God & Law & Social Order

“So as sick & disgusting as bestiality is, I’m not going to advocate making it illegal & killing people who practice it. I want to preach the gospel to them, instead. There, I said it. Now either scram, all you yellow-bellied cockroaches, or fight like men.”

Rev. Chris Caughey

“Law expresses Lordship. Show me the operational law of a culture and I can show you what is driving that law, that is to say, the Lord of that Culture. Because the Lord of that culture sanctions and approves the law of that culture.”

Dr. Jeffrey Ventralla

Just as it is true that the operational law of a culture reveals who is the Lord of that culture so it is true that if one shows me the origin of any human right I can show you the God of that culture since the creation of “rights” are accomplished via law. Law requires a Transcendent every time. Now that Transcendence may not be an Objectively Objective Transcendent. Indeed more often than not in modern cultures the Transcendent is a subjectively Objective Transcendent but it remains a transcendent, even if false.

So, where does the right to Universal health care come from? It doesn’t come from Scripture. Where do Homosexual rights come from? They don’t come from Scripture. In both cases and in most cases in our culture rights come from the God-State and if it is true that rights come from the God-State than Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Dachau were positive goods since the State sanctioned them. The Gulag archipelago was a positive good since it was sanctioned by the God-State.

All of this is why it is hopeless to try and scrub “God” or “religion” from a culture. It is hopeless because every social order / culture requires a law order in order to function. At the moment a law order is in place at that moment a “god” and a “religion” is at work. Even if the social order was guided by anarchy (an arrangement which never lasts long) the fact that no one may bring order to anarchy is a law that is revealing a “god” and a “religion.”

We should also add that as the above is true it is also true that some god and some religion always orders the public square. This needs to be said due to the fact that there are currently some “Reformed” sects which are suggesting that the public square can be naked of a particular god and a particular religion. Per this “school of thought” the public square is ruled by God’s a-religious natural law which means that the public square is neutral in terms of preferring a particular God, or religion. However, such a position allows a vacuum to be created which allows particular gods of false religions to govern the public square. Per Ventralla’s quote and the following observations this putative adherence to a neutral naked public square means that the new God and religion in town is the sovereign State with its ability to create law de-novo quite apart from any consideration of God’s authoritative Law.

Conspiracy?

We are the oi polloi
They often call us “fools”
But what do you expect?
We went to public schools

Kennedy was killed
By the magic bullet pristine
Later found in mint condition
On a stretcher at the scene

The Lusitania was for passengers
And was an Innocent of war
It was not carrying contraband
Despite photos from the ocean floor

We are the oi polloi
They often call us “fools”
But what do you expect?
We went to public schools

All the roads were closed
Out of DC that fateful night
Except the very one
Booth used for his harrowing flight

The Federal Reserve was born
With the Titanic ship disaster
The Opposition to the Fed
Were Guggenheim, Strauss and Astor

We are the oi polloi
They often call us “fools”
But what do you expect?
We went to public schools

9-11 was an awful tragedy
An act that required requite
But Jets dont’ typically burn
With the signature of Thermite

Pearl Harbor found us sleeping
A victim of the Japs
Never mind FDR knew
And designed that installation nap

We are the oi polloi
They often call us “fools”
But what do you expect?
We went to public schools

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,

Prayer

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,

Amen.