Tag Archives: Dan Phillips

Book Review: The World-Tilting Gospel

The first generation of Christians were not popular. Nope, not by any stretch of the imagination. Ridicule, persecution, hatred, and scorn met them at every turn… and yet according to Acts 17:6-7, they “turned the world upside down.” They communicated the message of the Gospel more loudly and clearly than any other message before or since.

Now look around you.

Even with today’s abundance of social medias, celebrities, and “new-and-improved” evangelism techniques, too many modern-day Christians fail to share and articulate the Gospel effectively. In short, instead of turning the world upside down, they have been turned upside down by the world.

And that’s not the way it should be.

In his book The World-Tilting Gospel, Dan Phillips offers a clarion wake-up call to believers to have done with lesser things and embrace “a strategic, robust, biblical grasp of the of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its transformative implications”. And what better way to go about it than by getting back to basics?

Over the course of 300 pages, Phillips plainly lays out the biblically-framed Gospel, reminding us 1) who we are, 2) who God is, 3) how we got where we are, 4) what we need, 5) what God has done, and 6) what difference it makes.

It’s all about catching hold of a bible-based worldview and hangin’ on tight… and it makes for one whirlwind of a ride.

Phillips’ style is at once deeply personal and wisely pastoral. This – coupled with the crystal-clear lucidity of his writing – make the book engaging and the concepts which it sets forth easy to grasp. Occasionally, we even catch tidbits of his sense of humor (which is very funny, I might add).

Most importantly, though, The World-Tilting Gospel is literally drenched in Bible. Phillips never asks us to take his word for it: he always points back to scripture. And the book is all the more potent as a result.

While setting forth raw Gospel truth, the book simultaneously targets several erroneous teachings that often leave believers tied up in knots. Speaking for myself, I especially enjoyed the uncompromising indictment of the “deeper life” movement and its ilk  – what Phillips likes to call muzzy mysticism. In an age when such falsehood is being eagerly propagated among so many Christians, it was refreshing to hear someone call a spade a spade. Because in truth,

The “deeper life” teaching isn’t really deep. It just looks deep because it’s so muddy you can’t see any bottom.

Hello hammer, meet nail-head.

My conclusion? That should be quite obvious. I found The World-Tilting Gospel to be a wonderful refresher of the truths that make the Gospel of Jesus Christ so massively powerful. Whether you’re young or old, a newcomer to Christianity or a seasoned saint, I think you’ll find it to be a rich, encouraging, and convicting book.

Toward the end, Phillips writes,

Embrace the Gospel of God for yourself, and use every opportunity to tell it to others. It is that Gospel, and not our methods or programs, that is the saving power of God for everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). It is the best you have to give anyone. Grasp it firmly. Live it robustly. Give it profligately, in Christ’s Name. And just watch things start to shake and shift.

Amen.

I Couldn’t Have Done It Without You… and Vice-Versa

“Another fellow – Lodowick (Lodo) Legup – has been convinced that he needs Christ as Savior and Lord, and has come to be saved and led. Lodo knows he’s a sinner, and looks to Christ to do something about that.

“But, oddly enough, Lodo thinks that sin has disabled him, hurt him, wounded him – but not killed him as dead as, say, Julius Caesar. So Lodo has this inner notion that he still brings something positive to the equation. Lodo’s Jesus holds out most of the makings of a nice big yummy Salvation Pie, but it’s not really a pie until Lodo puts the “decision cherry” on the top, or the “faith sprinkles.” Jesus is really a great help, He did a lot, all the heavy lifting and big stuff; but it’s still nothing until Lodo does his part. Jesus helps Lodo – but Lodo helps Jesus, too. In fact, without Lodo’s help, nothing happens.

“So, without in any way meaning to, Lodo has Jesus as Cosigner instead of Savior. Because the relationship is still partly based on Lodo’s performance, on his works, he has the feeling deep down that God doesn’t really like him much, or love him, unless he does his part. After all, He didn’t save him until Lodo did his part first. God responded to Lodo then, so maybe He responds now. Lodo works so that God will like him, so that Jesus will love him and keep him. If Lodo stopped, he’d lose that relationship.

“That kind of fear motivates Lodo. To Lodo, the Cross is where God did everything He could, made salvation possible and attainable, and then left it to Lodo to make it happen. The relationship started partly because of what God did, and partly because of what Lodo did. But Lodo added the decisive element. The relationship continues in the same way. Lodo may not be prepared to take up a cross himself, or do anything radical. After all, God didn’t do anything too radical to save him. Lodo wasn’t so bad off that Lodo himself couldn’t provide the essential ingredient. Lodo kept part of the salvation package, and now he’ll keep part of the Christian-life package.”

~ Dan Phillips, The World-Tilting Gospel (Ch. 1, pp. 57-58)

Clueless

“As I see it – and as poll after poll proves – too many people who regard themselves as Christians are utterly clueless about the most fundamental truths. They don’t understand what God says about the human condition. They don’t know what God meant to do when He made man, what happened to us to wreck us up, or what we really need. Cherished traditional notions they have in abundance; biblical truth in all its raw, intrusive, and transforming power, they lack.”

– Dan Phillips, The World-Tilting Gospel (Introduction, p. 20)

Harold Camping Glorifies God: Seventeen Ways

by Dan Phillips

It is tempting to write “Inadvertently, unintentionally, and by means of contrast” – and let that suffice. However…

First, Harold Camping glorifies God because all things are God’s servants (Psalm 119:91). Camping can’t not glorify God. You can’t not glorify God. You will either glorify Him as His servant, or as His tool; but you will glorify him (cf. Isaiah 10:5-16).

Second, Harold Camping glorifies God because, by his refusal to repent for past false guesses and his insistence on “doubling down” and putting all his weight on yet another guess, he illustrates God’s wisdom in warning us: “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11).

Third, Harold Camping glorifies God, because his arrogant false claim to knowledge he does not and
cannot possess spotlights the humble truthfulness of Jesus, who confessed that “concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” and then admonished us “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:32-22).

Fourth, Harold Camping glorifies God because his repeated false guesses about the future throw God’s exhaustive knowledge of the future — and inerrant declaration of the same through His genuine prophets — into stark and splendorous relief (Isaiah 41:22-23; 44:7; 46:10; Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

Fifth, Harold Camping glorifies God because, by his repeated predictions despite past humiliation and exposure, he bears out God’s wisdom in warning that you can “Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his folly will not depart from him” (Proverbs 27:22).

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