• No Place for Heresy Article by C. FitzSimons Allison

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2010

    One of the best examples of reform is that which occurred at Cluny in the tenth century in southern France following the darkest times of the Western church after the fall of Rome (see Nick Needham’s article above for more on the Cluniac revival). It brought a visible seriousness of spiritual discipline that lasted for more than two centuries. The acknowledged founder, Berno of Baume (d. 927), was followed by long-serving, effective leaders. The order reached its height under Hugh (d. 1109) with well over one thousand houses affiliated with the mother monastery of Cluny. View Resource

  • Revival & Repentance: From Cluny to Simeon Article by Nicholas Needham

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2010

    In the ninth century, Christian civilization had almost been destroyed in western Europe by the Norse invasions. Unlike today’s benign neo-pagans, Vikings were ferocious, skull-cracking warriors who burnt down churches, slaughtered clergy and monks, and raped nuns. The tenth century, however, saw a remarkable turnaround. One by one, the Norse kingdoms embraced Christianity. The process had actually begun toward the end of the ninth century in England, when the Danish Norsemen submitted to Christian baptism as part of a peace treaty with Alfred the Great. In the tenth century, the Norsemen of France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland followed suit. View Resource

  • Setting the Stage: The First Millennium Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2010

    Volumes have been written giving detailed analyses of the extraordinary things that occurred in the first thousand years of church history, events that influenced everything that came after them. In this brief overview, I’m going to look at five dimensions of activity that had monumental impact for the future history of Christianity. View Resource

  • Y1K Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2010

    As the end of the tenth century approached and the year 1000 loomed closer and closer, how did Christians react? Were they convinced that the end was near? Was there fear? Hope? A mixture of both? In the nineteenth century, historians described a scene of great apprehension and expectation as the year 1000 approached, with entire populations terrified of the imminent arrival of judgment day. For most of the twentieth century, the consensus among historians was exactly the opposite. The year 1000, they argued, was a year like any other year, and people at the time were indifferent about the … View Resource

  • The Lone Monk Article by Nicholas Needham

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007

    The seventh century is something of a forgotten epoch for most Protestants. But it is well worth knowing. The creative heart of its theology lay in the East — the Byzantine Empire, centered on Constantinople. Here the Christological controversies of the fifth century were still bubbling away. As a result of the councils of Chalcedon (451) and of Second Constantinople (553), the Eastern church and empire were bitterly divided between two great parties. These were the Chalcedonians, loyal to the orthodox creed of Chalcedon, that Christ is one person in two natures; and the Monophysites, numerous in Egypt and Syria, … View Resource

  • Boethius: The Philosopher Theologian Article by Carl R. Trueman

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2006

    One of the least known but most significant Christian thinkers of antiquity was a sixth-century layman called Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius, or simply Boethius for short. The son of an old senatorial family, he lived between 480 and 524, being consul (a largely ceremonial political position) in 510, and then Master of the Offices at the Ostrogothic court in Ravenna in 522. It was while serving in this latter capacity that Boethius was accused of treason, imprisoned, tried, and executed. It remains unclear to this day whether he was actually guilty of treason or, as seems more likely, was … View Resource

  • The Benedictine Rule Article by Andrew Hoffecker

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2006

    Ever since the New Testament epistles were written, Christians have received advice on how to live the Christian life. How much should we pray? What progress can we expect to make in achieving biblical holiness in this life? Is perfection an attainable goal? Is Christianity best lived out in normal circumstances of family, marriage, and vocation, or in hermit-like isolation from others or in communities specially formed for the purpose of cultivating prayer, worship, and work? As persecution of the early church died out and Christians gained freedom of worship in the Roman Empire, the monastic life originated as a … View Resource

  • The Definition of Orthodoxy Article by Nicholas Needham

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2006

    The Arian controversy in the fourth century was arguably the greatest theological controversy in the history of the church. As Protestants, we might think that the Reformation controversies of the sixteenth century were the most momentous. Without wishing to minimize their importance, however, the Arian controversy was greater, because it went deeper. The Reformers were arguing about how we receive the benefits of Christ; the men of the fourth century were arguing about something even more basic — who Christ is. Unless a right foundation is laid in the person of the Redeemer, little is gained in disputing about His … View Resource

  • Theology Has Consequences

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2006

    Richard Weaver first made a name for himself when he published his seminal work, Ideas Have Consequences. It is a brief work with ideas that are still reaping consequences. He was to the secular academic world something of a Francis Schaeffer, introducing thousands to the concept of worldview, arguing that what we think about little things, more often than not, is determined by what we think about big things. Weaver demonstrated how a modernist worldview was not something academia simply studied, but it was instead something that shaped academia. Indeed, modernism is academia’s mother. You wouldn’t have the latter … View Resource

  • Machen’s God-Centered Vision Article by John Piper

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2006

    J. Gresham Machen wielded his powers against modernism as an historian and as a student of the New Testament. He argued on historical grounds that from the beginning the church was a witnessing church (Acts 1:8) and a church devoted to the apostles’ teaching. In other words, her life was built on events without which there would be no Christianity. These events demanded faithful witnesses who tell the objective truth about the events, since they are essential. Moreover, the life of the church was built on the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42), the authoritative interpretation of the events. Thus Machen’s response … View Resource

  • Faithful Vigilance Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2006

    Paul warned the elders of the church in Ephesus about the critical need for them to be vigilant: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert…” (Acts 20:28–31). This apostolic warning was not just for the … View Resource

  • Holding the Line Article by D.G. Hart

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2006

    American Protestantism split in two during the 1920s and has not been the same since. In denominational controversies, especially among Presbyterians and Baptists, and in courtroom debates over teaching evolution in public schools, the once unified front of mainline Protestantism, a constituency that included Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, Disciples, with some Lutherans on the fringes, divided into evangelical and liberal halves. Not until the 1940s, with the formation of the National Association of Evangelicals, would the more conservative side achieve the institutional coherence that characterized the mainline through the Federal Council of Churches (which in 1951 became the National … View Resource

  • Passionate Complacency Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2006

    Sir Edmund Burke is quoted as having said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”— a true statement indeed. For as the history of civilization has shown, when we stand by and do nothing, that which is evil always seems to gain the victory. However, as the people of God, we understand that evil is not some sort of impersonal entity that exists outside the heart of man. In fact, evil is at the very core of natural man’s being after the fall. We also understand that in our natural condition, … View Resource

  • A Reformation Before the Reformation Article by George Grant

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2004

    The fourteenth century was a time of Dickensian paradox. Though it was a calamitous time of war, plague, corruption, and social disintegration, it also enjoyed a surprising number of reforms — which would in time bring renewal and restoration to the whole fabric of western civilization. All through the century, the peace of Christendom was shattered as the Hundred Years War raged between the kingdoms of France and England. At the same time, the catholicity of the church was sundered by the Great Schism — the apostasy of both the Avignon usurpation and the “babylonian captivity” scandalized the faithful across … View Resource

  • Church History in Christ Article by George Grant

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2004

    By the end of the eighteenth century, the church of Geneva had become a mere shadow of its former glory. The pulpit of John Calvin no longer thundered with the bold truths of the Protestant Reformation. It no longer broadcast the Good News of the Scriptures. Instead, it whimpered with the uncertain themes of the Enlightenment. Somehow, it had been mesmerized by the tired and monotonous tones of unitarianism and liberalism. Even the famed Genevan Academy, founded by Theodore Beza, had abandoned the teaching of the Scriptures opting instead for the more fashionable philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and Seneca. As … View Resource