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What Are Election and Predestination? (Basics of the Reformed Faith) [Paperback]

By Richard D. Phillips (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   32
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.09"
Weight:   0.11 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2006
Publisher   P & R PUBLISHING #97
ISBN  1596380454  
EAN  9781596380455  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The doctrines of election and predestination are often misunderstood outside Reformed circles. This booklet clearly and simply explains these truths, showing their biblical basis and practical application.

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More About Richard D. Phillips

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Richard D. Phillips (DD, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He chairs the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology and coedits the Reformed Expository Commentary. He is also a chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, a council member of the Gospel Coalition, and a trustee of Westminster Theological Seminary.

R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries. He has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, has written over seventy books, and is featured daily on Renewing Your Mind, an international radio broadcast.

Richard D. Phillips currently resides in Greenville, in the state of Florida. Richard D. Phillips was born in 1960.

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Perfect Basic Overview  Jun 28, 2008
When P & R Books recently sent me a copy of What Are Election and Predestination? by Richard D. Phillips from the Basics of the Reformed Faith series, I got excited. I'm always looking for books that take the deep things of God and make them understandable for the everyday person. This series, and this book specifically, aims to do just that. And what makes this book even more special is the intricacy of the subject matter that it seeks to explain. If this book succeeds, it will be monumentally useful to those who admittedly reject the Reformed faith for being too difficult and too complex to grasp. It will be laid out for them in black and white.

Phillips divides his short pamphlet -- 32 pages -- into two parts: the first on Election, and the second on Predestination. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but Phillips helps us grasp the difference between the two. On page 20 he notes that "God elects persons and predestines things." He continues, "Here, [In Ephesians 1:4-5], we find that God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless because he had predestined that we should be his sons." Even though the two doctrines are closely connected, which is evident given their juxtaposition in Eph. 1:4-5, Phillips's distinction helps us understand both more clearly.

The doctrine of election, he explains, is like a foundation for a tall building. But not just any foundation, the strongest foundation -- indeed, the only truly firm foundation, for it is rooted in something which cannot be shaken. And on page 6 he explains what that foundation is: "God's own free and gracious choice of us." He mentions that this choice occurred in eternity past, in light of passages like Hebrews 13:20 that speak of an "eternal covenant" made between the members of the Trinity. Here we can see that our ground for salvation is not found in our choice to believe but in God's choice to elect.

Before moving on to predestination, Phillips shows us four things about election. First, it leads to humility, not pride (pp. 11-12). Second, it leads to holiness, not license (pp. 12-14). Third, it promotes assurance of salvation, not presumption (pp. 14-17). Finally, it promotes glory to God alone, not man (pp. 17-18). In giving us these four implications of the doctrine of election, he both presents Scripture's position as well as refutes objections people commonly have. This was a pleasant surprise because I didn't expect Phillips to be able to cram responses to objections given the space he was working with. But he managed to find room to kindly respond to some misconceptions.

Predestination, Phillips tells us, is God's determination in advance that we should be children and heirs in his family (p. 20). He tells us that God didn't simply predestine a people, but according to Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us (p. 21). He then makes a superb connection between three passages in the Bible: Ephesians 1:5, Romans 8:29, and Deuteronomy 7:7-8. Eph. 1:5 grounds our predestination in God's love, Rom. 8:29 in God's foreknowledge, and Deut. 7:7-8 grounds God's election of Israel in his love for them. In what appears to be a contradiction, Phillips helps us see that there is no contradiction at all. The word for "foreknowledge" in Romans 8:29 refers to a prior relationship of love, not one of abstract knowledge. So all three verses ground God's determination of his people "in love." Finally, he asks, Is predestination fair? His answer is fantastic: "When we consider the salvation of sinners, justice is simply the wrong category" (p. 26). Indeed, he notes that Paul says the same thing to the same objection in Romans 9:14-15: "What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says...'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.'"

Despite the book's brevity, Phillips also manages to quote from a number of great thinkers from church history. Ultimately, however, he grounds election and predestination in Scripture. As helpful as theologians have been in teaching us, "what matters is what the Bible teaches" (p. 9). He echoes this same refrain on page 11: "If you are wrestling with this doctrine...your first question should be: Is it taught by the Bible? The question is not yet whether you understand it or whether you like it. The question is, Does God teach it in Scripture?" That is what has won me over about the Reformed doctrines of election and predestination. Simply, that I didn't buy into them because of something advantageous about, or something inherently appealing within, Reformed theology -- but because I saw them in Scripture. Richard D. Phillips's book What Are Election and Predestination? is powerful precisely because of this, because it's biblical. Buy it, read it, and then give it away to someone who needs it. If you've debated this issue before you know that there is no shortage of misunderstanding of these two doctrines. And unfortunately, they are doctrines whose importance cannot be overstated. Without a firm foundation even the tallest building is likely to collapse.
Short...but maybe too short for these controversial issues  Jul 30, 2007
Easily one of the most controversial doctrines in Scripture, Phillips tackles the issues of election and predestination head on in this short and concise booklet as part of the Basics of the Reformed Faith Series. With Scripture as his guide, Phillips lays out a compelling case for the Reformed view of salvation and addresses a number of the accusations which have been leveled against this position over time. Phillips also notes that the "Reformed" view could probably be more accurately described as the traditional Christian view since the election of the saints and the sovereignty of God was strongly supported by the earliest of the church fathers including Augustine. And, while the doctrine is old, so is the controversy: Augustine had Pelagius, Luther had Erasmus, Calvin had Arminius and the debate continues today!

While the booklet is easy-to-read and short, I was hoping that even in this cursory examination of the doctrines that Phillips would explore the opposing position and not merely the fallacies commonly leveled against this position. I've enjoyed every booklet in this series and this one is no exception, but it really wasn't as helpful or informative as I had hoped.
Outstanding explanation of "What Are Election and Predestination?"  Mar 13, 2007
Over the past three decades I have read much on the subject of Election and Predestination. (I find it a subject that most Christians stay away from because of its complexity, and many pastors are afraid to preach on.) Without a doubt, this is the best explanation on the subject I have read. It is well written, well- documented, laid out well, and easy to follow and understand. I would think that churches (who want their attendees to be better informed) would be buying this (brief, 30 page) booklet by the case! Kudos to Pastor Rick Phillips for making a very complex subject easy to understand.

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