"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Brief Update

Warde Hall at Mount Mercy University

Readers of Principium Unitatis have surely noticed that I haven't been writing here as much. One reason for that is that I wanted to devote my online energy to Called To Communion, because I believe that collaboration and communion is precisely that to which Christ calls us. Working with others exemplifies the divine work begun at Pentecost that reverses the division and fragmentation of Babel while preserving the beauty of its resulting diversity, as I have discussed here.

But another reason for my relative silence has been that I have focused on completing and defending my dissertation, which I did in December of 2012. I have since taken up a position at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; my office is in the building pictured in the photo to the right. So now I am focusing my energy and time on serving my students here at MMU. I believe that education in its fullest sense is a personal activity, and for humans that means that it is an embodied activity. Education is like eating together; you can't do that as well, or truly, while separated some great spatial distance. Philosophical education, in its fullest form, includes sapiential formation. And that takes place most perfectly only in shared embodied life together. Does that mean that there is no place for online or internet discussions/education? No, of course not. But for me it does mean that the form of education to which I wish to devote most of my energy and time is embodied education in embodied community, in face to face discussions, over shared meals, in reading groups conducted not just in classrooms or cafeteria, but also in my home, and in concrete charitable work done in the flesh together with others in the flesh. Lost in the ether of the internet is the dimension of the gospel that is incarnate, not gnostic. So I will not be posting here much at all for the foreseeable future. However, if any readers wish to study with me in this embodied, human way, here at Mount Mercy University, please contact me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"I Fought the Church, and the Church Won"

Jason Stellman

Jason Stellman served as a missionary with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in Uganda (’91-’92) and in Hungary (’94-’00). After becoming Reformed he went to Westminster Seminary California where he received an M.Div. in 2004. Upon graduation he was ordained by the Pacific Northwest Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America and called to plant Exile Presbyterian Church in the Seattle area, where he served from 2004 until resigning in the Spring of 2012. He is the author of Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and the Not Yet (Reformation Trust, 2009), and The Destiny of the Species (forthcoming from Wipf and Stock Publications). In 2011 he served as the prosecutor in the heresy trial of Peter Leithart in the Pacific Northwest Presbytery of the PCA. He currently resides in the Seattle area with his wife and three children. He was received into full communion with the Catholic Church today, September 23, 2012. In the following article he explains how and why he went from Reformed pastor to Catholic.

Continue reading

Monday, May 28, 2012

Joshua Lim's Story: A Westminster Seminary California Student becomes Catholic

Joshua Lim

Joshua Lim graduated this Spring from Westminster Seminary California, where he earned his MA in historical theology. He was born and raised in the PCUSA. He spent a few years in college as a Baptist before moving back to a confessional Reformed denomination (URCNA) prior to entering seminary. He was received into full communion with the Catholic Church this year on April 21st, the feast day of St. Anselm.

In this CTC article, he explains how he came to be Catholic during his final year at a Presbyterian seminary.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

“Too catholic to be Catholic?” A Response to Peter Leithart

Peter Leithart

Peter Leithart, a fellow at New St. Andrews College, pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho, and contributor to journals such as First Things and Touchstone recently posted an article titled "Too catholic to be Catholic." The article has been widely shared and discussed, provoking both approval and criticism from different groups of persons. Leithart followed up his article with a response to one common criticism; his response is titled "Israel, Idolatry, and Separated Brothers."

A good evaluation of Leithart's argument, from a Catholic point of view, can be found here: "“Too catholic to be Catholic?” A Response to Peter Leithart."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Opportunity to help Catholic Education

John Paul the Great Academy

There are very few more prudent cultural investments than excellent primary education. See John Senior's books The Death of Christian Culture, and The Restoration of Christian Culture. See also Pope Pius XI's "Divini Illius Magistri," and his "Rappresentanti in terra, both on the subject of Christian education.

I learned this week that a traditional Catholic K-12 school, John Paul the Great Academy in Lafayette, Louisiana, is facing a dire financial crisis, and could be forced to close. If you would like to help out the school, please visit their website and click on the "Support JPG" tab.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Making My Way to the Church Christ Founded

The Nolties
The Nolties

Fred Noltie was in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) for twenty years, attending both Covenant College and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. On the Easter Vigil of 2005 he, his wife Sabryna, and their son were together received into full communion with the Catholic Church at St. Lawrence parish in Monett, Missouri, where they are presently members. In this article Fred tells the story how he and his family became Catholic. He writes:

In The Accidental Catholic I described how I realized that Protestantism’s proposed means for discerning revealed truth in the Bible do not afford us any basis for certainty about what that truth actually is. This fact, which struck me like a bolt out of the blue, forced me to realize that I could not remain a Protestant. But on the day that I decided that I was no longer Protestant I was equally certain that I would never become Catholic. I was just not interested in that at all, because – after all – it was the Catholic Church, and I just "knew" it was wrong! Why did I change my mind?

Continue reading

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An OPC Pastor Enters the Catholic Church

Jason Stewart was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), having earned his Master of Divinity from Mid-America Reformed Seminary (Dyer, IN) in 2005, and subsequently served for 5 1/2 years as pastor of Trinity OPC in eastern Pennsylvania. He and his wife Cindy were received into full communion with the Catholic Church on January 10, 2011 at St. Jane de Chantal Catholic Church in Easton, PA. Many people have asked Jason why he became Catholic. Here, in the following article, he explains why he became Catholic. He writes:

"I hope to tell my story simply, because it is genuinely uncomplicated. Complex, yes. Multi-layered, sure. Who's journey in the Christian faith isn't? But I do promise to keep the telling of it simple by concentrating on the main catalysts that gave my wife Cindy and me the courage to approach the doors of the Catholic Church and with confidence begin to knock...."

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Monday, January 30, 2012

A Response to Scott Clark and Robert Godfrey's “The Lure of Rome”

In November of last year, Scott Clark and Robert Godfrey, both professors at Westminster Seminary in California, made a podcast titled "The Lure of Rome," in which they attempted both to explain why so many Evangelicals and even Calvinists are becoming Catholic, and why such persons are mistaken in doing so. Andrew Preslar has written a helpful response to Clark and Godfrey, in which he takes up the issue of the development of doctrine, because in their argument against becoming Catholic, Clark and Godfrey presuppose the denial of the development of doctrine.

Andrew's article is titled "A Response to Scott Clark and Robert Godfrey on "The Lure of Rome"."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reformation Sunday 2011: How Would Protestants Know When to Return?

Imagine that the Occupy Wall Street protest continued for years, during which time the community of protesters divided into different factions, each with different beliefs, different demands, and different leaders. But the protests continued for so long that the protesters eventually built makeshift shanties and lived in them, and had children. These children grew up in the protesting communities, and then they too had children, who also grew up in the same communities of protesters, still encamped in the Wall Street district. Over the course of these generations, however, these communities of protesters forgot what it was that they were protesting. They even forgot that they were protesting. Life in the shanties in Wall Street was what these subsequent generations had always known. They did not even know that they had inherited a protesting way of life, separated from the rest of society. When asked by a reporter what Wall Street would have to change in order to get them to return home, they looked at him confusedly, and responded, "We are home; this is home." They no longer had any intention to 'return to society' upon achieving some political or economic reform. For them, camping out on Wall Street was life as normal, and those with whom they had grown up camping simply were their society. Continue reading