Jacob Michael

"I learned my apologetics in the trenches - that's the only way to do it."

    Jacob Michael    Jacob Michaelwas raised as a Sovereign Grace Baptist with solidly Calvinist instruction, grounded in Sacred Scripture from a Protestant perspective for many years. After experiencing a crisis of faith that caused him to embrace a nearly atheistic view of the world, he slowly began to rebuild his religious foundations from "ground zero." It was in this atmosphere that Jacob began to slowly examine a handful of Catholic beliefs, allowing one or two of them to influence his ideas.

        After a few years, and only a few months into married life, Jacob began to search in earnest for a church where he and his wife could settle down and plant roots. This search ultimately yielded nothing but frustration, however, and having finally made up his mind to start his own home-based church with strongly liturgical services, Jacob wandered into a Catholic bookstore for the first time. There, in the process of buying liturgical books from which to craft his own homemade liturgy, Jacob found and purchased David Currie's Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, as well as Kevin Orlin Johnson's Why Do Catholics Do That?

        These books presented a Scriptural defense of the Catholic faith that Jacob had never encountered before, and he spent the next six months reading literally nothing but Catholic apologetics, history, and theology. His special focus upon the Church Fathers, councils, and papal encyclicals prepared him for what he soon saw in his local Novus Ordo parish, and after only a few months in the RCIA, Jacob discovered that his classical Catholic beliefs made him a "traditionalist."

        Jacob was received into the Church on Easter Vigil 2002, and within a month he began attending the Tridentine Mass exclusively. He credits his intense biblical training as a child and teenager for his easy acceptance of the Catholic faith. "All the texts were in my head already, so it wasn't that hard to take Catholicism and connect all the dots. The raw material was already there," he says. He also credits his more "traditional" upbringing for disposing him towards the Tridentine Mass and traditional Catholic teachings, saying, "I was home-schooled all the way through 12th grade, my mom was a stay-at-home mom who raised four of us - which is a pretty big family in our modern society - my dad was always involved in some kind of pastoral work... even started teaching me Greek when I was seven... my parents made sure we were in church pretty much any time the doors were open, and ecumenism with Catholics was always denounced - which I still believe, but now I'm on the other side of the fence. So, yes, I think I had traditionalism engrained in me from day one."

        As for why he chose Catholic apologetics, Jacob explains, "That was a necessity. No way around it. My dad has his master's degree in theology from a pretty fundamentalist seminary, and most of my Protestant friends aren't exactly Scriptural slouches. I knew from the start that if I was going to embrace Catholicism, it wasn't good enough for me to be convinced of it myself, I had to be able to defend it - from Scripture - against all kinds of challenges, whether big, small, typical, or obscure. I tell people I learned my apologetics in the trenches - that's the only way to do it."

        Jacob hopes and prays for his family's conversion to the Catholic faith, especially his wife, who did not convert with him. "She's not hostile to the faith at all, and she goes with me to Mass every Sunday, so I think I'm very fortunate - but of course I still want her to go all the way, and I pray for that every day."

        Jacob and his wife Bethany have one eight-month-old daughter, Lucy, and are expecting their second child in April of 2004.

        If you want to ask Jacob a question, you can e-mail him at jacob@cathinsight.com and we encourage you to visit his site A Lumen Gentleman - Lumen Gentleman Apologetics.

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