• What’s the Problem? Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2006

    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that evil exists. You don’t even have to be a theologian to know that evil exists. All that is necessary for you to know that evil exists is to exist. In this fallen world, we are bombarded with evil from every side — not only the evil of this world but the evil within our own hearts as well, and that is where the real problem exists. As fallen creatures who exist in this fallen world of sin and misery, we do not reflect the light of God’s glory as … View Resource

  • Decoding Da Vinci Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2006

    It should be no surprise to know that in 2005 the Louvre museum in Paris attracted more visitors, 7.3 million to be exact, than in any previous year since the Louvre was established as a museum in 1793. The museum is expecting to break that record again in 2006 with the May release of Hollywood’s version of Dan Brown’s best-selling book, The Da Vinci Code. Last year I too visited the Louvre while on a layover in Paris. Although I was not there in order to try to figure out the supposed centuries-old codes hidden in the paintings of … View Resource

  • A Simple Mystery Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2006

    John Wesley is quoted as having said: “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God.” A clever statement indeed, but just as every analogy of the Trinity that has ever been offered breaks down under scrutiny, so Wesley’s analogy of a worm’s comprehension of man compared to our comprehension of God breaks down as well. First of all, worms are not made in the image of man. Secondly, worms have not been given special revelation from man, and, what is more, no man ever … View Resource

  • He Walked with God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2006

    Wherever I travel throughout the world, I always make certain to visit the grave sites of civilization’s most famous men. From the grave of Martin Luther in Germany, to the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Persia (present-day Iran), I have visited many places where the honored dead have been buried. Recently, I was in Yerevan, Armenia, where it is hard not to see the great mount Ararat standing tall in the distance between Armenia and eastern Turkey. Every time my eyes caught a glimpse of the great mountain, I could not help to think that it was upon that … View Resource

  • Passionate Complacency Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2006

    Sir Edmund Burke is quoted as having said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”— a true statement indeed. For as the history of civilization has shown, when we stand by and do nothing, that which is evil always seems to gain the victory. However, as the people of God, we understand that evil is not some sort of impersonal entity that exists outside the heart of man. In fact, evil is at the very core of natural man’s being after the fall. We also understand that in our natural condition … View Resource

  • Existence in God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2006

    Recently I visited a member of our congregation who was in the hospital. After leaving his room, I stepped onto the elevator and noticed two women standing quietly at the back of the elevator. Each was carrying a bag that displayed a local Buddhist temple. Politely, I said to the woman standing closer to me: “Hello, I see the bag you’re holding with the Buddhist temple on it — are you a Buddhist?” With some hesitation in her voice, she responded, “Yes, I am.” Having received her affirmative response, I asked another question: “I have studied Buddhism and … View Resource

  • Progress Redefined Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2006

    The world measures success in terms of that which is tangible — by what is bigger, faster, and by what draws the most attention. For many people, success is defined solely by numbers and circumstantial outcomes. True success, however, cannot be measured merely by what is perceived by the eyes of men. We measure our success according to economic and sociological standards, which at times is certainly appropriate considering that we are to be good stewards of our time, talents, and finances; however, the problem lies in that we measure our Christian lives according to the same principles — evaluating … View Resource

  • Awaiting His Return Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2005

    There is a widespread fascination with the end of the world. Throughout history, we have witnessed the bold assertions of soothsayers, naysayers, and doomsdayers. Every day, self-proclaimed prophets of the end times make whimsical predictions about the future. Claiming to have biblical authority, they tout their cleverly devised schemes about the end of the world as we know it, and by reading between the lines of the Old Testament prophetical books, they carefully contort the words of sacred Scripture to fit their fictional fantasies about the second advent of Christ. Christians throughout the world have become so enamored with some … View Resource

  • Why Not? Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2005

    As a Reformed pastor, I am regularly confronted with questions about Reformed theology. Sometimes I am asked to explain a particular point of Reformed theology, and sometimes I am asked simply to explain what Reformed theology is. Depending upon who is asking the question, and, perhaps more importantly, in what tone the question is being asked, I will often respond first by explaining precisely what Reformed theology is not. This method of identification, traditionally called the “way of negation” (via negativa), usually employed in the identification of divine attributes, is a helpful way of approaching many subjects. Though it is … View Resource

  • For the Love of God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2005

    When I first encountered Reformed theology I completely rejected it. For nearly two years I fought against it with every possible argument I could conceive of. It wasn’t until I embarked upon a journey through the Scriptures that I was confronted by the biblical teaching of God’s love for His people. At the forefront of my argument against Reformed theology was my desire to defend the biblical doctrine of God. It had been my contention, considering verses such as John 3:16, that the saving love of God had been manifest to all people without exception. That is to say … View Resource

  • Sects of Seduction Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2005

    From time to time I get a knock on the door from two exuberant representatives of one of the local cult chapters. Although such visits have become less frequent in recent years, it is generally my practice to step outside for a nice little chat. The friendly couple always seem overjoyed at the fact that I am willing to take the time to talk with them, and usually, during our formal introductions, I am thinking to myself: “They have no idea what they’re in for.” After listening intently to their presentation and their questions, I begin to reply with … View Resource

  • It Is Finished Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2005

    As I consider the state of the evangelical church at the beginning of the twenty-first century, I observe a people who have swapped their faith for a bumper sticker and a church that has been caught up with the wrappings of religion. Many in the church have grown tired of that old-time religion, and they have become enamored with the affluence of get-holy-quick, pop-Christian programs. They have joined arms with the razzlers and the dazzlers of the world’s marketplace, and they have set out on a journey down a yellow-brick road that will lead only to the great and powerful … View Resource

  • Living Authority Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2005

    In the main hallway of the seminary where I studied hangs a copy of Albrecht Dürer’s masterpiece The Four Apostles. It is indeed a magnificent interpretation of the classic work that was painted by one of the seminary’s professors of New Testament, whose biblical faithfulness is manifested in one small detail of the painting. If one studies the painting closely, he can observe one minor difference between Dürer’s painting and the reproduction. Dürer has the apostle Peter holding the golden key to the gate of heaven, whereas the replica shows Peter with no key at all. Such a deliberate omission … View Resource

  • The Salvation of Knowledge Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2005

    The postmodern era is coming to an end, and a new age is beginning. In this new era, pluralism is considered simplistic and elementary. Whereas pure relativism was the reigning mind-set in the postmodern era, in this new age, conceptualism has become the accepted system by which we determine what we know and what we believe. As far as I know, conceptualism has not been formulated by any philosophers or sociologists, but can be defined, at least in the way I conceptualize it, as that system of thought by which an individual, or a society, determines reality based upon his … View Resource

  • Dust to Dust Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2005

    In this world, we face matters of life and death every day. The morning after Terry Schiavo died, I was informed that someone I knew attempted to commit suicide. The next day in Rome, Pope John Paul II died. The morning after, I was asked by a dear man in our congregation to participate in his memorial service upon his death, and the next evening, my friend who attempted to commit suicide died. When I was sixteen years old, my father, a World War II veteran, died of cancer. As a young man, the reality of death weighed heavily upon … View Resource