Transcendence — Objective and Otherwise

What are the implications for rejecting Objective Transcendence?

1.) The Elimination of the Creator-creature distinction

As transcendence is an inescapable category when we drop Objective Transcendence the only place left to lodge Transcendence is in man the creature. Man the creature thus becomes, functionally, man the Creator fully vested with Transcendence. God has been swallowed in anthropology.
2.) We make a “subjective” Objective and measure all by that

God alone is our absolute Objective. If God is no longer accepted as Transcendent then subjective man will provide the subjective Objective Transcendent and all will be brought before the bar of man to determine its usefulness, truthfulness, and legitimacy.

3.) We eliminate mediating Institutions

If there is no objectively Objective Transcendence none of our mediating Institutions can properly reflect Transcendence. This means family, Church, guilds, Associations, Schools all begin to lose their authority as the authority they were dependent upon is eclipsed.

This in turn leaves us naked against whatever subjective we have transferred Transcendence to — most commonly the State. No mediating Institution can stand against the new creaturely (subjective) Transcendence.

4.) Absolute Authority is vested in the New subjective Objective Transcendent (i.e. The State).

This explains, at least in part, why in the old USSR the early revolutionaries when falsely accused during the Stalin show trials refused to defend themselves. Those early revolutionaries had made the Soviet Communist State their God and if their God said they were guilty of crimes against the State then they were guilty of crimes against the State. One does not argue with one’s Transcendence.

5.) The Elimination of all justification for true Moral authority.

If there is no true Transcendence than no appeal beyond the subjective Objective Transcendent is allowed. All moral authority is creaturely authority. This of course births relativism in ethics. The Marquis de Sade becomes the norm.

6.) Man is absolutized, either in his individualistic expression or in his collectivist expression. Man is the new subjective objective Transcendent.

Eulogy Margaret Donna Lombardi

In the Psalms we discover a genre called, “Recital theology.” This genre finds the Psalmist reciting to himself and to the assembly the past riches of God’s favor, kindness, and covenant faithfulness. Part of the purpose of these Psalms was to hardwire in God’s people future confidence in God and His ability to provide in the midst of difficulties and trials.

Listen to a snippet of this recital theology,

136 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. 6 To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.  10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever: 11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

As believers in Christ, all God’s people should have their own recital theology. A personal theology that recites the way God has kept His promises thus

1.) glorifying God for His covenant faithfulness,
2.) reminding us of our dependence upon Him,
3.) and giving us a holy moxie for the future.

Donna … Mom had her recital theology and she took joy in reciting it.  She recited how the Lord Christ had provided Witham eggs for meals when they first arrived in Lewiston Auburn when the family budget was tight.

136 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

She recited how the Lord Christ constantly made provision for the fledgling newly opened Church and their new Pastor and wife.

136 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

She recited how the Lord Christ provided for her and Dad after they retired from South Lewiston by opening up Ministry opportunities unexpectedly in both Canada and at Gibbs Mill.

136 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

She saw God’s remarkable providence and so recited how the Lord Christ opened the way for Dad to find a slot at Marshwood.

136 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

She saw the Lord Christ’s hand of providence everywhere and witnessing God’s faithfulness she responded by God’s grace alone by being faithful.

One of the ways she exhibited her faithfulness was by reciting God’s faithfulness.

She kept God’s faithfulness before her. We will be singing a few of Donna’s favorite hymns that are soused with lyrics that testify to God’s Faithfulness,

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.


  1. Every joy or trial falleth from above,
    Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
    We may trust Him fully, all for us to do;
    They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.————-All of the way my Savior leads me
    And He cheers each winding path I tread
    Gives me strength for every trial
    And He feeds me with the living bread
    And though my weary steps may falter
    And my soul a-thirst may be
    Gushing from a rock before me
    Though a spirit joy I see

    We might also mention also the Titus 2 dynamic Donna personified so well,

    Paul writing to Timothy,

Titus 2:2 But speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine:  … that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed

Clearly, the premise here is the idea that normatively, and possible exceptions notwithstanding God’s revelation teaches the idea of gender roles. There is such a thing as Biblical manhood and Biblical womanhood.

