• 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

  • Building Up The Body Article by Ken Jones

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007

    Make no mistake about it, ours is a culture of specialization and niche marketing. From vegetarian or vegan restaurants to the most obscure hobby, entrepreneurs have found a way to tap into every conceivable niche market. And just as the church has borrowed other trends and techniques from the marketing world, niche marketing has been no exception. It should come as no surprise that para-church ministries and organizations have a target audience that they aim for, but we are seeing an increasing number of Christian churches that are shaping their ministries to reach a particular niche market. Sometimes this trend … 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

  • Covenant Community Article by David McKay

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2006

    When a pastor looks at his assembled congregation, what does he see? If he accepts a biblical covenant theology, he knows that he is not looking at a collection of randomly gathered individuals, or even families, but at a part of the covenant people of God. That perspective, when grasped by a congregation, ought to make a great impact on how these people view their life together. Covenant theology reminds the people of God that they are to think covenantally rather than individualistically. Such a mindset is the very opposite of that which shapes much of current Western thinking. The … 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Family Religion Article by Melton Duncan

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007

    I recently was privileged to speak at an ancient country church. It was a rural church, the kind with a fine graveyard, an old bell in the steeple, a formal “ladies parlor,” and a nice family in the fellowship hall making pecan pie for those gathered at midweek Bible study. When I arrived I was warmly greeted and soon had a good sense of the familial nature of this evangelical assembly. Clearly everyone was there because they were related to someone who had been there before. I was struck on that occasion by how the Bible is largely a collection … View Resource

  • The Forgotten Mark Article by Tom Ascol

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2008

    Historically, Protestants have argued that there are certain, essential marks that characterize a true church. The Belgic Confession of 1561 identifies these marks as being three in number. In addition to the “pure preaching of the gospel” and the “pure administration of the sacraments,” a true church “practices church discipline for correcting faults.” While most churches would readily acknowledge the importance of the first two of these marks, the third one has fallen into such disuse that few church members have ever heard a sermon on corrective church discipline, much less seen it practiced. This is remarkable when one … 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

  • A Good Kind of Pluralism Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2008

    Today’s postmodernists use cultural pluralism as a pretext for relativism, as if the existence of many cultures implied the existence of many truths. Many Americans embrace multiculturalism as if they had no culture of their own. In religion, pluralism has given rise to a new polytheism. And yet, there is a kind of pluralism that is good, necessary, and biblical.  The apostle Paul speaks of a radical pluralism that nevertheless constitutes a unity: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is … View Resource

  • Many Gifts, One Body Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2005

    A few years ago I was given a month-long sabbatical to study in Wittenberg, Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation. While in Wittenberg, I stayed at the Evangelical Preacher’s Seminary, which shared the same courtyard as Martin Luther’s home. From my room on the third floor, I overlooked the dining room and kitchen of Luther’s sixteenth-century house. I recall that on many occasions in the late evening after a traditional German meal, I would open my window to the courtyard and look at the walkway below that led to Luther’s house. I considered the floral surroundings that adorned the … View Resource

  • Nurture and Admonition Article by Greg Bailey

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007

    The young couple stood before our congregation that Sunday morning holding a tiny baby recently adopted into their family. They had come to have the sign of water baptism applied to him, the sign of their faith in God’s promise that their son will be adopted into the family of God. But in addition to the baptism, another adoption took place that day, during that very service. After asking the couple to publicly acknowledge their son’s need of the cleansing blood of Christ, to claim God’s promises on his behalf, and to dedicate their child unreservedly to God, the pastor … View Resource