As a professor at Wittenberg University, Martin Luther gathered students around his table for meals cooked by his wife, Katherine Von Bora, and hours of stimulating theological discourse. These conversations, along with other notes and sayings of Luther, were eventually compiled by his students in a volume titled “Tischreden,” literally, Tabletalk.
Centuries later, similar gatherings would take place around Dr. R.C. Sproul’s dinner table in Ligonier, Pa., at the Ligonier Valley Study Center. A newsletter brought students up to date with current discussions and news. The newsletter also included articles from a variety of Christian scholars and leaders. Following Luther’s lead, Dr. Sproul named Ligonier’s newsletter Tabletalk. In 1989, this newsletter changed to a magazine format and daily Bible studies were added.
In the first issue in May 1977, Dr. Sproul named his column “Right Now Counts Forever” as a direct refutation of the 70’s mantra that the here and now was all that mattered and nothing held lasting significance. “I was saying up front,” says Dr. Sproul: “No, we are not secularists, we are Christians, and what happens today matters for eternity.” To the present day, that title has remained—as relevant now as it was then.
Over four decades, Tabletalk has intentionally avoided trends. “We tend to be intoxicated with novelty,” Dr. Sproul comments. “This is what the Apostle Paul confronted at Mars Hill on the Areopagus when he talked with the philosophers who met regularly to discuss all things new. . . What we’re trying to do is say things in a fresh way, but we’re not interested in novelty. We’re trying to tell the same old story from antiquity and from the Word of God. That is timeless.”
That first issue of Tabletalk was sent to less than a hundred people, but today readership has multiplied to an estimated 250,000 in more than fifty countries. Dr. Sproul and the entire Tabletalk team are humbled by today’s global reach and this forty-year milestone.
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