• Semper Reformanda Article by Michael Horton

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2009

    If you’ve been in Protestant circles for very long, whether conservative or liberal, you may have heard the phrase “reformed and always reforming” or sometimes just “always reforming.” I hear it a lot these days, especially from friends who want our Reformed churches to be more open to moving beyond the faith and practice that is confessed in our doctrinal standards. Even in Reformed circles of late, various movements have arisen that challenge these standards. How can confessions and catechisms written in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries guide our doctrine, life, and worship in the twenty-first? Liberal Protestants frequently invoked … View Resource

  • In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity Article by Mark Ross

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

    Philip Schaff, the distinguished nineteenth-century church historian, calls the saying in our title “the watchword of Christian peacemakers” (History of the Christian Church, vol. 7, p. 650). Often attributed to great theologians such as Augustine, it comes from an otherwise undistinguished German Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century, Rupertus Meldenius. The phrase occurs in a tract on Christian unity written (circa 1627) during the Thirty Years War (1618–1648), a bloody time in European history in which religious tensions played a significant role. The saying has found great favor among subsequent writers such as Richard Baxter, and has … View Resource

  • That They May Be the One Article by Thomas Schreiner

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

      The Lord Jesus prayed on the night before His death: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, … View Resource

  • Should I Stay or Should I Go? Article by Albert Mohler

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

      When should an evangelical Christian separate from a church? That question is asked often these days, and it betrays more than one problem in contemporary Christianity. Far too many church members have become church shoppers. The biblical concept of ecclesiology has given way to a form of consumerism in which individuals shop around for the church that seems most to their liking at that moment. The issue can concern worship and music, relationships, teaching, or any number of other things. The pattern is the same, however – people feel free to leave one congregation for another for virtually any … View Resource

  • True Catholicism Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

    We have all heard it said, and some of you have even said it: “Let’s just agree to disagree.” If memory serves me, I have never used that expression, primarily because I don’t think it makes much sense and because I think people who use the expression don’t make much sense when they use it in their attempt to end disagreements. Nevertheless, I think I know what people mean by the expression. As Christians, we agree that we disagree on certain biblical, doctrinal, and ecclesiastical matters. And while we all agree that the Bible is our only infallible rule for … View Resource

  • Some Will Apostatize Article by Tom Ascol

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2009 | 1 Timothy 4

    The Bible never sugarcoats the painful realities of living in a fallen world. Sin is portrayed in all of its dark hues, and the best of men are acknowledged to be at best, mere men. Similarly, the church is portrayed as in a constant state of conflict until the Lord Jesus returns.  The church in the world is the church militant—always engaged in warfare, under attack and advancing doggedly onward through enemy territory. As is true with any army, the church is not immune to the loss of some of her members. In fact, the skill and tenacity of our … View Resource

  • No Little People Article by John Sartelle

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2009 | 1 Timothy 5

    With God there are no little people.” So wrote Francis Schaeffer echoing the meaning of Paul’s words in the first three verses of 1 Timothy 5: “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. Honor widows who are truly widows.” What do the older men, younger men, older women, younger women, and widows have in common? Sometimes older men and women are regarded as passé. Sometimes young men and women are regarded as people without gravitas. Sometimes widows are … View Resource

  • Doing Without the Church? Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    The seven churches of Asia addressed in the book of Revelation had their problems. One of them looked quite lively but it was actually dead. Another was so lukewarm that the Lord was ready to spit it out of His mouth. And yet the Son of Man did not tell the Christians of Sardis or of Laodicea to pull out of their congregations. Today, though, a growing number of Christians are doing just that. Despite the continued visibility of megachurches, the new trend is for minichurches, microchurches, or no churches at all. According to pollster George Barna, the era of … View Resource

  • Children of Promise Article by Terry Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2009 | Galatians 4

    Which is more important, the unity of the church or its purity? To which are we to give preference: love or truth, fellowship or doctrine? The apostle Paul places great emphasis on unity: “Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise” (Gal. 4:28). Galatian Gentiles and all believers are “brothers,” are “like Isaac,” and, as such, are “children of promise.” We are all spiritual children of Abraham and Sarah. We have become “children of promise,” descendants of Abraham “like Isaac,” not through birth, but rebirth; not by law, but by promise; not by works, but by faith. “If you are … View Resource

  • The Prevailing Church (Pt. 1) Article by Simon Kistemaker

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2008 | Matthew 28

    The word church is fundamentally a Christian word and belongs exclusively to Christianity. Although other religions have terms such as synagogue and mosque, only Christians legitimately call their house of worship “church.” There are churches that are named after places and people, but they can never claim origin or ownership, because Christ owns the church. Actually, Jesus told Simon Peter: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18; see also 18:17). The Greek word for church is ekklesia, which means being called out of this world of humanity to form a body … View Resource

  • A Good Kind of Pluralism Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2008

    Today’s postmodernists use cultural pluralism as a pretext for relativism, as if the existence of many cultures implied the existence of many truths. Many Americans embrace multiculturalism as if they had no culture of their own. In religion, pluralism has given rise to a new polytheism. And yet, there is a kind of pluralism that is good, necessary, and biblical.  The apostle Paul speaks of a radical pluralism that nevertheless constitutes a unity: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with … View Resource

  • Marketing the Church Article by Michael Horton

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2008

    It has often been observed that Sunday morning between 11 a.m. and noon is the most segregated hour in America. While there are some hopeful signs that race may not play as great a role in defining the body of Christ in the future, covenant families are increasingly broken up according to the demographic niches that have been created and enforced by a culture of marketing. Jesus and Paul spoke of the kingdom of God as “the age to come” breaking in on us even now, in these last days of “the present age.” Christ had accomplished our redemption, and … View Resource

  • One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church Article by William Webster

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2004

    From its earliest days, the Church of Jesus Christ has been described as “catholic.” The first usage of the term appears in writings known as the Apostolic Fathers in the early to mid-second century (Ignatius of Antioch, Smyrneans 8.9; The Martyrdom of Polycarp, Introduction). The word is from the Greek katholikos, meaning “throughout the whole,” or “universal.” This was its general ecclesiastical usage in the early centuries. However, the word catholic is now identified almost exclusively with the Roman Church. But this association is a relatively late historical development. The early church applied the term to the church … View Resource

  • The Undoing of Babel Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2006

    Man’s nature,” Calvin wrote in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, “is a perpetual factory of idols” (1.11.8). Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the Babel episode (Gen. 11:1–9). Babylon becomes in time the most important city in Mesopotamia, and in Bible history a synonym for worldly opposition to God. Thus, at the close of the Scriptures, in the successive destruction of the enemy’s powers, is the downfall of Babylon: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (Rev. 18:2). The progeny of the serpent (Gen. 3:15) populate history, often gathering collectively in cities to sound the notes of implacable … View Resource

  • Passing the Baton Article by John Sartelle

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2005

    I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). I had been in a time warp. Janet and I had gathered with my family in Draper, Virginia, to celebrate my mother’s ninetieth birthday. The entire weekend was drenched in the constant rain of nostalgia, beginnings, formative times, and endings. First, there was a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, widow, and sister celebrating her nine decades of life. She had known the depths and the heights that come with birth, life, and death in God’s wounded creation. She had buried her … View Resource