• The Whole Christ Article by Sinclair Ferguson

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2016

    Antinomianism takes various forms. People do not always fit neatly into our categorizations, nor do they necessarily hold all the logical implications of their presuppositions. Here we are using “antinomianism” in the theological sense: rejecting the obligatory (“binding on the conscience”) nature of the Decalogue for those who are in Christ. Antinomianism, it was widely assumed in the eighteenth century, is essentially a failure to understand and appreciate the place of the law of God in the Christian life. But just as there is more to legalism than first meets the eye, the same is true of antinomianism. Opposites Attract? … View Resource

  • Legalism Defined Article by Nicholas Batzig

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2016

    If you want to demean someone in the church, you simply have to use the “L-word” when speaking to or about that person. The number of times one believer has called another believer a legalist is inestimable. Name-calling often ensues when someone in the church believes that another has said or done something that cuts across Christian liberty. Like its sister term, fundie, the label legalist has become something of a conventional religious slur in grace-oriented and gospel-centered churches. We must be extremely slow to use this word when speaking to or about others in a church fellowship. It … View Resource

  • Our Attitude Toward the Pharisee Article by David Strain

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2016

    Steering a course between the Scylla (rocks) of antinomianism on the one hand and the Charybdis (hard place) of legalism on the other is an unceasing responsibility of the Christian life. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that most of us find ourselves drawn more to the rocks on one side than the other. Perhaps we react to our upbringing, or to imbalanced preaching that once held sway in our churches, or to an earlier phase of our own Christian walk when we veered toward self-indulgence or self-righteousness. And while we must never disengage from the struggle to stay … View Resource

  • Overcoming Legalism Article by Sean Michael Lucas

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2016

    Jimmy was raised in a legalistic church setting. He professed faith as a child and was taught the glorious truth of the gospel that Jesus Christ died for sinners. But after that initial profession of faith, his entire Christian experience was focused on rule-keeping. Christians, he was taught, kept the rules—and not simply the straightforward biblical commands, but also a range of “principles” in the area of dating and friendships, alcohol use, popular culture, and the like. The major concern was to keep Jimmy and younger Christians like him “unspotted from the world”; the result was that the gospel he … View Resource

  • Clean and Unclean Article by Benjamin Shaw

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2014 | Leviticus 10:3-11

    Clean and unclean—this pair of words strikes fear into the heart of the average Bible reader. It conjures up the text of Leviticus 11-15 with its long list of clean and unclean animals, its extended discourse on leprosy, and the “too much information” section on bodily discharges. The average Bible reader doesn’t quite know what to make of these things, and they have no apparent application to him as a Christian. So, in his Bible reading, he quickly pages through the section, glancing briefly at the subheadings, and breathes a sigh of relief, reasoning that he has “read” those chapters … View Resource

  • The Place of the Law Article by Guy Waters

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2014 | Galatians 3

    New and improved!” Advertisers emblazon this slogan upon countless products on the shelves of your local grocery store. If you are convinced the product is better, they reason, you will probably want to buy it. After all, who wants the “old and inferior”? On the night in which He was betrayed, our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper. Holding the cup before His disciples, Jesus said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). By His death and resurrection, Jesus inaugurated the new covenant. This new covenant, both Paul and the writer … View Resource

  • The Gospel-Driven Life: An Interview with Michael Horton Article by Michael Horton

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2013

    Tabletalk: Please tell us how you became a Christian. Michael Horton: My parents were faithful Baptist believers, although my mom was really the spiritual leader in the home when it came to daily devotions together and encouraging me to pursue the faith for myself. I’m grateful to them and to those churches that fostered Bible memorization and taught me some of the basics of the gospel, even though it was more Arminian by default. When I began wrestling with the doctrines of grace, my mom was my main conversation (or argument) partner, and eventually both of my parents embraced … View Resource

  • The Gospel and Stewardship Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2011

