• Whoever Believes in Him Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2016

    In contemporary North America, people are often seen at sporting events holding a poster with “John 3:16” written upon it in large print. While this may not be the most effective evangelistic strategy, it does bear witness to an important truth. No passage in the Bible more powerfully undergirds the biblical imperative to herald the good news concerning Jesus Christ to all sinners than this one. Even if the risen Christ had never given the church the Great Commission, John 3:16 would suffice to drive believers to tell all the world of God’s great love, which He demonstrated in the … View Resource

  • Faith and Works Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2014 | Romans 3:19-21

    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. 15:6), found … View Resource

  • Reigning with Christ Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2013

    One of the primary themes in the book of Revelation is the paradox of the Christian life. Believers are united to Christ, the Lamb who was slain but now reigns as the Lion from the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5–6), and they are “more than conquerors” even when they experience trial, persecution, and martyrdom for their testimony concerning Jesus Christ. G.K. Chesterton once remarked that a paradox is “the truth stood on its head to get our attention.” The depiction of the reign of believers with Christ for one thousand years in Revelation 20:4–6 is an instance of such a … View Resource

  • The Church and Israel: The Issue Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2012

    Throughout the history of the Christian church, the question of Israel’s place within God’s redemptive purposes has been of special importance. In modern history, with the emergence of dispensationalism as a popular eschatological viewpoint and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, the theological question of God’s intention for Israel has become even more pressing. After the Holocaust, the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews throughout Europe during World War II, the issue of the relation between the church and Israel has also been affected anew by the sad reality of anti- Semitism, which some allege belongs to … View Resource

  • Interpreting Revelation Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2012

    The interpretation of the book of Revelation has often proven difficult throughout the history of the Christian church. Though it is little more than a piece of scholarly gossip, some have even suggested that the Reformer John Calvin, one of the best interpreters of the Scriptures the church has known, shied away from writing a commentary on the book of Revelation for this very reason. There is no evidence to support this claim, and we do have Calvin’s commentary on the book of Daniel, which gives a fairly clear picture as to how Calvin would have interpreted the book of … View Resource

  • A Future Justification Based on Works? Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    One of the remarkable features of N.T. Wright’s reformulation of the Protestant doctrine of justification is his emphasis upon a “future justification” on the basis of works. According to Wright, the apostle Paul clearly teaches that believers will be subject to a final judgment “according to works” (Rom. 14:10–12; 2 Cor. 5:10). View Resource

  • The Letter to the Church in Philadelphia Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    Many evangelical churches in North America are scrambling to find strategies that will enable them to reach out effectively with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite a rich heritage of gospel teaching on this continent, there is a sense of discouragement, even despondency, among many Christians about the prospects for evangelism in our time. And so a variety of pragmatic schemes are being employed to assure success in the communication of the gospel. However, before the evangelical church succumbs to the temptation to craft strategies that accommodate the gospel to the spirit of the age, we need to listen carefully … View Resource

  • Dante on Virtue and Vice Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2008

    Dante ranks right up there with Shakespeare and Homer as the greatest writers of our civilization. Though the Italian poet, who lived from 1265 to 1321, embodies the High Middle Ages, he is sometimes called a proto-reformer for his bold condemnation of the popes of his day and his searing indictments of the corruption in the church of Rome. Dante’s Divine Comedy is an allegory, that is, a story consisting of symbols. His hair-raising depiction of hell in “The Inferno” symbolizes what sin is, with the punishment of the different vices giving insight into why those vices are so wrong. … View Resource

  • The Belgic Confession Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2008

    The Belgic Confession is one of the best known and most loved of the Reformed confessions. Philip Schaff, the venerable historian of the church and her confessions, observes that it is “upon the whole, the best symbolical statement of the Calvinistic system of doctrine, with the exception of the Westminster Confession.” This Confession is known most commonly as the “Belgic” confession because it emerged from the French-speaking Reformed churches in the southern “Lowlands” or “Nether-lands” (now Belgium). It has served historically as one of the three confessional symbols of the Dutch Reformed churches. Affection for this confession among these churches … View Resource

  • Christ and Him Crucified Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2006

    To attempt to summarize the apostle Paul’s doctrine of salvation in the compass of a short essay might seem an act of folly. Yet try we must. Paul’s preaching of the Gospel proceeds from the conviction that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised “Messiah” and Son of God, whom God sent into the world in “the fullness of time” to fulfill His promises to His people, Israel (2 Cor. 1:18–22; 6:2; Gal. 4:4). The great message of Paul’s preaching is the “mystery” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:26; Rom. 16:26; 2 Tim. 1:10). Though previously hidden, this mystery … View Resource

  • Redemption Applied Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2004

    Between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, there exists a perfect coincidence of will and purpose. However distinct may be the works appropriate to each person of the holy Trinity, the love and mutual indwelling (John 14:10–11) that characterize the eternal communion between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are expressed in the intimate harmony of their respective works in the accomplishment of redemption. The covenant of redemption, which is the foundation for the triune God’s gracious restoration of fallen sinners to life and communion with God, describes the respective roles that are “appropriate” to the Father, the Son, … View Resource