• R.C. Sproul: A Man Called By God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2007

    Robert Charles Sproul was born on February 13, 1939, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the second child of Robert Cecil Sproul and the former Mayre Ann Yardis. R.C.’s great grandfather immigrated to the United States in the nineteenth-century from Donegal, Ireland. R.C.’s early childhood years were defined largely by two things: World War II and his extended family. He was two years old when World War II broke out. His father, being too old for the draft, was appointed head of the draft board in his district. Only a few weeks after being appointed to his position, R … View Resource

  • Old-Fashioned Accountability Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2007

    I have a good friend who thinks I am too old-fashioned. Through all the years we’ve known each other, he has never ceased to remind me of his observation. And while I certainly try to maintain an age-appropriate outlook on life, I must admit that my old-fashioned tendencies too often get the best of me. Although it does not seem old-fashioned to me in the least, when asking for a woman’s hand in marriage, I still think it is appropriate for a man first to speak with the father of the woman he hopes to marry prior to speaking with … View Resource

  • Sin, Death, and Grief Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2007

    My father was a veteran of World War II, the son of a small-town country preacher, school teacher, and sheriff, the son-in-law of the automobile manufacturer Preston Tucker, a fellow college graduate of Sam Walton, the leader of one of the first grass-roots movements to campaign for Ronald Reagan for president, and a father who grieved for many years over the loss of his first son who died at eighteen years of age. My father was a great man, but he never seemed to overcome the grief he experienced. I never understood the grief my father experienced over the loss … View Resource

  • Accepted in the Beloved Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007

    When I begin premarital counseling with a couple in our church, one of the first things we talk about is the purpose of the marriage covenant. I usually astonish the couple when I explain that their marriage is not primarily about them. After the initial shock, the young couple usually just looks at me with blank stares. I then explain that marriage is first and foremost about God and His kingdom (Eph. 5:30–32). We spend some time talking about the creation ordinance to be fruitful and multiply, and I explain that their marriage is intended to bring glory to … View Resource

  • Hold the Fire and Brimstone, Please Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2007

    Several years ago I had the opportunity to teach a class on heaven and hell. On the first day of class I asked the middle-aged students to raise their hands if they could recall the last time they had heard a sermon on hell. None of the students raised his hand. I then asked the students if they could recall the last time they heard a sermon on heaven. Once again, not one student raised his hand. Nevertheless, regarding the latter question, many explained that from time to time they had heard a pastor mention heaven in a sermon … View Resource

  • A Matter of Life and Death Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2007

    The Christian marketplace is filled with T-shirts, tracts, and trinkets that speak of how to have the ideal Christian life. Every year, Christians spend millions of dollars on self-help books and “how-to” guides for living an abundant life. For the most part, Christians are told that if they want to be really great Christians they simply need to follow a few easy steps. In truth, every Christian, who has not been seduced by the superficial tactics and magical pixie dust of childish Christian gurus from evangelical Neverland, knows full well that there is more to living the Christian life than … View Resource

  • The Gift of Repentance Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2006

    If you travel to Wittenberg, Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation, you may find yourself scratching your head wondering how Martin Luther managed to nail his 95 theses to the solid-bronze door of the 500 year old castle church. It wouldn’t take you long, however, to realize that the bronze door is a relatively new addition. During the Seven Year’s War (1756–1763), the original, wood door was lost in the great fire that consumed much of the church building in 1760. As a result, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia had the door replaced with the present bronze door … View Resource

  • Forgiven and Free Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2006

    Someone recently said to me: “The older we get the harder it is to ask someone’s forgiveness.” I am not sure if that’s necessarily true, but the older and, perhaps, more stubborn we become it certainly seems more difficult to admit one’s fault and ask another’s forgiveness. However, as Christians it should be just the opposite. As we mature in Christ, we should become less and less stubborn in our selfish, impenitent obstinacy and more and more stubborn in our refusal not to let the sun go down on our own, or our brother’s, anger. As we age in … View Resource

  • A Visible Proclamation Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    Just over a year ago I had the opportunity to travel to Yerevan, Armenia, to minister among Iranian Christians who had traveled from Iran for a conference that was held on discipleship and Christian education. Without a doubt, I learned more from my Iranian brothers than they learned from me. Their passion and piety for Christ and His church challenged me beyond measure, and their understanding of what it means to be persecuted for the sake of Christ is a sure sign of God’s blessing upon them and their churches throughout Iran. Towards the end of our time together, we … View Resource

  • Those Whom God Hath Joined Together Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2006

    One of the great joys of serving as a pastor is performing weddings. Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of performing several wedding ceremonies, and on each occasion I have used the traditional wedding vows found in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Although many creative young couples these days are creating their own wedding vows, such creativity ceases when the young couple steps into my office. Through the months of premarital counseling and extensive discussions on the wedding itself as a covenant-making ceremony, I discuss with the couple the significance of their marriage vows and … View Resource

  • Our Covenant God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2006

    From time to time we receive a letter from a reader who would like us to use words that are more familiar. And although we generally try to define theological and biblical terms that may be unfamiliar to our readers, we do expect readers of Tabletalk to pick up their dictionaries occasionally. In an age when the average adult reads at a seventh-grade level, we want to raise the bar a little and challenge people to study words and their meanings, especially when it comes to the words of sacred Scripture. Nevertheless, there are certain words that are not found … View Resource

  • Worldly Standards Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2006

    I was asked recently what my favorite sports and hobbies are. My reply was simple: My favorite sports are hunting, fishing, and eating, and similarly, my favorite hobbies are talking about hunting, fishing, and eating. Although my abilities to hunt and fish will take a lifetime to refine, I have already perfected the art of eating. And having always had a keen interest in the social and psychological sciences, I could easily add the sport of people-watching to my list of favorites. I am simply fascinated by people — the way people dress, how people communicate, and what people do … View Resource

  • Our Glorious Inheritance in Christ Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2006

    Allegedly, a reporter once asked John D. Rockefeller, who at the time was one of the wealthiest men in America, “How much money is enough?” to which Rockefeller supposedly answered, “A little more than I have.” Such a response is fascinating but not the least bit surprising. Even though we don’t care to admit it, most of us are consumed with the endless endeavor of consuming a little more. It is indeed a vicious cycle of consumerism that can only be broken when we become content with what the Lord has provided and what the Lord has taken … View Resource

  • The Light of Glory Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2006

    Humanistic historians and secular sociologists are eager to assign their carefully crafted, far-reaching labels to just about anything. Centuries-long periods of history and entire generations of people have been adorned with meaningless titles and simplistic definitions. From the so called “baby-boom generation” to the “me generation” and “generation x,” our society has determined that bestowing a general category upon an entire population based on age is appropriate. Similarly, entire periods of history are known for the type of metal prominently used during that particular period, for instance, the “Bronze Age.” We have “golden” ages and ages of “enlightenment … View Resource

  • A Man in Christ Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2006

    What does it mean to be a real man? According to the standards of our society, a real man is big and strong, bold and brave, confident and competitive. Through the voices of the moguls of media and the movies, young men are taught that a real man is a true stoic — someone who doesn’t show his emotions; he is apathetic about the cares of the world, apathetic to the problems of others, and, especially, apathetic to all things religious. Just about every popular television program, commercial, and cartoon portrays men as infantile, aloof, and ignorant, and if our … View Resource