R2K Acolyte Swims The Tiber


I have nothing but sympathy for Mr. Stellman. I do not intend to gloat over the shipwrecking of his faith. However, I do intend to note that “ideas have consequences.”

Mr. Stellman was a graduate from Westminster West R2K Seminary. Mr. Stellman had drank so deeply from that R2K well that he had even written a book supporting R2K. However what was a trickle in terms of his R2K theology became a Tiberian flood.

R2K holds that Scripture alone is not the norm that norms all norms in the common realm. No sola Scriptura for the common realm for R2K where most of our living is done. If Scripture is not the norm that norms all norms for the common realm, where we do 99% of our living, how much deeper of a dive is it to find that Scripture alone also is not the norm that norms all norms in the the last 1% of our lives in the Redemptive realm? If Natural Law is the norm that norms all norms in the common realm then why not a Church as a norm that norms all norms in the Redemptive realm?

Second, Thomistic Natural Law and the Nature vs. Grace divide that are identity markers of R2K have always been the stock and trade for Rome with its two paths to truth motif. Really, in crossing the Tiber, Mr. Stellman is really only returning home, as the philosophical dualism that informs R2K is Mother’s milk for Rome. Why go with the cheap imitation R2K when you can get the real McCoy with Rome?

Of course the solas of the Reformation stand and fall together. If one gives up sola Scriptura one is sure to give up sola Fide, sola Christus, and Sola Gratia.

But make no mistake about it. Mr. Stellman’s journey to Rome (or Constantinople) was greased by the Thomistic dualism theology that underlies the R2K project. I should not be surprised to be finding others who have embraced R2K taking the plunge.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

24 thoughts on “R2K Acolyte Swims The Tiber”

  1. Right. So I’ll count the number of W2Kers that have left Protestantism, and you count the number of Federal Visionistas. I’m done, what are you up to?

    1. Problem is Rube Rad … is that I have been just as adamant against FV as I have R2K.

      I refuse to play the game of what God has put together let us put asunder.

      1. In other words, I’ll mail you a dollar if you are able to post “Another R2K Acolyte Swims the Tiber” within 10 years.

      2. Oopx, “in other words” doesn’t make sense bcos I have a previous comment stuck in purgatory. And I see now there is a relevant new post I need to read…

  2. I can see how this might SUGGEST he has become Catholic, but I am not aware of him actually saying he has become Catholic.

    1. Let’s see …

      He has denied sola scriptura
      He has denied sola fide
      He has affirmed that he can no longer embrace the WCF

      That leaves him Rome or Constantinople, and I mentioned both in the Article.

      I suppose he could become Mormon, but I don’t think that is the trajectory.

  3. Other than to the ignorant and superstitious, what is the appeal to Rome anyway? It strikes me as a religion that is 100% sophistry.

    What I am getting at is, what is there in the intellectual training and development of these highly educated people that puts them on that trajectory? What sort of “Reformed” faith ever attracted the sophistic mind? These people all claim to have a crisis about the problem of the source of authority, and they arbitrarily grant authority to one of the most problematic traditions that ever existed and then rejoice that the problem is solved!

    1. Tim,

      The thing that gets me is that he really doesn’t give up “scripture alone,” but merely transfers his Scripture alone to the authority of the Church so that his authority now lies in the Church alone. The only difference is the Scripture’s voice is aged while the Church’s voice that he is listening to is contemporary.

    1. Easy John … Theonomy ceased being Theonomy when it was mixed with Federal Vision or Shepherdism. Shepherd was Hahn’s theology mentor. It was Hahn’s FV and not his theonomy that got him swimming the Tiber.

  4. “But make no mistake about it. Mr. Stellman’s journey to Rome (or Constantinople) was greased by the Thomistic dualism theology that underlies the R2K project.”

    Very insightful Bret

    Thank you for this post

  5. Peter Leithart agrees with you,

    “It appears also that certain Reformed versions of the nature/grace duality lend themselves to Roman Catholicism. Some years ago, I lectured on nature and supernature in the nouvelle theologie at the University of Steubenville, and I was surprised to find myself debating Meredith Kline’s theology with Scott Hahn. Hahn, a former Presbyterian converted to Rome, defended Kline, while I defended de Lubac. It was slightly surreal, but it led me to conclude that Kline’s theology of nature and grace (cult and culture, special/common grace, etc. are variations on this theme) makes a very neat match with older Catholic views of nature and the supernatural. At several points, the Klinean version of Confessionalism is a natural ally of Roman Catholicism.”


    1. The problem with Dr. Trueman’s article IMO is that it really is a fruitless effort to abstract ecclesiology from christology from soteriology from eschatology, etc. as if the problem is with ecclesiology alone. True, Mr. Stellman may have over-emphasized ecclesiology but wrongly emphasized ecclesiology because the Christology, soteriology, etc. in his R2K is errant. IOW it is the nature of R2K to over emphasize ecclesiology precisely because that is way the theology rolls.

      And also, I noticed the necessary gratuitous slight of theonomy.

      It’s amazing to me how much theonomy is hated. It’s as if you can’t be a member in the good old boys “I’m an important theologian” club unless you take repeated opportunity to slam theonomy.

