Archive for June, 2012

Elsewhere on the blogosphere men are mocking the wearing of collars and albs to lead in worship. When it is pointed out that historically Reformed ministers have worn daily uniforms and robes in worship, it is replied that that was then and this is now. We ought to conform to our age. Bah, humbug.


1. We don’t follow the world; we lead it.


2. We don’t conform to culture; we change it.


3. We don’t take up our ideas from what gooey liberal and gooey evangelical churches do or don’t do; we get our instructions from the Bible.


4. Jesus had a special and very valuable tunic (John  19:23-24). Compare Exodus 28:40. Jesus’ special tunic and several pieces of outer garments correspond closely to the special garments of the priests. Apparently these most modern of bloggers have got better sense in how to dress than did their Lord. They might take their cue from the doctrine of union with Christ and what that might mean for them as officers in the army of the Lord of Hosts.


5. Back in the day when clergy wore uniforms and the Church was an army, we were well on the way to world conquest. Compare today.


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Stellman June 6, 2012 1:01 PM
> Dave, > Jason
> I am surprised this is so hard for me to communicate effectively. Prosecuting Leithart while inwardly struggling with my questions was easy, because the issue
was NEVER “Whose views are correct?” In a Reformed denomination we all operate
under the supposition that our doctrinal standards give us the Bible’s system of
doctrine, and we’ve all made vows to that effect.
> I could have been a militant Muslim and prosecuted Leithart, because from
where I sat, his views were outside the pale of the Confession and Catechisms.
My own inward struggles had nothing to do with anything, they were a completely
separate matter.

Rosenstock-Huessy contended that schizophrenia was the paradigmatic mental illness of modernity, because it was the carrying of “objectivity” to its logical conclusions. Rosenstock-Huessy is in a sense following along after Chesterton when he said that insanity was not the loss of reason, but when reason is all that one is left with. Chesterton was referencing a paranoid, and Rosenstock-Huessy, schizophrenia, but both may be diseases of rationalistic modernity (post modernity will have different illnesses).

What Rosenstock-Huessy meant was that the schizophrenic is the one who carries objectivity so
far forward that he does away with his own subjective being, and his very person, or ex-person, becomes only an object to be observed along with everything else. He gives as an example the professor who wanted to be wired to be able to watch, through his own brain, brain surgery being done on him.


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Discussions on the catholicity of the church have led one RC advocate to write to me that according to 2 Timothy 1:16-18, Paul is clearly and unmistakably praying for a dead person. He points to a couple of Protestant writers who had agreed with this, though they are in a tiny minority. Search this out on line and you’ll find Roman Catholics insisting on this as if it were certain. Let’s see what Paul actually says:

16 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered at Ephesus.

First of all, clearly Onesiphorus was a believer, baptized into union with the ascended Jesus Christ, faithfully serving the Lord. So, how on earth can Paul ask that he receive mercy on the day of judgment? Is his salvation in any doubt? Is there something lacking in his salvation by Jesus? To ask the question is to answer it: No, or course not. Paul cannot possibly be asking for Onesiphorus to be given mercy on the final day. The suggestion is ridiculous.

Therefore, Paul must be praying for mercy on the day that is near at hand: the judgment on the Old Creation in the years leading down to the year AD 70, the tribulation that came upon the entire Oikumene.  

With this in mind it becomes clear why Paul asks for mercy on Onesiphorus’s household. The tribulation about to break out over the whole Oikumene could be a horror for wives and daughters, for small children and the aged, as well as for men.

 Theologically, we find a unity in the passage. Onesiphorus was willing to be seen with Paul when the latter was in chains. He took the serious risk of associating with the criminal Paul, and this put his own family at risk. But beyond this practical consideration, Paul is saying that those who put themselves at risk for the Kingdom are those to whom God is likely to show mercy — at least to their families — during times of tribulation.

In short, there is absolutely nothing in this passage that hints that Onesiphorus is dead. Paul asks that he find mercy during the coming tribulation, which means he is alive.

Finally, there is 2 Timothy 4:19, “Greet Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.” Again, this has been taken to mean that Onesiphorus must be already dead. Uh, duh, no. We have already been told that Onesiphorus sought Paul out and had rendered great service for him at Ephesus. It’s a whole lot more likely that Onesiphorus is not at home, but doing something else for Paul at this time, perhaps even visiting churches like Timothy and Titus. As we have seen, he certainly is not dead.

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