Why For Christ?

Richard Phillips

I have been honored to be asked to write a column for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals’ new biblical-theology website, A Place for Truth. In this space I will present articles and shorter posts that seek to bring God’s Word to bear on issues pertaining to Christian ministry. When the question was raised as to what to call my column, I quickly arrived at the title, For Christ. Why this name? The reason is that this banner represents both my most deeply cherished conviction and my most earnest ambition as a gospel minister.

“For Christ” expresses my conviction that the Christian faith and life should be centered on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. A Christian has many fervent beliefs, and this is certainly true of me. Many of them are very important: beliefs concerning doctrine, worship, ministry practice, and Christian living. But all of these center around Jesus himself, whom to know is eternal life (John 17:3). I want to live in constant reflection on who Jesus is and what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do, and in present communion with Him through faith.

In my view, there is a crying need for a true Christ-centeredness today. We may have great passion for many important subjects, including evangelism and church growth, Christian child-raising, Bible translation, or Reformed worship. But unless these passions are responding to Jesus and are directed to him in living worship, they run the risk of being, as Paul put it, noisy gongs or clanging cymbals. The kind of Reformed faith we so greatly need to see today is one that exhibits a joyful passion for Jesus, is fervently committed to serving the advance of his saving grace in the gospel, and in all things is directed toward glorifying God the Father through His wonderful Son. 

When our faith and passion in life is centered on Jesus in His person and work, ministry is then offered above all to Christ and for Christ. This is my chief ambition in this column, to serve and worship Jesus Himself by the application of his Word to the challenges of life and ministry. As you read, you might pray for me to be enabled to do this. In writing For Christ, I do not believe that I am Jesus’ particular mouthpiece except in faithfully lifting up His Word. Writing For Christ means an aspiration to edify fellow servants with insights from God’s truth. This does not mean that I will never engage in controversies or polemics, since the last thing one could say about Jesus is that he was hesitant to confront error in doctrine or practice. But in defending biblical doctrines For Christ, words should be written out of love for him, for the church, and for those fellow believers with whom I may be in disagreement. This too is an object of prayer. Remembering how greatly Christ himself loves his flock, in writing For Christ, I will be seeking to serve His Church and fellow believers who also love and serve the Church. I hope you will read from time to time and I pray that all that I present in this column For Christ will be a blessing for you and an encouragement in your service to Him.

Richard Phillips