Is He Talking to Us?

Amidst the screeching across the P&R internets in the wake of the nuclear bomb that was dropped yesterday, Carl Trueman stands out as a thoughtful, and even useful voice.

Jason Stellman was a man with a high ecclesiology; and high ecclesiology is important… If high ecclesiology is important, then one might also say that Two Kingdoms theology too has some importance. … Having said this, however, there is a breed of Christian out there for whom the doctrine of the church and 2K are all they ever seem to talk about.

Now, Paul certainly thought ecclesiology was important: …but he did spend rather a lot of time talking about Christ. Indeed, his primary focus was always on the gospel and — crucially — he never conflated the gospel with the doctrine of the church or with opinions about the Christians relationship to secular society. Ecclesiology is necessary to Paul in this end-time tribulation for the preservation and transmission of the gospel. For Paul, an understanding of believers as sojourners and pilgrims arises out of a correct understanding of what the gospel means; but neither of these are to be identified in itself with the gospel or to occupy more discussion space than the gospel.

The danger for high churchmen (and I consider myself to be a reasonably high churchman) is that we can forget that. We can end up thinking that the doctrine of the church is more important than the gospel or, worse still, that the doctrine of the church is the gospel. The tendency to make our issues — of which ecclesiology and 2K are just two examples — into the gospel is always a danger.  Case in point, when you go to the Rev. Stellman’s sermon page on his church’s website,( http://exilepres.org/our-preaching/  Accessed May 28, 2012) the sermons are not listed by date or alphabetcally, but by topic.  Significantly, the first one is an old series on “Amillennialism and Two Kingdoms.”  Worthy topics, no doubt; but what does it say when these are top of the list of things you want visitors to your website to learn about?   When we identify the church with the gospel, it would seem to me that Rome is the natural outcome, since, for Rome, the church is, in effect, the gospel.

I think all of us Sitters here in the Outhouse would agree that “the doctrine of the church and 2K are all [we] ever seem to talk about” — and that JJS was a compatriot and even a champion of ours in that discussion. Now the Outhouse is not a church — nor are any of us Sitters ordained — so I think we get a little bit of a pass in terms of not making the gospel specifically the highest priority of discussion; the “business” we are doing here is not specifically “church business” (aka “kingdom work”). We’re just dudes on the internets, talking about what we like to talk about.

But surely in light of yesterday’s unhappy surprise, we can all stand a reminder of what is the highest priority, and a friendly warning about the consequences of misaligned priorities.

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This entry was posted in Applied Christianity, Calvinism, Carl Trueman, Church and State, Ecclesiology, Gospel, High church calvinism, Protestant preaching, Protestantism/Catholicism, Quotes, The gospel, The Protestant Reformation, Two-kingdoms, W2K, Westminster Seminary. Bookmark the permalink.

110 Responses to Is He Talking to Us?

  1. jedpaschall says:

    Rube,

    Sorry dude, Trueman’s article rubbed me in a bad, bad way when he says this:

    Having said this, however, there is a breed of Christian out there for whom the doctrine of the church and 2K are all they ever seem to talk about. They are, it appears, the number one priorities for Christians. Such advocates often seem, at least on the surface, to disdain the basic elements of Christian discipleship – fellowship, loving one’s neighbor, protecting and honoring the poor and weak – and spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about their pet ecclesiological and 2K projects.

    I am not sure we would have even described Stellman in these lights. Tell me, who amongst us 2ker’s that you know actually disdain what Trueman alleges. It’s really hard to put skin and bones to that straw man. And, how can we possibly attribute Stellman’s purported move toward Rome as something attributable to even an over-emphasis on 2k, when he draws the issue back to how he struggles with the material principles of the Reformation. What Jason has written in his own words seem to me to indicate that his struggle was far deeper than 2k. The implication should not be placed on those of us who hold to 2k, because all those that I have personally met also display a deep love for the gospel, even over 2k. Sometimes we are prone to want to explain events like this based on certain external factors (such as one’s theological preferences), but whatever this is to Jason, it seems to be deeply personal to him as an individual who is looking for truth in places that I fear it isn’t there to be found. If Stellman is right, which I absolutely do not think he is, we are all implicated because we agree with the material principles of the Reformation, 2k or not 2k.

  2. Zrim says:

    Not really. It’s an odd response. If 2k really is about preserving the unfettered gospel, you can’t talk about enough.

  3. Richard says:

    Trueman’s article rubbed me the wrong way as well. Poorly reasoned–and a slam at Jason, with remarks like “disdain the basic elements of Christian discipleship – fellowship, loving one’s neighbor, protecting and honoring the poor and weak”–this was totally contrary to JJS’ writing and thinking. And then to make an off-hand remark about his sermon web site being somehow proof of what he elevated is an incredibly dumb remark to make. I’m surprised at Dr. Trueman.

  4. RubeRad says:

    If you talk about 2K with the intention of talking about the gospel so much that you run out of time to talk about the gospel, then you’ve talked about it too much. The point remains; if 2K really is about preserving the unfettered gospel, then it will happily remain in subservience to the gospel. Ironically, that little comment reminds me of something Rabbi Bret just said broadly equating “Theonomy”=”Calvinism”=”Biblical (Reformed) Christianity”. (I’d rather not link, but it’s the latest at iron ink; I’m a poet and I didn’t know it). Talking about 2K is not the same as talking about the gospel.

    Annnyways, I did think at least part of that criticism was wide of the mark on JJS, as he’s a lefty poor-lover from way back. But what did you think of the analysis of Exile’s sermons’s page as an indicator of church (in particular JJS as pastor of that church) priorities?

  5. sean says:

    Setting aside the straw man that Trueman constructs and which Jed has ably identified, I’m not surprised, particularly coming from officers in the church, that there is pushback toward Jason as it regards a sense of betrayal over Jason’s departure, maybe resulting in a shot or two at him. I get it. I don’t really have any right to it, particularly if Exile can regard him in such a gracious manner and it speaks as much to the inroads of celebrity culture in the church as much as anything else but it’s still disturbing and it’s hard to resist the feeling that you’ve been conned. None of that is fair, I don’t know Jason at all, but it doesn’t help that it’s a wholesale departure from, no, rejection, of the very theological heart of the protestant gospel. He’s not even doing the Shepherd dialectic, this looks to be headed toward a full embrace of continuous justification. Wow, just sad. And I don’t particularly care for the new target that’s been provided for all the 1kers, and I don’t mean the ones on the internet, but at church that will inevitably seize upon it. Oh well, God’s sovereign and there’s work to be done.

  6. Richard says:

    It’s crap, frankly. I regularly go through his sermons. Just a crappy argument–Trueman was blaming him for his webmaster?

  7. Zrim says:

    Rube, re the sermon page point, what Richard said. Super weak, as the kids say.

    But I’m still not sure I see the point here. Who is saying that talking about 2k is the same as talking about the gospel? 2k is saying that the mission of the church is the reconciliation of God to sinners by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. Her role is spiritual and otherworldly, not political and this-worldly. The only doctrines I know of that keep that vital distinction are the two kingdoms and the spirituality of the church. Once you hedge on those, you get some form or another of a social or political gospel, cultural Christianity or even Kantian religion. And you hedge on them when you stop talking about them. Stuart Robinson even wrote a little book called “The Church as the Essential Element of the Gospel.” Is Trueman saying that Robinson was too high a churchman? I think we need more Robinsons.

  8. RubeRad says:

    Whether JJS was directly designing webpages or not, as pastor and preacher I’d say he bears a fair share of responsibility for how the preaching is presented, and how it represents the message of the church.

    I wondered much the same thing when I poked around yesterday, trying to figure out whether Stellman has been preaching recently. Apparently Sy Nease is preaching the current Sunday Morning series, but the current Sunday Evening series? And why are the current series placed way below series on Amill/2K, RT, CT? Somebody must have decided it was more important to see that stuff first.

  9. RubeRad says:

    Well Trueman is saying that JJS’ focus on 2K and ecclesiology took his eye off the ball. Whether that charge is right, or Trueman is part of a R2K hit-squad bent on recrimination, the point I think stands.

    How about this; if 2K was working right, then we would rarely, if ever, have to talk about 2K on Sunday morning.

