• What Is the New Covenant Church? Article by John Tweeddale

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2014 | Ephesians 4

    A churchless Christian is an oxymoron. As John Calvin famously said, echoing the church father Cyprian, “For those to whom God is Father the church may also be Mother.” While the notion of “mother church” may jolt some readers, a moment’s reflection will demonstrate the biblical rationale behind it. Under the new covenant established by Christ, the church is critical for the Christian life; without it, exhortations to worship, discipleship, missions, and fellowship would be meaningless. Indeed, an individual would be hard pressed to accommodate the gaggle of “one another” passages that populate the pages of the New Testament … View Resource

  • A Dwelling Place for God Article by Ben Dunson

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2013

    In the Old Testament, God’s presence with His people was most vividly manifested in the earthly symbols of Israel’s tabernacle and temple. As symbols or types, these institutions pointed to a future fulfillment. That fulfillment is found in Jesus Christ, the full and final manifestation of God’s presence with His people. The Israelite high priest could only enter once a year into the holiest inner chamber of the temple, which was the locus of God’s presence among His people. In so doing, the high priest served as an intermediary for the people, coming into the presence … View Resource

  • The Power of the Broken Body Article by Michael Beates

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2013

    Mention the word church and a vast array of images enter the mind. A steepled building housing a congregation; a movement of God across the centuries and the world; “one, holy, catholic, and Apostolic”; “visible and invisible”; “militant and triumphant”; “local and universal.” More images come from the Scriptures verbatim. The bride of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the branches connected to the life-giving vine of Christ. But a most provocative and instructive biblical image is “the body of Christ.” We are tempted, especially in the West, to view this body as successful, full of well-ordered, well-dressed, well-mannered … View Resource

  • One Family Under God Article by Tom Ascol

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2013

    He was asking a question that I had heard multiple times during my years as a pastor: “Do you have children’s church?” This time, instead of giving an extensive explanation for our practice of not segregating our church worship gatherings by ages, I decided to give a brief and accurate yet intentionally provocative answer. Here’s how it went: “Yes, we do. Every Sunday.” “Great. Can you describe how it is structured?” “Sure. We have singing, prayer, Scripture reading, giving, and teaching. We also observe the Lord’s Supper monthly, and periodically we observe baptism.” “That sounds interesting. Are … View Resource

  • Who Draws the Line? Article by Sean Michael Lucas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2012

    As Jesus ascended into heaven, He delegated His authority to the Apostles to make disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20a). This delegation of authority has typically served as the basis for thinking about the authority (or power) of the disciples gathered as the church. In other words, here Jesus grants authority to order worship (implied in baptism and teaching) and to declare doctrine (implied in teaching what … View Resource

  • Your Church and Your Life Planning Article by Jonathan Leeman

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2012

    A friend recently emailed me asking how he should weigh leaving his church to take a job in another city. I told him that he was “free in Christ” to stay or go but that I loved his factoring his local church into the decision. Well done. Too often, it’s easy to make life’s “big decisions” just like a non-Christian would, giving no regard to how it will impact our membership in our local churches. We consider a job offer in another city with scant regard for whether that city has a healthy church. We consider a possible marriage partner … View Resource

  • An Appetizer for the Feast Article by Noël Piper

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2011

    Go ahead. Ask me what would make me happiest if I had a totally free day. I’d tell you that during such a dream day I’d be by myself, probably with a book. Right at the front of my personality assessment is a capital I that means “introvert.” It could also stand for “I want to be alone—a lot.” Over the years, when my husband and I have tried to untangle some of the snarls in my life, sometimes he’s ventured to ask, “Noël, don’t you think it might help to have some women around you to offer … View Resource

  • Band of Brothers Article by David Robertson

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2011

    Real men don’t eat quiche, and real men don’t do church. For a variety of cultural and sociological reasons, it has become an accepted fact that the majority of people in most churches are women. It is now a given in Western Europe and in much of North America that religion is “for the wife.” Scottish sociologist Callum Brown, in his book The Death of Christian Britain, argues that the church was doing rather well until the 1960s, and it was only then that it began to fall apart. Why? Because the women, who were the gatekeepers of … View Resource

  • The Bonds of Brotherhood Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2011

    Fraternity … what does this word mean? It can refer to several distinct types of associations or relationships, and the church can learn valuable lessons by exploring these in more depth. The term fraternity may prompt us to recall the motto of the French Revolution: “Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.” Fraternity, along with equality and liberty, ranked right at the top of the concerns of that revolution. The term may cause us to think of college campus groups such as those depicted in the radical fraternity film Animal House. Beyond the college level, there is a wide variety of organizations of men … View Resource

  • The Church Gathered Article by Scott Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2011

    In ancient Athens, Aristotle, a Greek philosopher of the fourth century BC, wrote about a custom in which, at age eighteen, young men submitted to an examination by fellow citizens and subsequently started physical and military training. Three fathers from each tribe supervised the training of these young men. At the conclusion of two years of training, these young men, clad in full armor, each holding a shield and spear in his left hand and clasping the hand of an older man with his right, recited an oath before an assembly of fellow citizens. This oath is known as the … View Resource

  • A Generation of Heroes Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2011

    Satan watches for those vessels that sail without a convoy,” wrote Puritan pastor George Swinnock (1627–1673). Every individual knows he was created for community. Isolation is the Devil’s playground, and our Enemy is on the lookout for the Christian who thinks he can stand alone in independent isolation from the fellowship, accountability, and encouragement of faithful brothers and sisters. Before the fall of man, even though the Lord God walked in close communion with Adam in the garden, our gracious and triune God knew it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18), and so God … View Resource

  • The Crown of Thorns Club Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2010

    When was the last time you went to a private social club? If you think that kind of thing is for the elite members of our society alone, guess again. The Yellow Pages are filled with lists of social clubs in which anyone in the neighborhood can become a member. They meet mainly on Sunday mornings — but don’t be foolish enough to wait for an invitation. View Resource

  • Something Old, Something New Article by Eric Watkins

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2010

    How can confessional Reformed churches provide a safe haven for New Calvinists? A simple answer to this may fail to appreciate the diversity of each new Calvinist’s spiritual pilgrimage, and thus runs the danger of not ministering particular grace to particular people in their particular situations. But that does not mean that there are not certain ideas (even general ones) that may be helpful for confessional pastors and churches to consider as they seek to minister to these weathered pilgrims seeking spiritual haven. View Resource

  • That They May Be the One Article by Thomas Schreiner

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

      The Lord Jesus prayed on the night before His death: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one … View Resource

  • Doing Without the Church? Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    The seven churches of Asia addressed in the book of Revelation had their problems. One of them looked quite lively but it was actually dead. Another was so lukewarm that the Lord was ready to spit it out of His mouth. And yet the Son of Man did not tell the Christians of Sardis or of Laodicea to pull out of their congregations. Today, though, a growing number of Christians are doing just that. Despite the continued visibility of megachurches, the new trend is for minichurches, microchurches, or no churches at all. According to pollster George Barna, the era of … View Resource