Results tagged “Rick Phillips” from Reformation21 Blog

As many are conflicted or unsure of the proper response to the outcome of the recent election, one thing is certain, Christians are poised to love and serve their neighbors as they work to bring peace and reconciliation.

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and its contributors impact the culture and show the Kingdom in meaningful ways.

One example is the partnership between reformation21 contributor and Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology chair, Richard Phillips' Second Presbyterian Church congregation and Stacey Mills' congregation of Mountain View Baptist Church. In many ways to two congregations represent two very different communities in the southeastern United States. But the friendship between Phillips and Mills has opened the door to a partnership that exposes both congregations to Christians that are different from themselves. Yet they've developed friendships across denominations and, more importantly, across racial lines, which are key in giving Christians the opportunity to love like Jesus loves.

The Alliance, through its many resources like reformation21, equips Christians to carry out the love and work of the Gospel in their everyday lives.

Our culture is fractured and divisive, but Christians are called to live with hope even amidst suffering and the unknown. The Alliance is honored to play a part in helping Christians live with hope and integrity in this challenging time.

Read a fuller account at World Magazine.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

The Alliance wishes to resource the Church in as many ways possible. We do this daily through our broadcasts, podcasts, web sites, events, and many physical resources. But sometimes we are able to directly resource our members and today is a win-win-win - well a won-won-win! As a result of being in Minnesota, we have given away an iPad loaded with many audio and print resources. See that announcement below. Don't miss our Reformation Society of Indiana event coming at the end of this month, with Philip Ryken and David Apple. See their special offer to deacons. We have also given away copies of Not Just a Soup Kitchen. See that announcement below as well.

Rick Phillips and Gospel of John commentary
Thanks to P&R Publishing, the Alliance Event's publishing partner, we have copies of Rick Phillips Gospel of John Commentary. Rick, as both author here and series editor of the Reformed Expository Series, provides this go-to resource on the Gospel of John that combines expert biblical exegesis, Reformed doctrine, and practical applications. Plumbing the depths of the Fourth Gospel, Rick offers a redemptive-historical analysis exploring John's presentation of Jesus' ministry, His evangelistic mission to the world, and the certainty of our salvation due to the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice. Just three free copies! Sign up for free copies!

Reformation Society of Indiana
2014 RSI Annual Conference
Growing a Heart for Ministry
October 31 - November 1, 2014
Speakers: Philip Ryken, David Apple
Second Reformed Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, IN

Online registration is available or you may call the church office at 255-7557.  Dr. David Apple's new book, Not Just a Soup Kitchen, is off the press!  Every ordained deacon who pre-registers for this free conference will receive a free copy of the book that weekend - just add the title "Deacon" to your first name in the online registration form.

Winners of free copies of Not Just a Soup Kitchen by David Apple are:
Bryan W, Whitehall MI
Rachel C, Bloomington IN
Ford M, Ridgeland MS
Kathy H, Concord CA
Core, D, Walker MI
Charles S, Philadelphia PA
Matt T, Salem VA
Rudy D, Colorado Springs CO
Jeff O, Margate FL
John B, Watha NC

The iPad winner from Alliance exhibit in Minnesota is Herly V. of Rochester, MN

Text links -
Free copies of Gospel of John commentary -
Purchase Gospel of John commentary -
Purchase Not Just a Soup Kitchen -
Reformation Society event brochure -
Reformation Society event registration -