      Theonomy is the modern version of Dracula. It is that being which a stake must be put through the heart at any and all cost.

    1. Rupert, REC,

      I think of your theology and reasoning skills the same as you think of mine. No sense in returning here since we obviously are not going to be able to cross the divide.

      James Hunter himself said in his Christianity Today interview that he fears his book will be used to justify a pietistic withdrawl into a privatized Christianity. I agree that it will! We don’t need another pietistic treatise at a time when we have an aggressive cultural assault by Judaism, Muslim and assorted other enemies of Christianity. We need a faith that is faithful to the last command given by Jesus to disciple the nations of the world – not to be discipled by them. Christianity has become a passive, feminine religion that men find repulsive. Even our young people are rejecting the therapeutic gospel of the seeker friendly churches (see Time Magazine article on The New Calvinism – Ten Movements that are Changing the World.) As George Barna has pointed out, Christianity lacks a worldview that can compete with Islam and and I might add Judaism. Combine this with the prophecy writers like Tim LaHaye and you have an impotent church that has only one hope – to get raptured before the persecution starts. My Bible says the gates of hell will not prevail against God’s church. We are losing by default due to a lack of solid leadership within the church. As the Time magazine article points out, God will have to raise a new generation of young leaders that have not been persuaded that Christianity is a religion for losers. A religion in which Satan rapes and beats the daylights out of Christ’s bride, even after Jesus has given us all authority to accomplish the task of discipling nations. We are losing by default because of disbelief that we can accomplish what Jesus gave us the authority to complete. Hunter’s book only reinforces that loser mentality within the church.

      So, you can see that I view Hunter as more problem, than solution.

      Cheers old chap,

  6. Someone asked a question on the Puritanboard that I responded to behind the scenes….

    “Rev. Stellman has lost his moorings and is confused. I believe his confusion comes in light that he has forgotten the distinctions that are inter related to the gospel.

    There are distinctions in the gospel concerning justification. James speaks of these. St. Paul and James are not opposed. He has also not shown the distinctions between justification, sanctification, and glorification as they are all parts of the gospel.

    Some (I mean Klineans) in the Reformed faith have made dichotomies of these doctrines. Law and Gospel are opposed to each other in their thinking when they are not. Especially in the Covenant of Grace. Jason Stellman held to this Lutheran view and I believe it ended up confusing him. I have a lot on my blog discussing this issue.”

  7. “R2K holds that Scripture alone is not the norm that norms all norms in the common realm.”

    I would like to see where an R2K proponent has stated this.

    1. Ron,

      Thank you for showing up.

      Go to this site


      Look at the affirmations that Matt agrees to about what R2K is.

      1. The moral law is binding on all men everywhere.

      Keep in mind that it is the Moral law as it is communicated via Natural law so that only Natural law can be appealed to in the common realm.

      2. Natural law is the basic moral standard in the common realm.

      3. Natural law is the standard for the civil government’s use of the sword.

      4. The Decalogue was given for the covenant community only.

      Here we see that the “Moral Law” whatever that is, is abstracted from the Decalogue since the Decalogue was not given for those not in the covenant community. If the Decalogue was not give for those outside the covenant community then those outside the covenant community are being normed by a norm that isn’t Scripture.

      5. The provisional and ceremonial aspects of the Decalogue were binding on the O.T. covenant community only.

      6. The moral law as expressed in the Decalogue is binding on all men everywhere.

      But only as that is expressed via Natural law. Not via special revelation.

      7. Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing.

      Can it get any plainer Ron?

      Well, I will let you go to the site and look at the remainders. There are 25 in all. In the common realm, for R2K, it is Natural Law alone which is the norm that norms all norms. All appeals in the Common realm go to Nat’l law and not the Scripture.

      Thank you again for your question without horns or teeth.

      Keep in mind that Matt was mentored by Dr. David VanDrunen and will be speaking in one Church that I know of advancing R2K. I’d say that makes him a spokesman.

      1. So, what this means is if Peter Pagan and Paul Pervert were trying to decide whether or not they should hook up at a Gay Bar for some bedroom romping, and they came across Rupert RadcialTwoKingdom and asked him whether or not they should hook up at a Gay Bar, Rupert would NOT appeal to Scripture in order to answer Peter Pagan and Paul Pervert’s question. Instead he would appeal to Nat’l law for whatever answer he might give.

        And why would Rupert appeal to Natural Law? Because Rupert knows that Scripture is not given as a common moral standard which provides ethical imperatives to all people, on in other words, Scripture is not the norm that norms all norms as it pertains to Peter Pagan’s and Paul Pervert’s question. It is not the LAW AND THE TESTIMONIES that Rupert appeals to, but rather it is to Nat’l law.

        Now, lets put a wrinkle in this. Let’s say that Rupert Radical TwoKingdom is a member of a PCUSA. As such, Rupert believes that Nat’l Law allows for homosexuality and so Rupert says, “Well, Peter and Paul, since Nat’l law teaches that homosexuality is a good gift given by the God of Nat’l law, by all means have a fling. After all, Nat’l law also teaches that I am not to be judgmental of love wherever it is to be found.

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