• The Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy Article by R. Scott Clark

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2014 | Matthew 16

    On February 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI abdicated the papacy. Six days later, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit priest and archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected by the College of Cardinals and installed as Pope Francis I, bringing to a conclusion a remarkable series of events. The papal resignation and Francis’ accession takes us back to the last pope to abdicate, Gregory XII (1415), and the marvelously messy history of the Avignon Papacy. OF POPES AND ANTIPOPES If we believe the popular myth, we might think that there has been an unbroken succession of popes in Rome since Peter. But … View Resource

  • The Centrality of the Church Article by Sean Michael Lucas

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2014 | Matthew 16

    For those to whom [God] is Father the church may also be Mother,” John Calvin observed in his Institutes (4.1.1). A few paragraphs later, he teases out what this metaphor means. God uses the church to bring us into spiritual life in the same way a mother conceives children in her womb; He continues to use the church to sustain us in the Christian life just as a mother cares for children all her days. “Our weakness,” Calvin writes, “does not allow us to be dismissed from her school until we have been pupils all our lives.” The … View Resource

  • Christology in Context Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2014 | Matthew 16

    Nestled along the eastern shores of Lake Iznik in Turkey lies the ancient city of Nicea. As Camp David provides the president of the United States with a place of retreat from the bustle of Washington, D.C., and the White House, so Nicea served the needs of ancient emperors. Constantine used it as his summer palace. In AD 325, he convened a large gathering of more than three hundred bishops and church leaders. They were called to discuss, debate, and eventually declare the outcome of a controversy raging through the early church, a controversy that gets at the heart … View Resource

  • The Church: Your Story Article by Joe Holland

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2014 | Matthew 16

    Why is this happening to me? What is my purpose in this life? If God is so powerful, then why does He allow me to be treated this way by people who are opposed to Him? Will God ever give me victory over this particular sin? These are the types of questions that pepper the ordinary Christian life. Christians want an explanation from God for their current suffering and a steadfast promise that their own life will turn out well. Christians know that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28), but it is … View Resource

  • Does the Church Know Her Commission? Article by Denny Burk

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011 | Matthew 16

    Have you ever wished you could have a do-over? Have you ever looked back on a situation in which you know that you really botched the job and you just wish you could have another crack at it? That is the way I often feel when I reflect back on some of my less-than-fruitful efforts at evangelism when I was in college. Back then, I was (to say the least) a little wet behind the ears in terms of my theological convictions. I had a basic understanding of Christ’s substitutionary atonement but little appreciation for how His lordship should inform … View Resource

  • Faithful Gardening Article by Travis Allen

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2014 | Matthew 16

    When Methodist missionary J. Waskom Pickett published Christian Mass Movements in India in 1933, it would’ve been impossible to predict its impact on American evangelicalism. His observations about rates of conversion and church growth among Indian castes may have seemed innocuous at the time, but his interest in outcomes betrayed assumptions rooted in pragmatism. Pickett’s book resonated strongly with young Donald McGavran, who carried the baton forward, lighting his “candle at Pickett’s fire.” Using Pickett’s observations, McGavran developed the “homogeneous growth unit principle,” that people prefer “to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic, or class barriers … View Resource

  • Jesus and the Church Article by Terry Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2014 | Matthew 16

    How many times does Jesus mention the church? I’ve asked that question in a number of forums (Reformed University Fellowship, Sunday school, Drug Court Bible Study, the pulpit, and so on), and have received answers ranging from thirty-six to six. Surprise is the typical response when I reveal that Jesus mentions the church, the ekklÄ“sia, only twice. Initially, this seems to confirm the bias of those who say they admire Jesus but have little regard for the church. The church, they say, is man’s invention. Jesus said little about the church. He didn’t intend to found a … View Resource

  • The Turning Point Article by Joel Beeke

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2008 | Matthew 16

    The turning point in Matthew’s account of Christ’s life and work occurs in chapter 16: “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (v. 21 KJV).  A committee of scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem had come to Jesus, objecting to the practice of His disciples (15:1). Now, in Magdala, another committee of Pharisees, joined by a number of Sadducees, waited to confront Him. What a strange combination … View Resource