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 email@example.com and we encourage you to visit his site A Lumen Gentleman - Lumen Gentleman Apologetics.