Articles by Rick Phillips

Union with Christ and Sanctification

Article by   August 2014
One of the chief benefits of the recent debates regarding sanctification is a renewed emphasis on the believer's union with Christ through faith. If we realize how often the apostle Paul situates our salvation "in Christ," we will also realize that Christ truly is the fountain of every spiritual blessing for the Christian. It is for this reason that the fourth affirmation of the Gospel Reformation Network on the gospel and sanctification highlights the centrality of union with Christ: continue

The Gospel Includes Sanctification

Article by   July 2014
In this article, I want to examine the third of the Affirmations & Denials of the Gospel Reformation Network, which makes a point at the very heart of our concern in presenting a balanced view of the gospel: We affirm that the gospel provides salvation for the whole man, including man's need for both imputed and imparted righteousness. Matthew's Gospel tells us that Jesus began his ministry in Galilee, where he went "proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people" (Mt.4:23). continue

The Gospel and Total Depravity

Article by   June 2014
This month, I want to continue in my studies of the Affirmations and Denials on the Gospel and Sanctification, which touch upon so many significant issues. Having started with Article 1, which says that Legalism Is a Real Problem, I move now to Article 2, The Gospel and Total Depravity. We start with the affirmation: We affirm that unregenerate man, being totally depraved, is unable to obey or please God unto salvation. continue

Legalism is a Real Problem

Article by   May 2014
Legalism and self-righteousness are perennial problems that are endemic to the fallen condition of man. As Sinclair Ferguson has written, legalism "is embedded in the heart of man almost from the very day of his creation." (1) This is universally true of the unbeliever who, having neglected Christ, can only point to his or her own deeds for acceptance with God. But legalism is also a constant danger to the believer in Christ, who is constantly tempted to base his or her acceptance with God on moral or spiritual performance. continue

Christians in Conflict over Obamacare

Article by   January 2013
It is possible that historians will look back on 2013 as a watershed in the relationship of Christianity to American culture. I say this because, while Christians have always needed to face what we might call "soft persecution" in the form of social and career consequences, it seems that starting this year we may experience official and legal persecution for upholding basic Christian values in the face of intolerant government demands. If this is true, it is essential that Christians not shrink back from facing this affliction. If the time has come for believers to accept the kind of persecution experienced elsewhere in the world - China, the Middle East, and Africa - then true disciples of Christ must embrace this challenge with courage, conviction, and prayer. continue

The Word Became Flesh

Article by   December 2012
Our Christmas celebrations are like Israel's exodus from Egypt. This great migration took on a beautiful splendor, as Israel was laden with the treasures of the Nile, just as our Advent season glitters in red and gold. But the true glory of the exodus was not the shimmering colors of Egyptian riches, nor even the uplifted faces of the people following Moses to the Promised Land. continue

Thank God that Christians Are Not Totally Depraved

Article by   November 2012
One of the most pressing concerns in Reformed churches today is the importance of getting the gospel right. Recently, Reformed churches have had to oppose the Federal Vision theology, which compromises justification by inserting good works into the definition of faith. Unfortunately, Christians tend to defend doctrines by erring in the opposite direction. So it is that Reformed churches are presently facing a corruption of the gospel by the virtual denial of sanctification and good works. continue

Five Christian Responses to the 2012 Election

Article by   November 2012
As conservative Christians, the recent national elections in America should not bring alarm merely because of the anticipated results of economic policies or concerns for the safety of our nation in a dangerous world. Economic and foreign policy matters are those in which sincere Christians can and do disagree without violence to the Bible. It is clear from the election that our nation is greatly divided on how to proceed with the economy and foreign policy, so Christians should continue to pray for God's wisdom to guide elected leaders and to bless well-intended measures that may be adopted. continue

In Memoriam, James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000)

Article by   June 2010
June 15 marks the tenth anniversary of the death of James Montgomery Boice, who was for thirty-two years the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, the dean of Reformed pastor-scholars in his generation, and my beloved pastor.  The enduring... continue

Five Arguments Against Future Justification According to Works (Part II)

Article by   June 2009
As a young officer in the U.S. Army, I was once charged with two felony counts for an offense of which I was innocent (the charge was hit-and-run driving because during field operations my tank ran over a jeep that parked behind us in the dark; neither I nor my tank crew were even aware we had backed over it!). continue
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