More on the new Calvinism

I don't want to steal Rick Phillips' thunder, and I don't believe I will be trampling over his toes. However, I should also like to pick up on John Piper's lecture at Westminster, but from a different angle. Here are the twelve characteristics of the new Calvinism that Piper identified, as recorded by the friends at the Reformed Forum.
1.    The New Calvinism, in its allegiance to the inerrancy of the Bible, embraces the biblical truths behind the five points (TULIP), while having an aversion to using the acronym or any other systematic packaging, along with a sometimes qualified embrace of limited atonement. The focus is on Calvinistic soteriology but not to the exclusion or the appreciation of the broader scope of Calvin's vision.
2.    The New Calvinism embraces the sovereignty of God in salvation, and in all the affairs of life in history, including evil and suffering.
3.    The New Calvinism has a strong complementarian flavor as opposed to egalitarian, with an emphasis on the flourishing of men and women in relationships where men embrace a call to robust, humble, Christ-like servant leadership.
4.    The New Calvinism leans toward being culture-affirming rather than culture-denying, while holding fast to some very culturally alien positions, like positions on same-sex practice and abortion.
5.    The New Calvinism embraces the essential place of the local church. It is led mainly by pastors, has a vibrant church-planting bent, produces widely-sung worship music, and exalts the preached word as central to the work of God locally and globally.
6.    The New Calvinism is aggressively mission-driven, including missional impact on social evils, evangelistic impact on personal networks, and missionary impact on unreached peoples of the world.
7.    The New Calvinism is inter-denominational with a strong (some would say oxymoronic) Baptistic element.
8.    The New Calvinism includes charismatics and non-charismatics.
9.    The New Calvinism puts a priority on pietism or piety in the Puritan vein, with an emphasis on the essential role of affections in Christian living, while esteeming the life of the mind and being very productive in it, and embracing the value of serious scholarship. Jonathan Edwards would be invoked as a model of this combination of the affections and the life of the mind more often than John Calvin, whether that's fair to Calvin or not.
10.    The New Calvinism is vibrantly engaged in publishing books and even more remarkably in the world of the internet, with hundreds of energetic bloggers and social media activists, with Twitter as the increasingly default way of signaling things new and old that should be noticed and read.
11.    The New Calvinism is international in scope, multi-ethnic in expression, culturally diverse. There is no single geographic, racial, cultural governing center. There are no officers, no organization, nor any loose affiliation that would encompass the whole. I would dare say that there are outcroppings of this movement that nobody (including me) in this room has ever heard of.
12.    The New Calvinism is robustly gospel-centered, cross-centered, with dozens of books rolling off the presses, coming at the gospel from every conceivable angle, and applying it to all areas of life with a commitment to seeing the historic doctrine of justification, finding its fruit in sanctification personally and communally.
I have a particular interest in this because, as some may be aware, a few months ago Evangelical Press published a short study of mine called The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment ( and In it, I set out to consider the characteristics of the new Calvinism, offer some commendations, and then identify some cautions and concerns, before offering some conclusions.

Of course, it is vital to remember that the new Calvinism is not monolithic. John Piper is a key spokesman, but not the sole spokesman, so his assessment may not be endorsed by everyone else who carries the label of the new Calvinism. Indeed, we should also take into account the fact that what we label Calvinism, up to the end of the 20th century, could hardly be considered monolithic either. Beyond that, we must maintain some awareness of continuity and discontinuity between what many will call the old Calvinism and what is generally described as the new Calvinism.

Here I try to map Piper's assessment - "twelve features [not unique and exclusive distinctives] of the movement as I see it" which are, he said, "not dividing lines" between the old and the new Calvinism, matters of separation - over mine for the purpose of a very brief analysis. I understand that we are not always saying the same things, but it is interesting to look at the points of contact.

I suggested that the characteristics of the new Calvinism were:

  • Calvinism that owes a great deal to Edwards, and - in some - offers more than a nod to Amyraut. (Piper #1 and #2)
  • Characters (or figureheads, personalities, celebrities or gurus, depending on how pejorative a label you wish to apply, or what kind of a follower you are dealing with).
  • Conglomeration - it is a movement of coalitions, of conferences, of networks, and of networks of networks, numbers of men and churches operating together. (Piper #7 and #11)
  • Consolidation - a settling over time.

Then there were six qualified commendations:

  • New Calvinists set out to be Christ-oriented and God-honouring. (Piper #1 and #2)
  • The new Calvinism is in many respects a grace-soaked movement. (Piper #1, #2, #9 and #12)
  • The new Calvinism is an avowedly missional movement. (Piper #6, #11 and #12)
  • The new Calvinism is substantially a complementarian movement. (Piper #3)
  • New Calvinists tend to be both immersed and inventive. (Piper #4 and #10)
  • The new Calvinism is committed in principle to expository preaching. (Piper #5, #7 and #12)

Then six nuanced cautions and concerns:

  • A tendency in many new Calvinists to pragmatism and commercialism. (Piper #4, #5, #10 and #11)
  • There is in much of the new Calvinism an unbalanced view of culture. (Piper #4, #6, #10 and #11)
  • Many within new Calvinism manifest a troubling approach to holiness (incipient antinomianism and confusion about the nature of sanctification). (Piper #9)
  • There is within the new Calvinism a potentially dangerous ecumenism. (Piper #7 and #11)
  • For many new Calvinists there is a genuine tension with regard to spiritual gifts. (Piper #8)
  • A degree of arrogance and triumphalism in some new Calvinists.

