• Our Covenant God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2006

    From time to time we receive a letter from a reader who would like us to use words that are more familiar. And although we generally try to define theological and biblical terms that may be unfamiliar to our readers, we do expect readers of Tabletalk to pick up their dictionaries occasionally. In an age when the average adult reads at a seventh-grade level, we want to raise the bar a little and challenge people to study words and their meanings, especially when it comes to the words of sacred Scripture. Nevertheless, there are certain words that are not found … View Resource

  • Inheritance and Intervention Article by Geoff Stevens

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2006

    This Sunday, I will bring my fifth child in front of the church for baptism. While my son is the one being baptized, it is my wife, myself, and our church who will be taking vows. We will be promising to raise him in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. He will be promising nothing. We will promise to set a godly example, pray with and for him, and teach him about God. He will just sit there and hopefully not scream. Yet he will receive a blessing and membership in the community of believers. Some, including myself … View Resource

  • He Has a Name Article by Greg Barolet

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2006

    We have been reading about the covenants these past few days, and it may prove helpful to look at a few chapters where God prepares Abram for His promise. The Greek and Hebrew verbs for covenant basically mean “to cut a covenant.” Covenants can be between fathers and sons, kings and subjects, and in our case, God and His people, or with an elected person like Abram. As a noun, covenant means “testament.” “This is the new testament in my blood,” or “this is the new covenant in my blood.” They are interchangeable. In this portion … View Resource

  • Our Glorious Inheritance in Christ Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2006

    Allegedly, a reporter once asked John D. Rockefeller, who at the time was one of the wealthiest men in America, “How much money is enough?” to which Rockefeller supposedly answered, “A little more than I have.” Such a response is fascinating but not the least bit surprising. Even though we don’t care to admit it, most of us are consumed with the endless endeavor of consuming a little more. It is indeed a vicious cycle of consumerism that can only be broken when we become content with what the Lord has provided and what the Lord has taken … View Resource

  • Our Great Reward Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2006

    In June 2006 in this section we commented on the way in which the story of redemption focuses on Abraham’s “seed” as the line by which the Messiah will come to save God’s people from their sins (Gen. 12:7; 13:15–16). This is but an outworking of the promise made in Eden that the “seed” of the woman will triumph over the “seed” of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). This now emerges once more in Genesis 15 — the chapter that inaugurates God’s covenant with Abraham. Abraham (whose name at this point is still “Abram”) has been victorious in … View Resource

  • The People, Place, and Presence of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2006

    There is a sense in which the whole of the Old Testament is simply the outworking of the promise in Genesis 3:15 — that the seed of the serpent will be at enmity with the seed of the woman and that the latter will be triumphant. Now, in Genesis 12, we reach another focal point of messianic expectation — the victorious “seed” will be from the loins of a man called Abraham. Like a ringing bell, the next few chapters will announce this messianic lineage with deafening tintinnabulation (ringing of bells). Over and over, a “seed” (the ESV renders … View Resource

  • The Birth of Israel Article by John Currid

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2005

    The Scriptures have emphasized the wickedness of mankind since the time of the flood. Humanity is no different than what it was prior to the flood. For instance, the line of Ham demonstrates great selfishness and evil, and a strident rebelliousness against God. At Babel, mankind even desired to storm the very gates of heaven and shun the commands of God. Such stories simply describe mankind’s attempt to sit on the throne of the universe. God, however, cannot but succeed, and the book of Acts tells us “in past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own … View Resource

  • The Blood of the Covenant Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2004

    One of the chief points of evangelical Christianity that was most offensive to Protestant Modernists in the great debates against Fundamentalism in the early twentieth century was the centrality of the blood of Christ for salvation. Many a would-be “sophisticated” Modernist sought to write off the very heart of traditional Christianity as “a slaughter-house religion.” Presumably they would replace trust in the cleansing blood with faith in their own good works, humanist wisdom, and political achievements. The drastic decline of the influence of so much of Western (or as Philip Jenkins terms it, “Northern Christianity,” that is, of … View Resource

  • The True Tabernacle Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2004

    Both the Old Testament tabernacle and the Mosaic covenant were mere shadows of the eternal reality that in due season fulfilled and surpassed them. They were “true shadows” in that they correctly bore a relationship to that which they imaged. But, proper and necessary as they were in God’s redemptive plan, they were not the final reality. They derived all their value by foreshadowing the person and work of the incarnate Christ, who in “the fullness of the time” (Gal. 4: 4 KJV) carried out with infinite blessing and surpassing splendor exactly what they stood for. The “worldly sanctuary” (Heb … View Resource

  • Salvation, Past, Present, and Future Article by Sinclair Ferguson

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2004

    Time past and time present are both together in time future,” wrote T.S. Elliot. His rhythmic words simply and eloquently describe the ordinary flow of history. But the letter to the Hebrews presents a very different perspective on God’s purposes and patterns in the flow of history. There, it would be true to say, the future determines the past and the present, rather than the other way round. To understand Hebrews — and thus to understand how the Bible as a whole works — we need to understand this riddle: The invisible is more substantial than the visible … View Resource

  • Redemption Accomplished Article by Dennis Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2004

    Tradition!” sings Tevye. “Without our traditions, our lives would be as unstable as a fiddler on the roof.” As the drama unfolds, this analogy turns from affirmation to lament: Tevye’s daughters marry suitors disapproved by tradition, and in the end his family and their fellow-Jews trudge away from their village, exiled by the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia. Although Sholom Aleichem’s original story was set in 1905, the marvelous musical derived from it is a child of the sixties. Tradition-bound Tevye is challenged over and over to accept the new “reality” that the individual heart’s longings for romance … View Resource

  • Redemption Planned Article by Don Kistler

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2004

    In Reformed circles, we hear much about the covenants. We are a people who place our trust in God’s covenant faithfulness. We hear about the covenant of grace and the covenant of works, but we hear very little about the covenant of redemption. We also hear much about the saving work of Christ, but give little thought to the fact that the triune God conceived the work that the second person of the Trinity would do that would save sinners. Simply stated, the covenant of redemption is a covenant God the Father made with God the Son before the foundation … View Resource

  • The Blueprint of Redemption Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2004

    A persistent tradition claims that upon being mocked by a skeptic with regard to his doctrine of creation, Saint Augustine was cynically asked, “What was God doing before He created the world? Augustine’s alleged reply was: “Creating hell for curious souls.” The reply was, of course, tongue-in-cheek. The Bible doesn’t speak of such a special work of divine creation before creation itself. But Augustine’s bon mot had a serious point that warned against idle speculation of God’s activity in eternity. However, quite apart from speculation, the Bible has much to say about God’s activity “before” the world was made … View Resource

  • The Redemption of Man Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2004

    Throughout history we have wrestled with questions about salvation. In our quest to know the truth about salvation, we have searched everywhere possible. In our search, we have constructed entire philosophies in order to find the answers we want. Religions have been created, codes and rules have been formulated, entire governments have been established, self-serving gods have been manufactured, and men have worshiped themselves. Indeed, this is the greatest atrocity of all. This atrocity, however, does not reveal itself in such obvious ways. It is not as if people erect golden statues of themselves in their front yards and bow … View Resource