• The Ordinary Christian Pastor Article by Erik Raymond

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2014 | Matthew 28

    When you read the word ordinary, what do you think of? Common synonyms include unimpressive, typical, normal, and common. As soon as you attach these synonyms to a noun, you will draw conclusions: My day was typical. The movie was unimpressive. The show was average. When we think about pastoral ministry we are tempted to do the same thing: My pastor is unimpressive; rather average actually, nothing special—he does not speak at conferences and has not written any books. He is just—well, ordinary. Here is the reality: an ordinary pastor is not likely to be esteemed … View Resource

  • Pastor, Professor, Pilgrim: An Interview with Derek Thomas Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2014 | Ephesians 4

    Tabletalk: How did you become a Christian? Derek W.H. Thomas: I became a Christian during my first year at university. My best friend (who had recently become a Christian) sent me a copy of John Stott’s Basic Christianity in the mail. Within a few days of reading it, I prayed something akin to the sinner’s prayer and received an immediate assurance that I was a Christian. TT: What is your role as editor-in-chief of Reformation21? DT: I make some behind-the-scenes contributions to the direction and content of the e-zine. Think of it like Red Adair rushing in to … View Resource

  • A Passion for Preaching: An Interview with Steven J. Lawson Article by Steven Lawson

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2014

    Tabeltalk: How did you become a Christian, and how were you called to ministry? Steven J. Lawson: I grew up in a Christian home and was brought to faith as a young boy through the consistent witness of my father and mother. Specifically, it was through the reading of the Bible by my father each night that the seed of the gospel was planted, which God caused to germinate in my heart. Regarding my call to the ministry, I actually began preaching and teaching while in college in various ministries and churches. Upon graduating, I sat under the strong … View Resource

  • Preach the Word Article by Jon Payne

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2014 | 2 Timothy 4

    In the original Table Talk, a collection of informal theological conversations at Martin Luther’s dinner table, the German Reformer gave the following advice to a young minister: “When you are to preach, speak with God and say, ‘Dear Lord God, I wish to preach in Thine honor. I wish to speak about Thee, glorify Thee, [and] praise Thy name. Although I can’t do this well of myself, I pray that Thou mayest make it good.’” This simple prayer provides a tiny glimpse into Luther’s theology of preaching. More importantly, it underscores to pastors in every age that faithful preaching must … View Resource

  • Competent to Counsel: An Interview with Jay Adams Article by Jay Adams

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2014

    Tabletalk: Over the course of your life, what have you found to be your most significant ministry focus? Why? Jay Adams: As I look back on sixty-plus years of ministry, I suspect that the ministry focus on exegesis has more than anything else been the most significant one. It was my interest from my seminary and college years and has been ever since. That’s why I majored in Greek. I have wanted to know for myself what God’s Word teaches, not what someone else says about it. Secondarily, I would mention the importance of sound systematic theology. A combination … View Resource

  • Desiring God: An Interview with John Piper Article by John Piper

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2013

    Tabletalk: How did you become a Christian? John Piper: God wakened me from spiritual death when I was a child under the faith-filled instruction and example of my happy, Spirit-filled, mentally healthy, fundamentalist parents. I am told I professed faith in Jesus as my Savior when I was six. I don’t remember it. So the reason I know I am alive is because I am breathing, not because I can recall the moment of my birth. TT: Please describe your call to ministry. Did you always know that God wanted you to be a pastor? JP: My call from … View Resource

  • A Pastor’s Love for Christ Article by Nicholas Batzig

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2013

    Dr. John H. Skilton was professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for almost fifty-eight years (1939–1998). He was one of the most scholarly men in the church. Rumors have circulated over the years that he had memorized the entire Greek New Testament, together with every textual variant. His doctoral dissertation, “The Translation of the New Testament into English, 1881–1950,” which he lost on a public bus in Philadelphia and then reconstructed from memory, shows something of his unique breadth of knowledge in theology and linguistics. In addition, John served as the editor of The Westminster Theological … 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 Call to Ministry Article by Geoffrey Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2012

    Who will possibly stay in a relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend “until death us do part” unless there is a deep devotion to that one person above all others, a commitment that is based on comprehensive knowledge and respect? That is the essence of marriage, leaving all others and cleaving to one until God shall separate by death. Who will stay in the Christian ministry for one’s entire working life unless one loves this work above all others, being unable to do anything else than preach the gospel and pastor the people of God to whom he preaches week … View Resource

  • God’s Provision for the Weary Pilgrim Article by Chris Larson

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2012

    The distractions of the world and the temptations of the Devil would be enough to derail almost any pilgrim on their journey to heaven. But add to these the manifold frailties of our sinful flesh, and this triumvirate of Christian foes would seem to rule out any hope of reaching the Celestial City. Devotion and zeal can fade with every bend in the road until we are lost and alone. Despair and anxiety set in. Such have been the struggles of all pilgrims. Because of the One who sets us on our pilgrimage, we leave the delusional comforts of our … View Resource

  • The Bible, the Whole Bible, and Nothing but the Bible: An Interview with Eric J. Alexander Article by Eric Alexander

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2012

    Tabletalk: Describe how God first called you to ministry. Eric Alexander: From as early as I can remember, if anyone had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would not have hesitated to answer, “I want to be a doctor.” I think that might have had something to do with a story my mother often told us of how her life was saved when she was just twenty-one, when a young and inexperienced doctor performed an emergency operation to remove her appendix. His name was Eric Anderson, and I was named “Eric” after him. … View Resource

  • It’s Not About You Article by Eric Landry

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2012

    After a particularly difficult marriage counseling session early in my first year of ministry, I called a mentor to debrief and decompress. He patiently heard me out and then offered a convicting assessment: “It sounds as if you’re more concerned about being right than you are about the couple you are counseling.” I knew immediately that he was right, but I made a mild protest and changed the subject. I didn’t want to face that truth about myself. It’s still hard to face the facts, but I can see now that in many different areas of my ministry, the focus … View Resource

  • Being Black and Reformed: An Interview with Anthony Carter Article by Anthony Carter

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2011

    Tabletalk: Why did you write the book On Being Black and Reformed? Anthony Carter: When I first came into the knowledge of Reformed theology, I was excited and invigorated to share this truth with others. However, I quickly discovered that not everyone found Reformed theology as compelling as I did (go figure). This was particularly true within African American circles. Because of the caricatures of Reformed theology that have become popular in some Christian circles, and because of the unfortunate history of some within Reformed confessing Christianity, many African Americans find Reformed theology in general, and Reformed-minded Christians … View Resource

  • From Pastor to President: An Interview with Philip Graham Ryken Article by Philip Ryken

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    Tabletalk: How did you make the difficult decision to leave the pastorate and enter the academy as president of Wheaton College? Philip Graham Ryken: When the time finally came, making the decision was unexpectedly easy. Eventually God’s will became so clear that to do anything else would have been disobedience. The process leading up to the decision was difficult, though, as Lisa and I wrestled with God in prayer and asked for the grace to have only one agenda: to obey God’s calling, whether he called us to stay at Tenth Presbyterian Church or go to Wheaton College. Sharing … View Resource

  • In Defense of Words Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    What is a pastor? I was asked this question not too long ago by a teenage girl who apparently didn’t know the meaning of the word pastor and was curious to learn. I must admit that I was somewhat shocked and quite saddened that she didn’t know what a pastor is, but I quickly sought to offer her an explanation of the word and how I serve as a pastor of God’s people by preaching, teaching, praying, evangelizing, discipling, counseling, and so on. And just as these words were coming out of my mouth, I realized that if she didn’t … View Resource