• Grand Delusions Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2005

    A couple of years ago I met the pastor of an “evangelical“ church in our area. As he told me about the church where he served, he became overwhelmingly excited when he explained that, as a matter of principle, his church did not discriminate against anyone. He went on to explain what steps he was taking to ensure that the members of the church were following the church’s nondiscriminatory principle. At that point in our conversation, I was in complete agreement with him, but absolutely nothing could have prepared me for what he said next. With great enthusiasm, he let … View Resource

  • Many Gifts, One Body Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2005

    A few years ago I was given a month-long sabbatical to study in Wittenberg, Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation. While in Wittenberg, I stayed at the Evangelical Preacher’s Seminary, which shared the same courtyard as Martin Luther’s home. From my room on the third floor, I overlooked the dining room and kitchen of Luther’s sixteenth-century house. I recall that on many occasions in the late evening after a traditional German meal, I would open my window to the courtyard and look at the walkway below that led to Luther’s house. I considered the floral surroundings that adorned the … View Resource

  • The Service of Leading Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2005

    Good music is hard to find these days. In fact, I would argue, most of what we hear today isn’t music at all, it’s just synthesized noise with a beat. Good music, however, takes time to produce. It takes talented musicians who are able not only to play their instruments well but are able to play in harmony with other instrumentalists. Several years ago I had the opportunity to hear the complete oratorio of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah. The chorus and orchestra were impeccable, and after the final “amen,” the thousands who packed the large hall rose to their … View Resource

  • Born Again Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2005

    When teaching on the doctrines of election and reprobation, the most common objection I hear is “That’s not fair!” Often, the one raising this objection to these doctrines will go on to argue that God would be unfair to command all people to repent and believe if He had not chosen them before the foundation of the world. Based on such reasoning, many people have concluded that the doctrines of election and reprobation are not biblical and, therefore, heretical. Unfortunately, those who object to these doctrines are not merely contending with John Calvin; they are contending with the Word … View Resource

  • In Word and Deed Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2005

    We have all heard the saying: “Practice what you preach.” Early in my ministerial training, I became convinced of the importance of the truth that Christians, particularly preachers, should practice what they preach. After several years of working to ensure that I was practicing what I was preaching, I was confronted by a wise, old pastor who challenged me. He said that if I, as a minister, only practiced what I preached, then I could never faithfully serve the Lord in ministry. He explained that a minister is called to live a holy life before God and man, and … View Resource

  • The Cross and the Crown Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2005

    Several years ago I heard about a large suburban church that rented a fifteen-thousand seat performance hall and invited a well-known college football coach to give his testimony about being a Christian coach. When I heard about this, what concerned me was not the fact that a college football coach was asked to give his testimony but that this event replaced the church’s Easter worship service. Instead of dedicating their worship service to the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (as we are called to do each Lord’s Day), this church decided it could serve the interests of God’s … View Resource

  • Necessary Qualifications Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2005

    When in the course of human language it becomes necessary to qualify the meanings of words, we must unite and defend the correct use of our language against the onslaught of misused phrases, misappropriated adjectives, and misunderstood words. In the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformers found themselves amidst a raging battle. It was the great battle of qualification. Somewhere along the line, the Roman Catholic Church decided to make itself the infallible authority over the church of Jesus Christ. By so doing, the Roman church usurped the authority of the divinely inspired Word of God and began to inject the … View Resource

  • Liberty vs. Law? Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2005

    I have often heard people define liberty as the ability to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it. Although such a definition may sound good on the surface, it more accurately defines anarchy than it does liberty. While many in our society cry for “liberty,” they are actually advocating a form of social anarchy. By demanding their “liberty” to have the right to choose the life or death of an unborn child, they are demanding the right to murder merely for the sake of personal convenience. By fighting for the “liberty” to define marriage … View Resource

  • A Divine Comedy Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2005

    Sadly, I must admit the unfortunate truth that I am a former member of a boy band. In January of 1993 I was chosen to be one of the first members of the pop group “The Backstreet Boys.” As a singer in the five-member group, I was trained to sing and dance, and I was professionally trained to be an entertainer in the world of show business. After several months of living the life of an up-and-coming pop-music star, one week before our first photo-shoot, I walked into the office of our manager and quit. I told him very … View Resource

  • Preserved by God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2004

    Winston Churchill is often quoted as saying, “Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves.” Considering what he accomplished in his life, such a statement is certainly appropriate. Churchill‘s victories demonstrated his ability to persevere to the end. He overcame great odds, and his self-sustained fortitude enabled him to endure the hardships and complexities of political life during the Second World War. While Churchill’s assertion is accurate, it is only accurate insofar as it pertains to our natural human capability. Churchill’s call to persevere to save … View Resource

  • Justification by Association Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2004

    Over the past few years I have grown increasingly concerned about the state of evangelicalism. There has been a rapid decline of doctrinal integrity, and evangelical churches throughout the country have lost their theological bearings, especially regarding the doctrine of justification. According to the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, justification is the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. If Luther was right, and indeed he was, many churches have fallen by the wayside. No longer do such churches preach justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone; rather, they preach justification by association. The general … View Resource

  • Theology in Perspective Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2004

    While a student in Bible college I was faced with a dilemma. According to a professor of mine, as a minister, I could either be a student of theology or a student of Scripture. It was his contention that ministers are called to be students of Scripture, not students of theology. I wrestled between the two options for many months. Would I be a faithful student of Scripture or would I be an articulate student of theology? I was convinced that in order to pursue theological study I would need to sacrifice my devotion to the study of Scripture, and … View Resource

  • In God We Trust Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2004

    We want patience, and we want it now. We are a society consumed with instant gratification. If something takes too long, we turn to something faster, and there’s no time to waste. For whatever reason, we are under the impression that we should be able to get anything we want whenever we want it. Even when it comes to the Christian life, we think that with the push of a button, or with the click of a mouse, we can have instant holiness, instant humility, and instant patience. However, these attributes cannot be acquired instantly, for they are not commodities … View Resource

  • Resolved Tensions Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2004

    We live in a world of tensions. We are a holy people who have been set apart from the world and yet called to live in the world as a light to the world. We are strangers in a strange land — followers of One who was despised and murdered by those He came to save. We are Christians — trapped in a world of sin and misery, hate and despair. We have been declared sons of the King, yet our King is not of this world. How is it that we are the holy people of God? Are we … View Resource

  • Out with the New, In with the Old Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2004

    I love old things. I love old furniture, old cars, and old houses, but I especially love old books — old, dusty books. And I don’t know about you, but dust makes me sneeze. Recently, my wife and I were in an antique shop, and I found an 1833 edition of Thomas Watson’s Body of Practical Divinity. The book was tucked away in the back of the store on the top of an old cherry-wood bookshelf that held dozens of copies of Reader’s Digest condensed books from the 1960s. Whoever placed it on that shelf certainly did not know … View Resource