Sir Edmund Burke is quoted as having said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”— a true statement indeed. For as the history of civilization has shown, when we stand by and do nothing, that which is evil always seems to gain the victory.
However, as the people of God, we understand that evil is not some sort of impersonal entity that exists outside the heart of man. In fact, evil is at the very core of natural man’s being after the fall. We also understand that in our natural condition, none seeks to do good and to bring about true justice. Nevertheless, we know that evil will not ultimately triumph. Christ has won the battle, and He has overcome the condemning evil in our hearts, replacing our stony hearts with humble hearts. Herein is the Good News of Christ: Upon the rock of Christ, the Lord Almighty is building His church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. This, our forefathers understood well and demonstrated their commitment to Christ as they stood as ardent defenders of the faith amidst a battle that rages to this day.
Although the enemies of Christ have not ceased in their attempt to destroy the church, God has preserved a remnant of faithful people whom He has raised up to fight the good fight and proclaim His truth. And while the history of God’s people in the United States of America is a magnificent history in many respects, our history is not without great turmoil and persecution. Most Christians in America, however, are unaware of the battles that have been fought for truth and righteousness. They do not know of the great men whom God has raised up as guardians of the faith to proclaim His Word to the wolves in their midst. As a result, so many Christians within evangelical and Reformed churches are unable to appreciate the significance of the battles that are raging all around us. For this reason we have devoted an entire issue of Tabletalk to remind our readers of our glorious heritage as the people of God in America. For as I look out over the landscape of evangelicalism in America, I do not observe a people who are passionate defenders of the faith who live and breathe the Word of God coram Deo. Rather, I see a people who have grown complacent to the faith once delivered to the saints. The prophet Zephaniah proclaimed: “And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency” (Zeph. 1:12 NKJV).
Dr. Burk Parsons (@BurkParsons) is editor of Tabletalk magazine, senior pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., and a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow. He is cotranslator and coeditor of A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin.