• Interpreting Hermeneutics Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    My first appointment today was with a seminary student of mine who also attends our church. He is a sharp student in his early forties who left a lucrative career in order to pursue God’s call to pastoral ministry. He asked me to review his research paper and suggest ways he could improve it. In discussing his paper, he explained how his position on baptism had recently begun to change from a believer’s-baptist (credobaptist) position to an infant-baptist (paedobaptist) position. Even though I am a convinced paedobaptist, I urged him as a first-year seminary student to take extraordinary … View Resource

  • Not a Simple Matter Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2013

    About ten years ago I had breakfast with one of the finest Old Testament scholars of our generation. A confessional Presbyterian, he has fought many battles for doctrinal orthodoxy and biblical fidelity, and since the 1970s has written numerous articles in theological journals, has authored several books (some of which are now considered modern classics), and has taught in some of the most doctrinally faithful seminaries in America. At that breakfast, one of the men who was with us asked the esteemed scholar to explain his view of the millennium and to identify which millennial position he affirmed. I will … View Resource

  • Enjoying God, Coram Deo Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2013

    I am a confessional Presbyterian pastor. As such, I subscribe to the Westminster Standards, consisting of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Over the years I have heard the Westminster Standards criticized for being too erudite; some have charged that the Westminster divines (theologians) were so concerned with doctrinal precision that they failed to display the beauty and loveliness of the faith in their documents. Although I appreciate their concerns, I always remind such critics that the Westminster catechisms begin with the language of glorifying and enjoying God, and that the Standards exist to explain … View Resource

  • All My Fears Relieved Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2013

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the Proverbs tell us, and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of the end of all other fears. For us as sons of God, to fear God means to humbly trust Him and helplessly tremble before Him with reverence and awe, love and gratitude (Ps. 147:11; 2 Cor. 7:15; Heb. 12:28). Although most fear is deadly, the fear of the Lord is life. The fears we experience in this life are countless and complex. And while we have chosen to address seven deadly fears, there … View Resource

  • The Disappearance of Heresy Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2013

    On October 29, 1929, the Roaring Twenties came to a screeching halt. The stock market crashed, sending these United States of America into the Great Depression, which in turn affected much of the industrialized world. On September 25, 1929, in God’s sovereign timing, just one month before the Wall Street Crash, fifty-two students began their fall semester at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Only a few months prior, J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937) resigned from Princeton Theological Seminary and founded Westminster Theological Seminary. Machen, along with Robert Dick Wilson, Oswald T. Allis, and Cornelius Van Til (and later John Murray … View Resource

  • The Assurance of Discipline Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2013

    The older I get, the more I wish my father had disciplined me more than he did, and the more I grow in Christ, the more I pray for my heavenly Father’s loving discipline. When we’re immature we see discipline as a negative thing, but as we grow we begin to see it as one of the most enduring blessings of life. Discipline assures us that we’re loved and cared for. It shows us to whom we belong. It demonstrates we are worth another’s time and energy. It makes us confront, confess, and repent of our … View Resource

  • The Heart of Words Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2013

    Words are powerful. They transform lives and make history. They birth nations and topple empires. They make peace and fuel wars. They make covenants in marriage and wound those we most cherish. They change hearts and give news of eternal life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Words are foundational to everything we think, do, and say in all of life. Nevertheless, words are not ends in themselves. Words exist because God spoke them into existence that He might communicate with us. He spoke the world into existence and has graciously spoken to us in His sacred Word. When … View Resource

  • A Life of Faith and Forgiveness Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2013

    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, wooden 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

  • Delighting in Our Duty Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2013

    When we think of the law of God, the first thing that should come to mind is love—God’s love for us as fallen sinners, directing us to love Him, enjoy Him, and glorify Him. God’s law is a gracious gift to us, and it has three primary uses. First, the law functions as a teacher by showing us God’s perfect righteousness and our unrighteousness and sin, and it shows our danger of God’s judgment, leading us, by God’s grace, in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ who fulfilled all the righteous demands of God’s … View Resource

  • Proclaiming Life to Captives Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2013

    I am writing this on the twenty-fifth anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s release of the “Personhood Proclamation.” On January 14, 1988, Reagan released the following declaration: “America has given a great gift to the world, a gift that drew upon the accumulated wisdom derived from centuries of experiments in self-government, a gift that has irrevocably changed humanity’s future. Our gift is twofold: the declaration, as a cardinal principle of all just law, of the God-given, unalienable rights possessed by every human being; and the example of our determination to secure those rights and to defend them against every … View Resource

  • Relevant, Old Paths Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2013

    My dad was fifty-two years old when I was born. When I was thirteen, he asked me if I was embarrassed that he was so much older than my friends’ dads. I told him I wasn’t embarrassed but that I respected him and learned more from him because he was older. He was born a few years after the end of World War I and fought in World War II. He had a newspaper route during the Great Depression, and he told me stories about real cowboys, bank robbers, and his father, who grew up at the turn of … View Resource

  • In Christ Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2013

    Repetitio mater studiorum est. “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” The Apostle Paul understood this. Under the inspiration and superintendence of the Holy Spirit, Paul constantly repeated the foundational truths of biblical doctrine, and he did so not only within each of his epistles but sometimes within the same sentence. The clearest example of this is found in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. As he unfolds the glorious mystery of our salvation, Paul reiterates the phrase “in Christ” or “in Him” continually throughout the first chapter, and nearly ten times in verse 3–14, which is one long sentence … View Resource

  • Recovering Lost Disciplines Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2013

    As I write, I am looking out over the vast and cold Atlantic Ocean as I come to the end of a short family getaway at the beach. I have shut off my mobile phone. I have closed all unnecessary programs on my computer. I have turned off the music I had been listening to while I read a few articles online, and, as is my habit before sitting down to write, I prayed and asked the Lord to grant me discernment as I strive to write for his glory and for the edification of his people. The missionary and … View Resource

  • Hope for Prodigal Children Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2012

    As a pastor, I am often faced with the difficulty of counseling deeply saddened fathers and mothers with prodigal sons and daughters. Parents who enter my study for counsel and prayer are usually trying to come to grips with the harsh reality about a prodigal (lavishly wasteful) son or daughter. The child they have loved, prayed for, educated, nurtured, protected, and discipled has left everything to chase after the fleeting pleasures of the world, forsaking not only their father’s home but their father’s faith. There are likely many parents and grandparents reading this who have prodigal children or … View Resource

  • No Other Gospel Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2012

    When you enter the sanctuary of Saint Andrew’s Chapel, you cannot help but notice the majestic pulpit that rises from the chancel and towers above the congregation. Although the pulpit is relatively plain in its structure and design, there is one unique feature to the pulpit that is noticed only upon a closer look. In the very center is an ornately carved emblem of a cross surrounded by rose petals. The emblem is a replica of the Luther Rose—the crest of the sixteenth-century Reformer Martin Luther. Luther designed the crest to teach the gospel to others, particularly the illiterate … View Resource