• 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

  • God’s Providence: A Two-Edged Sword (Part 3) Article by John Gerstner

    Positive Providence When considering the definition of negative providence, we used Ed Wynn’s comic parody of the poet. Now, considering positive providence, we consider the poet himself: There is a destiny which shapes our ends, Rough hew them though we may. The “rough hew” needs explanation. If the poet means “sin as we please,” if he suggests that a positive providence comes about irrespective of our behavior, if things are going to work out well although we always behave badly—then he errs in the opposite direction. Just as there is no destiny that shapes our ends rough, hew them … View Resource

  • A Conspiracy of Goodness Article by William Edgar

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2010

    There is a small village in the center of France with a unique history. In the midst of World War II, the country was partly occupied and partly “free,” meaning the French government, headquartered at Vichy, led by Maréchal Pétain, cooperated with the Germans, who in turn granted a certain measure of liberty to its citizens. Everyone understood, however, that no true freedom existed in either of these zones. The Nazis bore down hard and had no intentions of allowing any sort of independence from the claims of the Third Reich. In this context, and particularly in France, Jews and … View Resource

  • The Frozen Chosen Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2010

    Reformed Christians are often accused of being cold and callous, virtual Stoics or fatalists. We’ve all heard the epithet “the frozen chosen” applied to Reformed believers. We usually protest that such a nickname does not truly describe us, and of course, we all know many brothers and sisters to whom such a name would never stick. But the fact that this nickname, this description of us, is so common should give us pause. Do we sometimes speak and act in ways that give rise to such an idea? Sadly, I believe we do. View Resource

  • Mere Coincidence? Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2010

    I’ve been interested in so-called coincidences since I was a child. In fact, my first research paper of any substance during high school was on the subject of coincidences. I recently ran across this old paper, which I wrote before I was a Christian. After giving examples of some of the more remarkable coincidences to be found in the annals of history and looking at some of the different theories that have been suggested as explanations for these phenomena, I concluded that perhaps coincidences were somebody’s way of trying to tell us something. I also added at the time that … View Resource

  • Our Blessed Struggle Article by Guy Richard

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2009

    I find it interesting that, of all the names God could have chosen for His people, He chose “Israel.” And while different opinions exist as to what the name Israel actually means, it seems that the context in which the name is given in Genesis 32 favors the meaning “he struggles with God” over every other option (see verses 22–32 and Hos. 12:3–4). It would seem that God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to call His people &”strugglers.” As we consider what it means for us as Christians to live between the times, let us begin by remembering … View Resource

  • The Providence of Jesus Article by Jerry Bridges

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2008 | Matthew 14

    The feeding of the five thousand, recorded in Matthew 14:13–21, is probably the most well known of all of Jesus’ miracles. It is the only one recorded by all four of the gospel writers (see Mark 6:30–44; Luke 9:10–19; John 6:1–14). It is also one that skeptics have most often tried to explain away. A common explanation is that the little boy’s example of generosity in giving his bread and fish to Jesus prompted others to share the food they had brought along, so that there was enough for all. That this was an amazing miracle is … View Resource

  • The Providence of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2007

    The entire life of Joseph is summarized in Genesis 50:20: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” The teenager we met at the beginning of the story is now over a hundred years old. His life has come full circle, and he is addressing his duplicitous brothers. Their actions, in selling him into slavery, had nothing but evil intent written all over it. Their malevolence can in no way be lessened by the knowledge that things did not turn out as they might have done. Truth is, God overruled their evil … View Resource

  • The Decree of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2007

    Joseph has just revealed his true identity to his astonished brothers. It had been a tearful moment (Gen. 46:2, 14; cf. 42:24; 43:30). He is about to engage in a discourse on predestination and the divine decree (yes, really!), but this is no abstract theological exercise; it is theology engaging the harshest of realities — betrayal, false imprisonment, and injustice! Joseph had, from one point of view, every right to think that life made no sense at all because there was no controlling power governing the course of events. He might have been tempted to think along the … View Resource

  • Everything Is Against Me! Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2007

    It is Jacob’s lowest point. As far as he knows, Joseph is dead. That’s the story his sons have led him to believe, showing him the blood-stained “coat of many colors” (Gen. 37:31–33). He mourned his son’s death and “refused to be comforted” despite the hypocritical attempts of his sons who knew full well that Joseph was alive somewhere.  Many years have now passed. Joseph has spent two years in prison, been installed as second-in-command to the pharaoh, and enjoyed seven years of abundant harvest. Now the predicted seven years of famine have begun (something that Joseph had … View Resource

  • The Faithful Endurance of Suffering Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2007

    Pharaoh begins having disturbing dreams, and not one of his magicians or wise men is able to interpret them. The chief cupbearer suddenly remembers the accuracy of Joseph’s interpretation of his dream, and Joseph is brought before the pharaoh. Joseph gives all of the glory to God for the ability to interpret dreams and proceeds to explain the meaning of Pharaoh’s dream. He reveals that after seven years of plenty there will be seven years of severe famine. Because of the wisdom and ability that Joseph demonstrates he is exalted by Pharaoh to a position of authority in Egypt second … View Resource

  • Bound to Come Some Trouble Article by Chris Larson

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007

    We Reformed types have it good. I mean, really good. Call it the doctrines of grace or historic Christian faith or even the C-word (Calvinism) and you have to admit that sinners such as us have received something amazing. The Bible teaches us to cling to the exhilarating truth that God is powerfully sovereign over everything. One contemporary theologian known to the readers of Tabletalk has even dared to claim that there is not one maverick molecule outside of God’s domain. What about suffering? Do you ever wonder how an atheist and a Christian might differ on their response? One denies … View Resource

  • Finding God in the Dark Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007 | Genesis 39

    Four times in Genesis 39 we read that God was with Joseph (39:2-3, 21, 23). The statements form a set of pillars at either end of the story of Joseph’s initial experience of Egypt. On the one end, they come at the beginning of the story after Joseph has been sold by the Ishmaelites to Potiphar, the pharaoh’s “captain of the guard” (39:1). The point of the description is to show to us that God’s presence “prospered” Joseph (39:2). He was a “successful man” (39:2) because “the Lord was with him” (39:3 … View Resource

  • A Loyal Love Article by Kathy Miskelly

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2007

    For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). Those words of Ruth are often quoted to express the desire that one’s marriage and family might be characterized by a loyal love that will endure through the years. We long to rest under the shadow of true loyalty, to have the assurance that we will not be forsaken or betrayed by those we love and that we will never betray those who have trusted us. Human loyalty is frail, and false … View Resource

  • The Veracity of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2007

    The story of Joseph is one of the finest examples in Scripture of what Paul meant when he wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28). All things? Yes, including evil things. Nor should we attempt for one moment to lessen the evil intent in men’s actions (or Satan’s for that matter, for he lurks in the background of every evil deed and thought); Joseph’s brothers meant to harm him, but God overruled their actions for good. It will be Joseph’s clear announcement at the end of the story … View Resource