Burk Parsons

True Love

True love means proclaiming the truth. True love means proclaiming the gospel. True love means proclaiming the love of God and the wrath of God, and the most unloving thing we could possibly do is withhold the truth from those who are perishing without Christ—the truth about God’s love, holiness, justice, and grace; the truth about man’s sin, death, and hell; the truth about faith, forgiveness, and an eternal life coram Deo, before the face of God in heaven, where God’s love will reign over us forever.

God is love, and love never fails because God never fails. Love cannot be separated from God and cannot exist without Him. God’s love is the foundation and definition of love, just as He is the source, fountain, sustainer, and enabler of love. God gives meaning to love, and without Him, love isn’t only worthless but meaningless. Without God as its source and center, that which humans conceive of as love is impatient and unkind, envious and boastful, arrogant and rude, always insisting on its own way, irritable, resentful, rejoicing in wrongdoing and falsehood. Without God, love is nothing more than a hateful lie of Satan.
Every day we hear people talk about love as if it were some sort of impersonal force and independent energy that alone has the power to change hearts, restore homes, cure diseases, rebuild communities, and unite nations. The world is infatuated with the idea of love. Even the word itself, love, has degenerated into an all-encompassing, catch-all term that seems to be at the heart of a rising one-religion-politically-correct world language—
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Humility and Wisdom

Discernment is not only the ability to choose right from wrong; it is the ability to choose right from almost right. Similarly, one of the closest companions to wisdom, a companion without which true wisdom cannot exist, is humility, the virtue whereby we recognize that we lack wisdom and must acquire it.

In our digitally dependent age, information comes at us constantly from every direction and, it often seems, with ever-increasing rapidity. Never before in history have we had such an abundance of information that we can so easily access, and yet never before in history has there been such a lack of wisdom.
In fact, it often seems that there are many who do not even see wisdom as something that they should aspire to possess. In many respects, Western culture has ignored the pursuit of wisdom for so long that even the word wisdom has almost completely disappeared from its vocabulary. We live in a culture that rebels against the wisdom of the aged and revels in the foolishness of the elementary.
Part of the problem is the idea that knowledge equals understanding and that understanding equals wisdom. Shortcuts such as a web search or echoing the perspective of social media gurus or celebrities provide superficial knowledge that often satisfies people today.
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Preserved by God

God sustains us that we are able to endure faithfully to the end. By His loving hand, He blesses us with discipline. By His kindness, He leads us to repentance, and by His sacrifice, He has conquered the Enemy and defeated death. For this reason, we will endure because we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

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 ourselves is by all means applicable to soldiers in wartime. It is a stern charge to fight to the end in order to overcome the enemy. And, indeed, it conveys a similar exhortation found in Scripture. In Hebrews, we are called to run the race that is set before us (12:1). The apostle Paul likewise exhorts us to endure so that we might reign with Christ (2 Tim. 2:12), and, while teaching His disciples about persecution, Jesus said, “the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 10:22).
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Desiring Contentment

God has put eternity in our hearts. He has inscribed heaven on our souls. He created us to long for a perfect world and to desire what is supremely ideal. We want to be fully and finally free from the suffering and misery of this world, and ultimately from our sin—not only the conviction and sadness our sin brings us, but also the hurt and pain it brings to those closest to us. As redeemed but fallen creatures in this fallen world, we desperately want to be done with sin and its consequences. We want to be less proud, less impatient, less sad, less worried, less burdened, and we want to be more holy, more repentant, more prayerful, more at peace, and more content. We are, as Martin Luther taught, simul justus et peccator, “at the same time just and sinful.” In Christ, God has declared us righteous, though we still strive each day to mortify our sin in the flesh. But there is a day coming when we will no longer struggle, when our faith shall be sight, when we shall see Christ Jesus face-to-face, when we will no longer desire, no longer need, no longer lack contentment.
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The True Reformers

God’s Word is always powerful and God’s Spirit is always working to renew our minds, transform our hearts, and change our lives. Therefore, the people of God, the church, will be always “being reformed” according to the unchanging Word of God, not according to our ever-changing culture.

Semper reformanda has been hijacked. It is one of the more abused, misused, and misunderstood slogans of our day. Progressives have captured and mutilated the seventeenth-century motto and have demanded that our theology, our churches, and our confessions be always changing in order to conform to our ever-changing culture. However, semper reformanda doesn’t mean what they think it means.
Semper reformanda doesn’t mean “always changing,” “always morphing,” or even “always reforming.” Rather, it means “always being reformed.” When it was first used, semper reformanda was part of the larger statement ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda (the church reformed and always being reformed). To make the statement more clear, the phrase secundum verbum Dei (according to the Word of God) was later added, making the statement “The church reformed and always being reformed according to the Word of God.” It grew out of a pastoral concern that we as God’s people would always be reformed by God’s Word—that our theology would not be merely theoretical knowledge but that our theology would be known, loved, and practiced in all of life.
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The Cross and the Crown

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 people better if the congregation were not confined to the house of God where there was a pulpit and a cross. Rather, it seemed fitting to meet in a concert hall so that unbelievers would feel more comfortable in attending church on Easter Sunday. And by forsaking the testimony of the Word of God in order to hear the testimony of a popular football coach, the thousands who attended the event were deprived of true worship by the entrepreneurs of contemporary evangelicalism.

Ministering Without R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul went home to be with the Lord on December 14, 2017. Burk Parsons shares what it’s like to live and minister without him.

Real Sermons Are Not Lectures or Moral Stories

Pastors are not merely teachers or lecturers. They are shepherds to needy sheep. Burk Parsons describes the kind of sermons a shepherd should give.

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