I am not going to rehash all these here or offer particular conclusions (that is what the book is for). I must admit that - in the face of some reviews which suggested that my assessment lacked nuance (and I admitted all along that mine was a necessarily broad brush treatment) - there is some amusement in the fact that John Piper has suggested so much of the same substance with similarly and necessarily broad strokes.

What is of more interest in this comparison is that, despite the similarity of substance, there is a real difference of emphasis and appreciation. This is significant at times. For example, to choose a stark instance, there is agreement that the new Calvinism includes charismatics and non-charismatics. To Mr Piper and to many new Calvinists, that is evidently a neutral feature; to me and to others, that would be a matter of genuine concern. I do not know that that is a matter decided by one's allegiance to what is called old or new Calvinism.

For the record, I do not think of myself as an old Calvinist. Neither do I think of myself as a new Calvinist, and was somewhat interested that a number of those who have interacted with the book suggested that I was a de facto new Calvinist. That said, as a reasonably young Calvinist, I am an interested party, with a vested and sincere interest in the glory of God and the good of my fellow believers. If these two assessments, from different perspectives (and very different levels of prominence, opportunity and gift, lest anyone should think that I am suggesting parity), show anything, it is that there is at least a measure of agreement on what is prominent within the new Calvinism.

What remains, of course, is the disagreement about how much has been carried over, and what has been added, and how healthy or otherwise these features will prove to be. I have my own hopes and fears. I think that history suggests that many of these questions will be answered, one way or the other, not in the next thirty months, but in the next thirty years.
Since the Garden of Eden and our first parents' "bite of the apple," gender confusion in its various forms has constituted one of the most significant assaults ever leveled upon individuals, the family, and culture. The terrible fallout from such confusion has wreaked havoc on countless lives around the world ever since.

Oconee ARP Church (121 Rochester Hwy, Seneca, SC 29672) is hosting a conference which intends to lay a biblical foundation for understanding many of these gender-related issues. They have invited Rosaria Butterfield, Richard Phillips, and Derek Thomas to examine various aspects of gender confusion alive and well (and increasing) in today's world. They will then also seek to formulate a God-honoring way forward, asking how the church should respond with clarity and grace in the midst of such confusion.

Join them on Friday, Feb 14 through Sunday, Feb 16, 2014. You can register online through the Alliance at,,PTID307086_CHID810294,00-sen.html

Rick Phillips on the PCA

Reformation21's own Rick Phillips wrote a thoughtful and charitable piece on the PCA's "Meeting of Understanding" here

Children of God: Adopted into the Father's Love

This years Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology is now available on MP3 as well as CDs. You can also download individual MP3 messages.


The speakers include David Wells, Steven Lawson, Joel Beeke, Richard Phillips, Derek Thomas, and Al Martin.


From this year's program, Rev. Richard Phillips writes:


"If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?" John Owen Reformed Christians are thoroughly conversant with the language of justification and sanctification, but adoption seems to have fallen out of our vocabulary. This would be a shocking situation to Christians of prior generations. A lack of awareness of our adoption in Christ only paralyzes a Christian's experience of divine grace. As Paul saw it, our adoption is integral to the good news of the gospel: "You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God" (Gal. 4:7).


It is a Christian's adoption in Christ that holds together the categories of justification and sanctification. All who believe are made sons of God and partakers of the divine nature. No wonder John exclaimed: "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are" (1 Jn. 3:1). Adoption is what a Christian is saved to through faith in Christ, a personal, family bond of love, life, blessing, and calling. As children of God we have family privileges and family obligations: to know and embrace these is to enter into the fullness of vital Christian living. Indeed, so central is the idea of adoption to God's saving plan that the final glorification of the entire cosmos is bound up with our entering into the family inheritance: "the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19). Given the awesome biblical teaching on adoption, we are not wrong in stating that at the very heart of Christianity is the gathering of the children of God into the Father's love though the saving achievement of God's Son. What great truths for us to know and embrace!


