Now that Jason Stellman is getting comfortable settling into his new home in the Roman church-state, he recently had time to reflect. He titled his piece “When I Find Myself in Times of Trouble. . .” after the title track from the Beatles Let It Be album. And, for that one person living under a rock who can’t complete the lyric it goes; “Mother Mary comes to me, Speaking words of wisdom, Let it be.” Clever, huh? Well, not really, but Stellman would like you to think so. Stellman’s piece is really just a long complaint about how mean and nasty Calvinists have been since his rejection of the God of Scripture and the Gospel. Stellman writes:
In the last ten months (indeed, in the last ten hours) I have been called an apostate and a heretic, guilty of high treason against Jesus Christ for defecting from the gospel (as well as having been called “lacking in common decency” for seeking to explain and defend myself). I have been accused of deliberately losing the Leithart trial to which I dedicated four years of my life, and of soliciting funds for the trial under false pretenses and then stealing them for my own enrichment. And these accusations (and many others) occur on numerous Reformed blogs and are rarely if ever corrected, and the accusers rarely if ever warned, by the pastors and professors who operate those blogs. I’m sure those who say such things (often under the convenient shield of anonymity and pseudonyms) would insist that I deserve this and brought it on myself. Maybe they are right, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel each of these insults very deeply, and have daily for the last ten months.
I haven’t counted, but I think I have may have accused Stellman of all those thing and then some. Yet, in his entire victim statement he never once takes any responsibility for how completely he betrayed those who looked to him as even a leader in the cause of the Gospel, particularly given his prominence in the Leithart case, a case he tried while in the process of solidifying his defection to Rome. Stellman also cried these same crocodile tears on Lane Keister’s Greenbaggins blog exclaiming:
By the way, it’s equally plausible that the reason the prosecution lost is because Mike Horton sucked, or because the trial commission was biased and rigged from the outset, or because Lane got his degree in piano-playing, or because Rayburn played dirty, or because the PCA doesn’t have the stones to enforce its own FV Report. It could be a combination of those things, or none of them, or something else altogether. We’ll never really know. All I can say is that I conducted the case (to which I was appointed, by the way) exactly how I would have if I had never heard of Catholicism. Those issues were completely sealed off in an airtight compartment and never crossed my mind during the trial or during my prep for it. You can choose to believe me or not, but my conscience is clean.
Again, I find it interesting that Stellman takes absolutely no responsibility for his failure to successfully prosecute the case. Nowhere does he even do any “arm chair quarterbacking” wondering out loud how he may have done things differently. For instance, maybe he should have recused himself early one when his first realized the liked having his ears tickled by papists trolls at the “Called to Confusion” website? Or, seeing he is perfectly content with the job he did during the trial, perhaps he could have reflected a little on how he might have done things differently after the trial? I was honestly shocked when I learned immediately following the not guilty verdict at the presbytery level that Stellman wasn’t going to file a complaint with the Standing Judicial Commission. Instead he left that job for someone else. Is it possible that the complaint would have carried more weight with those on the SJC had Stellman been the one making it? Besides, I don’t know of one person who thought the outcome of the Leithart trial would have been any different at the presbytery level even if Stellman did the first rate job he thinks he did. Everyone knew that the real trial wasn’t going to be decided at presbytery, but in the General Assembly.
At the time I wondered why Stellman would leave the battlefield right at the point when the real battle was about to begin. Concerning the complaint that was filed with the GA, Stellman told me; ”with the exception of actually signing the thing, I pretty much did everything else.” I had no idea at the time that he was already deeply involved in his adultery with Rome, so I couldn’t fathom why he was unwilling to follow through and complete the task before him to the point where he wouldn’t even put his name on the complaint. At the time I thought it was very strange, even disturbing but as they say hindsight is 20/20. Sure, the SJC’s complete failure to correctly adjudicate the most important heresy trial in the entire history of the PCA could have been due to some or even all of the things Stellman mentions above. Yes, the PCA “doesn’t have the stones to enforce its own FV Report.” And, yes, I will even concede Stellman could have kept his whole adulterous affair with Rome “sealed off in an airtight compartment” the entire time. However, I was struck by something Ron DiGiacomo said on Lane’s blog;
[Peter Leithart] essentially denied on the stand what FV has gone on record affirming. All that is left to do at that point is to pepper the defendant with questions regarding inconsistency in view of previously written (or stated) Roman Cahtolic tendencies. That did not happen and that was Jason’s job. Consequently, the SJC was left with too many uninterpreted brute particulars that were not fleshed out with formal argumentation. Again, to have drawn their own conclusions based upon arguments that were never formulated would have been to put PL on trial without the right of a defense attorney. We’re Presbyterian not papists.
