• How Vocation Transformed Society Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2016

    Christians today often speak of transforming society. A dramatic example of how a theological teaching had a revolutionary social impact is the Reformation doctrine of vocation. Society in the Middle Ages was highly structured, hierarchical, and static. That would change, beginning in the 1500s, as an unintended consequence of Luther’s doctrine of vocation. The Doctrine Of Vocation For Luther, vocation—the Latinate word for “calling”—means far more than a job or profession. Vocation is Luther’s doctrine of the Christian life. More than that, vocation is the way God works through human beings to govern His creation and to bestow His … View Resource

  • The Hope of Assurance Article by Geoffrey Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2016

    For many years, I had two excellent Christian women in my congregation who had very different experiences regarding their assurance. One had the strongest assurance of faith that I have known. She could never sing some hymns of William Cowper and could not understand how others could sing them. Lyrics such as “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord?” were quite alien to her own heart’s conviction. On the other hand, Frances Crosby’s “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine” she could sing from her heart. She worked with the young people, wrote weekly letters to her … View Resource

  • A Kingdom of Priests Article by Kelly Kapic

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2015

    In February, a terrible beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Christians took place. They were executed because they were identified as “the people of the cross.” We are reminded of the possibility of martyrdom and the reality that this side of glory we are “sojourners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11). Consequently, Christians often find themselves in a most difficult position. We are called to love our neighbors— even our neighbors who might better be described as our enemies (Matt. 5:43–45). And we are not to return evil for evil (Rom. 12:17; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9). While most believers do not … View Resource

  • It’s the Little Things Article by Nicholas Batzig

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2015

    You probably wouldn’t see him doing so, but he’s faithfully hanging the church sign every Friday night and taking it down every Sunday. You probably wouldn’t see her doing so, but she’s faithfully coordinating with others to ensure that there will be enough food at church gatherings. You probably wouldn’t see them doing so, but they’re faithfully arriving early on Sunday morning to set up the hospitality table, the book table, and the sound equipment and to make coffee—making sure that everything is in place for the worship services. You probably wouldn’t see her doing so, but she’s faithfully cleaning … View Resource

  • Serving the God of Holy-Love Article by David Wells

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2014 | Hebrews 12

    Serving is not, of course, uniquely Christian. Indeed, the language of service has popped up everywhere in our society. To access the Internet, for example, we must have a network service provider. In business, there is a service sector. We get bills for professional services rendered. In our stores, there is customer service. When the gas gets low in our cars, we head for a service station. In our nation, we have the armed services. Wealthy households pay for domestic service. The rest of us wonder if we can afford lawn service. So, does any of this help us to … View Resource

  • The Centrality of the Church Article by Sean Michael Lucas

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2014 | Matthew 16:18-19

    For those to whom [God] is Father the church may also be Mother,” John Calvin observed in his Institutes (4.1.1). A few paragraphs later, he teases out what this metaphor means. God uses the church to bring us into spiritual life in the same way a mother conceives children in her womb; He continues to use the church to sustain us in the Christian life just as a mother cares for children all her days. “Our weakness,” Calvin writes, “does not allow us to be dismissed from her school until we have been pupils all our lives.” The church serves … View Resource

  • Fear of Failure Article by Richard Pratt Jr.

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2013

    A friend of mine once told me: “My fear of failure has caused a big problem between my family and me. I don’t spend much time with them during the week. I dread failing at my job so much that it drives me to work day and night. But I don’t spend much time with them on weekends either. The fear of failing at something that I’m not used to doing absolutely paralyzes me.” Even if we don’t go to extremes like my friend, the possibility of failure is not something we enjoy. We all fall short of what we … View Resource

  • Not Hearers Only Article by Harry Reeder

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2013

    But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:22–24). Obviously, a pastor’s heart desire for the flock is that … View Resource

  • Disabilities and the Gospel: An Interview with Michael Beates Article by Michael Beates

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2013

    Tabletalk: What inspired you to write Disability and the Gospel? Michael Beates: Some thirty years ago, with the birth of our first child, Jessica, my wife and I began a long journey with disability. Seeking answers and some assurance of God’s purposes and plan, I read and researched much about what God has said about disabilities and how the church has responded over the years. Eventually, this led to a doctoral dissertation on the subject. Steve Brown, one of the examiners of the dissertation, encouraged me not to leave the work in that form but to get it … View Resource

  • What Faith Is and Is Not Article by Guy Richard

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2013

    I believe; I believe. It’s silly, but I believe.” These are the well-known words spoken by young Susan Walker in the popular Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street (1947). They provide just one example of how faith is commonly portrayed in our culture as a blind leap in the dark—believing for no reason at all. Such a view of faith, however, is completely out of step with what the Bible teaches. Faith, according to the Bible, is not irrational or “silly.” It is not a blind commitment or an arbitrary feeling of closeness to God. These things are not faith, … View Resource

  • The Coming of the Kingdom Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2012

    The gospel of Mark is notable for its lack of extended accounts of Jesus’ teaching. Furthermore, Mark gives us noticeably fewer parables than do Matthew and Luke. However, in chapter 4 of his gospel, Mark records four parables. He begins with the lengthy parable of the sower, then follows with three short, pithy parables, each clearly communicating one central idea, as do most parables. All three of these parables teach us something about the kingdom of God. In 4:26–29, Mark writes: And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He … View Resource

  • A Community for Broken Homes Article by James Coffield

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2011

    It’s 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning and a monumental battle is being waged. Margi wants to go to church, but is it really worth the trouble? Her disabled son is more difficult to deal with in the mornings. She doesn’t go to the earlier adult Sunday school class, for there is nowhere for her child to go. It could be that she reads too much into the glance from the lady with the perfect hair and family. Some people seem to communicate pity, some seem to be annoyed, and some are kind. She feels shame and wonders if anyone would … View Resource

  • The Discipline of Serving Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2011

    Thus far this year in Tabletalk, I have focused on the gospel and the personal spiritual disciplines of the Christian life. the discipline of serving comes next, and I know Most other disciplines sound much more interesting. Meditation on Scripture appeals to our desire for spiritual depth. Fasting can strike us as a challenge to a rugged, self-denying discipleship. But serving? It sounds so mundane, even demeaning. Enter Jesus and the gospel. Jesus declared, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). God works … View Resource

  • The Glory of Plodding Article by Kevin DeYoung

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2010

    It’s sexy among young people—my generation—to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church. Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It’s immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marriage, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary know it’s the institution of marriage that preserves the romance. Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul. View Resource

  • Served by God, Serving Man Article by David Mathis

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2009

    My dad hasn’t been to seminary. He has no formal theological training. Nobody pays him and Mom for their endless hours serving the church. But they could write an article on sacrificial service to the church. They’ve lived it. Pop is a dentist in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He and Mom moved to town in the late seventies after dental school and a couple years practicing on marines. They didn’t know anyone when they arrived. They visited churches, soon found one, and have been there for over three decades now. I remember Pop giving all day Saturday to referee church basketball … View Resource