No price too high

Julie at Happy Catholic has a review of No Price Too High by Alex James. Go over there and read the excerpt. The book is the account of a Pentecostal preacher who, while studying the Bible, began to be drawn to the Catholic Church.

My excerpt of her excerpt:

Then I read 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Paul tells his followers to be careful to observe all the paradosis he had delivered to them. And the word paradosis means traditions. Whether written (as in the Bible) or oral. Well, that knocked Sola Scriptura (the “Bible alone” theology) right out of the water.

A while ago on her blog, Amy Deardon asked what we thought of Sola Scriptura, and I told her my opinion can’t fit into a combox, but the above gets it right. The ultimate irony, in my not very humble opinion, is that the Bible itself never advocates sola scriptura. It says the scriptures are important, but not that they’re the only source of truth. Other than in the vision to John in Revelation, Jesus never tells his disciples to write down anything at all. Before the Gospels were written, they were…oral traditions. We don’t even know who wrote which Gospels. The authors aren’t included within the text themselves. Do you know why we attribute them to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Yep, tradition.

If it weren’t for tradition, how could anyone who had never heard Jesus’s teaching  directly speak with any authority? People such as, you know, Paul.

Or, for that matter, Luke.

At any rate, in the excerpt he goes on to talk about how he studied the church fathers and began to realize that in more and more areas the Catholic Church had gotten it right, and he tried to move his church closer to Catholic practice, and eventually he and his family and 55 members of their congregation converted. No Price Too High sounds like an awesome book. I’d like to check it out.

It reminds me of Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism, where he chronicles a very similar journey where he (a Presbyterian minister and theologian) began to discover Catholicism by careful study of the Bible. And over time, moving closer to Catholic practice wasn’t enough for him either. Julie mentions in her review that Alex Jones’ wife had difficulties with his conversion; Kimberly Hahn, in Rome Sweet Home, gets the most heartbreaking line of the book when she’s still Presbyterian after Scott converts to Catholicism. She writes, “I wouldn’t have even dated a Catholic, and now I was married to one.”

It’s not an easy process to examine our beliefs. I understand this. And I’ve been attacked often enough for my own beliefs that I can’t bear to cause others to call their own into question. But when I read a story such as this, where it’s clear that God was the one calling the person’s beliefs into question, it makes me feel good inside. We are being guided. We’re not alone.


  1. jaed

    (the link has an extra “http://” in it)

    1. philangelus

      Thanks! I’ve fixed it.

  2. Colleen

    Quite a while ago, I saw a video of Alex Jones giving his conversion story Very powerful. Cannot remember where I saw it. Being a convert myself, it really spoke to me. I imagine the book is very good. God bless.

  3. Ken Rolph

    This must be comforting on an individual level. If you live long enough you see all sorts of people converting in all sorts of directions. But you may enjoy a book about a time when the flow to the Catholic/Anglo-Catholic strand was pretty strong. It’s Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief, by Joseph Pearce.

    Oddly enough that book was recommended to me by a Canadian who had joined the Orthodox church. This seems to be a strong North American trend. I know a number of Protestants who wanted to get closer to original Christianity and could not stomach the RC strand, so ended up as Orthodox. Tradition was one of the things that drove them away. The problem with traditions is that they tend to accumulate if you don’t keep control of them, and you end up with Mel Gibson.

    1. philangelus

      I agree with you about that–and really, if anyone wants to have Mel Gibson, they can feel free to come along and take him. I’m fine with that. **shudder**

      Scott Hahn talked about considering the Orthodox church too. I think they’re awesome, but what’s funny is they have an even stronger emphasis on tradition than Catholicism.

  4. cricketB

    Tradition is a tough one. Serve KD twice in a row before dance, and it becomes tradition. Many groups have traditions that they are convinced are religious, that began with one leaders’ habits or preferences. Some of them are useful, for a time. Deciding which are core, which are extra, and when to change the extra ones, is difficult.

  5. Ken Rolph

    We used to have Mel Gibson until he became famous. Then he remembered that he was an American and went home. Happens to a lot of people who get their early fame in Australia. We don’t always consider it a loss. We did send you Rupert Murdoch as a bonus. Aren’t you lucky!

    I used to correspond with Hutton Gibson, Mel’s dad. In Sydney the origin of the RC church was with Irish convicts. The Sydney Anglican diocese is quite distinctive. It has a clergy support group which goes by the name of Reformed Evangelical Protestant Anglicans. Also known as the grim REPA. In the early 1970s words were exchanged between hardline Irish Catholics and hardline Sydney Protestant Anglicans. Hutton Gibson wrote to me asking if I could tell the difference between them. He said he couldn’t, and he was right.

    It’s sad that so many people attach themselves to a religion without seeming to be infected by its true influence.