Donna Lombardi embodied this concept found in Titus 2 of Biblical feminity. She wasn’t afflicted with the modern muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.

Her husband in 2010 eulogized her for this Titus 2 virtue. In a letter to her, Tony quoted Proverbs 31:28-29

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously but thou excellest them all 

And then penned these words to his wife,

“Those verses give you the combined feelings of Mark, Jane, and John plus mine. They reveal how you raised them pouring your life into their upbringing. You could have insisted on going out to work, but you didn’t. Never have I heard them say anything negative about the way you raised them. You were always there when they needed you.”


Donna … Mom, was a Pastor’s wife during a time when Christian wives more often than not properly embraced the reality that their role was to be a helpmeet to their husbands, most commonly working in the background so that the ministry of Christ could go forward.

D0nna didn’t seek the limelight. She was too busy putting together the evening treats for the company who would be invited by her husband every Sunday after evening service, or turning down the beds and tidying up the rooms that the visiting missionaries would be staying in for the annual Missionary conference.

Donna shaped as she was by the Titus 2 ethic found in God’s assigned role for her the ability to find in her kitchen a sanctuary… In a well-set table, she was able to glorify God… In tending to her children she discovered God’s sanctification and in pleasing her husband she was adorned with Holiness.

Tony saw this in his wife and thanked her for it in 1980 writing, 

“I appreciate you in all the hard work you do in an out of the house. In the home, I appreciate the neat cupboard, the clean clothes kept nicely separated in the drawers, clean dishes, fresh bedding, clean clothes to wear, your excellent cooking, and maintaining the house to look and feel like a home. 

I also appreciate your spiritual sensitivity and your desire to nurture and see the children mature spiritually. God has given you the gift of counseling, especially to girls and (young) women.

Donna didn’t seek to be the main attraction. She was too busy practicing piano for Sunday Church service or too busy watching the littles in the nursery during Church, or too busy typing up the bulletin for Sunday Church services.

Jane’s Mom didn’t seek the limelight. She was too busy cooking meals or cleaning the scrapes and bruises of her own congregation consisting of Mark, Jane, and John. Humility was a watchword and she was ever vigilant in practicing humility so that her husband might better be Christ’s voice to the congregation.

But make no mistake about it… there would have been no Pastor Lombardi doing the work of the ministry of Christ at South Lewiston Baptist Church if there had not been a Donna Lombardi doing the work of the ministry of Christ spending her time being conversant with humility. She was an example of the woman being made for the man (I Cor. 11:9).

She kept a well-run home. Everything had a place and there was a place for everything. As I dance with my memories in the future of the Lombardi home I will always remember a home that was clean, uncluttered, and peaceful. For those with a literary bent, the Lombardi home was Rivendell.

She was not only a faithful mother but a faithful daughter and daughter-in-law as well. She doted on her Father when in his later years he would come to visit seeking to do all she could to make him comfortable. Several times a week she would be on the phone with her mother checking in on her. Then doing that again when the generational clock turned so checking in on her children. She loved Tony’s family as her own and demonstrated that by involving herself in their lives.

Wife, Mother, Grandmother, daughter, sister… these things seem so common to our ears but in an age where we find family disintegrating all around us isn’t it a pleasure to hear of a time and a person who prioritized God’s priority?

Walk into any of the living spaces of her home and there you will find photos of her husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, as well as parents, nieces, and nephews.

 In some places, they call this “Old-School.” I just call it Biblical feminity. There was nothing flashy or inspiring about it all until you took the time to see what you thought you were seeing but had missed seeing… In St. Peter’s words what you were seeing was the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.

What she wanted most for her family was what any Christian mother wants for her family and that is that they would know the surpassing riches of God’s grace, as demonstrated to us by His kindness in Christ Jesus.  Like any Mother, she wanted all her family present when the circle is finally unbroken.

She didn’t walk on water. Like us all, she had her moments when the ministry got the best of her.  As Luther said in describing all Christians, she was at the same time sinner, at the same time saint. That being true could I pour a little Donna Lombardi in our womenfolk and wives in the West today I would pour liberally.

