• Adiaphora in Worship Article by R.J. Gore Jr.

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2010

    I remember well the student’s written response during a summer course on the church and sacraments. One of the course goals was to help students understand biblical and theological guidelines for worship. The response was both encouraging and dismaying. After acknowledging that the exercise was beneficial, he wrote, “I never thought much about biblical requirements for worship, but you Presbyterians think about them a lot!” I smiled, thinking: “If you only knew!” Presbyterians think about worship a great deal because the Protestant Reformation was not only a recovery of sound doctrine, but also a key moment in the … View Resource

  • Calvinism Isn’t Enough Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2010

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote in his classic A Tale of Two Cities. Perhaps years from now historians will reflect on the state of Calvinism at the beginning of the twenty-first century and offer similar commentary about the historico-theological tale of two, three, or four different shades of Calvinism. Perhaps the future thoroughgoing Calvinist editors of Time magazine will come out with a top-ten list called “Ten Ways God Changed the World as He Sovereignly Worked Through the Secondary Cause of Our March 12, 2009, Top Ten List.” And perhaps, … View Resource

  • Deeds Over Creeds Article by Gary L. W. Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

    The English Reformer Hugh Latimer once remarked, “We ought never to regard unity so much that we would or should forsake God’s Word for her sake.” Wise words from a man who went to the stake, rather than compromise the truth of the gospel. To those whose only concern is the appearance of visible unity among all who call themselves Christians, Latimer’s resolve appears most unattractive. We are repeatedly told by those of this persuasion that the church’s major fault is its deplorable lack of visible unity. Appeal is constantly made to the words of Jesus in John 17 … View Resource

  • The Disappearance of Heresy Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2013

    On October 29, 1929, the Roaring Twenties came to a screeching halt. The stock market crashed, sending these United States of America into the Great Depression, which in turn affected much of the industrialized world. On September 25, 1929, in God’s sovereign timing, just one month before the Wall Street Crash, fifty-two students began their fall semester at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Only a few months prior, J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937) resigned from Princeton Theological Seminary and founded Westminster Theological Seminary. Machen, along with Robert Dick Wilson, Oswald T. Allis, and Cornelius Van Til (and later John Murray … View Resource

  • Dividing Walls That Unite Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2012

    Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of the martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. Above all, it is the truth of God, against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail. Let your lives adorn your faith, let your example adorn your creed.” These words from C.H. Spurgeon’s foreword to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith are as poignant now as in 1855. As the church at the beginning of the twenty-first century, we desperately need to return to our historic creeds and confessions, and we need to remember the ancient gospel of … View Resource

  • Divorcing Doctrine from Scripture Article by R. Scott Clark

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Dear Pithius, Our dear boy, you quite misunderstand the problem. So long as Christians continue to understand the Book to contain truths, claims about the way things really are, about the enemy, about Him-who-ought-not-be-named, about His Paraclete, about humans as contracting with us, and about the resolution of all things — one shudders — we shall never succeed. It is, therefore, imperative that you convince them to reckon the Book as a guide to personal fulfillment and especially a way to exquisite, euphoric experience. That is our best product. You will, of course, recognize this approach. It worked the first time and … View Resource

  • Drawing the Line: Why Doctrine Matters Article by R. Scott Clark

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2012

    Imagine Mike. He’s an unusual mechanic. Where other mechanics find natural laws (such as gravity) unavoidable and even useful, he suspects them to be arbitrary, invoked in order to stifle his creativity. We can imagine how the story ends. Cars brought for repair are returned in worse shape than before. Mike goes out of business. Whatever Mike might think, the laws of physics are built into the nature of creation. So it is with doctrine in the Christian faith and life. Throughout Christian history, folks have proposed to do without Christian doctrine, the good and necessary inferences drawn from the … View Resource

  • The Fine Line Article by Nicholas Batzig

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2010

    Every Christian is to have a conscience singularly informed by the Word of God, but it is utterly indispensable for the minister of the gospel. Ministers are called to take a stand for truth before those who oppose the Word of God in the world; but they also face the unique challenge of taking a stand for truth before those who oppose biblical teaching within the church. In a day of widespread individualism, heightened biblical illiteracy, and diminishing respect for gospel ministry, ministers are faced with the daunting task of taking a firm but loving stand in matters of faith … View Resource

  • The High Cost of Ambivalence Article by Dan Dumas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2012

    Walking away from gospel orthodoxy or disconnecting from the stream of church history should strike terror in our hearts. But because of personal compromise, far too many believers are found “walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the path of sinners and seated with the scoffers” rather than defending the faith to the death. When was the last time you thought deeply about the consequences of “little” erroneous theological decisions that can subtly distort both your faith and practice? The Apostle Paul’s grave concern in 2 Corinthians 11:3 was that we would be so easily led astray … View Resource

  • How Do I Apply Doctrine in My Community? Article by Michael Aitcheson

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2015

    God used Gifford Ramsey—with his high-pitched voice, broad shoulders, and big smile—to spur many youngsters and adults to faith. “You say you’re a Christian, then show me—I’m from Missouri, the Show Me state,” he would say. He was my youth director, football coach, and mentor. After a big defeat, I wept on my teammate’s shoulder as he walked me toward the bus. And before I could take my seat, coach Ramsey said, “You say you’re a Christian, then show me.” He firmly believed in consistency between our doctrine and life. A football game isn’t the … View Resource

  • How Much Should I Study Doctrine? Article by Jen Wilkin

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2015

    I stumbled onto Reformed theology as a bleary-eyed new mom. During an inductive study of the book of romans, I began to detect that I had been quite a bit more dead in my sins than the church of my upbringing had taught. concerned that this insight might be the product of sleep deprivation rather than spirit-wrought inspiration, I began searching for doctrine that confirmed or denied what I was seeing. My husband took note of my burgeoning interest and gave me Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology for my thirtieth birthday. From there, it was a straight shot to seminary. Except … View Resource

  • Jesus and His Apostles: Teaching in Harmony Article by R. Fowler White

    Have you ever gotten the impression that the teaching of the apostles is at odds with the teaching of Jesus?  Sometimes it may seem that way, especially when we see Jesus emphasizing certain things that the apostles don’t, and vice versa.  Though we may be confident that, in the end, their teaching is harmonious, we do get special enjoyment when we see examples of doctrinal harmony between Jesus and His apostles.   I had just such an experience recently as I was listening to Dr. Sproul preach on Matthew 23 and Jesus’ lament over the spiritual state of … View Resource

  • Justification by Death? Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2010

    In the sixteenth century, Christendom underwent one of the most extensive and serious schisms in its history. The chief article that caused the controversy to end in division was the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The Protestant Reformation was not a tempest in a teapot. The issue that divided the Roman Catholics from the Protestant Reformers was not a secondary or tertiary doctrine. The dispute focused on the essence of the gospel. Some have argued that sola fide (faith alone) is central to the Christian faith but not essential. I contend, however, that it is essential to the gospel … View Resource

  • The Many Shades of Calvinism Article by Paul Helm

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2010

    The term Calvinism was first used by Lutheran theologians to refer to what they regarded as the peculiar views of Christ’s real presence at the Lord’s Supper held by John Calvin and his followers. It is not used in this way nowadays. What does it refer to now? In some cases, it denotes the entire theological system of Calvin himself as we find it in the four books of his Institutes of the Christian Religion. In other cases, and more usually, it refers to the understanding of the doctrine of salvation as we find it in the first three books. … View Resource

  • 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