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What's So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? Hardcover – April 21, 2008
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Rick Phillips has an unbounded love for the doctrines of grace and writes about them with an enviable simplicity and clarity. Here is persuasive exposition of biblical teaching that captures the thrill of knowing a sovereign God. 'What's So Great about the Doctrines of Grace?' Never loses sight of the grace to which these doctrines point. This is a wonderful book to read, study, lend, and give away. --Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson: Senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia SC
The heart of the gospel is contained in the doctrines of grace. To understand these truths is to understand the height, depth, breadth, and length of the saving grace of God for sinners. Richard Phillips has done an outstanding job of capturing the heartbeat of these precious truths. Prepare your heart to be greatly blessed as this pastor and author guides you into a greater appreciation of the sovereign grace of God. --Dr. Steven J. Lawson: Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala.
Richard 'Rick' Phillips has done it again! In summarizing the doctrines of grace in this book, he brings us into the arena of historic Calvinism, which, as C.H. Spurgeon said, 'is the Gospel and nothing else.' But what we have here is more than just a re-telling of the doctrines themselves; it is an account of why these truths matter in the church of the twenty-first century. Its enthusiasm is infectious, its urgency compelling, and its logic irrefutable. --Dr. Derek W. H. Thomas: Professor of systematic and practical theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Minister of teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss.
About the Author
Rev. Richard D. Phillips is senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C., having served previously as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Coral Springs/Margate, Florida, and as minister of preaching at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He serves on the council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and as chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan, a master of business administration degree at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, and a master of divinity degree at Westminster Theological Seminary. Prior to entering the ministry, he commanded tank units as an officer in the U.S. Army and later served as an assistant professor of leadership at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Rev. Phillips is the author of numerous books, including Hebrews (part of the Reformed Expository Commentary series) and Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating, co-written with his wife, Sharon.
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Top Customer Reviews
What So Great About the Doctrines of Grace is a concise, accurate and simple survey of the chief doctrines of the Christian reformed tradition. The Doctrines of Grace are otherwise known as the `5 points of Calvisnism'. Calvinism has become a dirty word, and has a combatative reputation thanks to some militant hyper-Calvinist types. Essentially, though, it is a doctrinal system which expresses the biblical explanation of the sovereignty of God over all things. The Five Points all have a chapter each in the book, along with a chapter on the Sovereignty of God.
As already mentioned, a chapter is devoted to each of the points: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. The first chapter is like a summary of the following chapters, which covers the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God. Phillips draws mainly from scripture in making his points and making his explanations. This is a good thing, as the authority of scripture is assumed to be high, but this could be a drawback for non-Christians. Most of the book is devoted to simply explaining the doctrines and explaining why they are considered scriptural. There is, however, some application of the doctrines in the book too. Phillips encourages us to take heed of the truths which are found in the doctrines, as well as the encouragement which can be wrought from understanding them and living in light of them.
The book is quite short (only 107 pages), so is fairly easy to get through, and is not very tiresome. Overall, I would say it is quite accessible. The book is written in easy to comprehend language, and makes for a good starting point for those wanting to understand the Reformed tradition and its doctrine. The cases made for each doctrine are biblically backed and reasonable. Phillips, though, spends too long on the back foot. He knows he has territory to defend, and makes it clear that he is. For example, he openly admits that `Limited Atonement' is the black sheep of the doctrinal family. This is, in my opinion, a mistake. It makes his writing a bit weaker and less convincing. The chapter on Limited Atonement is actually fairly weak, overall, which is a shame. The rest of the chapters are interesting and challenging.
While I am undecided on my position on Calvinism, or `the doctrines of grace', this book was helpful. It laid out simply and easily the Reformed position, and made clear the biblical basis for such a doctrinal system. I recommend this book to anyone who is slightly interested in doctrine, searching for a deeper understanding of Calvinism, or simply curious about Reformed theology.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Reformation Trust book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In 97 pages, Phillips sets forth compelling arguments for why he thinks the Doctrines of Grace, the five-points of Calvinism, are so great. In the Preface Phillips writes:
"But I especially love these doctrines because of their marvelous theme: the sovereign grace of God for unworthy sinners. For even greater than their enlightening effect on the mind, the doctrines of God are utterly transforming to the believing heart. To love the doctrines of grace is to love God as He has revealed Himself in His Word."(p. xi)
Even I found the book compelling and engaging on the TULIP: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.