• The Ordinary Christian Church Article by Sean Michael Lucas

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2014 | Ephesians 4

    Throughout its history, the church has tended to view itself as extraordinary. For example, in the medieval period, the church was an extraordinary place apart from the world, the sacred separated from the profane, the place of salvation, the holder of the mysteries of heaven. The church contained extraordinary people—monks and nuns, priests and bishops, and above all the pope as Christ’s representative on earth. These extraordinary people were the ones who had callings to do ministry; everyone else simply did work. Even more, the church had extraordinary means—sacraments that conveyed grace through the working of the rituals themselves. As … View Resource

  • Encourage Leaders with Faithful Graciousness Article by Jared Wilson

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2014

    It is hard to pin down what is difficult about pastoral ministry for people unfamiliar with it. Many laypeople see their pastor once or twice a week during Lord’s Day worship or a church activity. A few may see him more frequently if they are involved in volunteer ministry or are being discipled or counseled personally by the pastor. So while we sometimes joke about the congregation that thinks their pastor works only one day a week—and even then, he’s just talking—the stereotype of the pastor who “gets no respect” is regrettably a very real thing. And this is difficult … View Resource

  • Bless Those Who Admonish You Article by Alexander Strauch

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2013

    Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it” (Ps. 141:5). If there is a religion that unapologetically emphasizes human fallenness, sin, moral corruption, self-deceit, greed, pride, and perverse selfishness, it is safe to say that it is the religion of the Bible. Because of our foundational beliefs in the reality of sin, Satan, and human depravity, we should understand well why people in positions of authority are easily corrupted. In fact, the more thoroughly we understand the biblical doctrine of sin, the stronger our … View Resource

  • Engaging Japan with the Gospel: An Interview with Michael Oh Article by Michael Oh

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2013

    Tabletalk: Please describe how you became a Christian and your call to ministry. Michael Oh: I am a fifth-generation Christian on my father’s side. My life is part of a legacy of faith that started with my great, great grandmother. Despite this tradition, my youth was marked by self-centeredness, vain ambition, insecurity, and a rebellious heart. Everything came easily to me—whether athletics, music, academics, or other endeavors—and I quickly rose to the top of whatever arena I entered. Eventually, however, I became overwhelmed with a tremendous fear of failure. Having reached the top, I knew there was only one way … View Resource

  • Listening and the Pastor Article by Matthew Miller

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2013

    Pastors sense deeply the frustration of trying to get our message through to our people. Almost daily, our mailboxes are filled with flyers offering seminars on how we can tailor our sermons and use social media more effectively to “break through the clutter” of our communication age. Given that we have been called to be heralds and stewards of a divine message, we cannot be blamed for wanting to make sure we are being heard. But in this jostling for the attention of the flock, we are prone to miss the importance of listening—listening not only to the Lord (which … View Resource

  • The Church and Idolatry Article by Jared Wilson

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2012

    Now set your mind and heart to seek the LORD your God” (1 Chron. 22:19). All sin is idolatry because every sin is an exercise in trust of something or someone other than the one true God to satisfy, fulfill, or bless. It is not difficult to see how violations of commandments two through ten are automatic violations of commandment one. This truth reveals that the hottest “worship war” going is the one taking place daily in the sanctuary of our own hearts. But we must wage this war because none of us is a bystander to idol worship. In … View Resource

  • Apostolic Anxiety Article by Kevin DeYoung

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2011

    Second Corinthians 11:28 always seemed like a strange verse to me — until I became a pastor. Here’s Paul, rattling off all the ways he’s been beat up for Jesus — imprisonments, lashes, rods, stonings, shipwrecks, drifting at sea, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, cold and expos ure, danger from everyone everywhere (vv. 23–27). And then, as the cherry on top, Paul mentions one more trial: “apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” (v. 28). This is the mighty apostle, the one who counted it a joy to “spend … View Resource

