• The Christian Club Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2010

    Many American churches are in a mess. Theologically they are indifferent, confused, or dangerously wrong. Liturgically they are the captives of superficial fads. Morally they live lives indistinguishable from the world. They often have a lot of people, money, and activities. But are they really churches, or have they degenerated into peculiar clubs? View Resource

  • The Church and Psalm 81 Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2013

    What does the church most need today? In answering this important but rather general question, Psalm 81 is uniquely important and helpful. This psalm obviously contains beautiful promises and clear directions to help the people of God. But careful study of this psalm will deepen our appreciation of it, increase its value for us, and show us how distinctive it is for helping the church. As we study psalms, we soon learn that the central verse of a psalm is often significant as a key to its interpretation. The central line of Psalm 81 is the heart of that psalm … View Resource

  • The Crusades Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2011

    The Bible can be a dangerous book if misused and abused. In the history of the church, the misunderstanding of the Bible has led to many serious problems, ranging from false doctrine to legalistic customs and misdirected lives. One of the most blatant examples of this is the Crusades: a series of wars led by Europeans in the name of Christ against Islamic states in the Near East during the Middle Ages. The idea that Christians can use the sword to advance their cause might seem to be justified by passages like the following: “May all kings fall down before … View Resource

  • Faithful Vigilance Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2006

    Paul warned the elders of the church in Ephesus about the critical need for them to be vigilant: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert…” (Acts 20:28–31). This apostolic warning was not just for … View Resource

  • General Revelation Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2016

    Nothing is more important than knowing God as He truly is. For this reason, the church has confessed many truths about our God throughout history. God is the eternal Trinity, the almighty Creator, the wise Sustainer, the effective Redeemer, and the coming Judge. One truth not so clearly articulated in our creeds is that God is the trustworthy Revealer. To know God as He is, He must reveal Himself to us. Because God is infinite, He cannot be fully comprehended by finite creatures. We are blinded to God’s truth by our sin. But even before sin entered the world … View Resource

  • Justification by Faith Alone Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2017

    Celebrations in 2017 of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation will return again and again to the subject of justification by faith alone, one of the Reformation’s most critical rediscoveries. That subject is so important that in one sense we cannot study it enough. On the other hand, part of me wonders why we seem to have so much trouble understanding and holding on to a doctrine so vital. Is the doctrine so complicated that we cannot remember it? Is the Bible’s teaching so obscure that we cannot penetrate it? In fact, the Bible is crystal clear and the doctrine … View Resource

  • Life and Liberty Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    Life” and “Liberty” are terms that have powerful and positive connotative value to us. We are “pro-life” and “pro-liberty.” Such emotionally-laden terms can be definitionally evasive, however, since they stir our passions as well as our reason. As we consider our expectations of the state and our role therein, it is important to be clear about our understanding of such terms. “Life” has both a political and a religious definition. In the political arena, “life” is biologically defined; the state defends “life” by protecting people from acts and policies that would injure or take away their lives, biologically considered. The … View Resource

  • The Marks of the Church Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | May 1992

    If you move to a new town, you have to find a new church. The search for a new church can be difficult and frustrating. If you pick up the Yellow Pages and look under “Church,” you are likely to confront a bewildering array of possibilities. Perhaps you already have some fairly definite ideas of what you want in a church. You may be looking for a good youth group or active senior citizens group. You may want a powerful preacher or a certain kind of music. You may be very loyal to one denomination or you may like to … View Resource

  • The Means of Persevering Grace Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2004

    Until the Arminian controversy in the Netherlands in the early seventeenth century, Calvinism did not have five points. Calvinism summarized itself in its great confessions and catechisms and never thought to reduce itself to five points. The Arminians, however, had five attacks on Reformed teaching, which they summarized in 1610. On the fifth point they wrote, in part: “But whether they [those incorporated into Jesus Christ] can through negligence fall away from the first principle of their life in Christ, again embrace the present world, depart from the pure doctrine once given to them, lose the good conscience, and neglect … View Resource

  • The Necessity of the Reformation Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2016

    The church is always in need of reform. Even in the New Testament, we see Jesus rebuking Peter, and we see Paul correcting the Corinthians. Since Christians are always sinners, the church will always need reform. The question for us, however, is when does the need become an absolute necessity? The great Reformers of the sixteenth century concluded that reform was urgent and necessary in their day. In pursuing reform for the church, they rejected two extremes. On the one hand, they rejected those who insisted that the church was essentially sound and needed no fundamental changes. On the other … View Resource

  • Peter Waldo and the Waldensians Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2012

    By the twelfth century, the church in Western Europe was indeed powerful and impressive. In the emerging Gothic architecture, we can see something of the devotion of the people and the wealth of the bishops. In the developing scholastic theology, we can see something of the intellectual dominance and refinement of thinking among academic theologians. In the Crusades against Islam in Jerusalem and heretics at home, we can see something of the coercive strength of the church in cooperation with the state. This success, however, alienated some in Europe. To them, the church seemed greatly corrupted by its power. To … View Resource

  • Reformed Pastor, President, Professor: An Interview with W. Robert Godfrey Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2015

    Tabletalk: Your book An Unexpected Journey describes how you discovered Reformed Christianity. Please describe why coming to believe Reformed theology was an “unexpected journey” for you. W. Robert Godfrey: My journey to Reformed Christianity was unexpected in that I was not raised in a Reformed church and was not particularly searching for Christ. In high school, I simply began to talk to a fellow student on our long walk home together after swimming practice. We initially talked of many things, but increasingly our conversation turned to the Bible, Christ, and church. He was a member of the local Christian Reformed … View Resource

  • Semper Reformanda in its Historical Context Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2014 | Matthew 15

    The phrase ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda (the church reformed, always reforming) has been used so often as to make it a motto or slogan. People have used it to support a surprising array of theological and ecclesiastical programs and purposes. Scholars have traced its origins to a devotional book written by Jodocus van Lodenstein in 1674. Van Lodenstein, no doubt, had no intention of being a phrase-maker or sloganeer. What was his intention, and what did he mean by this phrase? Van Lodenstein was a minister in the Reformed Church of the United Provinces in what we know today as … View Resource

  • Sin and Salvation Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2004

    Why do we need to talk about sin? We ought to just talk about the love of God.” This comment was not made by a dedicated liberal. Rather, it was made by a woman who is a member of an evangelical church and has enrolled her children in a Reformed Christian School. She does not seem to have grasped much of the character of Calvinism. Regrettably this comment is not just a strange aberration. In a recently published book, sociologist Alan Wolfe argues that this attitude is wide-spread throughout American religious groups and denominations, including evangelicals. In The Transformation … View Resource

  • Understanding Personhood Article by W. Robert Godfrey

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2013

    We live in a world where there is much cruelty and violence. Whether we watch local or international news on television, we hear of countless instances of intimidation, injustice, thefts, beatings, murders, and wars. In some places, violence seems to be a way of life; elsewhere, it seems to explode unexpectedly in apparently peaceful places. How do we account for this violence? Many today claim that violence does not really arise from the human heart, but it is the result of external social conditions. If we can make the social environment better, it is said, the essential goodness of man … View Resource