  10. RubeRad says:

    Another thing (maybe I’m just venting and piling on…) Exile? I’ve always thought that’s a bit attention-grabbing and in-your-face. I much prefer Pilgrim. (At least it’s conceivable that, although a Pilgrim may not be at his ultimate destination, it may be possible for him to enjoy his world in the meantime)

  11. sean says:

    You know what I’ve thought more than once today? That we were all being ‘punked’ to prove a point of some sort, as an object lesson about something or other. You could see the struggle with sola scriptura when you would read some of his posts and interactions, but sola fide?! and not just Shepherd or union re-ordering but now it looks like spirit empowered law keeping tracking along continuous justification or re-justification. Come on, where’s the hidden camera. Really?!

  12. Zrim says:

    Well, wait a tic. Who said anything about Sunday morning? This 2ker expects the unfettered gospel, as in Christ and him crucified and sharing no space with worldly cares, every Lord’s Day. I’m not sure how we get there if we don’t understand that the church’s mission is spiritual. And I don’t know how we get there without 2k. I know how we get Sanctity of Life Sunday sermons though, and sermons damning or baptizing America, idolizing or excoriating its magistrates. Hint: not 2k.

  13. RubeRad says:

    Me too. My first thought was “Wait, but this is more like June 1 than Apr 1…”

  14. Richard says:

    I’ve listened to JJS’ sermons. He was preaching THE GOSPEL. This canard that he was giving priority to 2K, “because, look folks, his web page lists a sermon on amill eschatology first,” is absurd. Jeepers–give some credence to the Session at Exile that they carried out their responsibilities rightly..

  15. Richard says:

    This is JJS’ take at greenbaggins: Hi everyone,

    I obviously can’t interact here at length, but I did want to point out that the many attempts people have made to trace the trajectory from where I was to where I am now have been mostly amusing and somewhat silly (especially Trueman’s, since he doesn’t even know me). Apparently it was either my inculcation with Thomism at WSCA, or the Leithart trial, or my high churchmanship, or my earlier low churchmanship at Calvary Chapel, that are to be blamed for this whole thing.

    I am quite sure that any member of Exile would be surprised to hear that 2K theology was the end-all be-all of my preaching ministry (in fact, the “sermons” that Trueman linked to weren’t even sermons, they were lectures given several years ago).

    Unless they’ve been removed, all the sermons I preached at Exile are all available for public consumption, and anyone who cares to listen will find almost nothing about the two kingdoms anywhere.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to figure out how to change that WordPress avatar….

  16. P.L.M. says:

    Zrim confirmed the response. But bear in mind, Trueman was probably not pointing to a sufficient condition, so bringing up other causes is not sufficient to show he created a straw man.

  17. Zrim says:

    Eggs-actly. High church Calvinism actually believes the local body can do what God says it can.

  18. P.L.M. says:

    Something interesting to bear in mind: While Confessional 2Kers are understandably upset about linking the change in Stellman to 2K, confessionalism, WSC, etc., they at least need to engage in some self-examination and realize that they did the same think to presuppositionalists, Van Tillians, worldviewers, theonomists, Bahnsen, etc. We all know the obvious truth that many internet 2kers constantly blamed FV, Shepherd, and even some conversions to Rome, on Bahnsen, theonomy, Van Til, presuppositionalism, etc. Confessional 2Kers think the comments are “disgraceful,” “piling on,” “absurd,” etc. If they don’t like this kind of discourse, they need to realize that this was, especially at the beginning, their modus operandi.

  19. sean says:

    ACTUALLY P.L.M.,

    I still argue that FV is a halfway house on the way to Rome, and I think that that is an accurate depiction. Just the list I can compile of my friends traveling that route removes the need for hypotheticals

  20. P.L.M. says:

    ACTUALLY, Sean, I never said anything about where FV leads. But, follow this out: You feel strongly that X leads to Y, so you say it. The. Point. To. Get.: others might feel strongly that U leads to W. So, “they still argue that [it does],” because they “think that is an accurate depiction.” Hence, the moaning should be directed toward the alleged viability of the connection and not, I say, the alleged unsavoriness of attempts at linking. You admit you do like to make links and post hoc ergo propter hoc connections, but I doubt you’d be bothered by bellyaching about how “uncivil” you are for making the connection. Let the purpose of a tu quoque response marinate for a while, for all you did is verify and validate my comment. Savvy?

  21. Zrim says:

    PLM, come on with the opportunism already. We get it, you relish a little sticking it to some 2kers because others haven’t shown sufficient respect to epistemology. But hasn’t there been enough?

    Trueman’s point is well taken. Protestantism is all about how scriptura is prior to ecclesia (Rome is the reverse). But the point is lost on the present example. It isn’t at all clear that an effort to keep the gospel from being hindered by the cares of this world translates into a denial of the formal and material principles of the Reformation. Does Trueman understand how this tactic puts him in bed with the likes of Rabbi Bret?

  22. RubeRad says:

    And one case does not a pattern make, but FV is a well-documented gateway.

  23. Zrim says:

    When his blog, dedicated to 2k, began focusing on these Prot/Cath matters, it was frustrating because it was taking away from what he himself rightly considered one of the most important contemporary discussions. Ironically, I only found Protestantism bolstered in the discussions, not weakened and the Catholic system only undermined.

    Watch out, Matthew Tuininga, if Carl Trueman is right you may be next. Either that, or Trueman is on a wild goose chase.

  24. sean says:

    Sorry P.L.M.,

    I got off the interweb about 30 seconds after posting, so no 18 hour marination and slow-cooking on that one, though after reading your response I doubt it could’ve overcome the bitterness of the herbs your cookin’ with. But now that I understand your another one of ‘those’ who think conversation is aided by baited syllogisms and subscribe to pushing the antithetical back to the epistemological…………………………..go fish.

  25. sean says:

    This was what was revealing to me, I never read one rc apologist who could establish apostolic succession even after you would grant, for sake of argument, that Peter had a Papal post. I also never heard any answer to the canonical presupposition countering that “the church gave us the scriptures” therefore they stand over the scriptures over at least beside the scriptures, but if the word ‘breathed’ has the same creative force that it did in the edenic situation than the Word ‘breathed’ actually creates the institution for which it gives prescription.

  26. Zrim says:

    Sean, this is what the discussions made clear: the Prot mind is driven by scriptura, the Catholic mind my ecclesia. It’s a fundamental and vital distinction. If one starts with, “Where is the church?” it’s hard to see how he won’t end up in Rome.

    The 2010 archives for MR are a good resource on all of this:

    http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=chronoindex&var1=ViewChr

    What in the world any of this has to do directly with 2k is still befuddling, to say nothing of misleading.

  27. P.L.M. says:

    Zrim, talk about an overreaction. Did I say anything about Stellman’s change? Did I say anything about any alleged cause? Did I say anything about a vindication of epistemology? No on all counts.

    I merely noted that it is interesting that the modus operandi of so many internet 2kers was to opportunistically link FV to Bahnsen or presupppositionalism or philosophy or . . . But then when they see others doing it to Stellman and linking their own cherished views, they (not anyone here in particular) all of a sudden moaned and bellyached about the very tactics that they employed with vigor.

  28. P.L.M. says:

    Again, not talking about FV. I’m referring to what was said to have *led to* FV.

    And, this Westminster brand of 2k Confessionalism is new. So let’s wait and see what the future holds. Hopefully not another Stellman. But, and I don’t need or want to get into it, it wouldn’t surprise me given the attitude toward reason, philosophy, exegesis, and apologetics many 2Kers seem to have.

    At a minimum, this puts the lie to Hart’s statement that if you teach apologetics as a Sunday school class you “deny perseverance of the saints.” His solution? Teach the confession and catechism, that’s the surest way to keep the numbers stable. Guess not.

  29. P.L.M. says:

    What bitterness. You jumped the gun, overreacted, and simply verified the point I was making. Get over it. I have. I’ve seen your comments elsewhere. You’re all rhetoric, no substance. I didn’t think we’d have a “dialog.” I simply put you in your high chair and went back to the adults table. (Sean’s worst nightmare: someone who is smarter than him and better at rhetoric. 😉

  30. Zrim says:

    PLM, got it. Everybody can be a tool. Now instead of savoring sour grapes, how about lending a hand to the current toolishness and expanding on why you think “Confessional 2Kers are understandably upset about linking the change in Stellman to 2K.”

