With 2016 here, we've gone back and collected some of the most popular Tabletalk magazine articles from 2015. Also, until January 31, when you subscribe to Tabletalk for only $23, we'll send you a free copy of R.C. Sproul's new hymns album, Glory to the Holy One. Don't forget, you can also try Tabletalk free for three months.
"Reformed Christians know that God's elect people are everywhere, but one big misconception evangelicals have is the wholesale writing off of all people who identify as gay as God-hating reprobates. Another misconception is that a person's homosexuality is the biggest and most life-defining sin of her life. When Ken Smith, the pastor the Lord used in my conversion, first met me, he knew that being a lesbian was not my biggest sin. My biggest sin was that I was an unbeliever."
The Heresy of Indifference by Burk Parsons
"Doctrine rightly understood is doctrine rightly applied. If we separate our doctrine from our life, our doctrine will lead to our death. Doctrine is a gift from God, and it flows from the inspired pages of the Word of God that we might love God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves. This is why we must be dogmatic in our doctrine—not dogmatically harsh, but dogmatically humble as we seek to know, proclaim, and defend the doctrine that teaches us about our loving and holy Lord who gave Himself for us."
When Not to Take Communion by Anthony Carter
"The Christian life is the examined life, the life that takes seriously the call to repentance and the promise of forgiveness (1 John. 1:8-9; 1 John 2:1). Unfortunately, there are those who deny the grace of repentance by hardening their hearts and refusing to forgive or be forgiven. Those who refuse to acknowledge their sin, but harbor bitterness, malice, and hatred in their hearts, and refuse godly counsel toward reconciliation with God and others, and thus neglect the grace of repentance—let them refrain from the Lord's Table. Otherwise, to eat and to drink in such a state is to call forth the disciplining hand of God (1 Cor. 11:32)."
Instead of Worrying by Tim Witmer
"'What? Me Worry?' Those of us who are old enough remember Alfred E. Neumann's mindless approach to worry. Similarly, Bobby McFerrin's smash hit 'Don't Worry Be Happy' resonated with millions of people who just hoped that it could be that easy. It isn't. All of us wrestle with anxiety. After all, there are lots of things to worry about: money, health, family, career—you can fill in the rest."
You Just Need to Obey by Steven Lawson
"Many who profess Christ today emphasize a wrong view of grace that makes it a free pass to do whatever they please. Tragically, they have convinced themselves that the Christian life can be lived without any binding obligation to the moral law of God. In this hyper-grace distortion, the need for obedience has been neutered. The commandments of God are no longer in the driver's seat of Christian living, but have been relegated to the backseat, if not the trunk—like a spare tire—to be used only in case of an emergency. With such a spirit of antinomianism, what needs to be reinforced again is the necessity of obedience."
When I Don't Feel Forgiven by Ian Hamilton
"God's truth and the grace of Christ are not qualified, far less nullified, by our feelings. However we might feel, however desperately wretched we might be, if we have believed in God's Son and are resting the whole weight of who we are on Him alone, we are the most blessed and privileged of beings in the cosmos, whether we feel it to be so or not."
"I don't really think there are any unique challenges. I guess you could say that given our location, I have to be extra careful about sounding partisan. But other than that, the ministry here is remarkably like ministry in any other urban area around the world. The best way I know how to overcome any unique challenge is to ensure that the gospel is clear and present in every message. I keep the gospel central and try to avoid any unduly partisan expressions or language."
The Reformed Doctrine of God by R.C. Sproul
"Reformed theology's doctrine of God and its emphasis on all of His attributes at every point in the unfolding of salvation sets it apart from other Christian understandings of the Lord. And our doctrine of God is drawn from Genesis through Revelation, from the Old Testament as much as from the New Testament. Why, therefore, wouldn't we soak up the whole counsel of God and read both testaments with great devotion?"
Courage and Compassion by Burk Parsons
"Homosexual sin is a grievous and heinous sin. While it is indeed true that all sexual immorality is sin—adultery, fornication, pornography—homosexual sin is different. It is a more heinous and grievous sin because, as the Word of God makes clear, homosexual sin is contrary to nature (Rom. 1:26). Homosexual sin strikes against God's created order in every way and mocks God's design for procreation, thus making homosexuality logically self-defeating. Those who suggest the Bible is not clear about homosexual sin have never read the Bible or have not been given the ears to hear what the Bible plainly teaches."
"Being a theologian means, in essence, having a comprehensive knowledge of the gospel in all its many facets and interconnectedness. I liken it to being a physician who understands anatomy, and a pharmacist who understands body chemistry and knows his pharmaceuticals. Without a good working knowledge of theology, we will never understand how the gospel works, nor what the causes of spiritual sicknesses are, nor what gospel remedies to apply. In addition, we will be very poor at destroying the intellectual strongholds of unbelief, since we ourselves will lack the stronghold of the whole counsel of God."
What Is Grace? by R.C. Sproul
"Grace should never cease to amaze us. God has an absolute, pure, holy standard of justice. That's why we cling with all our might to the merit of Jesus Christ. He alone has the merit to satisfy the demands of God's justice, and He gives it freely to us. We haven't merited it. There's nothing in us that elicits the Lord's favor that leads to our justification. It's pure grace."
It's the Little Things by Nicholas Batzig
"You probably wouldn't see her doing so, but she's faithfully cleaning her home hours before she opens it for a church small group. You probably wouldn't see him doing so, but he's faithfully making hymn schedules and arrangements for the music for the worship services. You probably wouldn't see her doing so, but she's faithfully lining up volunteers for the nursery, training others, and making sure that all the nursery needs are met. You probably wouldn't see him doing so, but he's faithfully keeping track of giving records for the members who themselves faithfully give to the work of the gospel ministry."
Teachable Teachers by R.C. Sproul
"Most of us have been blessed to sit under great teachers, whether they were public or private school instructors, pastors, Sunday school teachers, parents, or others. It's also likely that most of us have had at least one poor teacher, one who didn't seek to learn more about his subject or grow in the skill of teaching. I've known teachers who did all their work the first year they had to teach and have been coasting ever since. They made lesson plans right out of college and have used those same plans for years without changing them. Needless to say, these teachers have not been great teachers."
Study Bibles as Theological Tool Kits by Justin Taylor
"When the Apostle Paul wrote to his young friend and pastoral protégé Timothy, he gave him a clear command about how to handle the Scriptures: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). We may draw several implications from this brief exhortation."
"A great challenge that seminaries face today is the increasingly poor preparation that many students receive in their undergraduate education. Too many are not prepared to read analytically, to write research papers, or to study a foreign language. Many also are far less familiar with the English Bible than was the case in earlier generations. So our seminary has introduced a series of entrance exams that determine whether a student needs to take specific remedial courses. We invest a great deal of time in the careful teaching of Greek and Hebrew because they are so foundational to everything else we do. We are excited by the emergence of a college like Reformation Bible College, which we hope will send us much better prepared students."
"The mountain of study Bibles keeps growing, but not all growth is necessarily a good thing. The intention of a study Bible is to promote Bible study. Study notes and resources that lead us away from ourselves and our own understanding and toward the biblical text are helpful. When we can't see the text for the notes, study Bibles are not only unhelpful, but they become barriers to our discipleship, leading us down destructive paths. As in all other things, we must be discerning. We must follow only the trustworthy voices."
Subscribe to Tabletalk before January 31 and we'll send you a free copy of R.C. Sproul's new hymns album, Glory to the Holy One. Don't forget, you can also try Tabletalk free for three months. Live outside the U.S. and Canada? We offer an affordable international rate.