• Sacramental Assistance Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2015

    We all have those moments in our lives that we say were formative for the shaping of who we are today. We celebrate birthdays in our homes every year. We remember our wedding anniversaries and the dates on which we first met our spouses or made a life-changing career decision. Often, these events have sights and smells that are associated with them, or particular sights and smells bring to mind particular episodes or feelings. If your mother made you a special batch of chicken soup every time you got sick, smelling hot chicken broth might evoke fond memories of her … View Resource

  • When Not to Take Communion Article by Anthony Carter

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2015

    When I was growing up, I did not like going to church. For a young boy in a rural town, church was boring, long, and filled with old, stodgy people singing old, stodgy songs. I would have rather been playing and watching football. However, there was one Sunday out of every month in which I did look forward to church—the first Sunday. The first Sunday was communion Sunday. The mothers (older women) of the church would dress in all white. The pastor would wear his white robe. The communion table, normally bare, would be draped in a white cloth under … View Resource

  • Signs and Seals of Union Article by Joel Beeke

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2013

    Just as He called the world into being by the power of His Word (Ps. 33:6–9; Heb. 11:3), so God brings His church into being by the power of the gospel call (2 Thess. 2:13–14; 1 Peter 2:9–10). That calling summons us into union with Christ by faith, as one people under the triune God (Eph. 4:4–6). The church is defined by our calling into fellowship with Christ and with one another, as Paul reminds the Corinthians: “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…. … View Resource

  • God-Centered Sacraments Article by Robert Letham

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2012

    In considering the ways in which the persons of the Trinity operate in the sacraments, we need to be clear on how the doctrine of the Trinity has led the church to understand the works of our three-personed God. We cannot come to clear biblical and theological conclusions on this matter in isolation from the wider context. The Works of the Trinity Are Indivisible All three persons work together in all that God does. This was a basic principle at the heart of Augustine’s theology, but it was also held by Eastern Trinitarian theologians such as the Cappadocians, and it … View Resource

  • A Visible Word Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2008

    Robert Bruce (1551–1631) is not a household name, even among knowledgeable Reformed Christians. He was at one time, however, one of the most important leaders in the Church of Scotland. He was the successor of John Knox and James Lawson and preached at the Great Kirk of St. Giles in Edinburgh. St. Giles holds a prominent place in Reformation history, being the site where Knox preached his first sermon on the Reformation. The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper (Christian Heritage) contains five sermons preached by Bruce at St. Giles in February and March of the year 1589.  The Christian Heritage edition … View Resource

  • The Marks of the Church Article by Mark Dever

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2008

    Is a small group Bible study a church? Is the Roman Catholic Church a church? Many people are confused today about what a church is. How do you know if what calls itself a church is indeed a church? Christians in the past thought about this. They developed the idea of “the marks of the church,” that is, the characteristics that distinguish truly Christian churches. The Protestant Reformers concluded that there are two of these: the right preaching of God’s Word and the right administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Let’s spend just a moment thinking about each one … View Resource

  • This Is My Body Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    As far as I know, I am the only Lutheran who writes regularly for Tabletalk, so please bear with me. Inviting a Lutheran to write about the Lord’s Supper is like asking a grandmother if she has any pictures of the new baby. So much affection for the subject matter can easily outpace other people’s interest. However, the Lord’s Supper is at the heart of a Lutheran’s piety. Calvinists too, as well as other Protestants, are rediscovering their own sacramental heritage, which has become somewhat forgotten. We Lutherans have never lost the Reformation’s emphasis on the sacrament, so perhaps this … View Resource

  • The New Covenant Meal Article by Terry Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    One of the great insights of the Reformation was the recovery of the biblical concept of “covenant.” This recovery was fueled by the “new learning” of the Renaissance humanism, the return ad fontes, “to the sources,” of theology in the original texts of the New and Old Testaments and in the writings of the church fathers. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the Muslim Turks brought a flood of Greek and Hebrew scholars with their manuscripts into Western Europe. For the first time in a thousand years in the West the Bible was being studied in the original … View Resource

  • Worthy Partaking: Examining the Heart Article by Tom Ascol

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    Participation in the Lord’s Supper is serious business. At least it is to God. That is not, however, the impression that is given by the way many churches approach this sacrament today. Too often the observance of the Lord’s Supper is tacked on to the end of a worship service, and efficiency, not seriousness, is the main concern. Consequently, many church members have never been encouraged to think very deeply about the nature of this ordinance, much less about the need to make proper preparations before participating in it. It is easily dismissed as a religious ritual that can be … View Resource

  • Given For You Article by Robert Letham

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    The Last Supper is often thought to be the Passover meal, with a direct connection following between the Passover and the Lord’s Supper. However, this is not entirely clear. According to John, the Last Supper was on the night before Passover (John 18:28); while Jesus was on trial the Jews were preparing for the next day’s Passover. Paul’s reference to Jesus as “our Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7) is to his death, not the meal the previous night. The connection with the Passover is the cross, not the Supper as such. The clearest Old Testament precursor to the Lord’s Supper is … View Resource

  • Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    John Calvin is widely considered to be one of the greatest theologians of the Reformation era. Many associate his name with doctrines such as the sovereignty of God, election, and predestination, but fewer are aware that he wrote extensively on the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. The topic occupied many of his sermons, tracts, and theological treatises throughout his career. Calvin’s emphasis was not unusual. Among the many doctrines debated during the Reformation, the Lord’s Supper was discussed more than any other. By the time Calvin became a prominent voice in the late 1530s, the Reformers had been debating the … View Resource

  • The Battle for the Table Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    There have been centuries of debate over the church’s understanding of the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. Before we survey the critical issues involved, we need to understand that the main reason why the argument continues, and at times becomes fierce, is because the church understands the vital importance of this sacrament in its life and worship. The fundamental disagreement over the Lord’s Supper focuses on four distinct views. These views include: first, the view of transubstantiation articulated by the Roman Catholic communion; second, the doctrine of consubstantiation articulated by the Lutheran community (We must note, however, that the word … View Resource

  • A Visible Proclamation Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    Just over a year ago I had the opportunity to travel to Yerevan, Armenia, to minister among Iranian Christians who had traveled from Iran for a conference that was held on discipleship and Christian education. Without a doubt, I learned more from my Iranian brothers than they learned from me. Their passion and piety for Christ and His church challenged me beyond measure, and their understanding of what it means to be persecuted for the sake of Christ is a sure sign of God’s blessing upon them and their churches throughout Iran. Towards the end of our time together, we … View Resource