  • Church Shopping Article by Carl R. Trueman

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Dear Stolas, You ask in your letter about the key to undermining the church as quickly as possible. This is scarcely rocket science, but, as you ask, we will try to enlighten you. At the heart of Christianity is the body of Christ — the church. The church is to be marked by the mutual love, self-giving, and commitment of her members. After all, to borrow an image from the frightful Paul of Tarsus, what use is a body where the different parts are disconnected, or working against each other, or constantly being transplanted from one part to another? We’d … View Resource

  • High Crimes and Misdemeanors Article by Carl R. Trueman

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2010

    Some years ago I caused no little consternation when I was invited to speak at a church on the nature of ministry and started my lecture by declaring that it really did not matter if the pastor was an adulterer or not. As you may imagine, this was not something the congregation had heard before, and my guess is that more than a handful of those present probably thought the speaker had either gone mad or was simply ignorant of the most basic aspects of biblical teaching on the nature of church leadership. View Resource

  • No Sacrifice Too Great Article by Michael Haykin

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

    In the final letter that we have from the apostle Paul, written in a lonely prison cell in Rome while he was expecting death for the sake of the gospel, he reminded his closest friend Timothy of the utter necessity of passing on the faith to “faithful men” (2 Tim. 2:2). It bears noting that what Paul envisaged in these words was not simply doctrinal instruction in the essentials of Christianity. Of course, Paul expected the training of future leaders to involve the handing on of doctrine. But, as is clear from a later statement by Paul in this letter, … View Resource

  • Character Qualifications Article by Terry Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2009

    The composition of the typical Presbyterian session is familiar enough. Professionals, prosperous businessmen, and community leaders predominate. Some are devout, some less so. Most were chosen, truth be known, because of their prominence in endeavors outside the realm of the church. Successful leadership in the world, it is assumed, should translate into successful leadership in the church. The single outstanding feature of the qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3:1–13 is the complete absence of any concern for a potential officer’s success in the world. There is a concern for one’s reputation in the world (v. 7), that is, the world’s opinion … View Resource

  • Marching Orders Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2009

    Q. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption? A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all of which are made effectual to the elect for salvation. (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 88) Presbyterian and Reformed churches are ruled by elders. In fact, the term Presbyterian comes to us from the Greek word presbyteros, meaning “elder.” It is closely related to the term episkopos, often translated “overseer” (as in the ESV). Both Presbyterian … View Resource

  • Elders for the Church Article by Phil Newton

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    Over the past decade I’ve engaged a wide-range of Christians on the subject of elders. Some, in desperation, want to change dysfunctional church leadership structures. Others have grown tired of side-stepping the biblical teaching on elders. Some long to adopt elder leadership yet realize many of their congregants would resist change. A mission leader told me that elder plurality was a major issue in his region; nationals, unfamiliar with traditions and arguments against elder plurality, saw it in Scripture and wanted to obey. Christ gave elder leadership to the church for its growth, development, and unity. Yet tradition often tugs … View Resource

  • We Don’t Need Supermen Article by Howard Davis Jr.

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2008

    In chapter two of Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, Paul David Tripp relates a story of a church member who called the pastor to get him to help a man. Tripp’s comment to the member was, “Isn’t God’s love amazing? God cares about this man and put one of His children in his path. God cares about you and has given you the opportunity to be an instrument in His hands.” Those of us who are not pastors are prone to want the pastor to do everything! We expect him to be in charge of everything from moving tables … View Resource

  • To the Young Pastor Article by Ron Gleason

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2008

    Being a pastor has been the most humbling, challenging, fulfilling, and wonderful calling of my life. It was in the pastoral ministry that I learned — and still am learning — that true success is not measured by the size of your salary or your level of notoriety. It is measured by the faithfulness you exhibit in serving Christ and His church. I wouldn’t trade being a pastor for anything, and I’ve learned that scholarship’s best place is in the pulpit. Because the pastorate is not a temporary address or a “jumping off place” where a man waits for bigger … View Resource