• Praying for Politicians Article by David Robertson

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2013

    Having been a minister for twenty-six years and an editor of a church magazine for some of that time, I can safely say that there is no subject more likely to get you into controversy than the troubled relationship of the gospel to politics, unless you dare to touch the modern-day idol of people’s children. So when I was asked to write this column, my heart sank; I knew the heresy antennas of many would already be raised. To make matters worse, I write this just after the re-election of President Obama, a result that caused many of my … View Resource

  • Christianity, Unplugged Article by K. Scott Oliphint

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2012

    When was the last time you withdrew? Not the last time you were the only person in the room or in the house — when was the last time you withdrew from contact with anyone else? Jesus “would withdraw” from the crowds “to deslolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16). He knew that His busy schedule required time alone — completely alone — with His heavenly Father. In the twenty-first century, being alone and withdrawing mean much more than being the only person in the room. They mean being unplugged. In our appreciation for the help that technology can bring … View Resource

  • The Puritans on Prayer Article by Colin Rowley

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2012

    Psalm 66:18 states, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” In our present day, how often do we hear the truth that God does not hear the prayers of the unrighteous? In my personal voyage, I have very rarely, if ever, read a book or heard a sermon addressing this characteristic of prayer. Unfortunately, the evangelical church has become subject to the seeker-sensitive tactics that have drastic effects on the communication of the truths of God’s Word. A perfect example of this is a recent book on prayer that was No. 1 on … View Resource

  • God-Centered Prayer Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2012

    It is easy to be critical of prayer, particularly the prayers of others. Robert Murray McCheyne’s words are often cited because they remain painfully true: “You wish to humble a man? Ask him about his prayer life.” Our prayers reveal much about us. Prayers with little or no worship and focusing on our needs (usually health) reveal a distorted, Adamic bent. What they reveal is self-centeredness, what Martin Luther labeled homo in se incurvatus: “man curved in on himself.” Listen to prayers at the church prayer meeting (if one still exists). You will discover that the majority of prayers … View Resource

  • The Gospel and Solitude Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2011

    When my grandparents married in 1919 and began farming, solitude was a way of life. my grandfather spent most of his days alone in the fields, and my grandmother spent her time alone (until the children came along) in the farmhouse. There were no planes flying overhead and no cars or tractors rambling nearby. No radio, television, or telephone was heard, nor even the slightest electrical hum. The only sounds my grandparents heard all day were the sounds of God’s creation — the wind, the birds, the animals — or the ones they themselves made while doing their work. It … View Resource

  • The Gospel and Prayer Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Because I teach and write about spirituality, occasionally I’m asked to comment on scientific studies about the efficacy of prayer. The research always seems to include the assumption that one person’s prayers are essentially as acceptable as another’s. One of the flaws with such studies is that they do not associate prayer with the gospel. No one can begin to understand prayer until he grasps what the gospel teaches us about prayer. The Bible, rather than assuring everyone that God hears their prayers, slams heaven’s door against all who think God will hear them despite their sins: “But your iniquities … View Resource

  • Congregational Counseling Article by Eric Bancroft

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2010

    Premarital counseling can be an entertaining exercise for an older couple offering guidance to a younger couple. Across from them sit two individuals eager to wed. Apart from occasional disagreements about planning the ceremony, the soon-to-be-newlyweds are prone to think all is well, and their excitement is reflected on their faces. A church and its new pastor can be like that young couple — eager to get started in the ministry for which they have waited. The candidating process tempts them to believe all will be well. While their enthusiasm is encouraging, they also need some “premarital counseling.” View Resource

  • Fear Factor Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2010

    There was one side effect of the 2004 hurricane season that I probably should have expected but did not, and that was the effect it would have on our local meteorologists. As the 2005 hurricane season approached, some of them lost their minds. If I may be permitted a bit of hyperbole, the typical weather report that year could be paraphrased as such: “A tropical depression has formed off the coast of Africa. It is probably going to turn into a major hurricane. It is probably going to hit us, and we are probably all going to die.” View Resource

  • Praying for Church Leaders Article by Robert Norris

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2008

    I am not used to being considered a heretic. Yet recently, when a colleague and I visited a friend who teaches theology at a famous British university, we found ourselves faced with this charge! In a conversation that had quickly turned to the subject of theology, we found ourselves defending the idea that the death of Jesus Christ was that of a penal substitution in which He in our place bore the wrath of God that rightfully should have been visited upon us. This understanding is both biblical and the historic confession of the church, yet it was this that earned … View Resource

  • The Anglican Way Article by Gerald Bray

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2007

    The English Reformation produced the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion as its foundational documents. Both represent the more Reformed (as opposed to Lutheran) phase of the English reformation, though they are closer to patristic and medieval traditions than most Reformed documents are. Archbishop Cranmer believed that he had to reform the worship, doctrine, and discipline of the church. The Prayer Book represents reformed worship, and the Articles contain reformed doctrine. Yet Cranmer’s reformed discipline failed to gain parliamentary approval, and that failure was a factor that led to the rise of puritanism. The first Book … View Resource

  • Do Not Sin Against the Child Article by Charles Spurgeon

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2007 | Genesis 42

    Note the words of the text. “Spake I not unto you, saying, do not sin against the child?” (Gen. 42:22). The essence of sin lies in its being committed against God. When men are fully convinced that they have disobeyed the Lord, and that this is “the head and font of their offending,” then they are brought to a true perception of the character of sin. Hence David’s penitential psalm has for its acutest cry, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” (Ps. 51:4). Yet the sword of … View Resource

  • The Battle of Our Lives Article by Stanley Gale

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2007

    After dinner, the Bible study group sat down to discuss what topic they would take up next. Someone suggested they study spiritual warfare. “Why would we study that?” asked another member, “What does that have to do with us?” The group leader answered her question with questions: “What do you think is going on when you wrestle with sin? How about when you have doubts about the Bible’s teaching?”  Spiritual warfare is not about demon possession or some obscure topic tangential to the Christian life. It involves our walk with Christ and our work for His kingdom … View Resource

  • Prayer and Culture Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007

    I recently headed the translation committee for our church body’s new hymnal and worship book. Our previous hymnal included the choice of a modernized version of the Lord’s Prayer. We found, though, that no one used it. Even the churches that had given themselves over to contemporary worship — claiming that old-fashioned language and time-honored practices were incomprehensible to “modern” or “postmodern” people today — when they deigned to pray the Lord’s Prayer used the old-fashioned, time-honored version, complete with “thy’s,” “art’s,” and “trespasses.” The Lord’s Prayer is the ultimate prayer, comprehending everything that we can pray for … View Resource

  • Forgive Us Our Trespasses Article by Philip Ryken

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007

    We need daily pardon and daily protection as well as daily provision. So after Jesus taught us to pray, “give us today our daily bread,” He also taught us to pray, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:12–13).  These petitions are for fallen sinners — for people who are often tempted to sin, and sometimes give in. Even before we face these temptations, we should ask God to keep us safe from what John Calvin called in his Institutes … View Resource

  • Our Daily Bread Article by Danny Wuerffel

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007

    C. S. Lewis writes in The Problem of Pain that “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I don’t imagine Lewis had this particular phrase of the Lord’s Prayer in mind as he penned these words, but in all the tragedies and turmoil surrounding Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, God has indeed shouted at me many new lessons about “daily bread.”  I grew up as the son of an Air Force chaplain in what would be considered a middle-class family … View Resource