• Sweet Land of Liberty Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    America is mad for liberty. Ours is a free country. We enjoy freedom of speech and of religion, the freedom of the press, and the freedom to bear arms. And rightly so. But though Americans love freedom, many of them have forgotten what it means.  Today many of us assume that freedom means getting to do whatever we want. Any restrictions on our behavior — whether from the state, the church, or some other person — violate our freedom. And, for many of us, freedom above all means the liberty to sin. But, according to the Bible, this is … View Resource

  • The Pursuit of Happiness Article by Ken Myers

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    When Thomas Jefferson selected the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” to describe one of the unalienable rights of man, he was appropriating an idea with a very long history. Since the time of Aristotle and before, happiness was understood as a condition to which all people properly aspire. But for the Greeks, as for the biblical writers, happiness was an objective reality, not just a feeling or an emotional state. The phrase “whatever makes you happy,” so commonly uttered today, would have been nonsense to Hebrews, Greeks, and Christians alike, since it implies no fixed moral order in which … 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

  • A Tale of Two Kingdoms Article by Michael Horton

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    There is no better time to refresh our memories about the “two kingdoms” doctrine than at election time in the United States, when American Protestantism often seems divided more by its political allegiances than its faith and practice. In the aftershocks of the sacking of Rome by the pagans in 410 a.d., the great church father Augustine, bishop of Hippo, wrote his famous City of God. Jerome, another celebrated church father, had collapsed in despair: “What is to become of the church now that Rome has fallen?” No doubt as a patriot, Augustine felt the same wound, but … View Resource

  • Statism Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered….” In Luke 2, the well-known passage introducing the nativity story, the title accorded to the Roman emperor is Caesar Augustus. Had this census been mandated earlier under the monarchy of Julius Caesar, the Scripture would read: “A decree went out from Julius Caesar….” Had Octavian followed the model of Julius, he would have called himself Octavianus Caesar, and then the text would read: “A decree went out from Octavianus Caesar….” But we note Octavius’ explicit change of his personal name to the title Caesar … View Resource

  • One Nation, Under God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    As I have traveled abroad, I have had to endure all sorts of snide remarks about the United States. I have seen graffiti depicting the American flag with bombs in place of stripes and skulls in place of stars. I have seen disfigured pictures of our president. I have seen the remains of a torched American flag. However, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw as I stood with my luggage in hand outside the Laleh International Hotel in Tehran, Iran. Lying on the ground at the main entrance of the hotel is a giant American flag, which serves as … View Resource

  • Breaking Boundaries Article by Andrew Hoffecker

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2008

    Pluralism has found a home among the people of God. While pluralism — the acceptance of nonbiblical ideas and practices as compatible with biblical faith and life — is not a new phenomenon, its persistence in church history and the pervasiveness of its influence today is a matter of deep concern for believers. What differentiates old from new pluralisms is how pluralism was opposed in the Bible and early church but enthusiastically embraced by the church in recent eras. Evidences of pluralism appeared early in Israel’s life. Idolatry existed alongside traditional worship in the temple in Jerusalem. Israelites worshiped the … View Resource

  • A Brave New World Article by Robert Rothwell

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2008

    On September 14, 2001, as the United States was still coming to grips with al Qaeda’s assault on New York and Washington, D.C., dignitaries gathered in the national cathedral to memorialize the dead and show forth the country’s resolve to stand united against its attackers. Though ostensibly a Christian house of worship, the clergy leading the service did not all represent the Christian faith. In fact, a rabbi and an imam both had roles in the “worship,” which was opened with an invocation calling upon the “God of Abraham and Mohammed and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ … View Resource

  • Where Is Your Treasure? Article by John Petersen

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2008

    As I was flipping through the television channels recently, I was overwhelmed to see how secularism is influencing our culture today, particularly through advertising. In the teaching series Christian Worldview, Dr. Sproul describes secularism as that which looks at reality and every human activity and understands it “in light of and judged by the value or norm of the present time.” To be secular means to be worldly, earthly, and temporal. I have discovered a recurring theme behind secularism: Your quality of life now is what matters most because you may not be here tomorrow. This obviously conflicts with … View Resource

  • The Prophets and the West Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2008

    Reading the prophets can be an unsettling experience. Here we see God’s utter, absolute fury against sin. The graphic accounts of what God is going to do to His own faithless, immoral, complacent people constitute some of the scariest words in all of literature, making our horror movies seem like My Little Pony.  And then, amidst the righteous rage, the bodies heaped up and the cities ravaged, the carnage is suddenly interrupted with sheer tender grace and spot-on predictions of what Jesus will do to make Himself the object all of this wrath. Jesus takes all of this fury … View Resource

  • God’s Other Kingdom Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2007

    We often talk about how God is “sovereign” over all things. The term has to do with God’s providential control over His creation — that is to say, everything that exists — and, in different contexts, with His action in bringing people to salvation. But to say God is sovereign implies that He is a sovereign. In other words, God is a king.  Christian discussions of the kingdom of God usually focus on His spiritual kingdom, how, through the work of Christ, He reigns in the hearts of believers, in the visible church, and in eternity. This column is … View Resource

  • Cultural Evangelism, Seventh-Century Style Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007

    Christians today often talk about evangelizing the culture, transforming the culture, and finding ways to communicate with people of another culture. What that looks like can be seen in seventh-century English literature. J.R.R. Tolkien was as great a literary scholar as he was a writer of heroic fantasy. In his article “Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics,” Tolkien described the worldview of Germanic paganism as held by the early Angles and Saxons who seized Britain from the Celts.  Whereas the Greek religion with its philandering gods had little moral content, he said, the Germanic religion featured … View Resource

  • Angels and Demons Go Pop Culture Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2007

    I believe there are angels among us,” sang the pop-country group Alabama to the accompaniment of a children’s choir. And most Americans agree. According to a 2005 Fox News poll, 79 percent of Americans believe in angels. This belief is apparently on the rise, up from 72 percent a decade earlier.  Albert Winseman, the religion and values editor with the Gallup pollsters, has noted the paradox that as secularism in America increases belief in “entities from the beyond” is also increasing.  The new popularity of angels not only crosses religious lines, it crosses religious and non-religious lines … View Resource

  • Prayer and Culture Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007

    I recently headed the translation committee for our church body’s new hymnal and worship book. Our previous hymnal included the choice of a modernized version of the Lord’s Prayer. We found, though, that no one used it. Even the churches that had given themselves over to contemporary worship — claiming that old-fashioned language and time-honored practices were incomprehensible to “modern” or “postmodern” people today — when they deigned to pray the Lord’s Prayer used the old-fashioned, time-honored version, complete with “thy’s,” “art’s,” and “trespasses.” The Lord’s Prayer is the ultimate prayer, comprehending everything that we can pray for … View Resource

  • The Consequences of Truth Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2007

    Readers of Tabletalk over the last 30 years have learned a lot about theology. But they have also learned a lot about history, philosophy, and the arts. The various writers of the “Truth and Consequences” column have been writing about culture, a category that includes everything from great literature to awful TV, from family values to moral collapse. What Tabletalk has been serving up over three decades is not just Bible study but more broadly, truth. “Truth” is a word that these days nearly always comes with quotation marks around it. Many people today believe there isn’t such a … View Resource