  31. sean says:

    Actually P.L.M.,

    I’m sure you think so. You philosophical saviors of the reformed tradition sure don’t lack for self-esteem and overestimation of your contributions. There’s actually oodles of cats on the internet smarter than I am and most assuredly better at rhetoric. And……….so what. If what you’re engaging in on these forums is ‘adult’ behavior, I’ll hang out with the kids all day. Interesting that you invest the time to ‘scout’ the blogs. I run into some of the same people and have a few favorite blogs but that’s about the extent of it. Either way, it doesn’t take a degree in philosophy to observe the traffic pattern from FV to Rome. And it doesn’t sound like from what has been said that Stellman’s jump off point to Rome was 2k, but I Imagine he’ll fill in the blanks.

  32. RubeRad says:

    “understandably upset” because no-one likes something they believe in to be blamed for something bad.

    More specifically though, I think one reason I appreciated Trueman’s article (more than, say, Wilson or Leithart or Rabbi Bret), was that blame was not pointed to the content of 2K, but merely to the possibility that 2K may have overshadowed the gospel.

  33. RubeRad says:

    this Westminster brand of 2k Confessionalism is new. So let’s wait and see what the future holds. Hopefully not another Stellman.

    I just can’t envision a wave of 2K–>RC. FV–>RC is completely understandable, because from the beginning they bent all the core doctrines of the reformation back towards rome.

    I think sean was on the right track yesterday pointing towards “drink[ing] too deeply of the well of romanticism”. That and QIRC, as many have noted. But I’ve never been impressed by Rome’s pageantry, nor do I see the appeal in Rome’s notions of authority and succession. Maybe there are tons of other W2Kers out there who oppose Rome like Ted Haggard opposes homosexuality, and JJS is the firstfruits of a wave of coming out of the closet, but I really doubt it.

  34. sean says:

    Zrim,

    That’s what’s really difficult to figure out. You’d have to assume the track to Rome for Jason was completely disconnected to his 2k developments, other than, having been an RC, we do largely if not solely, embrace an amillenial eschatology and we don’t really have in our practical piety any sort of ‘fundamentalist’ faction, outside of the abortion issue and that didn’t really take on a ‘shouting’ contingent in the environs I was in until the late 1980’s and even then it wasn’t overly prevalent. Certainly, Roman Catholic piety always was more ‘world-affirming’, outside the monastic orders, for us pew-sitters. The fundamentalist streak in protestantism has always been something as a former RCer, that was new, and you had to just endure and hope and try to help make it go away. Jason strikes me as a guy who wants to embrace what’s good in the culture and maybe even too romantically entertained it, and that’s always going to be easier to make room for within RC piety than American fundamentalism, whose tentacles certainly extend into reformed protestant communities. So, I get the appeal on that level. Rome is actually a bigger tent in the everyday life and there’s more room to move around and affirm what’s good around you. As for Sola Fide, who knows at this point, that’s why I asked about Shepherd’s formulations and maybe even Gaffin’s union re-ordering and whether those had started to make inroads against Sola Fide for him.

  35. sean says:

    Sorry, not just Zrim but Rube and whomever.

  36. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Is He Talking to Us?

    (A) Reminds me of the movie “Taxi Driver” in which Robert DeNiro keeps asking in different ways: “You Talkin’ to Me?”

    (B) Images of a bunch of echo-chamber Sitters hearing an outside voice and one Sitter has the temerity to ask: “Is He Talking to Us?”

    (C) RubeRad: “Yes, the CO is all about scatological puns, so instead of “Saints & Sinners”, we have “Saints & Sitters”. We bloggers who “sit” in the outhouse, jokingly refer to some of our theological heroes as “Outhouse Saints”. Many stars from the constellation of WSCAL include Kline, Van Drunen, Hart, Horton, Mike Brown, Danny Hyde. JJS was one as well, but now that he has declared himself to be unorthodox, I don’t think we can call him a theological hero any more.” And “But JJS is still welcome to cop a squat.”

    Given that, I hope P.L.M. is welcome at the Confessional Outhouse as the helpful plumber. Looks like he’s found some logs that are gunking up and clogging the pipes to the point where fecal specks can’t be flushed away.

    (D) RubeRad, excellent post and helpful comments too.

    (E) Backing away quickly now. The oxygen mask is running low! Goodbye!

  37. sean says:

    You know I never was a treckie/(y), but I get the feeling the reformed philosopher contingent on the internet is the reformed equivalent of this type of mouth-breather.

  38. jedpaschall says:

    PLM,

    Rhetorically speaking, without providing any concrete examples, the effect of the argument is that of a straw man. As to the strictures of logic, I’ll simply defer to you on this. But I am certain that if this statement had targeted Reformed philosophers, there would be similar objections. Trueman doesn’t know Stellman, and as such cannot understand his internal motivations and whether or not 2k had any part in his decision making. I can agree that a vaunted ecclesiology might have played a part, but this doesn’t draw a straight line to 2k. Yes 2kers place great weight on ecclesiology, but I can’t think of one that places 2k above either Scripture or the gospel. With Stellman, I think that his questions surrounding Reformed orthodoxy were more attributable to other internal factors, which he is more than able to explain himself, than they are to any prior theological commitments – namely if the material principles of the Reformation were wrong, then he might feel obligated to return to Rome.

  39. Zrim says:

    Jed, you mean like if someone suggested that Michael Sudduth’s conversion to Eastern Hinduism owed to too much philosophy? That would surely be just as asinine. Not to sound Pollyanna, but I’ve yet to hear anybody attribute any kind of apostasy to human depravity. Instead of trying to draw rationalistic straight lines from A to B, could it be that the doctrine of sin has something to say: the heart is wicked, who can know it?

  40. RubeRad says:

    TUAD, you had (near?)duplicate comments, so I got rid of the one with the earlier timestamp.

    Reminds me of the movie “Taxi Driver” in which Robert DeNiro keeps asking in different ways: “You Talkin’ to Me?

    Glad somebody finally asked! The clew to the title is the picture, which is from the Simpsons episode where the Simpsons have to go into witness protection. The are renamed Thompson (they insert a little modified title sequence “The Thompsons…”), and the FBI are trying to train Homer to respond to “Mr. Thompson”. At the point of the above picture, the lessons have broken down to the level:

    FBI: OK, I’m going to say “Hello Mr. Thompson” and stomp on your foot. When I stomp on your foot, I want you to say “Hello”. “Hello Mr. Thompson” (stomp)

    Homer: (looking askance at the other FBI agent) I think he’s talking to you

  41. P.L.M. says:

    Jed,

    What are you saying is a straw man?

    Is it this: “there is a breed of Christian out there for whom the doctrine of the church and 2K are all they ever seem to talk about?” Well, that’s true. Just look at this CO, for instance. Indeed, Zrim said you couldn’t talk about 2K enough. Trueman said there’s a danger in doing this. I would think all sensible people could agree with this, with the exception of Zrim, of course.

    Is, “The tendency to make our issues — of which ecclesiology and 2K are just two examples — into the gospel is always a danger,” a straw man? I’d think you’d agree. Or, are you saying that Trueman’s claim that Stellman did this was a straw man? Not sure how that would be a “straw man.” It may be false, but it’s not a “straw man.”

    So the relevant argument is over whether it is true or false that Stellman did what Trueman said he did. Well, I’m not sure we’ll ever know, but we can make probabilistic judgments. I’ve seen little reason to think Trueman is wrong, but plenty to suspect he’s right. Now, I admit that it’s harder to show that Stellman *identified* 2K with the gospel, for that’s a strong claim. But I’m not entirely sure what Trueman meant by this phrase, so I’ll withhold judgment. But aside from that, I find the “justification” given by Stellman to be wanting. There’s several reasons, I’ll give a few: (a) Stellman actually set up a straw man by claiming Trueman was listing a *sufficient* condition for Stellman’s change. (b) It is not necessary that Trueman “know” Stellman to make the kind of claims he made. He made a weak inductive judgment based on what he thought certain observable evidence indicated. We engage in this kind of reasoning all the time. (c) The last reason I’ll give is this: Stellman committed another straw man when he set up Trueman’s argument as claiming that the only relevant evidence to take into consideration was Stellman’s SUNDAY sermons. But there is little reason to believe that Trueman was claiming that the majority of Stellman’s **Sunday sermons** were on 2K or Confessionalism. However, look at Stellman’s **corpus**. Look at his body of work **as a whole**. I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts that if we take any random person out of the set of people who are aware of “Jason Stellman,” and asked them to give words that describe what he’s “all about,” the majority would say, “2K,” or “Confessionalism” or “High church ecclesiology.” Like it or not, that was the Jason almost all of us knew. Do a google search for “Stellman gospel” and see how many hits come up. Do it for the other identifications.

