Fifty Years of Theology for the Church, to the Glory of God – August 2021 Tabletalk

The August 2021 issue of Tabletalk Magazine is a special one. It commemorates 50 years of Ligonier ministry’s existence and mission – to teach the holiness of God to as many people as possible. This was R.C. Sproul’s stated purpose from the outset. Burk Parsons points this out in this introduction to the issue titled “Helping People Know God”:

“In 1971, God used R.C. and Vesta Sproul to establish the Ligonier Valley Study Center. What began as a small study center in the countryside of western Pennsylvania fifty years ago has become, by God’s amazing grace, a discipleship teaching ministry reaching millions of people around the world. When I first encountered Ligonier Ministries more than twenty-five years ago, what amazed me most was that Ligonier was unlike any other ministry that I knew of. I immediately recognized that Dr. Sproul not only was concerned with reaching unbelievers with the gospel but that he was also passionate about reaching professing Christians with the gospel. But he didn’t stop there. His concern was to help believers be thoughtful and articulate Christians who know not only the gospel but also the whole counsel of God, the theology of God’s Word, the history of that theology, and how to defend the entirety of their faith. Dr. Sproul’s driving passion was to help the world know God and to help the church know God—not the God of our own making but the one and only sovereign, gracious, loving, and holy God of Scripture.”

Yes, that means that at the heart of what Sproul and Ligonier did was teach theology – involve people in the study of God. Sproul was fond of saying that everyone is a theologian; you are either a good one (meaning you know the true God) or you are bad one (meaning you don’t know the true God). And that is what this special issue notes in every featured article. All are worth reading, but the last one by Dr. Steven Lawson points to the ultimate purpose of good theology: the glory of God. Here is how Lawson open his article on this theme (“Theology for the Glory of God.”):

“The study of theology must never become an end in itself. The goal of sound doctrine is never to produce people who have full heads but empty hearts and barren lives. The purpose of Reformed theology is never to produce the “frozen chosen.” Instead, the knowledge of God and His truth is intended to lead us to know and worship Him. The teaching of Scripture is given to ignite our hearts with devotion for God and to propel us to live for Him. In short, robust theology must produce vibrant doxology.

“We study theology not to be educated for the sake of appearances. Theology is merely a means to the highest end. We study the truth about God to know Him better and to mature us. Theology renews our minds. It ignites our hearts. It elevates our worship. It directs our prayers. It humbles our souls. It enlightens our path. It energizes our walk. It sanctifies our lives. It strengthens our faith. It deepens our passion. It sharpens our ministries. It fortifies our witness. Theology does all this—and much more. Every aspect of this life pursuit brings glory to God.

“We are to glorify God in everything we do. Paul writes, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). This charge to honor God includes even the study of theology. The Apostle warns, “Knowledge makes arrogant” (8:1, NASB) if it does not lead to loving God and others. We must study “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) ultimately for “the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). This truth, in turn, will prompt us to give Him the glory due His name.”

Follow the links here to read more in this profitable issue. If you wish to learn more about the history of Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul, check out Dr. Stephen Nichols’ article “The History of Ligonier Ministries.”

Published in: on August 30, 2021 at 9:32 PM  Leave a Comment  

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