How to React to a “Conversion” to Rome

Jason Stellman has tendered his resignation to his church and to the PCA. I learned about this late last week while at Review of Presbytery Records. I immediately began to email him begging him not to leave. Just today I read his post and the comments that have been posted there. Folks, how can I impress upon you the importance of honey and not vinegar at a time like this? Do you really think you can prevent him from swimming the Tiber by alienating him? PRAY FOR HIM, I beg you. Yes, I have to admit that I feel as though I’ve been kicked in the solar plexus, and am still trying to get air into my lungs. But it is sorrow and love in my heart that feels this way, not spite and anger. Be angry if you wish, readers, but please do not direct that anger towards Jason. It will not help matters one whit. Instead, join me in interceding with our all-powerful God in heaven for his soul, and for his family.

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The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians

This epistle, like the others of Ignatius, exist in two editions, a longer and a shorter. We will be looking primarily at the shorter. There are three English translations available on the web: Roberts-Donaldson, Lightfoot, and Hoole. CCEL has a beautiful Greek font edition of the letter. And the PG link is here (the letter in question starts on column 673).

An outline of the epistle can go as follows: I. Beneficent greeting (1); II. Honor the officers of the church (2-3); III. Warning against the Docetists (4-11); IV. Final Exhortations and Greetings (12-13).

There are some very interesting things to note in this letter: Presbyterianism can find historical support in chapter 2: “It is therefor necessary that, as ye indeed do, so without the bishop ye should do nothing, but should also be subject to the presbytery, as to the apostle of Jesus Christ.” Note also the strong emphasis that Ignatius places on the diaconate: “the deacons, as being [the ministers] of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, should in every respect be pleasing to all. For they are not ministers of meat and drink, but servants of the Church of God. They are bound, therefore, to avoid all grounds of accusation [against them], as they would do fire. 3. In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ, who is the son of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrim of God, and assembly of the apostles. Apart from these, there is no church” (chapters 2-3).

There is no doubt that the meat of the epistle has to do with Docetism, a heresy that believed that Jesus only appeared to be human, and wasn’t actually human. Therefore, Ignatius spends a great deal of time (chapters 9-10) propounding the reality of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.