    Now, you say, “I can agree that a vaunted ecclesiology might have played a part, but this doesn’t draw a straight line to 2k.” But here, Jed, it is *you* setting up the straw man. Did Trueman “draw a straight line [from this] to 2K?” No, he didn’t. Again, if you don’t take the view that Trueman was citing the *only* reason, or the *sufficient* reason for Stellman’s change—and it’d be hard to see how you could justify this reading of Trueman—then you actually *confirm* Trueman’s article with this admission.

    Lastly, if the statement targeted Reformed philosophers, I’d need to see the specifics of this. It may well be warranted.

  42. P.L.M. says:

    Rube, again, not talking about FV –> RC. I was referring to things like, “Bahnsen” –> FV. Or “theonomy” –> FV. Or “Van Til” –> FV.

    At any event, what you can’t “envision” isn’t relevant. First, you’re sold out for 2K, so your powers of perception may be biased. Second, it’s a generally bad to make noseeum inferences. 🙂 But here’s another recent turn of events you may be interested in: I know a guy who is WSC trained and was at WSC with Stellman. He was a very hard core 2K guy. Known by most on campus as the most hard core 2ker. He just recently became an atheist. First, this again puts the lie to Darryl Hart’s romanticism about memorizing the confession and catechism as a prophylactic against apostasy Second, this is inductive evidence in support of my biggest complaint against WSC and the mindset of many neo 2K confessionalists.

    But I hear you say: “Paul, that’s atheism. I said RCC!” It’s all of a piece for me, a symptom of the same root problem. But if another 2K WSC –> RCC convert you must have, here you go:

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/05/joshua-lims-story-a-westminary-seminary-california-student-becomes-catholic/

  43. P.L.M. says:

    Again, Sean, never said anything about FV –> Rome. You’re tilting at windmills. Desperately trying to get the discussion on comfortable ground, because you don’t know how to think on your feet or address the actual point being made. Lastly, I’ve seen you bully quite a few non-2Kers. So take your medicine like a big boy.

  44. P.L.M. says:

    Right. The interesting thing is that no pious 2ker ripped into you or RS Clark for your constant opportunism and linking everything theologically unsavory to theonomy, evangelicalism, Bahnsen, epistemology, philosophy, etc.

    Anyway, confessional 2Kers are understandably upset because they don’t see a link. I see no direct link. Rather, there’s a link between some things that seem to commonly *attend* confessional 2Kers. Some common traits that, if only you guys could drop (like I’ve been trying to tell ya fer years), would help you out tremendously.

  45. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    “I know a guy who is WSC trained and was at WSC with Stellman. He was a very hard core 2K guy. Known by most on campus as the most hard core 2ker. He just recently became an atheist. First, this again puts the lie to Darryl Hart’s romanticism about memorizing the confession and catechism as a prophylactic against apostasy.”

    Wow. This heavy drinker of hard-core 2K brew produced some deadly toxic gas. Not good.

    P.S. “Outhouse Saint” Mike Brown facebooked the following: Here.

  46. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    o “Rather, there’s a link between some things that seem to commonly *attend* confessional 2Kers. Some common traits that, if only you guys could drop (like I’ve been trying to tell ya fer years), would help you out tremendously.”

    PLM, could you list some of these common traits that these guys should drop?

    o “Second, this is inductive evidence in support of my biggest complaint against WSC and the mindset of many neo 2K confessionalists.”

    PLM, what is your biggest complaint against WSC and the mindset of many neo 2K confessionalists?

  47. Jeff Cagle says:

    Zrim: …but I’ve yet to hear anybody attribute any kind of apostasy to human depravity. Instead of trying to draw rationalistic straight lines from A to B, could it be that the doctrine of sin has something to say: the heart is wicked, who can know it?

    Yes indeed, or Pascal: “The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing.”

    Or one of my dear college friends: “People believe what they want and make up reasons afterwards.”

    What is most interesting to me is that Jason’s own former lines of argument are now unpersuasive to him, whereas Francis de Sales and Bryan Cross seem to have become persuasive. I’m wondering whether WTS east and west, as well RTS and Covenant, will be taking note.

  48. sean says:

    Lots of adult behavior emanating forth from the P.L.M.’s overheated keyboard. I know it’s frustrating when people won’t stay within the lines of your particular constructions and don’t realize that you’re contributions are the center of the universe around which everyone’s responses must revolve. It’s tough out here in the wild wild interweb. Maybe have your mom bring you some hot pockets and cocoa down to the basement, and I’ll bet you’ll feel better.

  49. P.L.M. says:

    Again, Sean, all you give is snark and rhetoric. That’s not a problem per se; it’s a problem when that’s all you seem to have. Of course, when I talk to you, my keyboard is as overheated as yours is. When I talk to Rube, it’s different. You made your bed and decided how you wanted talks with those who didn’t march in line with your particular spin on 2K, so you’re simply reaping your fruit.

    Your response is simply sophistic. This has nothing to do with “staying within the lines of a [my] construction.” Indeed, I never even *disagreed* with the factual content of your response to my post. I simply noted that it had nothing to do with what I was saying, so it was very curious that you’d hit “reply” to my post and act as if you were “replying” to something I said. That was, indeed, what you intended. Note you began with the word, “Actually,” as if you were trying to *correct* me. My response back *wasn’t* predicated upon the idea that you were *wrong* about FV –> RCC; it was merely that I never said anything about that, so why pretend to *correct* me. Thus, your new little trick to gain the upper hand by the mere use of obfuscation and sophistry falls flat on its face.

    But if you want to continue, we can: Let’s *assume* I said something about FV –> RCC. Okay, so now I’ve *granted* your off-topic tangent (so much for needing to stay within my chosen construct). Did anything in my post indicate that I was claiming that the connection *wasn’t* valid? No, clearly not. Well, if you had put your little thinking cap on, what *was* my point? Merely that 2Kers who are complaining about people who are linking 2K/Confessionalism to Stellman need to recognize that this was their game. They came out like gangbusters with the post hoc ergo propter hoc claims. Sheesh, that’s all R.S. Clark was about for quite some time. He blamed every boogeyman he disagreed with for FV etc. So it’s odd that there’s all this pious bellyaching when things go the other way. That’s why I say, “Man up.” You guys played this game. Now, you will respond: “But *our* connection is true! So we can say it. It’s only wrong when non-neo-2Kers say it, well, because we’re obviously *right* and so it *can’t* be a factor in moving some toward Rome or atheism or etc.” But of course, the silliness and self-servingness of this response is palpable. Of course, many FVers deny and argue that their view *doesn’t* lead to Rome. And, no 2ker has offered either a bible verse of the sort “FV leads to Rome” or *deduced* it from true premises all rational people would be forced to accept. The non-2Kers may be just like you. That is, they have *reasons* that they believe support their charge that neo-2K is potentially dangerous in this way. You can, of course, *disagree* with the facts of the matter, with the *reasons* and *arguments* given, but you *shouldn’t* bellyache and complain that someone makes a connection as if merely doing that is untoward.

    Thus, even when I *grant* your own strictures that you are upset I’m not playing according to, I still pwn you.

    However, let’s run with this further: Notice how you make a statement about my motives and intentions. You claim to know I’m “frustrated” (which we clearly saw to be a bogus charge), and that it is because I “want you to stay in line with my construction” (again, we saw this was ridiculous). This is *exactly* like what many of you 2Kers are railing against vis-a-vis Stellman. They get their panties in a bunch when someone speculates about what may have led to Stellman’s change, yet here you are freely waxing speculative about the motives, desires, thoughts, and feelings of others, me, that you don’t have access to. But where is the 2K moral police when you need ’em? Where are they to call you out on your motive speculating? Where’s Zrim to moralize about “civility,” for he was one of the biggest whiners against speculating about Stellman’s motives or causal contributors. But here you are, doing the functionally equivalent, and what do we hear? Crickets.

    You internet warrior 2kers are something else. You guys can’t be this blind to your hypocrisy. Is this a joke? Where’s the hidden camera?

    Anyway, those hot pockets my mom brought to me in the basement tasted good. it’s too bad that your mom didn’t do her job and I had to fill her role by pulling down your pants and giving you a little spanking to put you in your place. Now why don’t you (intellectually) behave; that, or go pick on someone your own size.

