Home at Last. Amen!

No Price Too High: A Pentecostal Preacher Becomes Catholic

by Alex Jones

Ignatius, 2006

275 pages, $15.95

To order: (800) 651-1531


This engrossing account of the conversion of a devout, yet anti-Catholic, Pentecostal minister is a story that can educate Protestants about the eternal truths of the Catholic faith and the high cost of obtaining them.

Come to think of it, there are some things Catholics can learn along the way, too.

Alex Jones was the beloved and respected pastor of Maranatha Church in Detroit. Since his youthful encounter with the Holy Spirit, he had been an avid reader of the Bible. In an effort to give his congregation the experience of authentic apostolic worship, he delved into writings by Ignatius of Antioch, the other Church fathers and the early saints.

Soon enough, Jones discovered that worship and prayer in the infant Church bore an unmistakable resemblance to the 21st-century Catholic Mass. That discovery shook the ground beneath his feet.

At first, Jones, who had been taught that the Catholic Church was “the whore of Babylon … corrupt … like an abandoned city, haunted by dragons and unclean spirits,” tried to emulate the Mass without becoming Catholic. But gradually he came to recognize that this very Church, with its holy Eucharist, contained the fullness of life in Christ. He went on to humbly defer to the apostolic authority of St. Peter and his successors, enrolling in RCIA along with members of his family and congregation.

The story is told in separate narratives by Alex and his wife, Donna, along with photos. The intimate log of their conversion journey is both painful and beautiful. Only their abiding faith and uncompromising search for truth carried them through to their eventual reception into the Church on Easter of 2001 and, later, to Alex’s ordination to the permanent diaconate.

Once in the Church, there were encounters with racism and the adjustment of replacing fervent Pentecostal worship with somber “White European” liturgy. Even the joy of having relatives and Maranatha members follow him into the Church was diminished for Alex by the greatest pain: “the inability of my saintly mother to comprehend what I had done. … She could not understand why I would leave the faith of my fathers to ‘go to something not of God.’” His mother died at the age of 94, “never reconciled to the fact that what I had done was the will of God.”

The most valuable aspect of the Jones’ story for our relativistic society is its witness to the reality of truth and to the blessing in store for those who seek it diligently. Referring to Alex’s growing popularity as a speaker, Donna writes: “Because Alex and I yielded by saying Yes to Christ’s Church, God has blessed us in making us witnesses all across the nation. He has allowed us to share our testimony of what he, in his great mercy, has done for us. And he is opening the eyes of his servants not yet in his Church and is bringing them to the Church. I thank God that he has allowed Alex and me to be a part of this miracle of grace.”

Alex, who found what he calls “the pearl of great price, the true Christian faith in its essence, in its purity — flowing from the fountainhead,” writes: “I love being a Catholic Christian. I love the Church and her priests and her sacraments. I love the liturgy, the depth of spirituality, and the Church’s commitment to life, human dignity, and to peace and justice. … I’m home at last!”

Welcome home, Joneses and Co.

Ann Applegarth writes from Roswell, New Mexico.