• What Is the Gospel? Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2011

    The nineteenth-century Princeton theologian Charles Hodge said, “The gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.” The gospel is absolutely fundamental to everything we believe, and it is at the very core of who we are as Christians. However, many professing Christians struggle to answer the simple question: What is the gospel? When I teach, I am astounded by how many of my students are unable to provide a biblically accurate explanation of what the gospel is, and, what’s more, what … View Resource

  • Searching for Truth Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2017

    Whenever people ask me what I do for a living, I respond by telling them I am a pastor. When I tell them I am a pastor, people appear to be instantly filled with a range of emotions as they try to figure out how to respond. Depending on their spiritual state and their relationship to Christ and the church, their responses range from fear to comfort, from anxiety to delight. Some people attempt to change the subject as quickly as possible, some want to tell me all about their spiritual journey, some want to unload all their burdens, some … View Resource

  • Discerning Entertainment Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2017

    My maternal grandfather, James Robson Featherstone (1915–1995), was born in Wallsend, England, and immigrated to America when he was thirteen years old. A talented singer, he rose to prominence during the big band era in Chicago in the early 1940s. He lived his life among the rich and famous, cut many records, played poker with the Three Stooges, and along the way, lost his professed faith, his family, his fame, and his money. Jimmy Featherstone’s wife, my grandmother, who was also involved in entertainment in the 1940s, brought my mother into modeling when she was young. Coming from such … View Resource

  • To Be Blessed Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2017

    The blessing of God is not to be taken lightly. But in our day, blessings are thrown around so flippantly and indiscriminately that the word blessing has all but lost its meaning. People speak about feeling blessed and having a blessed day or a blessed life when everything is going well and nothing too severe is bothering them in the moment. We hear blessings after sneezes, at the end of voicemail messages, as hashtags in social media posts, and on bumper stickers. In these United States, the statement “God bless America” used to be a prayer of humble dependence, but … View Resource

  • The Courage to Be Reformed Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2017

    When we come to grasp Reformed theology, it’s not only our understanding of salvation that changes, but our understanding of everything. It’s for this reason that when people wrestle through the rudimentary doctrines of Reformed theology and come to comprehend them, they often feel like they have been converted a second time. In fact, as many have admitted to me, the reality is that some have been converted for the very first time. It was through their examination of Reformed theology that they came face-to-face with the stark reality of their radical corruption and deadness in sin, God’s unconditional election … View Resource

  • We Are Reformed Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2017

    This month marks Tabletalk’s fortieth year of publication. In 1977, Dr. R.C. Sproul launched Tabletalk as a monthly newsletter featuring news about the Ligonier Valley Study Center in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, which was established in 1971. The newsletter also included articles covering a wide range of subjects for Ligonier students and supporters. Dr. Sproul and his fellowship of teachers from the study center and abroad contributed articles on biblical, theological, cultural, and philosophical matters with a focus on helping Christians grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. In 1989, the format of Tabletalk changed, and a monthly theme, columns, and … View Resource

  • Every Thought Captive Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2017

    In our day, many Christians have a view of church history that is a popular, but unfortunate, caricature. They believe the church started in the first century, but then soon fell into apostasy. The true faith was lost until Martin Luther recovered it in the sixteenth century. Then, nothing at all significant happened until the twentieth century, when Billy Graham started hosting his evangelistic crusades. Regrettably, we form caricatures of history on account of our ignorance of history. Too often, our historical awareness is sorely lacking. What’s more, we don’t fully know where we are, because we don’t know … View Resource

  • The Religion of Secularism Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2017

    In God we trust” officially became the national motto of the United States in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. Originally implemented in part to distinguish the United States from the Soviet Union and its explicit state atheism, the motto has remained to our day. Like many mottoes, however, the phrase has unfortunately become more of a throwaway statement for many Americans than a declaration of true faith in the one and only God of Scripture. It is indeed our hope that our nation—and every nation—would genuinely trust God. Although many people claim to trust God … View Resource

  • Joy in Christ Alone Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2017

    Christianity is a religion of joy. Real joy comes from God, who has invaded us, conquered us, and liberated us from eternal death and sadness—who has given us hope and joy because He has poured out His love within our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us (Rom. 5:5). Joy comes from God, not from within. When we look within, we just get sad. We have joy only when we look outside ourselves to Christ. Without Christ, joy is not only hard to find, it’s impossible to find. The world desperately seeks joy, but in … View Resource

  • True Success Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2017

    Well done. Great job. Good work. As children, we loved to hear words of encouragement from our fathers, mothers, grandparents, teachers, and coaches. I fondly remember my father’s approving smile and my mother’s loving embrace when I did a good job. Truth be told, as adults we still want to be told we’ve done well. We love to be encouraged when we’ve been successful. God has given us an inherent desire to be successful. We want to be successful men, women, parents, grandparents, employees, students, and Christians. We want to succeed not only because it feels … View Resource

  • God Never Forgets Us Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2016

    We are a forgetful people. We too often overlook the majesty of creation and how it directs our gaze to our sovereign, holy, and gracious Creator. We forget to give God glory for creating us and for sustaining us. We forget to thank Him for all blessings. We forget to pray to Him, and we forget to praise Him. We forget His steadfast and abounding love. We forget what Christ has done for us, in us, and through us. We forget Christ’s law-fulfilling life, and we forget His sacrificial, atoning death. We forget His resurrection, and we forget that … View Resource

  • Mature in Christ Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2016

    One of the greatest joys of pastoral ministry is preaching the Word of God to the people of God every Lord’s Day, morning and evening. However, it is also one of the greatest challenges of pastoral ministry. The challenge is not only in the enjoyable and arduous task of sermon preparation, nor is it merely in the spiritual, emotional, and physiological strain of preaching. The challenge also comes in expositing and carefully applying the Word of God to the entire congregation—to mature believers and to new believers, to believers who are weak in the faith and to believers who … View Resource

  • Truth and True Peace Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2016

    On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. He did so for the sake of the peace, purity, and unity of the church. His first thesis called the church to genuine and continual repentance, and among his last theses he called the church to true peace through Christ. Luther wasn’t a rebellious schismatic who sought to lead a revolt against Rome; he was an ardent herald and defender of the gospel who, due to his obstinate and unwavering faithfulness, drew Rome’s ire in the midst of … View Resource

  • Our Family Forever Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2016

    In the church, many people assume that men enter pastoral ministry simply out of a desire to be pastors. But such an assumption is far from the truth. God makes men pastors. He calls us, gifts us, equips us, and sustains us. We enter pastoral ministry not necessarily because we want to but because we must. It is not as if we are incapable of doing other things for a living, but rather that we are incapable of doing anything else that will allow us to obey God and find the God-ordained fulfillment that comes from serving Him with the … View Resource

  • Ministering to Addicts Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2016

    As a pastor, I often find myself counseling people with addictions. Having served in local church settings for more than twenty years, I find ministering to addicts and their families to be one of the more difficult, complicated, and sad things I do. Every week, I preach the Word of God to people who have never been addicts and may never become addicts, to former addicts, to addicts themselves, and to future addicts. There are some addicts who know they are addicts, some who are seeking help for their addiction, and some who either do not know they are addicts … View Resource