  50. P.L.M. says:

    Zrim says:
    June 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm
    Jed, you mean like if someone suggested that Michael Sudduth’s conversion to Eastern Hinduism owed to too much philosophy? That would surely be just as asinine. Not to sound Pollyanna, but I’ve yet to hear anybody attribute any kind of apostasy to human depravity. Instead of trying to draw rationalistic straight lines from A to B, could it be that the doctrine of sin has something to say: the heart is wicked, who can know it?

    Actually, this happened. Ref21 did a piece on Sudduth and blamed philosophy. I wrote a short response. The link has since been taken down, and I’m not sure if i had anything to do with it. But no matter, there were others who made similar charges, James White’s AOMin did a piece here:

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=4956

    But to your point (you really need to learn to think through things, Zrim, but I’ll help again): First, it is not necessarily the case that some unorthodox or unethical stance *couldn’t* “owe too much to philosophy.” Depending on the situation, it may or may not be an “asinine” charge. It’s a little mind that thinks in all-or-nothing, black-or-white categories. Second, you seem to think that any attribution is the *only one* the attributor meant to attribute. So, if someone mentions “philosophy” or “R2K” then they *can’t also think* that “X,” “Y,” and/or “Z” played a role too. This, too, is the sign of a little mind. Third, most Christians *do* think that human depravity is “back of it all,” but “sin” or “human depravity” is a vague and abstract and unhelpful explanation. So what is going on is that people are citing what they take to be the way sin *manifested itself* in this or that particular case. The inability to apply abstract concepts to concrete cases is, also, I’m afraid, a sign of a little mind.

    This is your brain . . . this is your brain on 2K . . .

  51. P.L.M. says:

    btw, Sean, why I said “adult,” I meant adult *thinking* and not adult *behavior.* Focus on latter is pietistic, eeeeeevangelical, and not Reformed but pretentious. The former is definitely Reformed.

  52. sean says:

    P.L.M.,

    My sister tends to send me these kind of email’s where if you didn’t know her you’d assume she’s in a manic phase of a bi-polar episode. Man, if you’ve got the time, energy and interest to write entire treatises where you play the protagonist and caricature others as the antagonist in your internet dramas. It seems like you’ve got it all answered for ya. I figure since comboxes generally follow an article already posted, to contribute a whole lot more than passing comments or breezy conversational bits is to really overload the medium and make it perform a function it’s not really intended for, besides it seems rude to the person who took the time to write the article to hijack the thread and turn it toward your purposes. But hey, it’s the internet and besides the wanna be cops and school marmish hall monitors there are no official policemen out ‘enforcing’ a code of conduct. So, if your parents are willing to let you exercise your social demons in the basement on the internet….I guess you’re all good.

  53. RubeRad says:

    btw, Sean, why I said “adult,” I meant adult *thinking* and not adult *behavior.*

    Here’s what happens when you value adult behavior over the gospel…

    I’ve seen little reason to think Trueman is wrong, but plenty to suspect he’s right. Now, I admit that it’s harder to show that Stellman identified 2K with the gospel, for that’s a strong claim.

    For the flip side of Trueman’s accusation, it looks like Stellman is owning “closely identifying ecclesiology with soteriology“.

  54. sean says:

    Rube,

    Is that Miles McPherson of Calvary Chapel, Horizon Christian fellowship fame? Yowzers. Is that real?

  55. RubeRad says:

    (That’s what she said — when she saw Ron Jeremy)

    And yes. I’m thinking about taking my wife and three boys to that one. It looks really relevant. And then look out, if you really want to mix church with football, look where I get to go on Father’s Day!

  56. RubeRad says:

    Another datum:

    As a Catholic who used to have an affinity towards men like Bahnsen/Wilson/etc., and an aversion to WSC, I think the main point of Jason’s post is not really being responded to–that Jason’s pastorate in the PCA was not somehow inevitably doomed to end because of a “2K” leaning. This is false in terms of the sociological phenomenon that more former Presbyterians would not be fans of Kline, as judged by the background of most of us who are contributors to Called to Communion. Of greater importance and statistical significance is the fact that we as former Presbyterians know and understand that many of you who read this are “2K” Presbyterians, and many Christians such as Kline have departed from this life without departing from the Reformed Faith. And so, I would like to commend Jason for making a point which should be obvious, but does not seem to be so.

    In other words (I think), as is “obvious” to everyone, 2K is not a gateway to RC, but Theonomy/FV is (in the estimation of one of many who has traveled that gateway).

    Which still leaves open the option that (too) high ecclesiology is a gateway to RC, which does seem more plausible (and possibly confirmed by JJS’ latest post)

  57. P.L.M. says:

    Sheesh, I do you the honor of walking you by the hand and showing your how poorly you reason and how off base even your smarmy rhetoric is, and all you have for me is more cutesy putdowns? Talk about a teenage girl. Anyway, so I’ll assume you know you’ve been pwned and you have no substantive rejoinder. Gottcha. (Btw, it took me all of 8 minutes to write that response to you. When dealing with intellectual lightweights, one doesn’t expend much energy.)

  58. P.L.M. says:

    Yes, I *just* saw that! More confirmation of Trueman, I guess.

  59. P.L.M. says:

    I think it is obvious that neither 2K or theonomy is a “gateway” to RC. However, I get the suspicion that “gateway” means “statistically, there’s more former theonomists than neo-2Kers who became RC.” Aside from this being a horrendous argument, theonomy was around in the 60’s and 70’s, neo-2K at best mid- to late-nineties. So we’ll see how the statistics play out. If there’s some sort of *argument* that goes like this:

    1. Accepted theonomic premise
    2. Accepted theonomic premise

    n. Accepted theonomic premise
    ________
    C. Therefore, theonomy leads to RC

    But of course, no one has something like that. R.S. Clark tried valiantly, but as he and many will attest, I shot down his arguments both on the PuritanBoard and his defunct blog, to which his final reply was, “This is why I hate philosophy!” When you can’t beat ’em, hate ’em. (Btw, Zrim, how’s that for comportment?) Anyway, yes, Clark and others were forced to admit they had no case. The case was driven 100% by old grudges and a desire to link theonomy with “the bad” so as the “finally” win that long-standing debate.

  60. P.L.M. says:

    *neither . . nor

  61. sean says:

    P.L.M.,

    Based on the quality of your response, I was thinking you were off your meds on an Iphone in the car driving. Oh that’s right, you can’t drive. My bad. On the other hand, I’ve been out of Rome for 24 years now, so I’m all out of practice on the genuflecting and kissing the ring bit, but I’ll work on it.

  62. RubeRad says:

    Paul,

    See also my brief interactions on rabbi bret’s latest (search ironink for “tiber”). I agree with you there; yes it’s a statistical observation, not a logical argument (note in the quote above “sociological phenomenon”). Note also when I say “Theonomy/FV” I am simply reiterating the quotee’s lumping together of “Bahnsen/Wilson”.

    But yes, I agree it is not necessarily accurate to call Theonomy a gateway to RC. Rather Theonomy is a gateway to FV, and FV is a gateway to RC. But being a statistical observation, it’s all numbers; proportion X of FV goes to RC, proportion Y of Theonomy goes to FV, therefore proportion X*Y of Theonomy goes to FV. I maintain that X is statistically significant. And I affirm that it is not clear that X*Y is statistically significant, but at least it’s debatable. (And obviously X*Y is less than X, so Theonomy is less of a gateway to RC than FV is).

    But the real point is that if Z is the proportion of W2K that goes to RC, then Z (being approximately 1/N) is statistically insignificant. Stellman is an outlier, a.k.a. the exception that proves the rule.

  63. Zrim says:

    Third, most Christians *do* think that human depravity is “back of it all,” but “sin” or “human depravity” is a vague and abstract and unhelpful explanation. So what is going on is that people are citing what they take to be the way sin *manifested itself* in this or that particular case. The inability to apply abstract concepts to concrete cases is, also, I’m afraid, a sign of a little mind.

    PLM, so abiding sin as an explanation for the perplexing (because this development of Stellman’s is just that) is unhelpful as opposed to employing loads of mathematical stats and formula? So if we just follow the opposite formula, we should be able to circumvent sin? I know my mind is little, but the rush to figure out just how sin manifested itself in this particular case seems like a labyrinth out of which there is no hope of return, which is the way Calvin described trying to discern the secret will of God. Funny how the doctrine of sin can be quite comforting in the midst of those who find it unhelpful (did you really mean to say that? Yeow, for such a smart guy you’re not not much of a Calvinist).

    How about Stellman has given his fellow 2kers a black eye instead of drawing straight lines from his 2k to this?

