The True Reformers | Buck Parsons

from Tabletalk Magazine

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. Simply put, that our reformed theology according to God’s Word would be always reforming our lives. Read More »

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Generous Gospel Obedience

from the Ligonier blog article Generous Gospel Obedience by Buck Parsons

We are often only concerned about our own little kingdoms rather than the kingdom of God, monuments to our own names rather than glory to the name of our God, glory from men rather than glory to God. When we give, let’s never ask: What will this do for me? What returns will it bring me? Will I get a pat on the back? Will I be adoringly recognized? How little can I give to make a good impression? How much should I give in order to get the necessary deductions? Rather, let us pray that God would help us ask those questions that serve to advance His kingdom, not our own. Authentic generosity becomes the man whose heart is established in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who generously sacrificially came and lived and died and lives and prays and reigns and will come again and give us all things.

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Good Old Calvinism

by Buck Parsons

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 throughout the world may be familiar with some of Calvin’s doctrines, most are unfamiliar with the man who was so devoted to prayer and the ministry of God’s Word (Acts 6:4). Given all that the Lord accomplished in him and through him, his legacy to us is one of biblical, doctrinal, and ecclesiastical integrity. As such, we would do well to heed the words of Calvin’s friend Theodore Beza, who wrote, “Since it has pleased God that Calvin should continue to speak to us through his writings, which are so scholarly and full of godliness, it is up to future generations to go on listening to him until the end of the world, so that they might see our God as he truly is and live and reign with him for all eternity.”

Calvin’s greatness was not in his service to himself but in his surrender to God, as B.B. Warfield recognized: “Here we have the secret of Calvin’s greatness and the source of his strength unveiled to us. No man ever had a profounder sense of God than he; no man ever more unreservedly surrendered himself to the Divine direction.” This is Calvin’s greatness — his constant surrender to God.

For those of us who desire not simply to wear the five-pointed badge of Calvinism, but who desire to clothe ourselves with the fullness of the old Calvinism, let us follow Calvin’s example as we fall to our knees in constant surrender to God, living each day before the face of God, enjoying and glorifying God forever. This was Calvin’s chief desire for himself, for his congregation, and for us. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion he wrote, “As the surest source of destruction to men is to obey themselves, so the only haven of safety is to have no other will, no other wisdom, than to follow the Lord wherever he leads.”

Burk Parsons is editor of Tabletalk magazine and associate minister at Saint Andrew’s in Sanford, Florida, and is editor of the book John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology.


From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk. Email: tabletalk@ligonier.org. Toll free: 1-800-435-4343.

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Taking Captive All Things

by Buck Parsons, Tabletalk Magazine

Not too long ago my family and I were eating at a local restaurant known for its home style southern cuisine and quaint family atmosphere. As we were leaving, I couldn’t help but notice a family sitting together, and each one of them — Dad, Mom, big brother, and little sister — was engaged in a conversation with someone else, somewhere else in a galaxy far, far away. With shoulders hunched down and their eyes staring lifelessly into their electronic mobile devices, their frantic fingers typed away as their carefully placed emoticons (electronic emotional images, such as smiley faces, sad faces, etc.) presumably took their appropriate places as emotional substitutes for their dispassionate, electronically glowing faces.

As a constant observer of my sociocultural surroundings I had to somehow capture this sad twenty-first century familial phenomenon. I immediately took out my handy iPhone and took a digital picture. Yes, it is indeed a brave new world in which we live — look how far we’ve come.

For better or worse I’m a bit old-fashioned, and I have a tendency to resist the new, the improved, the trendy, and whatever is deemed a product of supposed progress. However, ever since I became a Christian I have had an overwhelming conviction that I should make the most of my time and seize every minute of every day to accomplish whatever is worthy for God’s glory, using any appropriate new media or technology wisely and carefully, just as the apostle Paul instructs us: Redeem the time because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16).

Similarly, Jonathan Edwards resolved “never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can” (fifth resolution). For this reason, we should not shy away from whatever comes at us in this brave new world, however fast it might come. Rather, we should live each day in light of eternity, before the face of God who not only condones but commands the right use of all right things as long as they are all used for the edification of His people, for the worldwide mission of Christ’s church, and for the proclamation of God’s unchanging Word, which was superintended by the Holy Spirit and written with pen and parchment, and is now readily available to the entire world, by God’s sovereign plan all for His glory.

Burk Parsons is editor of Tabletalk magazine and associate minister at Saint Andrew’s in Sanford, Florida, and is editor of the book John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology.  

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