• 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

  • A Time for Confidence Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2017

    Paul was likely one of the most intelligent people to have ever lived. He certainly is one of the best writers. He was extremely ambitious. He knew adversity, yet he persevered. If anyone “thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh,” Paul tells us, “I have more” (Phil. 3:4). Yet, Paul realizes that “whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (v. 7). He counts all his accomplishments, all his strivings after righteousness, as “rubbish,” a polite word for “dung.” All of Paul’s abilities and accomplishments simply serve to underscore his … 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

  • The State of Theology Article by Chris Larson

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2016

    Tabletalk: Why did Ligonier do the State of Theology survey? Stephen Nichols: One of the cardinal rules of giving a speech is “Know your audience.” Back in 2014, we partnered with LifeWay Research to conduct a survey of the theological beliefs of three thousand Americans. We decided to undertake the survey again in 2016 and expand the visualization of the data into a new website, TheStateOfTheology.com. Our ultimate purpose for this survey is to help churches, Christian ministries, and Christians live as the body of Christ in our place and in our time. Chris Larson: Dr. Sproul has said … 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • The Spanish Inquisition Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2015

    In 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain sponsored Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the New World. But in 1477, they were behind something far more infamous. In that year, the Spanish monarchs petitioned Pope Sixtus IV to revive the Inquisition, targeting Muslims and Jews. So began the reign of terror known as the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish Inquisition occurred in the larger enterprise of ecclesial and secular courts imposing conformity to the Roman Catholic Church and stamping out all dissent. Rome sponsored inquisitions as early as the eleventh century. But the Spanish Inquisition was unique. First, it was controlled … 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

  • 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

  • Setting a Course for Faithfulness: An Interview with Stephen J. Nichols Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2014

    Tabletalk: What are your responsibilities in your new roles as President of Reformation Bible College (RBC) and Chief Academic Officer for Ligonier Ministries? Stephen J. Nichols: First, I need to say how humbling these appointments are. And, it’s also rather exciting. 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 will not be alone in this, as I will be working alongside Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr., rector and chair of theology and philosophy, and … 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 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

  • Youth-Driven Culture Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2013

    Maybe it began earlier than the 1950s and 60s, but those decades seem to mark the rise of the fascination with youth in American culture. The famous line that celebrates all things young, often wrongly attributed to James Dean, declares, “Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse behind.” Popular music, that telling barometer of popular culture, has kept pace with this trend. Nearly every heavy-metal band of the 1980s and ‘90s had a stock ballad about young heroes going down in a “blaze of glory.” Other popmusic references stress the invincible power of youth. Rod Stewart sings of … View Resource