The Way to Heaven (2nd Edition), by John Philips (1585-1663)
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John Philips (or Phillips) (1585-1663) was a staunch reformed puritan during the era of the Westminster Assembly.
Everyone wants to go to heaven. Don’t you? But not everyone wants to follow what Christ said to get there. And yet, in such a title as this is, this work by Philips covers the important topic of the nature of the church. You may be puzzled by this. And this may seem somewhat unimportant to you, but once you see Philips setting down his main doctrine, that there is no salvation outside the church, I think your view of the importance of the work will no doubt change.
Philips explains that salvation is only found in the Church. He demonstrates what the Church of Christ is; by what means men are added to the Church; the Author, or Efficient cause of this addition; the time and continuance of that work; and the happiness of those that are added to the Church.
His main text is from Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.” What an amazing text that is. He covers three main branches to define what the church is, and then explains how the church ministers the salvation of God through Jesus Christ by the ministry of the Word, faith, and baptism. To be added to the church is by God’s means, and by no other means. God does not merely save people, but He saves them in His church, and for the glory of His church.
Not only is this an excellent work to understand the nature of getting to heaven by God’s means, but it is also a very sound argument against both Anti-nomianism, and those who are libertine. It is also a grand argument against the Roman Catholic Church, as well as against many heretical sects who teach doctrines of devils. I think people in your day are more apt to believe that the kind of church they attend matters little so long as the pastor has a friendly disposition; whereas, in fact, the opposite is true. If what you are being fed does not stand in accordance with sound doctrine, Scripture says such people are conceited and understand nothing. In this way, the church you attend is vitally important to your well-being as a Christian. This is because there is no salvation outside the church. Would you then not want to attend the best church you possibly can. And in fact, would you not do all you can to be with the people of God in the most blessed church you could possibly find? King Jesus rules His church with a golden scepter, and you ought to be keenly aware to attend a church that is most biblical, and holds the word of Christ in high esteem.
This work is not a scan or facsimile and has been made easy to read with an active table of contents for electronic versions.