• The Theater of God’s Glory Article by David Hall

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2009

    Ever since in the creation of the universe he brought forth those insignia whereby he shows his glory to us, whenever and wherever we cast our gaze. …And since the glory of his power and wisdom shine more brightly above, heaven is often called his palace. Yet…wherever you cast your eyes, there is no spot in the universe wherein you cannot discern at least some sparks of his glory.” (Institutes, 1.5.1) From the Institutes’ preface, John Calvin portrayed the human condition as “naked of all virtue,” enslaved, blind, and weak. The purpose of this depiction was to … View Resource

  • The Generous Landowner Article by Jerry Bridges

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2008

    Chapter divisions in the Bible are usually helpful as they allow us to find our way around the Scriptures. Occasionally, however, they can hinder our understanding of a passage if they cause us to look at it apart from its context. This often is the case with the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1–16). Because of the chapter division at the end of Matthew 19, we fail to understand the parable in its context of Jesus’ teaching in 19:16–30. Because that section of Matthew has already been treated in another article, we will not look at it now, … View Resource

  • Faith and the Power of God Article by Jerry Bridges

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2008

    The healing of the demon possessed boy (Matt. 17:14–20) at first glance seems to be only one more in a series of miraculous healings recorded by Matthew. What makes this one unique is Jesus’ emphasis on the role of faith. It is true that faith is prominent in the miracles recorded in chapter 9, but in chapter 17 it is the lack of faith that is emphasized by Jesus. That God is not dependent on human faith for accomplishing His work is clear from the accounts of other miracles recorded by Matthew. The transfiguration of Jesus immediately prior to the healing … View Resource

  • The Providence of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2007

    The entire life of Joseph is summarized in Genesis 50:20: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” The teenager we met at the beginning of the story is now over a hundred years old. His life has come full circle, and he is addressing his duplicitous brothers. Their actions, in selling him into slavery, had nothing but evil intent written all over it. Their malevolence can in no way be lessened by the knowledge that things did not turn out as they might have done. Truth is, God overruled their evil actions to … View Resource

  • The Decree of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2007

    Joseph has just revealed his true identity to his astonished brothers. It had been a tearful moment (Gen. 46:2, 14; cf. 42:24; 43:30). He is about to engage in a discourse on predestination and the divine decree (yes, really!), but this is no abstract theological exercise; it is theology engaging the harshest of realities — betrayal, false imprisonment, and injustice! Joseph had, from one point of view, every right to think that life made no sense at all because there was no controlling power governing the course of events. He might have been tempted to think along the lines of “open … View Resource

  • Finding God in the Dark Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007 | Genesis 39

    Four times in Genesis 39 we read that God was with Joseph (39:2-3, 21, 23). The statements form a set of pillars at either end of the story of Joseph’s initial experience of Egypt. On the one end, they come at the beginning of the story after Joseph has been sold by the Ishmaelites to Potiphar, the pharaoh’s “captain of the guard” (39:1). The point of the description is to show to us that God’s presence “prospered” Joseph (39:2). He was a “successful man” (39:2) because “the Lord was with him” (39:3). William Tyndale translated it, “the Lord was with … View Resource

  • The Veracity of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2007

    The story of Joseph is one of the finest examples in Scripture of what Paul meant when he wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28). All things? Yes, including evil things. Nor should we attempt for one moment to lessen the evil intent in men’s actions (or Satan’s for that matter, for he lurks in the background of every evil deed and thought); Joseph’s brothers meant to harm him, but God overruled their actions for good. It will be Joseph’s clear announcement at the end of the story of … View Resource

  • God Remembers Article by Greg Barolet

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007 | Genesis 30

    God is sovereign, man is not, and sin distorts our understanding of this truth. God always keeps His promises to His people despite our shortcomings, as we see in Genesis 30. God blessed Jacob even though he was a cad. Laban was even blessed by God because He associated with Jacob in the business dealings (more like wheeling and dealing, actually). This is a very busy chapter, filled with lots of negotiations, re-negotiations; promises and breaking of promises, colored sheep, spotted sheep, goats and lambs — not to mention Jacob rushing ahead of God’s timing by having children with many … View Resource

  • Praying with the Patriarchs Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2006

    Does God take risks? The question is not as silly as it sounds, and in present-day discussions regarding what is called “open theism,” it is the pertinent question to ask. But let’s ask the question again, from a different perspective. Is God’s knowledge of the future certain? Certain in the sense of being unchangeable, set down by an unalterable divine decree that cannot be changed? The answer would seem, to orthodox Christians at least, obvious. But recently a flood of literature has emerged suggesting that the future is “open.” The so-called open theists take as one of their key texts … View Resource

  • The Creator God Article by Nevin Mawhinney

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2006

    And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant…every tree…every beast…every bird…to everything that creeps on the earth…every green plant for food.’ And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:29–31). God’s goodness stems from His character and extends to His creation. In His goodness, God didn’t just create the universe and let it go (as the deists would argue); rather, He preserves, nourishes, and cares for His creation. In the same way, He did not leave man to his own devices. He made man in His own … View Resource

  • In the Fullness of Time Article by David Holwerda

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2005

    The Christmas season is filled with excitement and joy — and busyness. Retail stores have lengthened the season because successful sales and happy shoppers are critical for the economic success of many. In the church, the Advent season lasts four weeks. This is a time to remember God’s coming to us and to wait in hopes of His coming again. We must be careful lest our hectic schedules filled with shopping, parties, and other special events leave no time for the purpose of Advent. Advent is not about us filling our time full but rather about taking time to remember … View Resource

  • For the Love of God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2005

    When I first encountered Reformed theology I completely rejected it. For nearly two years I fought against it with every possible argument I could conceive of. It wasn’t until I embarked upon a journey through the Scriptures that I was confronted by the biblical teaching of God’s love for His people. At the forefront of my argument against Reformed theology was my desire to defend the biblical doctrine of God. It had been my contention, considering verses such as John 3:16, that the saving love of God had been manifest to all people without exception. That is to say, I … View Resource

  • Future Living Article by John Sartelle

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2005

    You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away … and lose your own stability” (2 Peter 3:17). This morning I was looking at a stock that has really “taken off.” I thought, “If only I had known, I would have bought that stock.” In one of the Back to the Future episodes, a man had a world almanac from the future. From that almanac he knew the final scores of athletic events before they were played. He became wealthy by betting on those games. He knew the future and lived his life by what … View Resource

  • Spiritual Alzheimer’s Article by John Sartelle

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2005

    Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder …. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things” (2 Peter 1:12–15). My father died of complications caused by Alzheimer’s in 1995. As the disease progressed, his brilliant mind began to disappear into the relentless dark fog from which it would not emerge … View Resource

  • More Than Conquerors Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2004

    If you have it, you never lose it; if you lose it, you never had it.” This pithy adage gives expression to the doctrine in the church that some call the doctrine of eternal security, while others refer to it as the “perseverance of the saints.” Among the latter group, the perseverance of the saints makes up the fifth point of the so-called “Five Points of Calvinism” that are encapsulated in the acronym TULIP — the “P,” the final point, standing for “perseverance of the saints.” Another way of expressing the doctrine in pithy categories is by the phrase, “once … View Resource