To God be all the Glory,


God of the generations, now that you in your infinite wisdom have gathered to yourself another of the aged saints we pray that we remaining would find ourselves faithful in light of your faithfulness to us in Christ. Grant us your favor to walk in light of your reality. May the glory of your majesty weigh heavy upon us so shaping us to be your people. Be pleased to teach us to think as Christians and to be your witnesses to those who only know the trinkets of this present age. By thy faithfulness and by thy Spirit grant us your grace to be faithful to the very end until you summon us to your presence.

In Christ’s name,

Family Member Funeral Closing Prayer

God of the ages … God of the living and of those who are alive in Christ we thank you for your sovereignty in the giving of life and your sovereignty in the taking of life. We thank you that because of the finished work of Jesus Christ that those whose lives you take are taken to the end of resting from their work you set them apart for awhile in this life.

We thank you, Father, that the sting of death does not have the final word but that because of Christ’s resurrection we have the certainty that we will be gathered again with the saints who have gone before and who now live in your presence.

We thank you for the Gospel — the promises of God — wherein the penalty of our sin was borne by Christ thereby ensuring the promise of your acceptance of us for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Surety.

We thank you for the life and times of Karen. We thank you for how she fulfilled your purposes. We thank you for the gift she was to her parents upon her birth. We thank you for the blessing she was to Tommy and all of her family through the decades. We thank you that in your infinite wisdom you have gathered her to yourself and all the saints. We thank you for the promise that a time is coming when the circle shall be unbroken.

We ask now for your comfort for Tommy and for the whole family. Grant us grace to grieve, but not to grieve as those without hope. Be pleased to remind us all Father that our times are in your hands and that when those times have come to an end you call blessed those who die in the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

We ask that you would sustain those who are most wounded by Karen’s passing and that you would open before them the doors wherein they should walk in the future. Give them hope Father. Grant them your peace that passes all understanding. Given them wisdom for the days ahead.

We thank you for our undoubted catholic Christian faith which doubles our time of joy and braces us to continue on in times of sorrow.

In our majestic Lord Christ’s name, we pray,


I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends … Is Your Mama A Llama

This post is from a friend of mine. It is a new politically correct rendition of “Is Your Mama a Llama.” This is a children’s book which I remember reading to my children when they were wee ones. What follows is from Mickey Henry,


This morning, I overheard my wife reading “Is Your Mama a Llama?” to Christian, and it occurred to me how very offensive it would be to postmodern sensibilities if the author had used people rather than anthropomorphized animals as the topic. So I thought I’d write an abbreviated version appropriate for postmoderns:

“Is Your Mama a Llama?” for Postmoderns

“Is your mama a llama?” I asked my friend Dave.
“It’s really hard to say.” is the answer Dave gave.
“She was born to parents who identified as bats.
But she could easily choose to be a rat or a cat.”
“Oh,” I said. “You are right about it all.
I think that your mama sounds more like a…
species-fluid animal!”

“Is your mama a llama?” I asked my friend Fred.
“I’m not sure how to answer.” is what Freddy said.
“My mama’s become my daddy, at least in his head.
If you question his transition you’ll wish you were dead.”
“Oh,” I said. “You needn’t assail,
I think that your mama must actually be…

“Is your mama a llama?” I asked my friend Jane.
“Yes, no, and everything else.” Jane curtly explained.
“Kind-after-kind is a foolish old Biblical notion.
Adjust your thinking and your rigid devotion.”
“Oh,” I said. “I need worldview destruction,
because I mistook your mama for a…

