• False Humility Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Dearest Uglúk, Delightful. Utterly delightful. You have made wonderful progress with your subject. Not only has he come to embody a humility most false, he has begun to run with a crowd that will do naught but reinforce it. You have done well convincing him, albeit subtly through the use of quasi-Christian spiritualists (some of our greatest allies), that it is “humility“ to disdain thinking for himself, and further, to regard everyone, even himself, as having got it wrong — whether it involves the non-essentials of that blasted Christian faith, such as apologetic methods, or its central tenets, such as trinitarianism … View Resource

  • Faith Working Through Love Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2010

    Presuming to write about what makes a Christian recognizable to the watching world is fraught with peril. The author might be tempted to simply go with the old adage, “Less is more”: You’re a Christian if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9). Saying too much runs the risk of elevating “the commandments of men” to what must be believed and practiced (Matt. 15:1–9; see also Prov. 30:6). Ironically, such exaltation of man’s opinion (which doesn’t happen overnight; it takes a generation or two … View Resource

  • The Crown of Thorns Club Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2010

    When was the last time you went to a private social club? If you think that kind of thing is for the elite members of our society alone, guess again. The Yellow Pages are filled with lists of social clubs in which anyone in the neighborhood can become a member. They meet mainly on Sunday mornings — but don’t be foolish enough to wait for an invitation. View Resource

  • The Letter to the Church in Pergamum Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    The late, great American man of letters, John Updike, once wrote, “Sex is like money — only too much is enough.” But modern Americans aren’t the only people who obsess over sex; it has possessed the minds of men for millennia (as various cave paintings make clear).  The same held true for the third church addressed in Saint John’s Apocalypse. Pergamum was like the Washington, D.C., of Asia. It was the seat of Roman government for the province and the center of the imperial cult. It was the first to erect a temple to the caesar, Augustus … View Resource

  • Paradise Regained Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2008

    A crowd gathered around Jesus of Nazareth and wondered: Could this person be the son of David, the one who, like David, wreaks havoc upon our enemies? A few of the local leaders standing by did not take kindly to the clear implications of what they witnessed and accused the man of beating up His own people by the power of the prince of demons. He responded with no ounce of timidity: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste. …How then will his [Satan’s] kingdom stand? …But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons … View Resource

  • A Holy Calling Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2008 | Matthew 23

    A preacher once paraphrased a bygone theologian as a challenge to his congregation: “To convert one sinner from his way, is an event of greater importance than the deliverance of sub-Saharan Africa from the problem of AIDS.” He went on: “The very fact that we have pause here is an indication of the influence of relativistic thinking among us.” On one hand, this point absolutely needs to be heard. But on the other, it potentially creates a false dilemma. For those churches mentioned in Friday’s study, those who allow the message of the good news of Jesus Christ … View Resource

  • Free Is Not Cheap Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2008

    When Jesus predicted His death to the disciples (Matt. 16:21), it surprised them. The Messiah wasn’t supposed to die — especially at the hands of the pagan Roman empire. In another sense, however, it wasn’t all that surprising. Prophets like Jesus, Jeremiah, or John the Baptist often met with less than happy endings. In this case, it’s equally surprising that He pushed on toward Jerusalem. But such was the cost of discipleship.  Jesus understood well that His messianic work of establishing God’s kingdom entailed more than preaching and eating with unclean sinners. It included suffering and death, and … View Resource

  • Gluttony & Temperance Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2008

    Two mistakes accompany most discussions on gluttony. The first is that it only pertains to those with a less than shapely waistline; the second is that it always involves food. In reality, it can apply to toys, television, entertainment, sex, or relationships. It is about an excess of anything. The ancient pagans even got this right. At Delphi (in lower central Greece), the sanctuary of Apollo had inscribed upon it, wisely, “Nothing in Extremes.” The problem with this, of course, was that the judge of such excessiveness was the individual, whereas for followers of Christ it is the Creator … View Resource

  • This Pornographic Life Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2008

    Well, you’ve done it again. Once more, you find yourself looking where you ought not. And this you have willfully done. Yes, you’ve begged God to remove this blight, these gross desires. You even made some headway. But you’ve gone off and done it again. Forget confession, God doesn’t want to hear that same old prayer, especially not when you know you’ll be breaking your commitment before long. On the other hand, maybe God doesn’t care that much about all this. After all, He made you; He knows your natural desires, He knows what you need. Why would He make you … View Resource

  • Remembering God’s Grace Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2007

    For many of us, at the beginning of our Christian journeys, we thought of and spoke often about the radical forgiveness of a God who has been greatly sinned against. I remember myself going on and on about God’s longsuffering and patience, and how grateful I was for it. I also recall having conversations with friends who did not convert out of a debauched past, who had never known a time they didn’t consider themselves Christian.  Some were a bit dispirited about not being able to share in such supposedly illustrious conversion experiences. I’d always say to be grateful for … View Resource

  • A Face-to-Face Encounter Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007 | Genesis 35

    At its core, sin stems from failing to worship (or love) God exclusively and failing to love our neighbors as ourselves. Clearly Jacob and his family are guilty of both. After God calls on Jacob to fulfill his vow at Bethel (Gen. 35:1), Jacob wisely commands his entire entourage to “put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments” (v. 2). Removing any and all hindrances from the exclusive worship and allegiance to the one, true God of Israel is absolutely essential to keeping the covenant, even though it wasn’t until much … View Resource

  • What’s In A Word? A Heritage Worth Saving Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2007

      Just about everything that enters our minds — through reading, watching, or hearing — has been edited. It is not simply a matter of adding clarity to garbled syntax or fixing commas. It entails a deliberate decision about what gets in our consciousness, at least through the window of whatever media we are digesting — from television and newspapers to radio and magazines.  Editing is peculiar work, because it is invisible, behind the scenes. Yet the work is forceful, as it shapes (edits) the very media being offered to the public.  No one is fooled any longer … View Resource

  • Keep Yourselves in the Love of God Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2007

    It’s easy to miss the fact that Isaac strove with God for twenty years over his wife’s infertility before seeing a positive answer. His son, Jacob, showed similar persistence when he wrestled with the angel at Peniel. This is not to be confused with stubbornness; rather, this striving is synonymous with brokenness. Jacob’s long night of wrestling is described by the prophet Hosea as follows: “He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favor” (12:4). In other words, He threw himself upon the mercy and grace of the one, true God upon whom … View Resource

  • Left Behind by Grace Alone Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    The story of Lot isn’t particularly nice. It is, in fact, one of the more gross stories in the Old Testament. A recalcitrant man of faith, a self-centered wife, two incestuous daughters, obstinate daughters and sons-in-law, and a city full of violence and perversion — great characters all — for a tragedy. Yet it is not without hope. For despite his depressing mistakes, Lot was a righteous man whose faithful soul was tormented over the lawless deeds of the Sodomites (2 Peter 2:7–8). God, ever utterly faithful to His covenant, did not abandon Lot (for Abraham’s sake, Gen. 19 … View Resource

  • In the Service of the King Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2006

    Our story begins in the thick of the action: a middle-aged Martin Luther is busy at work reforming the doctrine of the provincial German churches. He soon settles on issues surrounding the Christian life. In response to the medieval church’s insistence that the only truly Christian calling necessarily involved a withdrawal or retreat from society (by becoming a monk), Luther began arguing that calling can and ought to affirm the spiritual value of work in this world. In other words, ordinary, every-day work has significant religious value. It may seem silly to us, but this was a reinterpretation of calling … View Resource