• Creator and Creature Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2014 | Genesis 1

    God’s Word starts with the creation by God of all things out of nothing. Genesis chapters 1 and 2 present creation as the foundation of all scriptural truth. The first eleven chapters of Genesis are foundational to the entire New Testament. The New Testament writers refer to these chapters repeatedly, and Jesus Christ Himself referred to each of the first six chapters of Genesis. Nowhere does the Lord, or any of the New Testament writers, give the slightest hint that these foundational chapters of the first book of Moses are anything but straight, historical truth, to be understood in their … View Resource

  • The Binding of Satan Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2013

    Revelation 20 is the only place in the Bible that speaks of “the millennium”—the thousand-year reign of the triumphant Christ on earth. Nowhere else does Holy Scripture mention this word, so it is necessary to look at related teachings elsewhere in Scripture to understand what it means in Revelation. A sound principle of biblical interpretation (used from ancient times by Augustine, Tychonius, and other early Christian writers) is that one interprets the few mentions of a word or concept in light of the many, and the symbolic in light of the plain. It would be contrary to a clear understanding … View Resource

  • The Value of Confessions Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2013

    To this day, Christian Churches, especially in the Reformation tradition, use a powerful tool for “maintaining the form of sound words” and for spreading the gospel to the world—their confessional documents. The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century represented a major rupture in the medieval church, one in which more than one-third of Europe had to go back to the “drawing board” to formulate their testimony to the rest of the world. That drawing board was Holy Scripture, which consecrated pastor-scholars searched out on the basis of a fresh knowledge of the original languages, and also on the basis of … View Resource

  • The Unshakable Purposes of God Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2010

    Hebrews 12 approaches the vast changes to come in church and culture as orchestrated by God for the advancement of His kingdom of grace: “‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken — that is, things that have been made — in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain” (vv. 26–27). View Resource

  • Bedtime Stories Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2008

    As a father of five children, and now a grandfather, I have spent three and a half decades seeking to pass down the Christian faith to the next generation. Let me deal with only one area of this vast work — one, I believe, that appears to have had some effectiveness in bringing up our little ones “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” so that now as adults they all confess Christ. I take for granted the general atmosphere in which Christians are to raise their children: faithful church attendance, some kind of daily family worship, love of … View Resource

  • Living by the Royal Law Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2004

    This final chapter of Hebrews is in many ways a fuller exposition of what James 2:8 calls “the royal law.” The idea of both James 2 and Hebrews 13 is that since God has made His people “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9) they are to live their lives in a manner that befits the highest royalty. I have a few times seen earthly royalty (some of the British royal family — from a considerable distance); yet I was close enough to observe their dignified bearing and very fine manners. Who would not respect elegance and dignity in these days … View Resource

  • Things That Cannot Be Shaken Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2004

    The entire epistle to the Hebrews seeks to encourage tired and suffering believers to keep looking to Christ in order not to lose heart and give up the good fight. God’s good providence has ordained that we all must pass through many tests — some of them very painful. Hebrews says that only if we will keep the end in view, shall we make it successfully, no matter how excruciatingly the vice of temporal difficulty presses us in its iron grip. That was the problem of the Hebrew converts to whom this epistle was primarily addressed. This letter was written … View Resource

  • Ordained by God Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2004

    In the 1950s, a very popular song proclaimed “He’s got the whole world in his hands!” Insofar as it had any theological content, it presumably spoke of the beneficent control by the Lord of all that He has made. That is not too far from the meaning of “common grace.” That is to say, in spite of the world’s sin and God’s just judgment upon it, the mighty Creator-Redeemer has never abandoned His creation; He always keeps His hand upon it so that it will be sustained, pardoned, and renewed in order to fulfill its purpose to bring Him eternal … View Resource

  • Partakers of Holiness Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2004

    The pain involved in following the Lord Jesus Christ in a hostile world is never hidden from us in Scripture. The early Hebrew Christians to whom this epistle seems first to have been written were no strangers to “reproaches and afflictions” (11:33), especially while the Jerusalem Temple was still standing and those who rejected the Messiah were largely in control of the culture. How well they knew that “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous” (v. 11). Echoes of the whips that lacerated the back of Jesus at times lashed their own backs. Like many Christians … View Resource

  • The Wisdom of Faith Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2004

    Forbes magazine features the four hundred most wealthy families in America each year. Those who make “the top four hundred” constantly change, according to their abilities in making and investing money. Being listed in this group is a measure of very high ability in dealing with certain aspects of the created order. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is also a list of “the top people” over a long period of history, but it is very different from the Forbes group. For the people listed in Hebrews 11 have been assessed from God’s point of view, and their standing is in … View Resource

  • The Blood of the Covenant Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2004

    One of the chief points of evangelical Christianity that was most offensive to Protestant Modernists in the great debates against Fundamentalism in the early twentieth century was the centrality of the blood of Christ for salvation. Many a would-be “sophisticated” Modernist sought to write off the very heart of traditional Christianity as “a slaughter-house religion.” Presumably they would replace trust in the cleansing blood with faith in their own good works, humanist wisdom, and political achievements. The drastic decline of the influence of so much of Western (or as Philip Jenkins terms it, “Northern Christianity,” that is, of the rich, … View Resource

  • Before the Throne of God Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2004

    The Epistle to the Hebrews was written to encourage Jewish believers who had professed faith in Christ not to backslide from Him in order to return to the still impressive Temple rituals of pre–A.D. 70 Judaism. What the inspired writer says in this chapter is this: “Do not abandon the full reality in order to follow a mere copy.” That would be as foolish as preferring a photograph of your fiancée to her personal presence! Let us say that the young woman (or man) to whom you are engaged is studying in another country. You would almost certainly have a … View Resource

  • The True Tabernacle Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2004

    Both the Old Testament tabernacle and the Mosaic covenant were mere shadows of the eternal reality that in due season fulfilled and surpassed them. They were “true shadows” in that they correctly bore a relationship to that which they imaged. But, proper and necessary as they were in God’s redemptive plan, they were not the final reality. They derived all their value by foreshadowing the person and work of the incarnate Christ, who in “the fullness of the time” (Gal. 4: 4 KJV) carried out with infinite blessing and surpassing splendor exactly what they stood for. The “worldly sanctuary” (Heb. … View Resource

  • Justified by Faith, Perfected by Hope Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2004

    The great Apostle who so clearly teaches us the liberating gospel truth that sinners are justified by faith, later in the same epistle adds that “we are saved by hope” (Rom. 8: 24). While Romans chapters 3 through 5 teach the joyous news that faith is the alone instrument of justification, Romans 8:24 exemplifies how faith is not alone in the person justified but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces. How supremely powerful is hope in Romans 8! It is this hope, which always accompanies justification, that gets us through the trials and tribulations of life in a … View Resource

  • Perseverance of the Saints Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2004

    In my many years as a professor of theology and conference speaker, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is, “Doesn’t the Reformed (or Calvinist) tradition teach the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints?” “Yes, it does,” I reply. “But how can a Bible-believer teach something like that since Hebrews 6 says that people who once became Christians turned away from faith in Christ and lost their salvation?” is the common response. I have always felt that this is an honest question that deserves an honest answer. Let me devote this brief article to what, I hope, … View Resource