With 2017 here, we've gone back and collected some of the most popular Tabletalk magazine articles from 2016. Subscribe before the end of January and we will give you 6 bonus months for free. Don't forget, you can also try Tabletalk free for three months.
"Reformed theology, as many have said, is covenant theology, for the concept of covenant has shaped the development of Reformed thinking. We should expect as much because of our doctrine of sola Scriptura, which says that the Bible is the only infallible authority for Christian faith and practice. "
"I know my mothering days are not over because, as long as I draw breath, the call to fill the earth with image bearers will be incumbent on me. Just as my biological children needed me to train them in self-control, industriousness, and obedience, so also do young believers in the church need those who are more mature to train them in godliness. Every believing woman who grows to maturity becomes, in her time, a spiritual mother to those following behind, whether she ever becomes a mom in physical terms."
"The prosperity gospel shrinks the gospel down to an unfiltered pursuit of our desires. It shifts the message from the spiritual to the materialistic. Let's be clear about this: the prosperity gospel is about us rather than God."
"We worship a big god. He is sovereign and powerful. We are in His hands, and nothing happens to us by chance. That's good news. But in grief, if that is all we remember about God, it might actually make the pain worse, rather than better. It might leave us thinking, like Mary and Martha (John 11:21, 32), 'Lord, you could have stopped this, and you purposely didn't. Why?' God's sovereignty might leave us more angry than comforted."
"The Christian church has always enjoyed the moral high ground; it has always been understood to be the guardian of what is right and righteous, at least in Western societies. But what we are seeing now is a fundamental change. Hobson is arguing that this moral revolution, having turned the tables of Christianity, now robs the Christian church of the moral high ground it had previously claimed. The situation is fundamentally reversed."
"Legalism is not an error of Christianity—it's a different religion altogether. Legalism draws attention to us, but gospel religion draws attention to Jesus Christ. Legalism gives us glory, but gospel religion gives God glory. Legalism is rooted in self-worship, but gospel religion is rooted in the worship of God. And the ironic thing about legalism is that it doesn't make people want to work harder, it makes them want to give up."
"We tend to be too quick in accusing normal people, let alone the Bible, of contradictions. Now, we're all capable of inconsistence, incoherency, and contradiction. But common courtesy requires at least that we give others the benefit of a second glance. We should strive to figure out how someone can consistently affirm two seemingly contradictory positions. In giving that second glance, we often find that what others are saying is not as contradictory as it first seemed."
"Some people fill in their lottery tickets, lie back on their sofa, and hope their numbers will finally come in. But such a hope is uncertain, and it is temporary even if it comes to pass. Our hope is so certain that it actually lives. Our joy and certain hope for the future are tied up in the fact that He rose again (1:20–21). Don't forget, Peter was a guy whose whole life was crushed when Jesus was killed. All of Peter's greatest hopes died with Jesus."
"As I fought against Reformed theology more than twenty years ago with all the free will I could muster, I firmly believed that John 3:16 was directly opposed to Reformed theology. But I finally came to see that John 3:16 is at the very foundation of Reformed theology. In John 3:16, we find every tenet of Reformed soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) in its most basic form."
"The Greek word apologia means literally 'to speak to.' Over time, it came to mean 'to make a defense.' When Athens accused Socrates of being harmful to society, Socrates had to offer his defense. He titled it Apologia. He stood before the 'men of Athens,' offering his reasoned defense."
"In Matthew 12:36–37, Jesus associates not just the things that we do but also the words that we speak with the fruit that trees produce. Just as the fruit of the tree reveals the condition of its roots, so the words that we speak reveal the condition of our hearts, whether we genuinely believe and are justified or don't and are condemned. It is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks (v. 34)."
"There is no commandment more important than to love our Creator, but what's the very next command in Deuteronomy 6? That the law of God is to be on our hearts and taught to our children. The divine mandate is that parents should teach the Lord's commandments to their children. Not that the parents should send their children somewhere else to learn these things, but the responsibility is given to the parents."
"The claim that humanity can only come into its own and overcome various invidious forms of discrimination by secular liberation is not new, but it is now mainstream. It is now so common to the cultures of Western societies that it need not be announced, and often it is not noticed. Those born into the cultures of late modernity simply breathe these assumptions as they breathe the atmosphere, and their worldviews are radically realigned, even if their language retains elements of the old worldview."
"Israel had to learn its need for a king and in turn to yearn for a king—not a king like the nations as they would have in Saul, but a man after God's own heart, namely, David. Yet even David could not protect and lead God's people ultimately. He sinned, his house was divided, and he died. Who, then, is the leader—perfect, faithful, and undying—for God's people? Obviously, only Jesus is such a king."
"Antinomianism takes various forms. People do not always fit neatly into our categorizations, nor do they necessarily hold all the logical implications of their presuppositions. Here we are using 'antinomianism' in the theological sense: rejecting the obligatory ('binding on the conscience') nature of the Decalogue for those who are in Christ. Antinomianism, it was widely assumed in the eighteenth century, is essentially a failure to understand and appreciate the place of the law of God in the Christian life."
"The Christian life is a road trip, a journey of the most exhilarating kind. It has a starting point and a terminus. It is a metaphor of movement. Christians do not stay in one place too long, for they are set for another location. Early Christians were referred to as the followers of 'the Way'—a reflection that they seemed determined to follow a different path (Acts 9:2; 24:14)."
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