• An Apology for Apologetics Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2016

    My professor of apologetics in seminary told stories of odd reactions he received when he would tell people what he did for a living. The best story involved a bank loan officer. When he told the loan officer that he was a professor of apologetics, she replied, “That’s wonderful.” Then she added, “These days, we really do need to teach people how to say they are sorry.” The loan officer was both right and wrong. We do need apologetics professors, but apologetics isn’t about saying we’re sorry. Rather, it’s about defending the faith. In fact, defending … View Resource

  • Bernard of Clairvaux and Mysticism Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2012

    One has to appreciate a medieval figure whom Martin Luther and John Calvin looked on with favor and, to a certain degree, approval. The figure in question is Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian monk, abbot, mild mystic, and formidable theologian. It’s an understatement to call him an abbot. His monastery eventually founded a daughter institution, then another, then another. By the time of his death, seventy monasteries had been directly planted or started by him, with those institutions responsible for establishing hundreds more. So revered was Bernard that Dante left his faithful Beatrice behind as his guide and had … View Resource

  • The Bible in English Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2008

    Many of us are spoiled. We likely live in proximity to a bookstore, or if not, then we are just a mouse click away from an online source of books that would put at our disposal any number of English Bible translations in any type of bindings and in all shapes, sizes, and colors. This embarrassment of riches, however, hasn’t always been the case. For centuries, written copies of the Bible in English, Old English that is, simply didn’t exist. Copies were extremely expensive and not so commonly distributed. The expansive English Bible selection we enjoy today is the end product … View Resource

  • Biblical Authority Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2017

    It’s one of those moments we wish we could have seen firsthand. It took place in the square before the Water Gate. At daybreak, Ezra brought out the law. He unrolled the scroll and began reading. He kept on until noon, and all the while the great crowd gave their rapt attention. The law was read, interpreted, and studied. Nehemiah 8, which records this event, also tells us that this Bible study session resulted in worship. The people were humbled, and their faces looked to the ground. They bowed before God as He revealed Himself in His holy Word. This … 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 Doctrine of Scripture Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2016

    Martin Luther confessed, “The Scriptures are our vineyard in which we should all work.” And work in that vineyard he did. Luther’s formal education initially took him into the fields of the arts and sciences. He was schooled in the subjects laid out and developed by Aristotle. His keen mind prepared him well for master’s studies in law. All the while, he struggled deep in his soul. The infamous thunderstorm that caught Luther on the road to Erfurt sent him into the monastery. Yet, a monk’s duties could not assuage his inner battles. His overseers, now taking … View Resource

  • Fighting the Good Fight Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2005

    Warfield’s world, once he arrived at Princeton in 1887, was not very large at all. His house, the Old Hodge House, conveniently situated him next to Alexander Hall, which contained Princeton Seminary’s dorm rooms and classrooms. Across the lawn stood Miller Chapel. His own well-stocked study — as editor of The Princeton Review he had a constant flow of books sent to him — could be supplemented by a short trip to the seminary’s library. Yet, Warfield’s impact belies this small world, stretching far beyond the tree-lined campus of Princeton. From the lectern he trained two generations of ministers, and with … View Resource

  • The Great Schism of 1054 Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2011

    You had to see it to believe it. During the pope’s September 2010 visit to the United Kingdom, one protester’s sign stood out, far out, from the others. In large markered letters on the back of a pizza box, the theologically minded protester declared, “Drop the Filioque!” FILIOQUE: WHY ALL THE FUSS? Assuming that protester was merely seeking to get noticed, the sign worked, landing him television coverage and a few interviews. But why did he oppose that phrase? And what does that phrase even mean? The single Latin word on the sign means “and the son.” And … View Resource

  • The History of Study Bibles Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2015

    In 1560, an exiled group of pastors and theologians made history. They published the first full edition of the Geneva Bible. It was a remarkable feat on many fronts. These scholars who worked on the Geneva Bible had been leaders of the Reformation in England and Scotland. When “Bloody Mary” took the throne, she threw into reverse the advancing Reformation, taking the nation back to Roman Catholicism. Britain’s Reformers found themselves in prison, martyred, or in exile. Many went to Calvin’s Geneva. Calvin wasn’t much for idle hands. Florentine jewelers who had converted to Protestantism were also … View Resource

  • How We Got Here Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2015

    If you read church history, you have seen it all. That’s not entirely hyperbole. Many of the challenges and questions we face in the church today have been met by past generations of believers. Did not a wise man once say, “There is nothing new under the sun”? This holds true regarding the doctrine of inerrancy. In 1979, Jack B. Rogers and Donald McKim wrote a book titled The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: …An Historical Approach. The central idea or thesis has come to be known as the Rogers/McKim proposal, which is this: The Bible is … View Resource

  • The Morning Star of the Reformation Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2014 | Colossians 1

    He had been dead and buried for a few decades, but the church wanted to make a point. His remains were exhumed and burned, a fitting end for the “heretic” John Wycliffe. Wycliffe once explained what the letters in the title CARDINAL really mean: “Captain of the Apostates of the Realm of the Devil, Impudent and Nefarious Ally of Lucifer.” And with that, Wycliffe was only getting started. Wycliffe rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, which states that the elements of the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper become the actual body and blood of Christ. He was against … View Resource

  • The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2009

    He was a young man unsure of his future. He had many gifts and not a few options before him. His father and grandfather were ministers, as were uncles and others in the family tree. He had a first-rate education, one of the finest of the day, so he was well-prepared for a future in the halls of the academy, should he so choose. He even had a penchant for science and perhaps could have headed off in that direction. But for the time being he was a pastor, a young pastor at that. Eighteen going on nineteen, he … View Resource

  • The Roots of Legalism Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2016

    One of Martin Luther’s many contributions concerns the Latin word incurvitas. This sounds like something a dentist might say to you as he pokes and prods in the molars. But it’s not. It means “turned inward.” It means that we are naturally selfish, self-centered, and self-absorbed. While all of those are damning enough, this condition of incurvitas has an even more telling effect. Because we are turned inward, we think we can achieve righteousness entirely on our own. So we strive, white-knuckling it, to achieve a right standing before God. How many times have you heard someone say … View Resource

  • The Scottish Reformation Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2014

    His name was Patrick Hamilton. He was born into nobility. His mother’s father was the second son of the king. As a young man of only thirteen, he was given a position of abbot, which supplied a handsome income and a position for life. He used the income wisely. He studied first at Paris, then moved on to Louvain, Belgium. While at Paris, in 1520, Hamilton first read the writings of the heretical monk Martin Luther. In 1523, he returned to Scotland, taking his place on the faculty at the University of St. Andrews. In a few short years … View Resource

  • Setting a Course for Faithfulness Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2011

    TT: What are your responsibilities in your role as president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries? SN: Under the supervision and direction of the board of directors, the president of Reformation Bible College governs all aspects of the college from the staff and faculty to the students and curriculum. I am not alone in this, as I work alongside Dr. John W. Tweeddale, our academic dean. Ligonier is primarily a teaching ministry that delivers content in a variety of ways. As chief academic officer, I work with Chris Larson, Ligonier’s president, in maintaining the … View Resource