Was Judas Predestined to Betray Christ? … Answering a Pastor’s Objection

“Things Jesus never said:
Judas, I wanted to let you know that my Father has predestined you to betray me, so it’s really not your fault.”
Rev. Duncan Bryant
Bret responds,
 This statement was made tongue in cheek but I thought I would answer it as if someone really did believe that because Judas was predestined to betray Christ therefore he it was really not his fault.
Turning to the matter at hand we know from Scripture that the final days of the life of Jesus on earth were foreordained to include the betrayal of Judas, just as were the cross and resurrection (Mark 14:17-21; Acts 1:16 and Psalm 109:5-8).
17 And in the evening He came with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, one of you who eateth with Me shall betray Me.” 19 And they began to be sorrowful and to say unto Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?” 20 And He answered and said unto them, “It is one of the twelve that dippeth with Me in the dish. 21 The Son of Man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born.”
Jesus went as it was written and every detail that led Jesus to the Cross was planned as well. Judas’ role was understood as ordained as seen by Peter’s words in Acts 1,
16 “Men and brethren, it was necessary that this Scripture be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas, who was the guide to those who took Jesus.
In Psalm 109 Luther found Messianic material touching on Judas’ role. The heading given for the contents of this inspired poem is in a modern Luther’s German Bible: “Prophecy Concerning Judas and the Unfaithfulness against Christ by the Jews, and Their Curse.” Luther in a collection entitled: “The Four Psalms of Comfort,” dedicated to Queen Mary of Hungary, in the beginning of his exposition of this Psalm wrote: “David composed this psalm about Christ, who speaks the entire psalm in the first person against Judas, his betrayer, and against Judaism as a whole, describing their ultimate fate. In Acts 1:20 Peter applied this Psalm to Judas when they were selecting Matthias to replace him.” So, even though Rev. Bryant as a Pastor doesn’t see God’s plan in Judas’ work, Rev. Martin Luther saw God’s plan in Judas’ work.
Clearly, if Luther is right that the Psalmist speaks of Judas as the betrayer then what else can we conclude that God determined for Judas to betray Jesus? Both Jesus and Peter, as well as the Psalmist, in the above passages, verify that Judas was specifically chosen for the job of betrayal. Following Scripture then we rightly insist that Judas was predestined, called, elected, and/or chosen to betray Jesus.
And of course, we can’t forget Peter’s sermon,
Acts 2:23 He (Jesus) was handed over by God’s set plan and foreknowledge, and you, by the hands of the lawless, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross.
Now it beggars the imagination that God planned the actual crucifixion of Christ without planning every particular moment to that end including Judas’ betrayal. If I plan an omelet I also must plan to break eggs. If God planned to hand over His Son then God planned the means by which the Son was to be handed over. So, Judas had no free will. However, this does not mean Judas had no choice in the matter.
The Westminster Confession teaches regarding causation,
ii. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
A “second cause” is simply “a cause caused by something else.” This expression is used in theology to distinguish between God as the ultimate cause of everything that comes to pass and the myriad smaller causes we see at work in the world. If I drop a cup of water gravity is the secondary cause that causes it to fall, but God is the one who causes gravity. He is the primary cause.
Judas was a secondary cause of Christ’s crucifixion. As a secondary cause, Judas did what he desired to do because of his fallen human nature. But behind Judas’ free choice was the God who ordains all things to come to pass. We certainly don’t believe that when Judas betrayed Christ, the Father said to Himself, “WOW, I did not see that coming,?” or, “Well, that wasn’t in the plan but I’ll work around it somehow.” Only a free will theist “reasons” that way.
Next, we would say that Judas was responsible (at fault) simply because God held Judas responsible. God is the creator and by being the creator all are responsible to Him simply because He holds them responsible. Can Judas say to the creator, “Why did you make me this way?”
So, we know, from Scripture that the eternal predestinating God did ordain Judas to betray Christ and that Judas remained responsible for this betrayal. All of this is why Scripture could call Judas, “The Son of perdition.”
This title of Judas (John 17:2), which he shares in Scripture with the Anti-Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:3) is a well known Hebrew idiom whereby someone who embodies a trait or characteristic or destiny is called the son of that trait, character or destiny. The name “Son of perdition,” as applied to both Judas and the antichrist represents them both as given over irrecoverably and totally to the final perdition; and this from the foundations of time since it was God’s destiny for them. A destiny they very much freely chose.
God predestined Judas from his conception to his hanging himself inclusive of his betrayal of Christ. To believe otherwise introduces us to a non omnipotent God and a completely different definition at all points of the Christian faith.