "real disagreement" when Protestants expect to go directly to Heaven after death, whereas Catholics think there's a good chance they'll spend a lot of time suffering in Purgatory? Whether the Pope is infallible and must be followed as the foundation and head of the church is just an insignificant matter? These are just a few examples among many that could be cited. As significant as these issues are by themselves, they're even more significant cumulatively.

  4. "and Jason's congregation was very generous to him in terms of a severance package."

    Having been shown the left foot of fellowship several times, never for doctrinal or sin issues but for far worse sins, I E ticking off the leadership. This actually happens in the real world. People are given money after they quit or are canned? Really ? Sign me up, in the real world that cant happen and it wont, even if God wills it it wont. I hope Mr. Stellman realizes just how blessed he is / was.

    1. Perhaps we are blessed in that a troublemaker like him is out of our fold.

    2. rick isnotmyname wrote:

      "Having been shown the left foot of fellowship several times, never for doctrinal or sin issues but for far worse sins, I E ticking off the leadership."

      If it keeps happening ("several times"), maybe the problem is with you.

      Go reread your earlier comments. You identify yourself as somebody who thinks moving from Protestantism to Catholicism for money isn't a problem, somebody who thinks "cash" should "always triumph", a person who's "cynical", somebody who "assumes" that "all of you folks are lying", and a person who doesn't see any significant difference between Protestantism and Catholicism.

      If you're sincere in holding such beliefs, then you have a lot of moral and doctrinal problems, including ones of a highly significant nature.

      If you're not sincere, then that's a problem as well.

      Why would you even be attending churches if you hold views like the ones you've expressed in this thread?

    3. Are Catholics really that desperate to enlist among their ranks of apologists converts that have been enlightened a mere one year? That's rather telling in my opinion. By their measure, he's been teaching and preaching heresy for the last 20 years, but now, in the last year he's some how finally gotten it right and is qualified to lead others? Those are some pitifully low standards.

    4. Nomosian: Are Catholics really that desperate to enlist among their ranks of apologists converts that have been enlightened a mere one year? That's rather telling in my opinion.

      My thought is that the whole "Catholic Convert" schema has been set up to allay the buyer's remorse that many of them have upon finding out what they've really gotten themselves into.

  5. His latest book gets a sour note:

    See esp. the comments following.

    1. Hi AMR, thanks for pointing this out. This comment is interesting:

      Stellman switched his beliefs when he went from basic secularist, to Calvary Chapel evangelical; then again from Calvary Chapel evangelical to Calvist Presbyterian (not a small jump); then from Calvinist Presybterian to Roman Catholic (also, not a small jump). Yet within a year he is teaching RC doctrine and writing books on RC theology. Might it not be prudent to wait a few years before giving Stellman this podium? In essence he is right back to being a catechumen, IMHO, and not ready for prime time preaching on RC anything.

      Or to be more cynical, what will he be in another 5 years, perhaps Eastern Orthodox?

      What this commenter fails to realize is that Jason Stellman has been "catechized" by uber-RCIA-teacher Bryan Cross, who knows more about Roman Catholicism than generations of Roman Catholics all put together. No doubt, it will stick.