• The Regulative Principle of Worship Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2010

    Put simply, the regulative principle of worship states that the corporate worship of God is to be founded upon specific directions of Scripture. On the surface, it is difficult to see why anyone who values the authority of Scripture would find such a principle objectionable. Is not the whole of life itself to be lived according to the rule of Scripture? This is a principle dear to the hearts of all who call themselves biblical Christians. To suggest otherwise is to open the door to antinomianism and license. But things are rarely so simple. After all, the Bible does not … View Resource

  • Snakes and Ladders Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007 | Genesis 28

    Poor Jacob! You have to feel sorry for him even though he’s a most disagreeable character! A “self-willed mother’s boy,” with opportunistic instincts that enabled him to outsmart friends and foes alike in a ruthless bid at getting his own way, Jacob emerges in Genesis as the less likeable of Isaac’s twin boys. And yet, he is the one God chooses to bless! Jacob has fled for his life because his twin brother Esau is as mad as a hornet with him for his duplicity in stealing Esau’s birthright through trickery. Esau has vowed, once their father is dead … View Resource

  • Sodom and Gomorrah Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    Genesis 19 is unseemly stuff! The kind of thing we don’t want to be found reading in public on Sunday mornings when our mothers are present! Sodomy, rape, and who knows what else? Do we close our eyes and think nice thoughts rather than dwell on what this story is really about? And coming so quickly after the moving prayer of chapter 18 — what in the world are we to make of it? Assumptions are that the sin here is homosexuality of a violent nature. Genesis 19:5 simply says that the men of Sodom demanded, “Bring them out … View Resource

  • The Undoing of Babel Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2006

    Man’s nature,” Calvin wrote in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, “is a perpetual factory of idols” (1.11.8). Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the Babel episode (Gen. 11:1–9). Babylon becomes in time the most important city in Mesopotamia, and in Bible history a synonym for worldly opposition to God. Thus, at the close of the Scriptures, in the successive destruction of the enemy’s powers, is the downfall of Babylon: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (Rev. 18:2). The progeny of the serpent (Gen. 3:15) populate history, often gathering collectively in … View Resource

  • Vanity Fair Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2006

    For John Bunyan, a Puritan to his fingertips, the Christian life was an experience of conflict and tension with this world. Imprisoned for upwards of twelve years, he experienced firsthand the world’s hostility. Cheerful and sanguine by temperament, his portrayal of what believers can expect from this world is both solemn and dark: the path that leads to the Celestial City winds through unavoidable places of considerable, even deadly, danger — places like the town called Vanity with its “lusty Fair.” Here, all the resources of protection and resolution will be needed to prevent contamination and possible destruction. Christian … 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

  • Voices of Temptation Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2006

    The birth of Ishmael, son of Abram and Hagar, is a tale that in some sense at least should never have been. From it emerges a familial and ethnic strife that lasts to this very day. It is a tale of marital strife, of hobbling faith and catastrophic consequence. There is an interesting and devastating parallel in the way Moses recounts the tale of Adam’s fall in the garden of Eden and Abram’s lapse of faith in Genesis 16: both employ the phrase, they “listened to the voice of…” (Gen. 3:17; 16:2). And in both instances, the men … View Resource

  • What’s in a Name? Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2013

    Hallowed be your name” is what Jesus taught His disciples to say in prayer (Matt. 6:9). It expresses a desire that the Father will be revered and praised and spoken about in a manner that befits His resplendent glory and dignity. After hearing God speak and seeing a bush on fire with no apparent sign of being burned up, Moses asked, “What is your name?” In reply, God first said, “I am who I am” (or “I will be what I will be”), then shortened it to “I am,” then to “the Lord” (I AM translates the Hebrew Yahweh … View Resource

  • Wily Jacob Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2007

    Sell me your birthright now,” Jacob demanded of his twin brother, Esau (Gen. 25:31). Thus begins the sorry tale of Abraham’s grandson. From the start, Jacob challenges us to dislike him: a self-willed, pampered child with ruthless skills in getting his own way.  Though the youngest of the twins, the birthright (rights to inherit) should have been Esau’s - a far more attractive personality all round. But God has other ideas, promising to his mother, Rebekah, that the birthright would be given to Jacob (Gen. 25:23). This was a recipe for trouble, designed to show that … View Resource