• Faith and Works Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2014 | Genesis 15

    Some years ago, I read an article in which the author argued rather vigorously against the teaching that believers are justified by grace alone through faith alone on account of the work of Christ alone. According to this author, the single reference to “faith alone” in the New Testament is found in the words of James 2:24: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” How, the author wrote, could it not be more clear that Abraham, who is the exemplar of one whose faith was “credited to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15 … View Resource

  • Faith Has Its Reasons Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2013

    Christians from every theological tradition have for centuries confessed their faith by reciting the Apostles’ Creed. Elsewhere I have taught on the actual content of this creed, but if there is one aspect of this confession that we often fail to reflect on, it is the creed’s opening words: I believe. Here I want to consider faith in relation to what are often seen as its opposites—reason and sense perception. Epistemology is the division of philosophy that seeks to answer one question: How do we know what we know, or how do we know what is true? Reason, sense … View Resource

  • Definitions of Faith and Repentance

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2013

    HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, Question & Answer 21 “What is true faith?” “It is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word; but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Ghost works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation, are freely given by God, merely of grace, for the sake of Christ’s merits.” WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH, 14.2 “By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for … View Resource

  • Faith and Reason Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2013

    It has been said that he who defines the terms, wins the debate. Skeptics know this and take advantage of it. Witness some of the famous definitions of “faith” provided by unbelievers. Mark Twain, for example, quipped, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Closer to our own day, the atheist author Sam Harris defined faith as “the license religious people give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail.” Richard Dawkins, perhaps the most famous atheist of our generation, claims: “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith … View Resource

  • A Life of Faith and Forgiveness Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2013

    If you travel to Wittenberg, Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation, you may find yourself scratching your head wondering how Martin Luther managed to nail his 95 theses to the solid-bronze door of the 500-year-old castle church. It wouldn’t take you long, however, to realize that the bronze door is a relatively new addition. During the Seven Year’s War (1756–1763), the original, wooden door was lost in the great fire that consumed much of the church building in 1760. As a result, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia had the door replaced with the present bronze door … View Resource

  • Faith Alone Article by J.V. Fesko

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2012

    In 1647, a group of Reformed pastors and theologians meeting at Westminster Abbey in London completed a set of documents we now know as the Westminster Standards, which include the Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The divines (theologians) sought to codify Reformed teaching in order to create a unified Reformed church in the British Isles. In question and answer 33 of the Shorter Catechism, they summarize one of the chief pillars of the Reformed tradition: What is justification? Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, and accepts us … View Resource

  • Feeding Your Soul Article by Jon Bloom

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2012

    When your soul is in turmoil, it’s hard to see clearly. Fear, anger, sorrow, and despair can distort your perception of reality. It’s hard to keep things in perspective. They can actually magnify your troubles. Often, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, what you need is somebody to take you by the shoulders, look you square in the eye, and speak some sense to you. Sometimes that somebody is you. I get this from the Bible. Listen to the psalmist talk to himself: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me … View Resource

  • This Isn’t Going to Be As Easy As It Looks Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2011

    I have an old newspaper comic strip in my desk that I cut out years ago (Mr. Boffo, for those who are interested in such things). I saved it because I think it’s funny. In the top left corner of the comic is a box with the words, “Finalist… World’s Greatest Optimist Competition.” The image itself shows two cowboys sitting behind a log with their guns drawn. A few hundred yards in front of them, thousands of Indians on horseback are rushing toward them over the crest of a hill. One of the cowboys has turned to the other … View Resource

  • The Devil Is Not in the Details Article by Kevin DeYoung

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2011

    It may have sounded prophetic at one point, but now it’s rather prosaic. Everyone knows (or is supposed to know) that individualism is bad. An emphasis on the individual — such a common theme in the West — has been blamed for myriad problems, including everything from friendlessness to consumerism, from contemporary praise music to gated communities. And no doubt, individualism has its downside. For the church, it’s meant an aversion to authority, a reluctance to accept certain elements of covenant theology, and a community life that isn’t everything it could be. Problem duly noted. But let us not forget … View Resource

  • Not One Of, but the One Article by Kevin DeYoung

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2011

    There is one foundational question each of us must face. By “foundational,” I don’t mean it is the only question we must answer. What I mean is that this question is so important that if you get this one wrong, you are going to get most everything else that really matters wrong. The foundational question is the famous query Jesus posed to the disciples at Caesarea Philippi: “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29). It may be surprising to some that Jesus even asked this question. The foundational question for Jesus is not “Who are … View Resource

  • A Relegated Gospel Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Dear Wormtongue, Before we get to the primary reason for our letter, we want to begin by commending you for the most excellent job you’ve done in your well orchestrated effort to convince your patient to keep his faith an entirely private matter, all the while thinking he’s doing a nobly sufficient job of showing forth his faith by displaying that old, faded Christian bumper sticker on his car. What’s more, you’ve gone beyond the call of duty as you’ve managed to persuade him to keep his faith segmented to one realm of his life rather than allowing it to … View Resource

  • Overcoming Doubt Article by Scott Devor

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2010

    I began my college years ready to conquer the world for Christ. The reality of my journey, however, tells quite a different story. College, for me, was a roller coaster of peaks and valleys — from incredible joys to the most debilitating doubts I ever experienced. Thus, I have come to understand my time in college as being filled with good, bad, and ugly. View Resource

  • Christ Our Church Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2010

    There are a number of Old Testament passages that figure prominently in the New Testament. In Galatians 3:10–14, several of them are quoted by the apostle, and he uses these Old Testament passages as proof texts for the doctrine that sinners are justified through faith alone. Those who trust in Jesus Christ to save them from their sins understand that it was Jesus’ suffering upon the cross that turned aside God’s wrath and anger. But this was not yet clear in the Old Testament when these passages first appeared. The first passage cited by Paul in this section is … View Resource

  • Grace Transforms Everything Article by Sean Michael Lucas

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2010

    In our town, a church just went through a rebranding effort as part of their relocation to a new building in a different section of town. Their logo and signage are beautiful and well conceived. One sees their stickers on cars everywhere. And their tagline is memorable: “Faith changes everything.” 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