Episode 16 – Stephen Beck’s Conversion Story

Aug 2nd, 2011 | By Jeremy Tate | Category: Blog Posts, Podcast

Stephen Beck

Stephen Beck was raised Evangelical, but read his way into the Reformed world. He became a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and then the Presbyterian Church in America. Stephen and his family were received into the Catholic Church on the Easter Vigil of 2011 at St. Andrew’s by the Bay Catholic Church in Annapolis, Maryland. He has a Master’s degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin at the Catholic University of America. Stephen is a brilliant thinker with a deep love for Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. In this episode, Stephen’s personal friend and regular CTC contributor, Jeremy Tate, interviews him to find out the reasons behind his conversion.


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Tags: Conversion, Reformed Theology, Sola Scriptura

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  1. Thanks for another one!

  2. Stephen, thanks for your story. What resonated with me the most is being able to move into “non-argumenative” mode in scripture reading, and to not have to constantly theologize. Yet being able to meditate on a doctrine because it is settled, and not pick it apart under my microscope. Accepting Transubstantiation was a particular delight for me. No longer do I need to be unsure what to believe about communion (Calvin, Zwingli, Luther…), but I can rest in the fact that the doctine is settled, and I can now meditate on the mystery rather than meditate on the debate. Instead of turning up my nose, I can bend my knees. And that makes all the difference in the world!

  3. Loved your story. Lots of interesting comments. You should thank you Orthodox Presbyterian pastor for preaching on texts like Hebrews 4 that seem to indicate we can lose our salvation. Most protestant pastors simply ignore passages that don’t fit well into their system. He was honest enough to show you what one has to do to make it fit. There was nothing forcing him to go there.

    The other comment I liked was when you said you stopped shutting down when something didn’t agree with reformed theology. That is so true. People’s whole mental framework changes when they encounter something outside their tradition. There is nothing wrong with that. It just means that you need to be sure you have the right tradition because it influences the way you read biblical reasoning. I thought you put that well.

  4. David,

    That was beautifully put!

  5. Great story, thanks for sharing!

  6. Greetings from a fellow johnnie (A94). I can completely relate the effect that SJC had on your habits of mind. It was instrumental in my return to the Church after 18 yrs away. Someone once described it as a a school where Jews turn Protestants into Catholics. It also has–or at least used to have, I’ve been out of touch for awhile–a steady stream of grads who go on to the priesthood. Pretty remarkable for a school that is not at all religious, let alone Catholic. I think it testifies to the natural relationship between a genuine openness to truth and an attraction for the Catholic faith.

  7. Hi Charlotte,

    Welcome to Called to Communion! Getting to know Stephen has made me even more obsessed with St. John’s College. I always hear about great theology discussions going on there in some of the seminars. It really seems to cultivate an openness to finding truth in unexpected places. I have heard that there is a strong Catholic presence there right now. I am actually planning to do the same program Stephen did starting next summer. Please pass on his story to some other Johnie’s if you get a chance!

    Peace in Christ, Jeremy

  8. David, so true. Passages like John 6 and Luke 24:28-35 are so powerful when the truth of the real presence is known and experienced. If the doctrine is a matter of debate, these passages are likely sources of frustration (as indeed for the Jews in John 6).

    Randy, I am definitely thankful for the pastors I’ve had who were willing to deal with difficult passages. Their honesty and comprehensiveness really helped me understand the full implications of reformed teaching, and ultimately helped me see Catholic truth.

    Charlotte, great to hear from another Johnnie! I completely agree with you; St. John’s is a most curious place in that regard. In my experience, not only was there a diversity in the ideas presented within the “great books” but there was usually at least one or two students from every major faith and/or philosophic school at the table. No points of view or beliefs were pushed on anyone in any didactic way and the students I know who were drawn to the faith were, as St. Augustine puts it, drawn “not by necessity, but by delight.”

  9. Hello Steve,
    My son is interested in studying Greek and Latin as an undergraduate (he will have completed 4 years of each by the time he finishes high school), so my interest is in talking with you about various places where might study, with a particular interest in what you might have to say about CUA.

  10. Hi Leo,
    Please send me an email (beck at j38.net) and I’d be glad to share what I know.


  11. Stephen,

    It was a pleasure to hear you very unique story. Thanks to you (and Jeremy) for taking the time to record this.

    Peace in Christ,

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