• Ancient Wisdom for the Future Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2007

    Although attributed in error, Mark Twain is often quoted as saying, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” When we’re young and full of self-reliant optimism and esteem we look to no one but ourselves in our sophomoric pursuit of knowledge and truth. And although some say, “with age comes wisdom,” that is only one part of the equation. In truth … View Resource

  • Good Old Calvinism Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2009

    John Calvin was a churchman for all ages. He was a reformer par excellence. He was a godly pastor who equipped his people for ministry. He was a humble revolutionary. He was a loyal husband, father, and friend. But above all Calvin was a man whose mind was humbled and whose heart was mastered by the Lord God Almighty. His life’s prayer—“I offer my heart to you, O Lord, promptly and sincerely”—was an unwavering declaration of surrender to the Lord, whom he sought to love with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength. While many Christians … View Resource

  • A Sower Went Out To Sow Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2009

    Church historian Mark Noll writes, “In many ways, the defining figure in the history of American evangelicalism is the eighteenth-century revivalist George Whitefield.” Prior to America’s declaration of independence from England, the Calvinist preacher from England turned the colonies upside down and led America to its knees in the First Great Awakening. Whitefield’s passionate preaching drew crowds in the tens of thousands as townspeople went to the fields. Trusting the Lord to provide the increase of repentance and faith, Whitefield planted and watered with the seed of the outward call of the gospel, neither tickling the ears nor reconciling … View Resource

  • Complacent Repentance Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    I love to hear stories about our faithful forefathers in ages past, and while it may be mere legend, I have heard that the great nineteenth-century British pastor Charles Spurgeon posted a sign on the door of his study. Each time he passed through the door of his study he could not avoid seeing the sign, which read: “Perhaps today.” It was his way of reminding himself that Jesus could return any day. So Spurgeon lived, prayed, and preached — eagerly and expectantly. Whether or not Spurgeon had a favorite passage of Scripture I do not know, and although I … View Resource

  • Our Hope in Ages Past Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2009

    Pray with your mouth, cry out with your heart, make petitions while you work, so that every day and night, every hour and moment, God may always assist you.” These are the words of the ninth-century, Christian noblewoman, Dhouda. She penned these words of admonition to her son William. She was concerned that her oldest son, a page in the court of Charles the Bald, would understand what it means to be a godly man. Dhouda’s Handbook for William contained wise counsel to her son concerning the necessity of daily prayer, his conduct in public worship, and the importance … View Resource

  • Unquestionable Authority Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2009

    I am terribly vexed. I have just finished reading an article from the notoriously left-wing magazine Newsweek. In the cover story, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage,” author Lisa Miller argues the case for gay “marriage” using the Bible as her authority. Miller opens with this line: “Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does.” She later asserts, “The Bible gives us no good reason to oppose gay marriage.”  It takes no brains but a lot of guts to try to make a case for gay … View Resource

  • The Unchanging Gospel Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2009

    I am a Christian, and I am a Protestant. I am a Christian because I trust Jesus Christ alone, believing that salvation is accomplished by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. I am a devout Protestant because I continue to protest against anyone who even suggests that salvation is accomplished in any other way.  When I entered Rome for the first time not too long ago, I was naturally looking forward to visiting St. Peter’s Basilica within the towering walls of Vatican City. As I stood under the world’s tallest dome, I was simply in awe of … View Resource

  • Resolved by the Grace of God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2009

    It seems that every December, many people make well-intentioned resolutions for the new year. With premeditated bursts of enthusiasm, they are caught up in a whirlwind of peculiar, and sometimes public, activities that puzzle even neighborhood children. We witness surprising promises and new year’s manifestos whereupon we are summoned to behold what sweeping changes may come in the new year. The skeptical observer may ask: Is all this new year’s fervor genuine? Is it helpful? Is it really necessary? Moreover, the curious onlooker may ask: Is it even appropriate to make resolutions? After all, shouldn’t we at … View Resource

  • Resolved to Live and Die Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2009

    My wife’s father, my father by marriage, has served in law enforcement four decades. Having served as an FBI-trained sheriff’s detective in south Florida for many years, he came to be known as “smiling Jack” on account of the fact that he smiled every time he made an arrest of a suspected criminal. As a life-long police officer who enjoys arresting criminals, a father of seven (two sons and five daughters), and one who has been known to clean his pistol when potential male suitors come to the house, he is not the kind of fellow that one trifles with … View Resource

  • Paradise Now and Then Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2008

    The movie Paradise Now is the 2005 Golden Globe winner for best foreign-language film. Although I have not yet seen the film, I have been intrigued by the film’s title since it’s release. The story follows two Palestinian childhood friends who were recruits for Islamic suicide attacks in Tel Aviv, Israel. The story focuses on what would be their last days together. The film’s title appropriately points out one of the more conspicuous mantras of Muslims whose appetite for paradise is manifested by means of destruction. They want paradise now, and some will do everything in their power to … View Resource

  • The World Upside Down Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2008

    It’s hard to believe that it was nearly a decade ago that we witnessed the turn of the third millennium. If you recall, on New Year’s Day several network TV stations featured live coverage from around the world. It was an international spectacle with an estimated viewing audience of more than one billion worldwide. With great intrigue I watched as each culture welcomed the new millennium in its own way according to the customs of its heritage. Fireworks, music, singing, dancing, parades- — all in celebration of the new millennium. While 300,000 gathered in Auckland, New Zealand, for … View Resource

  • Higher Criticism Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2008

    About ten years ago I had the opportunity to study under the late Dr. Harold O. J. Brown (1933–2007) at the Evangelical Preacher’s Seminary in Wittenberg, Germany. Dr. Brown was known by his students for his oral examinations, wherein he generously and humorously interrogated us on a variety of doctrinal questions that we were expected to answer on the spot. During one of his oral examinations I recall one of my fellow students speaking somewhat flippantly about the Bible. Without hesitation, looking intently at the student, Dr. Brown said, “The Bible is not just some book. It is the Word … View Resource

  • One Nation, Under God Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2008

    As I have traveled abroad, I have had to endure all sorts of snide remarks about the United States. I have seen graffiti depicting the American flag with bombs in place of stripes and skulls in place of stars. I have seen disfigured pictures of our president. I have seen the remains of a torched American flag. However, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw as I stood with my luggage in hand outside the Laleh International Hotel in Tehran, Iran. Lying on the ground at the main entrance of the hotel is a giant American flag, which serves as … View Resource

  • New Dog, Old Tricks Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2008

      Since  hearing about the supposedly “new” atheism I have been trying to figure out what’s so new about it. Its proponents are not saying anything different than their atheist ancestors have said throughout history. In truth, they are simply using the same old spin on a new generation of skeptics. Take, for instance, new atheism proponent Richard Dawkins’ assertions. In his article “On Debating Religion,” he writes, “The hypothesis of God offers no worthwhile explanation for anything” and “faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence.” In his … View Resource

  • God’s Truth Abideth Still Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2008

    One could perhaps make the argument that the history of the church consists of one division after another. Nevertheless, while history is replete with ecclesiastical divisions, there is a unity that transcends all the worldly clamor and devilish confusion surrounding the history of God’s people. This unity is not the result of ecumenical doctrinal compromise. It is just the opposite. It is a unity that transcends all heresies on account of the fact that it is a unity established in God Himself.  For God sees not as man sees, and His story of the unfolding covenant of redemption brings … View Resource