How important is an educated Christian in the local African American church? Those who have professed that they have been called to teach, lead as an elder or be an evangelist, have a duty to “rightly divide the word of truth”(2 Tim 2:15). Therefore, a thorough, consistent study of the Word of God is of the utmost importance because in the proclamation and exposition of the Word of God, one has placed themselves in a position that will have great eternal consequences. Ideas, teachings, influence people to a great degree.
There is a plague that is growing in many local African American churches. A plague that if not cured will do great and horrendous damage to many. That plague is the lack of clear, doctrinal teaching from many teachers, evangelist and elders of our churches. We have resorted to extra-biblical revelation, proclaiming and teaching things that are claimed to be of the Holy Spirit, yet contradicts what God has, in His sovereignty placed in His written Word. We must study the Scriptures.
So we turn now to look at the life of one African American pastor, C.H. Phillips. Why choose Pastor C.H. Phillips? I find a lot of myself in this Christian giant of the 19th century. We live in a period of time, where entertainment, laughter and a get hoop is the judge of great preaching. If the congregation is on their feet, the ministers behind you are egging you on, then the perception is,”That is what preaching is.” The beginnings of ministry in my life were shaped on these experiences that I saw. I judged myself based on the acceptance of men and women and their reaction to the things I said. If no one said “Amen,” if no one was clapping or just continually out of their seat, then my preaching was in vain and the Holy Spirit had not moved. Thankfully, I know better now. Thankfully, God has shown through His divinely inspired, eternal and sanctifying Word that it is He and He only that will be the final arbitrator of how His Words are proclaimed. With this humble thought brothers, knowing that you stand before the eternal God whose very words you are suppose to faithfully preach, do you approach His word with a sense of awe and respect? Do you look into His words, preach His words and proclaim His words with the singular focus of exalting Him. If not, then I pray that as we look at the life of Pastor Phillips, you would turn your eyes to Christ your advocate, to renew your mind for His glory.
As we look at the life of C.H. Phillips during this short time, there are three points that I would like to keep in focus. One is that Christ uses the family in the effectual call of Phillips to conversion. Secondly, Jesus Christ uses education as a means to sharpen Pastor Phillips study of Scripture. Lastly, Jesus Christ is found magnified in the ministry of C.H. Phillips. What is the recurring thought? That Jesus Christ is central in using Pastor Phillips for the spreading of the Gospel and sharpening his mind to accurately proclaim the Word of God.
CHRIST USE OF THE FAMILY
C.H. Phillips was born January 17, 1858 in Milledgeville, Georgia. C.H. Phillips was one of twelve children, born to Nancy and George Washington. His parents had a great influence on him which would later lead to his conversion. J.W. Smith, his biographer records, “They [parents] were both converted when young and were able to throw around their children a holy influence which shaped…manhood and womanhood.” One of four boys, all four followed in their father’s footsteps and became preachers of the Gospel.
What an impact we as parents can have on the lives of our children. The primary responsibility of the training of our children in matters pertaining to life and especially the Scriptures, belongs to parents. This responsibility does not lie with schools systems or in children’s ministry. The first time your child should hear about the Gospel is from you, not a youth pastor or Sunday school worker.
The Lord has laid out many passages where Biblical instruction is laid at the feet of parents. In Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 11:19 that parents would teach their children to love God completely. In Psalm 78:5-7 that children would know to hope in God and keep His commandments. In Proverbs 22:6, that through biblical instruction, it would impact their adult life. Finally, Paul states to the Ephesians in the sixth chapter, first verse, that fathers would instruct their children in the discipline of God.
We see that Scripture admonishes us to teach our children, our grandchildren, all our offspring in the knowledge of cherishing God above all else. We must instruct our children in the Scripture in order that their lives would be a reflection of the glory of God in their own families.