• 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

  • The World Upside Down Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2008

    It’s hard to believe that it was nearly a decade ago that we witnessed the turn of the third millennium. If you recall, on New Year’s Day several network TV stations featured live coverage from around the world. It was an international spectacle with an estimated viewing audience of more than one billion worldwide. With great intrigue I watched as each culture welcomed the new millennium in its own way according to the customs of its heritage. Fireworks, music, singing, dancing, parades- — all in celebration of the new millennium. While 300,000 gathered in Auckland, New Zealand, for a performance … View Resource

  • Life and Liberty Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    Life” and “Liberty” are terms that have powerful and positive connotative value to us. We are “pro-life” and “pro-liberty.” Such emotionally-laden terms can be definitionally evasive, however, since they stir our passions as well as our reason. As we consider our expectations of the state and our role therein, it is important to be clear about our understanding of such terms. “Life” has both a political and a religious definition. In the political arena, “life” is biologically defined; the state defends “life” by protecting people from acts and policies that would injure or take away their lives, biologically considered. The … View Resource

  • A Brave New World Article by Robert Rothwell

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2008

    On September 14, 2001, as the United States was still coming to grips with al Qaeda’s assault on New York and Washington, D.C., dignitaries gathered in the national cathedral to memorialize the dead and show forth the country’s resolve to stand united against its attackers. Though ostensibly a Christian house of worship, the clergy leading the service did not all represent the Christian faith. In fact, a rabbi and an imam both had roles in the “worship,” which was opened with an invocation calling upon the “God of Abraham and Mohammed and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” The most … View Resource

  • Where Is Your Treasure? Article by John Petersen

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2008

    As I was flipping through the television channels recently, I was overwhelmed to see how secularism is influencing our culture today, particularly through advertising. In the teaching series Christian Worldview, Dr. Sproul describes secularism as that which looks at reality and every human activity and understands it “in light of and judged by the value or norm of the present time.” To be secular means to be worldly, earthly, and temporal. I have discovered a recurring theme behind secularism: Your quality of life now is what matters most because you may not be here tomorrow. This obviously conflicts with … View Resource

  • This Pornographic Life Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2008

    Well, you’ve done it again. Once more, you find yourself looking where you ought not. And this you have willfully done. Yes, you’ve begged God to remove this blight, these gross desires. You even made some headway. But you’ve gone off and done it again. Forget confession, God doesn’t want to hear that same old prayer, especially not when you know you’ll be breaking your commitment before long. On the other hand, maybe God doesn’t care that much about all this. After all, He made you; He knows your natural desires, He knows what you need. Why would He make you … View Resource

  • God’s Other Kingdom Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2007

    We often talk about how God is “sovereign” over all things. The term has to do with God’s providential control over His creation — that is to say, everything that exists — and, in different contexts, with His action in bringing people to salvation. But to say God is sovereign implies that He is a sovereign. In other words, God is a king.  Christian discussions of the kingdom of God usually focus on His spiritual kingdom, how, through the work of Christ, He reigns in the hearts of believers, in the visible church, and in eternity. This column is … View Resource

  • Poet of the Reformation Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2007

    Christians have a rich cultural heritage, but these days they are often oblivious to it. I suspect most American Christians have no idea who George Herbert was — other than, perhaps, the first two names of President Bush I (“George Herbert Walker Bush”). Some may recall him from a British Literature class as the author of those poems that were shaped like physical objects (an altar, wings, and so forth). Others may know him as a major literary figure, who sprung poetry loose from its dependence on a few conventional forms to invent a new form for every poem. But few … View Resource

  • When Christianity Shaped the Arts Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007

    Christians today often talk about influencing the culture through the arts. This often means, in practice, Christians letting themselves be influenced by the culture through the arts. In the seventh century, though, we see Christianity as a powerful imaginative and aesthetic force, inspiring new and enduring art forms, styles, and artistic creations.  Evangelicals are often oblivious to artistic achievements of these pre-medieval days, either out of uncritical acceptance of the “Dark Ages” over-generalizations or the assumption that the church of these times was compromising with the pagans they had evangelized. There were indeed theological problems in the seventh century, such … View Resource

  • Cultural Evangelism, Seventh-Century Style Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007

    Christians today often talk about evangelizing the culture, transforming the culture, and finding ways to communicate with people of another culture. What that looks like can be seen in seventh-century English literature. J.R.R. Tolkien was as great a literary scholar as he was a writer of heroic fantasy. In his article “Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics,” Tolkien described the worldview of Germanic paganism as held by the early Angles and Saxons who seized Britain from the Celts.  Whereas the Greek religion with its philandering gods had little moral content, he said, the Germanic religion featured a strong moral dualism. … View Resource

  • Angels and Demons Go Pop Culture Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2007

    I believe there are angels among us,” sang the pop-country group Alabama to the accompaniment of a children’s choir. And most Americans agree. According to a 2005 Fox News poll, 79 percent of Americans believe in angels. This belief is apparently on the rise, up from 72 percent a decade earlier.  Albert Winseman, the religion and values editor with the Gallup pollsters, has noted the paradox that as secularism in America increases belief in “entities from the beyond” is also increasing.  The new popularity of angels not only crosses religious lines, it crosses religious and non-religious lines. New Age devotees … View Resource

  • The Consequences of Truth Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2007

    Readers of Tabletalk over the last 30 years have learned a lot about theology. But they have also learned a lot about history, philosophy, and the arts. The various writers of the “Truth and Consequences” column have been writing about culture, a category that includes everything from great literature to awful TV, from family values to moral collapse. What Tabletalk has been serving up over three decades is not just Bible study but more broadly, truth. “Truth” is a word that these days nearly always comes with quotation marks around it. Many people today believe there isn’t such a thing. … View Resource

  • Family vs. Culture Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007

    The family is the foundation of culture. This is not a bromide of the Christian right, but plain fact, as every anthropologist will tell you. Families associate with groups of families, forming networks of social interdependence as families make a living, socialize children, and protect themselves. The family and the culture are supposed to work hand-in-hand.  But today, in the twenty-first century West, we are struggling through a cultural dysfunction of almost unparalleled magnitude. The culture and the family are now in conflict, to the detriment of both. Cultural artifacts are set against the family. According to anthropologists, the artifacts of … View Resource

  • A Passion for Truth Article by George Grant

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2006

    The prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, once wrote in his wonderful John Plowman’s Talks, “I would have everybody able to read and write and cipher; indeed, I don’t think a man can know too much; but mark you, the knowing of these things is not education; and there are millions of your reading and writing people who are as ignorant as neighbor Norton’s calf.” Those ignorant masses of whom Spurgeon wrote are not those who failed to finish their lessons. They are instead those who did finish — or rather those who naïvely thought that lessons were the … View Resource

  • Worldly Standards Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2006

    I was asked recently what my favorite sports and hobbies are. My reply was simple: My favorite sports are hunting, fishing, and eating, and similarly, my favorite hobbies are talking about hunting, fishing, and eating. Although my abilities to hunt and fish will take a lifetime to refine, I have already perfected the art of eating. And having always had a keen interest in the social and psychological sciences, I could easily add the sport of people-watching to my list of favorites. I am simply fascinated by people — the way people dress, how people communicate, and what people do. … View Resource