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Adlen Robinson: An orderly look at the life of Christ
Adlen Robinson

Parkway Presbyterian Church member John Burkhalter is about to embark on a journey of sorts — the journey of sharing a project he has been working on for the past decade and one he is extremely passionate about. Titled “Jesus, Every Word and Deed,” Burkhalter has written a synoptic version of the four gospels depicting a chronological picture of the life of Jesus Christ.

“Each of the gospels are different when it comes to telling the story of Jesus’ life — some have duplicate stories and some do not,” Burkhalter said. “I really wanted to tell the story of his life drawing from each gospel and put it all in order and use actual scripture to tell the complete story.”

Burkhalter did exhaustive research over the years and will now be teaching a Sunday school class using his compilation. How timely with Easter Sunday just around the corner.

There will be an introductory class beginning the Sunday after Easter, April 28 at Parkway Presbyterian at 10 a.m. You do not have to be a church member to attend, and in fact, Burkhalter encourages everybody to feel free to come, regardless of your religious background.

You might think that Burkhalter has always been a Christian, but that’s not the case. “When I was quite young, we went to church, but I stopped during high school and college — I really thought I knew it all and could figure everything out myself,” Burkhalter said. 

Burkhalter met his wife, Martha, and learned that she was a Christian and regularly went to church and prayed. 

“I didn’t know anybody who prayed,” he said. The couple met in 1976 and married the following year. “I went to church with Martha but wasn’t at all sure about becoming a believer.” 

The couple’s pastor, a man by the name of Robert Watkins, turned out to have a profound influence on Burkhalter. “Pastor Watkins had a lucrative career as a lawyer and left that to preach the word of God — at the time, that had a big effect on me.”

I had the privilege of reading the introduction and some of the chapters of the screenplay, and I can tell you firsthand how impressive, comprehensive and compelling it is. The introduction gives such a concise picture of the Bible; it is fascinating for the novice or the biblical scholar. 

As someone who, over the years, has taught numerous Sunday school classes and Bible studies (for both adults and children), I can tell you this is good stuff. Burkhalter has a true talent when it comes to telling the story of Jesus Christ — in a way that uses the words and deeds of Jesus and tells us the story of the key players surrounding Christ.

If you have the chance, be sure to call or email Parkway Presbyterian to let them know you plan on attending the class. As I mentioned, everybody is welcome — they just want to make sure they have space for the class.

To contact Parkway Presbyterian, call 770-889-8694 or visit

South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at