As I told Stellman on Lane’s blog, I don’t hate him. Unlike some others, I don’t respect him and feel sorry for him. He has traded true liberty in Jesus Christ for the abject slavery and superstition of Rome. I explained that what bothers me is his complete lack of humility even after he first came out of the closet and confessed his rejection of Christ and His Gospel. If he could be so wrong about the central tenets of the Christian faith, even justification by faith alone, and after spending years as an ordained minister of the Gospel, along with being the lead prosecutor in the most important case in the history of the PCA, what makes him so confident now? How can he sing Beatles tunes to himself while telling himself and anyone who will listen that everything is alright? Instead of simply disappearing into the woodwork as common decency would dictate, especially given the scandal of his defection, he as become the proud ubiquitous Internet poster-boy for “Called to Confusion” and is now a very public shill for the papacy. So, I confess, this victim game Stellman is now playing strikes me as exceedingly hollow. I think someone who goes simply by “Robert” in the combox on Stellman’s blog summed it up best:
Surely there is plenty of arrogance to go around. Obviously that is not an excuse, but for Rome to be calling Protestants arrogant and mean is really the pot calling the kettle black.
Your entire post smacks of an “I’m the victim, here,” as if you are absolutely shocked that anyone would think you might have not done a good job with Leithart because of your being pulled to Rome. Quite frankly, I think anyone who accuses you of deliberately throwing the case just isn’t thinking clearly. On the other hand, I also think you are naive to believe that your dalliances with Rome were having absolutely no effect on your prosecution of the case. Try as we might, we never effectively compartmentalize our lives totally and fully.
Right or wrong, the Reformed, especially, see themselves as the guardians of orthodoxy. You better believe you are going to get push back when you leave the Reformed tradition for its traditional “foe” . . . if you have indeed accepted the Roman gospel hook, line, and sinker, then we cannot be true to our theological tradition (not to mention Scripture) except but to say you have apostatized. Historically, Rome said the same thing but in reverse, or have you forgotten the excommunication of Luther and all the bulls against Protestantism. Much of the Roman Catholicism you have embraced is not the Roman Catholicism of the Crusades and the Inquisition but the kindler, gentler, but no less arrogant Romanism of Vatican II that wants to say all Christians are really Roman Catholics but they’re just clueless to know it.
Of course an inclusivistic church is going to seem “kinder and gentler.” That’s because it really stands for nothing. Sure, you have a lot of Roman lay apologists, including yourself, your commenters, and groups like Catholic Answers made up mainly of Protestants who have swum the Tiber for a romanticized Romanism. But it is really difficult to believe the infallible Magisterium cares about truth—or even the primacy of Christ—when it affirms that Muslims, who deny the incarnation and Trinity, worship the same God; when the Roman pontiff kisses the Qur’an; when the Magisterium moves pedophiles around for decades and only stops when the civil authorities take notice; when it does not even try to stop pilgrims from camping out before office buildings where someone has seen the reflection of the Virgin Mary in a glass skyscraper; when Latin American Roman Catholic Churches continue to withhold the cup from the laity; when rank heretics teach theology for decades in Roman institutions; when nothing is done about Roman Catholic politicians who promote mortal sins; and I could go on.
No one is looking for a perfect church. We’re just looking for a church that has some evidence that it believes what it says.
By its very nature, truth is divisive. Jesus came to bring the sword, to separate families and people based on their allegiance to Him. It is laughable that your communion, which believes itself historically to be the one true church, has basically ended up saying in recent years that it doesn’t matter what truth you believe because as long as you are a mostly good person, you can be saved.
Rome is “humble” because its official leaders do not really stand for much anymore. The squishiness of Rome is the perfect fit for the postmodern “your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth” attitude. I can be a hardcore traditionalist or promote birth control and abortion, and I can find a home in Rome. Isn’t that lovely.
Two men went up into the cathedral to pray, one a Roman Catholic . . . . The Roman Catholic, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, proud, arrogant, mean, or even like this Reformed Protestant. I confess my mortal sins to the priest; I make pilgrimmages to see relics; I adore the host; I wear the scapular and recite the rosary; I count on my humility as part of the ground for my justification.’