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  • Signature in the Cell Article by Keith Mathison

    In 1991, Phillip Johnson published Darwin on Trial. In 1996, Michael Behe published Darwin’s Black Box. In 1998, William Dembski published The Design Inference. While numerous other books on the subject have been published, these three books are considered landmark works in the discussion over intelligent design. Now there is a fourth. Stephen C. Meyer’s new book, Signature in the Cell, may be the most persuasive case for intelligent design yet published. The timing could not be better, since 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the … View Resource

  • The Year in Books Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2010

    I have always enjoyed recommending books, and for the final “Beyond the Wicket Gate” column of 2010, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the significant books that have been published so far this year, books that you may not have heard about but should consider reading. This list is not exhaustive. I have not seen all of the books published this year, and even if I had, it is humanly impossible to read them all. It is inevitable, therefore, that there will be great books missing from this list. Furthermore, since I am writing several months … View Resource

  • Holiness Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2009

    In the early centuries of the church’s existence, Christian apologists would sometimes appeal to the distinctively holy lives of Christians as evidence for the truth of Christianity. Would such an appeal be of any use today? According to numerous surveys, the behavior of professing Christians is not discernibly different from the behavior of those who profess other religions or no religion at all. The phrase one often hears on the lips of pagans who observe contemporary Christian behavior is: “The church is full of hypocrites.” This should not be. We worship a holy God who calls His people to … View Resource

  • Why Is Justification So Important? Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2009

    During the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, there were few things more precious to believers than the recovery of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Centuries of semi-Pelagian (and Pelagian) growth were dragged into the light and revealed as the deadly poison they were, and despite fierce opposition, the glorious gospel of grace began to be proclaimed again from pulpits across Europe. As the truth spread, resistance increased, and untold numbers of the faithful suffered persecution and even death rather than renounce or compromise this essential biblical doctrine. Five hundred years later, how many … View Resource

  • Teenage Rebellion Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2009

    Let’s do a quick word association test. What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you see or hear the word teenager? Sadly, for many, the first words that come to mind are entirely negative. The word teenager brings to their mind other words such as lazy, apathetic, irresponsible, rude, know-it-all, and so on. Most people today have very low expectations for teenagers in general, and too many have low expectations for their own teenagers in particular. Teenagers themselves recognize these low expectations, and many live down to them — sleeping in and sliding by. Not all … View Resource

  • Christ in the Old Testament Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

    The relationship between the Mosaic covenant and the new covenant remains one of the most controversial and difficult topics in theology. As the notable American theologian Jonathan Edwards said, “There is perhaps no part of divinity attended with so much intricacy, and wherein orthodox divines do so much differ as stating the precise agreement and difference between the two dispensations of Moses and Christ.” There are those who so emphasize either discontinuity or continuity that the problem is solved by oversimplifying it. Most Christians, however, recognize that there are elements of continuity as well as discontinuity. The difficulty arises when … View Resource

  • Two Kingdoms, One God Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    Without a doubt, the greatest theologian in the first thousand years of the church was Augustine of Hippo (354–430). His voluminous theological, exegetical, and devotional writings have had a lasting impact and continue to be studied to this day. One of Augustine’s greatest works is The City of God, written to defend the Christian faith from its pagan attackers as the Roman Empire was collapsing. It is one of the most influential books ever written. The City of God is available in a number of English translations, but one of the clearest and most readable is the translation by Henry … View Resource

  • Does the Center Hold? Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2009

    If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “A Calvinist evangelist? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Calvinism undermines evangelism.” This accusation has been repeated so many times that few make the effort to argue it. Instead, it is simply assumed. Never mind that some of the church’s greatest evangelists have been Calvinists. One need only be reminded of men such as George Whitefield, David Brainerd, or “the father of modern missions,” William Carey. “Yes,” we are told, “these men were great evangelists and Calvinists, but that is because they were inconsistent.” But is … View Resource

  • Christ and Culture Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2009

    In the first centuries following the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah and the inauguration of the new covenant under which the people of God became a trans-national people crossing all borders, the church had few choices in the matter of her relationship to the surrounding culture. The options were limited due to persecution. As the church gained in numbers and influence, however, the situation began to change. With the (at least nominal) conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine and the Edict of Milan (AD 313), the questions became acute. Now Christianity was tolerated. Would this new circumstance allow the … View Resource

  • Pop Goes the Evangelical Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2008

    What do commercialism, the problem of evil, Chick tracts, American Idol, and Francis Beckwith’s recent conversion to Roman Catholicism have in common? Anyone? If you couldn’t come up with an answer, not to worry. One would be hard-pressed to find an overarching conceptual category that would encompass all of these topics, not to mention creeds and confessions, anti-aging products, and the Psalms, but they all have one thing in common. At one point or another, they have all been the subject of Carl Trueman’s wide ranging interests, and they are all discussed in his most recent book, Minority Report. There … View Resource

  • A Visible Word Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2008

    Robert Bruce (1551–1631) is not a household name, even among knowledgeable Reformed Christians. He was at one time, however, one of the most important leaders in the Church of Scotland. He was the successor of John Knox and James Lawson and preached at the Great Kirk of St. Giles in Edinburgh. St. Giles holds a prominent place in Reformation history, being the site where Knox preached his first sermon on the Reformation. The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper (Christian Heritage) contains five sermons preached by Bruce at St. Giles in February and March of the year 1589.  The Christian Heritage … View Resource

  • Savoring the Institutes Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2008

    There are a very small number of books other than the Bible that have affected the course of history. One thinks immediately of books such as Nicholas Copernicus’ Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies, Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species, Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, or Albert Einstein’s Relativity. There are also a small number of books that have profoundly influenced the history and thought of the church. One might think, for example, of Augustine’s City of God, Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, or Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. Among the few books that … View Resource

  • Respectable Sins Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    Have you ever found yourself so caught up and concerned with the rampant sinfulness of our culture that you forget about the subtle sins in your own heart? If so, Jerry Bridges has written a book for you. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate (NavPress, 2007) takes aim at the sins many Christians consciously or unconsciously consider “acceptable” behavior. For those who take the lordship of Jesus Christ seriously and seek to be like Him, this book is required reading.  The first chapters of the book set the stage by describing the true nature of sin as God … View Resource

  • Hope in Life and Death Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2008

    One of the first Reformed authors I ever read was Sinclair Ferguson. I was a dispensationalist in transition at the time, and I ran across a little book titled The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction by Dr. Ferguson. I started reading it in the bookstore, and I finished it in my apartment the same evening. This wonderful little book was instrumental in my transition from dispensationalism to the Reformed tradition. Since that time, I have continued to read everything I can from the pen of Dr. Ferguson. Like the great theologians of old, he writes with the heart and experience … View Resource

  • The Will to Debate Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2008

    When Dutch Calvinists and Arminians squared off against one another in the early part of the seventeenth century, the Calvinists won the opening battle. The controversy, however, soon spread beyond the borders of the Netherlands. Now, four hundred years later, the conflict continues, and in terms of numbers alone, Arminianism is clearly winning the war for the hearts and minds of professing Christians. Today, Calvinists are a small minority. But why the debate in the first place? Is it really that important? Many professing Christians today would say that the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism should be put to rest … View Resource