  64. P.L.M. says:

    I see, still no substantive response, just more snark, smarm, and cutesy comebacks. Aren’t you tilting at windmills? All this back-n-forth stemming from your initial misread and overreaction to my comment. Wouldn’t admitting you overreacted and let your paranoia get the best of you be the most honorable thing to do? The 2K thing to do? Or do you suffer from a QIRC regarding all your “comebacks” and “refutations” and “corrections” of non-neo-2Kers?

  65. P.L.M. says:

    But Rube, if it’s simply correlation, then we’re really using improper language when we talk about ’causes’ or ‘implications’, i.e., ‘–>’, and gateways.

    Moreover, to actually be statistically significant, don’t you need the entire data set? Or at least a sufficiently large portion? Out of the total number of FVers, what percent has gone to Rome? How do we know we’re not dealing with outliers? You can’t speak of “proportions,” and you can’t justify an appeal to “statistical significance.”

    Again, with neo-2K, it’s too earlier to tell. Moreover, I already cited Lim. I could dig and find a couple more maybe. But, since we don’t have the totals, how do you know that 2 going to RC isn’t a larger percent of the total population?

  66. P.L.M. says:

    Zrim, first, please answer me this, it’s a serious question: Why do you constantly put words in the opposition’s mouth and then respond to it? That’s your M.O., homie, and it’s not very Reformed of you.

    I said an appeal to “sin” is unhelpful because it’s too vague and abstract. I mean, really, c’mon, dude. Suppose I broke my back and the doctor asked, “What explains that,” should I say, “sin?” No. That’s unhelpful. Yes, it’s a consequence of a fallen world, but it’s not a good explanation.

    In any case, you set up a straw man when you act as if I’m aiming for certainty (“mathematical formula”), but that’s too austere. In the real world, we can actually make *probability* judgments, we can make *inductive* inferences, we can make inferences *to the best explanation,* we can provide *cumulative cases*, etc. This is a problem with you 2kers, you think that if we don’t have either a mathematical proof or a Bible verse, then we can’t say anything.

    Of course, this isn’t “trying to discern the secret will of God.” That’s just something you inserted to try and pretend you have an actual “argument.” But of course, the Christian tradition is rich in examples of this. Read Proverbs, read the Psalms. I mean, for Pete’s sake, man, have you read your catechism? There’s a whole lot there on particular *sins*. You cite Calvin. Well, did Calvin just appeal to “sin” in the abstract? No. In some cases, he appealed to the specific sin of idolatry. That is, sin manifests itself in some situations via idolatry.

    In any event, as I explicitly have stated, neither I nor Trueman has “drawn a straight line from 2K to Stellman,” much as it would satisfy your little mind if that were what was said. Try putting your thinking cap on before responding.

  67. P.L.M. says:

    Rube, here’s what your “Data point” said:

    “Nevertheless, to the extent that fv and 2k point to a more holistic truth embodied by Catholicism, I would submit that both can lead one out of being reformed.”

    🙂

  68. Zrim says:

    But, PLM, human backs aren’t human hearts. Don’t you believe the Bible when it suggests the heart is deceitful and beyond cure? That’s the problem with you epistemologists, you say anybody who reads the Bible and takes it seriously has a little mind. One lesson in any case like this utter humility, as in there but for the grace of God go any of us. Does your big, bulgy epistemology make room for humility, or is it insults and chest thumping 24/7?

  69. P.L.M. says:

    Why would you ask if I believe the Bible when it suggests the heart is deceitful and beyond cure? (As an aside, it’s not beyond cure, ever heard of Jesus?) Of course, I never so much as suggested, let alone *said*, that “anyone who read the Bible and takes it seriously has a little mind.” You’re a liar, and that’s not very Reformed or “civil” or “becoming,” and definitely isn’t acting with “comportment.” You should know very well that I said you have a little mind because of the illogical leaps and assumptions you made. Did I say or imply the negation of “there but for the grace of God go I?” No. In fact, did you respond to anything I wrote? No. In fact, didn’t you make a claim that I directly refuted? Yes. Do you have anything other than lies, misrepresentations, and straw men? And quit fooling yourself, your quite full of insults yourself. Sure, you do it in a passive aggressive manner, but that’s one of the number one symptoms of a hostile person. The downside for you is, since you’ve given up reasoning and doing exegesis and other rational activities, *all you have* are insults, lies, misrepresentations, and tugging at heartstrings, as if you’re a sweat innocent kid who keeps getting swirlies from a bully. The unfortunate part for you is that the only thing you (think you) have is dogmatic appeals to the confession. When you finally get that the confession isn’t an argument or exegesis, maybe you’ll pull a Stellman. You are so allergic to proper reasoning, debating, and arguing, that the prospect of being able to cite an authoritative, thus-sayeth, like a papal decree, might just be too attractive to pass up.

  70. sean says:

    PLM,

    I’ll be honest, I give you exactly the kind of verbal backhanded response your behavior and boorishness merits. I’ve got much better things to do than give consideration to jerks on the internet. If you ever spoke to me in person in this manner, I’d punch you square in the mouth. So there you go. You ever feeling froggy enough, I’ll shoot you my email and we can see if we can arrange to settle our differences in a way that’s more amenable to your temper. Then maybe we can have a civil conversation

    Your Huckleberry.

  71. P.L.M. says:

    Where’s Zrim to condemn Sean’s comments like he does so many non-2Kers? Did any non-2Ker challenge Stellman or Hart &c. to a brawl? Zrim did a internet moral police blog on Doug Wilson saying ted Kennedy lived life badly, but at least Wilson didn’t write a blog saying he wanted to beat down Obama.

    Anywho, Sean, lol, whadda spaz, lol.

    Let’s walk you through everything.

    I made a comment not directed at you and it merely cited a point of interest.

    You then “corrected” me.

    I then pointed out that you overreacted and didn’t offer a relevant response to what I said.

    Since *all* you have is rhetoric and smarm and snark (considering your posts here, Oldlife, and Triablogue), I took the opportunity to tell you that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You went to your wheelhouse and tried to one-up me on smack talk. You clearly couldn’t. You didn’t know how to handle the situation, as you were losing the intellectual as well as the rhetorical war. As a final move of desperation, you challenged me to a fight. People who know me (including some Outhouse Sitters) are laughing at you. But I have no desire to fight you. That is in the past for me.

  72. sean says:

    PLM,

    As usual you flatter yourself, and I don’t really think it’s in the past for you. I think you’ve just found another mask in internet blogging for your aggression. That’s O.K. You just don’t enjoy being unmasked. All I give you is smarm and snark and rhetoric because that’s all your engagement merits. Actually, I don’t remember ever commenting at Triablogue but that’s irrelevant. I engage you how I do, because some guys never truly get beyond 6th grade recess, and you do what you have to do. Is it really necessary to have to go through the process of taking you at face value to get to where I know your headed, I think not. I’m all for the shortcut on this issue. I like the huckleberry line, it’s not mine but it fits your antagonism. Now you can go hide behind your supposed offense and call the teacher. Would it be more appropriate if I just called you a troll. Look I’m willing to bet the Bayly’s would sanction the throwdown, we could plead presbyterian manliness and we’re just emphasizing the biblical gender distinction. I’m trying to save a bunch of time here.

  73. P.L.M. says:

    Sean, I said physical fighting is in the past for me, which does not logically entail that other kinds of fighting are in the past for me. So, try to make simple connections. (And I don’t flatter myself.)

    Next, consider how I interact with 2Kers here like Rube and Jed. Now, why would I interact differently with you and Zrim?

    Next, it’s not “aggression,” it’s more a-holishness.

    Next, you write, “I give you smarm and snark and rhetoric because that’s all your engagement merits,” and “I engage you how I do, because some guys never truly get beyond 6th grade recess, and you do what you have to do,” but then you say, “I’ve got much better things to do than give consideration to jerks on the internet.” Lulz.

    Next, you don’t know where I’m headed and you still can’t explain or justify your initial comment to me that totally misread what I said and overreacted. Also, we *still* haven’t got a substantive comment from your or a rebuttal to any serious point I made. You don’t “know where I’m headed,” and it’s stupid to claim I was headed toward saying FV isn’t a gateway to RC. If you *don’t* think that’s where I was headed, what explains the comment? You were supposed to be cutting to the chase. You keep trying to spin the facts and you keep losing.

    You wrote, ” like the huckleberry line, it’s not mine . . .” I know, it’s Doc Holliday’s from the movie, Tombstone.