We studied the distinctive approaches of Paul and John in teaching divine sonship and plumb its significance for living as believers in Christ. How does our adoption change our attitude towards history and towards the Church? What does the Bible teach me to expect of God as my Father if I am now His beloved child? In our seminars, we expanded the focus to consider the place of children in the Church, the place of God as Father in our preaching of the gospel, and biblical distinctives on gender in the life of the Church.


MP3 set on CD:


All messages:

Applauded Reformed Commentary Series
Expands with New Volumes

Phillipsburg, NJ--With strong support from leading Reformed theologians, the Reformed Expository Commentary (REC) series continues with the introduction of two new volumes, bringing the series to cover 15 biblical books. P&R Publishing announces the release of 1 Kings by Philip Graham Ryken and Acts by Derek W.H. Thomas.

Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary, calls Ryken's 1Kings commentary "A sermon preparation tool of exceptional value."

Commenting on Thomas' Acts volume, Stephen J. Nichols, Research Professor of Christianity and Culture, Lancaster Bible College, says, "Dr. Thomas writes with a theologian's acuity, a pastor's heart and a fellow disciple's humility..."

Rev. Richard Phillips and Rev. Dr. Philip Ryken serve as series editors. All volumes in the REC series are written by pastor-scholars, they explain, and the content is scholarly, but not academic. An extensive editorial process ensures that the content is "sufficiently conversant with up-to-date scholarship and is faithful and accurate in its exposition of the text." It is also carefully reviewed for overall quality--including "excellence of writing, soundness of teaching, and usefulness in application."

Books in the series have drawn broad affirmation from leading theologians including J. I. Packer, Ligon Duncan, Sinclair Ferguson, Al Mohler, Michael Horton, Mark Dever, C. J. Mahaney, Jerry Bridges, John Frame, Tullian Tchividjian, Michael Duduit, Steven Lawson, Paul House, Burk Parsons, Carl Trueman, Liam Goligher and many others--who have each written endorsements for one or more volumes in the series.

Previous books in the REC series include both Old Testament and New Testament books such as Daniel (Iain Duguid), Jonah and Michael (Richard Phillips) and Matthew (Daniel Doriani). Future books already scheduled for 2012 include The Gospel of John (Richard Phillips), and Philippians (Dennis E. Johnson).

In his exposition of 1 Kings, Ryken follows the story of Israel's God "who never fails to love his people or to keep them under his kingly care, even when they choose to follow the pathways of folly and idolatry." He identifies timeless lessons of money, sex, power, idolatry, and the power of prayer.

In his exposition of Acts, Thomas points to evidence of the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. He applies biblical truth in contemporary context as he presents lessons for missions, church growth and Christians' engagement with postmodernity.

Philip Graham Ryken (D.Phil., Oxford University) is president of Wheaton College, and he previously served for ten years as senior minister at the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia. He is Bible teacher for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, speaking nationally on the radio program "Every Last Word." He has written or edited more than thirty books, including the writing of three volumes in the Reformed Expository Commentary Series: Galatians, 1 Timothy, and Luke. He and his wife, Lisa, have five children.

Derek W.H. Thomas is Associate Minister at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia South, Carolina, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He also serves as editor for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. He is author of numerous books including Give Praise to God and What is Providence, both from P&R Publishing. He and his wife, Rosemary, have two adult children.


1 Kings (REC) • ISBN: 978-1-59638-208-4 • jacketed hardcover • $34.99 • 636 pages

Acts (REC) • ISBN: 978-1-59638-048-6 • jacketed hardcover • $39.99 • 736 pages

Rick Phillips on the Mark Daniels Show

Check out Rick Phillips talking about PCRT here this past Thursday on the Mark Daniels Show here in Philadelphia. You can register here for PCRT Philly!

Christ the Center on These Last Days

Our good friends over at Reformed Forum kindly interviewed Rick Phillips and me about our new book These Last Days. If you're not familiar with Christ the Center, stop by and take a listen! In addition to our recent chat, the guys do a great job interviewing some of our favorite theologians on a weekly basis. Enjoy!