    Stewardship is the care and management of that which belongs to another. while we often speak of things as “ours,” the reality is that all that we have and all we are belongs to another — God. As the Apostle Paul put it, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7). So it is from God that WE HAVE received our lives and everything in them for which we are responsible. Temporarily — that is, until God requires them from us — we are stewards of these gifts. Though too often associated merely with money, stewardship … View Resource

  • Evangelism and the Gospel Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2011

    It does little good to encourage people to discipline themselves to evangelize if they do not know the gospel. Try this experiment in your church, class, or small group to reveal one’s level of preparedness to share the gospel. Distribute paper and then ask people how many times they think they’ve heard the gospel. Some, if they’ve professed faith in Christ for many years, may answer that they’ve heard it hundreds or even thousands of times. “Good,” you say. “Now, please write the gospel on that piece of paper.” Then watch people freeze and stare at you as though you’ve … View Resource

  • The Gospel and Worship Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2011

    There may be nothing in the realm of religion by which people vainly attempt to establish their acceptability to God more than by acts of public or private worship. As a result, worship can degrade into one of the most legalistic activities a person can pursue. In the minds of many, you are right with God if you go to church. They are convinced that anyone who worships God is accepted by Him. Though perhaps they do not expressly state it, they believe that because they discipline themselves to regularly attend an event where the gospel is proclaimed, they have … View Resource

  • Preaching Christ Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2011

    The church of the twenty-first century faces many crises. One of the most serious is the crisis of preaching. Widely diverse philosophies of preaching vie for acceptance among contemporary clergy. Some see the sermon as a fireside chat; others, as a stimulus for psychological health; still others, as a commentary on contemporary politics. But some still view the exposition of sacred Scripture as a necessary ingredient to the office of preaching. In light of these views, it is always helpful to go to the New Testament to seek or glean the method and message found in the biblical record of … View Resource

  • The Gospel and Prayer Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Because I teach and write about spirituality, occasionally I’m asked to comment on scientific studies about the efficacy of prayer. The research always seems to include the assumption that one person’s prayers are essentially as acceptable as another’s. One of the flaws with such studies is that they do not associate prayer with the gospel. No one can begin to understand prayer until he grasps what the gospel teaches us about prayer. The Bible, rather than assuring everyone that God hears their prayers, slams heaven’s door against all who think God will hear them despite their sins: “But your iniquities … View Resource

  • Lighting the Way: The Didactic Use of the Law Article by Robert Letham

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    In Reformed theology, the law has been seen as the guide for believers in the conduct of their lives. John Calvin described this as its principal use. In this sense, we are talking about the Decalogue — the Ten Commandments — and its entailments, not the ceremonial or the civil law, nor the law in its old covenantal terms. This does not mean that the law has any inherent power to change us. Paul establishes this point in Romans 7:1–8:8. The law is weak, not because of any defect in itself but due to our sinful natures. It exposes our … View Resource

  • Seeing the Gospel in the Word of God Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Surely no one reading this article needs to be convinced of the importance of feeding upon the Word of God. As Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). It is through the regular, personal intake of the Bible that we come to know God better, understand His will for our lives, experience God’s transforming presence, and much more. But have you considered the significance of daily saturation in Scripture for developing a more gospel-centered, Christ-focused life? Here’s what I mean: in your Bible reading, ask … View Resource

  • Preaching Grace Article by Robert Norris

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2010

    Doctrine is the necessary basis for a sound spiritual life, and defective doctrine almost inevitably leads to a distorted spiritual life. Nowhere is this truth more evident than in understanding the relationship between the old covenant law and the gospel, which is a theological issue with enormous practical implications. Its importance was recognized by Martin Luther, who could write that “whoever knows well this art of distinguishing between Law and Gospel, him place at the head and call him a doctor of Holy Scripture.” The gospel always demonstrates that God’s perfect law and His love were fulfilled on the cross … View Resource