    You wrote, “Now you can go hide behind your supposed offense and call the teacher.” Again: (a) I’ve seen you elsewhere and interacted with you elsewhere. I’ve seen how you treat virtually all non-2Kers, especially at Hart’s blog. You are a punk, so I engaged accordingly. And (b) I didn’t call a teacher, I used the occasion to take a swipe at Zrim. You keep losing. You keep swinging and missing.

    Anyway, since you probably have family that cares about you, there won’t be a fight. I know it’s hard for you to handle, but you’d lose that war too.

  74. P.L.M. says:

    Sean, since you refuse to make a substantive comment or retract your off-topic comments that I proved were unresponsive, and since I won the smack talk war, and since we’re not going to fight, this convos over. Go sulk in a corner.

  75. sean says:

    See, that wasn’t such a long walk Paul. There you are.

  76. P.L.M. says:

    While I’m wearing a mask, and so are my kids, here’s who Sean wants to brawl with.

  77. jedpaschall says:

    Jeff,

    Yes indeed, or Pascal: “The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing.”

    Or one of my dear college friends: “People believe what they want and make up reasons afterwards.”

    As usual, you bring a lot of wisdom and grace to these conversation. Generally this is where I was going with my argument regarding Trueman’s guesswork when it comes to Stellman: there’s just no way we can know what imbalances in his theology lead to his change. Maybe, he doesn’t know – we do believe in a thing called depravity. It’s conceivable that he even could have been theologically well balanced, and still ended up taking the bait. Anyone who thinks he isn’t prone to deception, is kidding himself. He certainly has a clear grasp on what the Reformed confessions affirm. I think it is somewhat unfortunate that this is being laid at the door of not only 2k, but confessionalism, since we all strive to uphold our confessional standards as an accurate summary of biblical doctrine. Are we somehow to be less convinced of the value and truth of our Confessions, lest they lead to Rome? That seems a lot like cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face to me.

  78. Zrim says:

    I think it is somewhat unfortunate that this is being laid at the door of not only 2k, but confessionalism, since we all strive to uphold our confessional standards as an accurate summary of biblical doctrine. Are we somehow to be less convinced of the value and truth of our Confessions, lest they lead to Rome?

    Jed, but it’s also the churchless eeeevangelical charge, namely that a latent Roman Catholicism belies Protestant confessionalism. This is the precariousness of being confessionally Protestant: the Biblicists mistake us for being latently Catholic, and the Catholics for being a brand of Biblicists.

  79. johnyeazel says:

    I have scanned through the posts and have noticed that no one is interacting with Jason’s book Dual Citizen’s. I believe I made a post on this site 2 or 3 years ago, after I read his book, and expressed my problems with it- especially in how he interpreted Luther’s theology of the cross, among other things (the chapter in question was the 12th-“Bridging the Gap-The Cross, the Spirit and the Glory to Come”). He also drew a lot from Doug Moo’s commentary on Romans in that chapter. I took a Sunday school class from Doug Moo (on the book of Romans) when I was going to College Church on the Wheaton College campus. I was then considering becoming a member of the church. This was back in 2004, or sometime close to that. Doug Moo has a problem with imputation which makes him interpret Romans 6 and Romans 7 in ways that made me scratch my head a lot. His class was excellent, and I got a lot out of it, but I just did not get how he came to his conclusions about Romans 5, 6 and 7. I think it has something to do with how the Spirit is supposed to apply the work of Christ to us subjectively that causes a lot of confusion in how we interpret Romans. But that just brings us back to the union with Christ debates that have been going on at oldlife for about 4 or 5 years now. The problem stems from what justification of the ungodly means. Does the Spirit apply the work of Christ and renew us subjectively before justification or after justification? Jeff Cagle and Mark McCulley argued about this for a long time at the old life site. I think this is one of the keys in understanding why Jason had his problems with sola fide along with some ecclesiology issues which were more related to sola scriptura. That is my two cents worth anyway.

  80. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    P.L.M.: “You internet warrior 2kers are something else. You guys can’t be this blind to your hypocrisy. Is this a joke? Where’s the hidden camera?”

    FWIW, P.L.M. has written a post elaborating upon this observation:

    Neo-2Kers Confound.

  81. RubeRad says:

    When I say “statistically significant”, I do actually mean to imply that the statement “FV is a gateway to Rome” is based on a sufficiently large sample. Of course, no such study has been done; I am working on the basis of common knowledge of many such cases, which themselves identify FV as instrumental in their conversion to Rome. And no I don’t have a list, and no I don’t want to make a list, maybe Called to Confusion would like to conduct a poll?

    As for Joshua Lim, I’m not granting him a 2K–>RC badge, or even necessarily a WSCAL–>RC badge. I’ve only skimmed his article, but when he says things like “by the time I entered seminary, I was somewhat disillusioned by Protestantism as well as Christianity,” that makes me think he never really drank the Westminster Kool-Aid.

    Mmmm, Berry Berry Reformed. Delicious!

  82. RubeRad says:

    Yes, I saw that. That sentence didn’t make a lot of sense to me. First off, there’s “to the extent that”, so if there is limited extent, the statement becomes void. I think it is clear that FV has something (I can’t call it holistic truth, of course) that is embodied by Catholicism, but I don’t see 2K as something that (a) the Reformation doesn’t have, nor (b) the Catholic church has more of.

  83. P.L.M. says:

    I grant I cannot refute no true scotsmen fallacies. 🙂

    Anyway, not much I can say other than to cry bad math foul.

  84. RubeRad says:

    How about if the alleged scotsman tells you he’s actually American by birth, went to school in Edinburgh for a while, but eventually settled in Rome?

  85. dgh says:

    PLM, speaking of putting words in other people’s mouths, you wrote: “this again puts the lie to Darryl Hart’s romanticism about memorizing the confession and catechism as a prophylactic against apostasy.” Where in hades or on earth did I ever claim that?

    You get a lot of mileage out of saying that 2kers do exactly what Trueman does. So? Everyone actually links ideas to consequences. Sometimes those links are plausible, and sometimes they are not.

    In case you missed it — my hands making links are tied behind my back — 2kers are saying that Trueman’s link is not persuasive. It is even irresponsible, especially since Trueman himself affirms 2k.

  86. justsinner99 says:

    If you met Paul, I doubt that you would decide to pick a fight (of the physical altercation variety) with him. Just saying.

    Quoting “Tombstone”, on the other hand, might actually ingratiate you to him. 🙂

  87. sean says:

    Oh, I’m sure your right. I’m not what I once was physically, and I’ve been on the receiving and giving side of the equation for sure. I don’t have the luxury to back up much or receive much however, so, I’m not in the habit of doing so. Mainly what I was trying to pull out of P.L.M. was this;

    “Next, consider how I interact with 2Kers here like Rube and Jed. Now, why would I interact differently with you and Zrim?

    Next, it’s not “aggression,” it’s more a-holishness.”

    Regardless, anyone can bluster on the internet and it’s says little of me that I did so. Zrim has my email. If anyone, P.L.M. included, has an interest in engaging with me about it, they’re welcome.

  88. P.L.M. says:

    Darryl, maybe this will jog your memory:

    You were railing (as usual) against Christian philosophy and apologetics. I said churches should periodically teach apologetics courses for Sunday School classes. You said you’d be happy it all Sunday school classes were on the confession and catechisms. You then said my desire to implement apologetics Sunday school classes as part of the curriculum “denied perseverance of the saints.” That was a *reason* (such as it is, for you) *against* having apologetics classes for a Sunday school block. Since you think we *should* have Sunday school classes on the Confession and catechisms, then I reasonably infer that you believe they’re *not* inconsistent with perseverance and, in fact, somehow causally connected to it. It was that or assume you were irrational and arbitrary in your dismissal of apologetics given you believed the same *reason* for *not* teaching apologetics applied to teaching the Confession and catechism too. I went with the charitable route. Would you rather I drop the claim that you think pounding the Confession and Catechism into noggins is a prophylactic and instead opted for the irrational and arbitrary explanation? Your choice.

