Another Beckwith-like Apostasy to Rome

You may recall that some time ago, Francis Beckwith made waves by secretly rejoining the Roman communion, while continuing in his role as president of Evangelical Theological Society. Sadly, we can add to that another similar tale.

Mr. Jason Stewart was an OPC pastor. According to a letter provided by his (now former) presbytery:

Whereas the date Mr. Stewart entered into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church (January 10, 2011) evidences a studied commitment to that church’s doctrine and practices while he remained a minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and

Whereas, in contravention of his ordination vows (FOG XXIII.8. (1-4)), Mr. Stewart did not disclose his change of convictions to his Presbytery until March 10, 2011, thus deceiving both the Presbytery, and the congregation of Trinity, Easton, and

Whereas Mr. Stewart has refused to be dissuaded from his course,

Therefore, in accordance with Book of Discipline V.2.b (1), Presbytery erased his name from its rolls, recorded the circumstances in its minutes, and communicated this action as a form of discipline (BOD V.2) to the congregation of Trinity, Easton with exhortation and encouragement toward a godly response to these events and to Mr. Stewart.

One wonders whether his new-found comrades at the Roman blog, Called to Communion, are aware of the facts of his conversion experience. In his account, he characterizes the events as: “Our decision to leave Presbyterianism for the Catholic Church surprised many.” I’ll say!

We will pray for repentance and restoration of Mr. Stewart (the erasure by Presbytery is de facto deposition and excommunication). Until that time, however, he ought to consider himself outside the visible and catholic church, and under threat of eternal judgment.

The reason for posting this point publicly, of course, is to draw attention to the issue of deception alleged by his former presbytery. I don’t expect that this will matter to the Called to Communion team, but it ought to matter to seekers of truth. It helps to demonstrate the principle announced by the apostle, that they went out from us, because they were not of us. It also helps to qualify the credentials that are being used to promote his “conversion story” (“OPC Pastor …”) – yes, he managed to infiltrate the presbytery – but his manner of departure shows the sort of person he was.


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