9.25.2012

The PROBLEM OF THEOLOGICAL NARCISSISM--STOP GIVING JASON STELLMAN ATTENTION, PLEASE!



I realize that writing this post probably does the very thing that I am condemning, but I don't know how else to address the issue.  This past Sunday, Jason Stellman, a former PCA Reformed minister, was received into the Roman Catholic communion.  He has posted his story of journey to Rome on the Called to Communion website. Painful, but not surprising. 

Many responses have been provided suggesting a variety of different motives for Jason's departure--some even suggesting he doesn't understand the gospel.  I did a write-up a few months back attempting to address what I believe is the crucial consequence of his departure. 

Since that time, I have followed Jason on Facebook and his blog.  When it first broke open, Jason demonstrated some kind of remorse. He apologized to people, expressed grief to those whom he has hurt in his church, home, community, etc., and he seemed generally humble by what he knew was a radical shift in his theology. 
 
But that day of remorse was short lived.  At first Jason claimed that he would remain silent in light of the plethora of degrading responses he was receiving.  Reason?  Jason responded that his sanctification was being tested (mortal sins, purgatory, etc., obviously have serious consequences to an unsanctified life). But this too didn't last very long. 

Now Jason is back and bolder than ever.  From the Calvary Road (Calvary Chapel that is), to debating the fine points of election and covenant theology, to fighting the Federal Visionists, to now swimming the Tiber, Jason is now ready to take on all his former Protestant friends and debate them on how they have all read Paul wrongly on justifying faith, and assumed too much in adopting Scripture as an alone authority.  Jason is ready to dissect, debate, and dissemble, in public, his former views he once held, and with robust passion.  The Roman door is now open, Luther is now the door-stop, and Called to Communion has a new poster boy, as Jason summons us all to consider his insurmountable conclusion that has lead him home. 

His old, loyal friends are standing back in shock. We remember reading his public testimony of why he left Calvary Chapel.  Powerful reading. Jason became the poster boy for the anti-Calvary Chapel movement. We were convinced, but now we are confused. Can you really begin with Hawaiian shirts, guitars, and Pope Smith (as Jason used to call him), and end up satisfied with collars, beads, and Pope Benedict XVI?  What is left except to become a poster boy for yourself? We would surely call that agnosticism.
 
I write this to make a plea with those who are still engaging Jason, listening to him, or considering following his path.  Look at the real problem here.  The radical nature of the paradigm shifts that have taken place in Jason's short life should say something.  And the question of why Jason has to make every shift a public event with public attention should say even more.  How much attention does Jason really need?

How Jason broke so quickly out of remorse for hurting an entire congregation and now has so boldly engaged his interlocuters on Called to Communion, Green Baggins, and his blog should earn some discernment from those who are reading. This all exposes a need for attention. It seems disingenuous for Jason to make the case that he as relinquished all autonomy in joining Rome when the result is this kind of theological narcissism.
 
Jason did understand the gospel and decided it was not the answer for him. I repeat, it was not that he misunderstood it, and has departed in ignorance. Jason grasped it, confessed it, was ordained to it, promised to defend it, and then defected consciously from the system of doctrine he promised to uphold.

We've considered the Roman claims, tested them by the Word, and rejected them. Our confession stands because the Word stands. This doesn't mean that the issues are not worth engaging. They are. This doesn't mean that the Romanist claims aren't worth refuting. They are. It's that Jason isn't the fellow with whom we should be having this debate, if only for his sake. There is a bigger problem that the bigger picture exposes. We should be conscious of those who are carried about by every wind of doctrine. The most loving thing we could do for Jason right now is to stop engaging him.

9.15.2012

Sabbath Meditation: Why You Should Go to Church



Psalm 84 “How lovely is your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts.” The word tabernacle means dwelling place.  The tabernacle was the place that God had chosen to come down and meet with his people in the wilderness.  The God of heaven and earth had descended to meet with his people that they might call upon his name and worship him in the beauty of his holiness.
Notice the fervency of the Psalmist, he is describing his love to come to worship. Deep within his being he longs, yes, even faints to think about the worship of God. We often think of OT worship as full of requirements, laws, and sacrifices so that there must have been no joy in coming to worship. But here the psalmist is rebuking the idea that the worship of God was some sort of chore, or some hard demand God put upon his people. That is not what it was at all.  He is describing that he found coming to the LORD’s house as the exact opposite, it’s lovely. How lovely is your tabernacle! It as if he says, “The worship of the Lord thrills my soul; it is my greatest passion, to be where God dwells. The worship of you O Lord is the most satisfying thing I have ever done with my life.”

ABOUNDING GRACE RADIO NEWS: AG RADIO GOES TO SAN DIEGO & PHOENIX

Great News! Abounding Grace Radio will now be airing in the San Diego, CA Area and Phoenix, AZ.  Will have more info on times and dates soon.  But we thank the Lord for the opportunity to reach thousands with the gospel and to help direct listeners to Reformed churches in their area.  VISIT www.agradio.org for more info.

9.14.2012

The ALL NEW GORDIAN KNOT

I have been absent from the blog world over the past year, especially since I accepted a call to be the preaching pastor of the Escondido URC.  Now that I am set-up in Escondido, I plan to return to weekly blogging about church life, Christian culture, evangelical fads, and so on. You will notice that the blog has been completely updated.  There is a navigation bar added with Abounding Grace Radio and the Escondido URC.  Also, my good friend R. Scott Clark has brought the Heidelblog back.  The blog world should get interesting again. Don't forget to comment!