  89. P.L.M. says:

    Thanks, Andy. Sean’s a daisy if he does 🙂

    Sean, so did you figure out why things go different between me and some and not others? Consider: you came in with braggadocio and, in all caps, “corrected” me. I pointed out your response had nothing to do with what I said and missed the point, rather badly. You persisted in your ignorance, refused to admit you overreacted, and repeatedly tried to defend your initial tangential response by saying things like, “I’m just upset you’re not buying into some false pretension about some ‘agenda’ I have, and you’re wise enough to see through it and into some nefarious plan I have.” You admitted you use smark, smarm, and rhetoric, from the get-go, with “people like me.” So, really, does it need to be a Final Jeopardy question about why you were on the receiving end of my tongue skills? You say “anyone can bluster on the internet, and it says little of you that you did so.” I’m not sure you keep track of what you say. Are you a used car salesman? You said that kind of “blustering” is your M.O. with “people like me.” That’s your go-to method of response. I knew you’d unravel given what I’ve seen from you, and you did, sinking to the low of challenging me to meat you at the bike racks at 3:00 pm. I should admit, it wasn’t really fair. I knew your weakness and exploited it. 😉 See, told you I am an ass.

    Seriously, though, here’s a hint: Perhaps next time just make your response apropos and don’t get into a smack talk war with an Italian. If you follow those rules, we’ll get along famously! 🙂

  90. dgh says:

    Paul, so you’re PLM? Are you off your meds again? I asked where I said this. I didn’t ask for you to paraphrase me. But thanks for doing all the hard work of finding your comment. Always great doing business with you.

    BTW, when are you going to stay with one blog and one on-line identity?

  91. P.L.M. says:

    You said it at Old Life, which I can’t access for some reason, says the site is down. But you remember, for you said it. And, I’ve quoted you saying it in various comments’ sections at your blog, at least 10 times, and provided the link, and you never corrected me.

    Btw, every time you respond to me you ask if I’m off my meds again. But if I’m always off my meds every time I comment, and you’ve never once pointed to a comment where I’m “on my meds,” then the phrase is utterly meaningless. Anyway, I see you have your bow tie tied to tight, again. Psst, the brain needs oxygen in order to think well.

    Speaking of online identities, when are you going to change yours to “Durrr Hart?” Now I better duck and cover before the 2K groupies attack me for picking on one of 2K’s celubutards.

  92. RubeRad says:

    I haven’t read it, and now I don’t want to. Before, I would have liked to read it and would have expected to learn from it, but now I wouldn’t be able to read it without it turning into a game of “Where’s Waldo” looking for the pope behind every bush.

  93. John Yeazel says:

    At root the issue is still an issue of imputation vrs infusion but it has moved to sanctification instead of justification only- especially those who advocate a belief in progressive sanctification. Try comparing and contrasting the following two differing perspectives of sanctification. I will also add a post from Juno Linebaugh who interprets Luther’s beliefs on the uses of the Law differently than some others have. I think that has implications for how we interpret sanctification too: I might not be able to link all three articles in this one post.

    I think it is worthwhile to try to figure out why Stellman resigned. He claims to have agonized over his decision for a long time-even consulting with many whom he respected as mentors. Personally, I hope he stays in dialog with some Protestants to explain in a bit more detail his reasons for leaving. I highly doubt if that will happen though.

    Here are the links for anyone interested:

    http://wscal.edu/blog/entry/3856

    http://treadinggrain.com/2010/guest-blogger-john-zahl/

  94. John Yeazel says:

    That Linebaugh article did not link right, here it is. I hope someone can delete that last link because it went into my personal email:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2011/09/12/luther-on-law

  95. sean says:

    ACTUALLY P.L.M.,

    The caps were simply a result of having left the caps button on, and not bothering to go back and correct it. Nothing was meant by it. Regardless, you weren’t engaging in your A**holishness because I capped ‘actually’. You mentioned observing my engagements with non 2kers elsewhere(which is a bit creepy and disconcerting, though maybe par for the course for you) in the blogosphere, including on Triablogue(which if I ever did was certainly not more than once and would’ve have been a very long time ago, and I honestly have no remembrance of it), and as a result were convinced you had contracted Montezuma’s revenge from these encounters and hit the door spraying all over the walls, and without your own roll no less, and all I did was fart in your general direction. Others, including myself have suggested that taking your meds would go a long way to aiding your discomfort and I can only reiterate that same sage advice.

    “I’m just upset you’re not buying into some false pretension about some ‘agenda’ I have, and you’re wise enough to see through it and into some nefarious plan I have.”

    This I’m not tracking with at all, I never said it.

    My M.O. is not to give verbal backhands from the get go at all, but I will on occassion if someone is just relentless in being a jack***, which you already admitted was your intention all along. So, that bore the fruit you were looking for., kudos to you, I guess.

    I am guilty of getting my ‘Irish up’ a bit from time to time, so, mea culpa.

  96. RubeRad says:

    Done. And I’m guessing that link only went into your personal email if clicked from your computer (from the browser where you had a password-authenticated session going on)

  97. Zrim says:

    As long as we’re picking out what is least liked in Stellman and drawing straight lines from it to his fumble, I will pick his sympathies for social and political activism. I would have predicted that this would result in his going back to religious revivalism, since what animates it is also what animates political activism. But that’s ok, because I can simply breeze over the complications surely involved and blurt out that the Radical Reformation and Rome were the two battlefronts of the Protestant Reformation that are more like each other than either would be willing to admit. So there’s just an extra dot to bring into the final, uncharitable picture and I can put the blame squarely on what I don’t like.

    Now all I need is a revivalist to warn of the dangers of elevating experience over Scripture. (Is Trueman to high-church Calvinism what Ian Murray is to revivalist Calvinism?)

  98. jedpaschall says:

    Zrim,

    Wrong again buddy, I say it was the robes.

    Robes ————————–> Rome

    Need I say more?

  99. Zrim says:

    Jed, you don’t like robes? Revivalist. But with his disdain for him, why didn’t Trueman just pick Bono? He wouldn’t have been any less puzzling, plus he could have avoided giving fellow 2kers even blacker eyes than Stellman did.

  100. Adam says:

    Not you too, Zrim? Though it’s possible that his leftist tendencies had an influence on his cartographic confusion, it’s probably unlikely. Sure, I might be a little invested in that, I fully intend to maintain the tension that should exist as a confessionalist (somewhat pejorative these days, huh) and a socially minded individual.

  101. Zrim says:

    Adam, my tongue was plunged so deeply into my cheek I may have been misunderstood. I’m suggesting that those anti-2kers who are relishing Trueman’s misguided piece seem to be simply faulting what they don’t like about Stellman. His 2k had as much to do with it as his activism, which is exactly nothing. It’s all about as silly as attributing his unfortunate development to his unfortunate facial hair.

  102. Adam says:

    Zrim, I thought so, thus the feigned incredulity. But one can never be quite so certain these days. Yet now that we have that cleared up I shall never doubt thee again. You are the leader of the underground after all. Hahaha.

  103. justsinner99 says:

    Your use of Latin could easily inspire another “Tombstone” quote from Paul. j/k 😉

  104. sean says:

    ACTUALLY Andy,

    The whole conversation is a ruse, I’m rushing the Bayly blog and there is both a gender differentiation requirement and a squeamish threshold and I’m trying to knock them both out at the same time. Wish me luck

  105. justsinner99 says:

    You’re a daisy if you do!

    OK, that’s the last quote, honest.

  106. Trueman: “Having said this, however, there is a breed of Christian out there for whom the doctrine of the church and 2K are all they ever seem to talk about. … The tendency to make our issues — of which ecclesiology and 2K are just two examples — into the gospel is always a danger. … When we identify the church with the gospel, it would seem to me that Rome is the natural outcome, since, for Rome, the church is, in effect, the gospel.”

    Jason Stellman: “And make no mistake, the Catholic Church is disruptive. It is audacious and confrontational, sucker-punching and line-in-the-sand drawing. … In a word, I fought the Church, and the Church won.”

  107. Zrim says:

    TUAD, huh? But if you’d bother to pay attention to Stellman’s own words, sola scriptura is what unraveled for him. And it seems to me that once the formal principle of the Reformation goes then Rome seems like a very natural outcome. How 2k feeds into it is still a mystery. Maybe take the man’s own words instead of a doctrine you want to demonize.

  108. Escondido 2Ker Jason Stellman: “In a word, I fought the Church, and the Church won.”

    Yep. The Roman Catholic Church definitely whupped on Escondido 2K.

    Stellman looked at the claims of the RCC and his convictions on Escondido 2K, and the claims of the RCC won. Stellman (de facto): “Goodbye Escondido 2K.”

  109. Zrim says:

    No, he looked at Catholic claims and the two principles of the Protestant Reformation (sola scriptura and sola fide) and the former swallowed up the latter. For my own part, I don’t see his 2k surviving the long haul either.

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