[Echo Zoe Radio Replay] Dan Phillips: The World-Tilting Gospel


“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”Acts 17:6b-7 ESV

Dan Phillips is pastor of Copperfield Bible Church in Houston, Texas. He has a Master of Divinity from Talbot Theological Seminary. He also writes for the collaborative blog Pyromaniacs, and his own blog, Biblical Christianity. He’s the author of two books, The World-Tilting Gospel, and God’s Wisdom in Proverbs.”

I’ve had in mind to ask Dan for an interview for Echo Zoe Radio for quite some time. His book The World-Tilting Gospel is a wonderful read, about the most dear subject to any Christian’s heart: the Gospel. For this episode, Dan and I discussed the book, and through it, the Gospel.


An Outline of the Discussion


  • The Gospel is not just about an experience, it’s really about truth. That truth is grounded in a worldview, and really begins with Genesis 1:1, and not John 3:16.
  • “Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is, no longer have the categories to understand it, no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories in their non-moral universe — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty.” – David Wells, Founder’s Conference, Tulsa, OK, June 2007
  • Our dire situation begins in the Garden of Eden, as Adam and Eve committed the first sin by disobeying God and partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as they were commanded not to.This act changed their very nature, and their worldview. That corrupted worldview and nature persists to this very day, and every one of us (their descendants) are born into this corrupted nature and worldview.
  • God had in mind all along to remedy the situation. Dan illustrates the true nature of our predicament through the analogy of a man in an operating room in a hospital, with teams of doctors working hard to save him. If we saw such a thing, we’d know that his situation is dire. With that mindset, we look to the cross, where the Son of God had to die in order to save us from our sin. We look to the serious nature of the remedy to truly understand the seriousness of the situation.
  • The nature of apostasy shows that a person never truly understood the serious nature of his own sin, or of the remedy that was required to save him from it.
  • Penal substitutionary atonement is first introduced in Genesis 3 (not Romans 3), when God made a blood sacrifice to cover the guilt of sinners (Adam and Eve).
  • The Old Testament sacrificial system provided a daily, visual reminder of the nature of sin. As the Israelites saw the bloody sacrifices taking place at the Temple, they were to associate the blood shed with their own sins; that blood was necessary to cover the guilt of their sins.
  • Isaiah 52:13-53:12, written 700 years before Christ, gave a detailed description of the suffering of one man for the sins of the elect.
  • Justification and regeneration are two “towering truths” that come out of the Gospel. Justification deals with our horrible record (our guilt), and regeneration deals with our horrible nature (our .
  • Faith has three elements to it: hearing truth, understanding that it is true, and entrusting ourselves to it.
  • Salvation doesn’t begin by making the “right decision,” it begins with God raising dead sinners to life.
  • Dan addresses three people with a faulty approach to the Gospel: Gutless Gracers, Crisis Upgraders, and Muzzy Mystics.
    • Gutless Gracers are people who subscribe to a view called “Free Grace.” It’s not that they are gutless, but their view of grace is gutless. In effect, their view of grace does little to nothing.
    • Crisis Upgraders have a view that they can “upgrade” their Christian life through some sudden experience. Keswick is a non-charismatic view that you can upgrade your standing as a Christian by “laying it all on the altar.” The Charismatic view is that we are “upgraded” through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
    • Muzzy Mystics are those who “let go and let God”. They believe that they cannot do anything themselves, that their own mind is an enemy to their spirituality.
  • “The flesh” is the remaining effect of sin that we deal with in this life. It presents us with the remaining and ongoing struggle that we deal with.
  • The Holy Spirit baptizes into the body of Christ. Dan explains the works of the Spirit, and juxtaposes that to some false teachings and understandings of the works of the Spirit.
Scriptures Referenced
  • Jeremiah 17:9
  • Genesis 1-3
  • Genesis 3:15
  • Isaiah 52:13-53:12
  • Romans 10:17
  • Genesis 15:6
  • Titus 2:11-14
  • Psalm 1
  • John 15
  • Romans 7:14
  • Acts 17:6-7
Additional Resources
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