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J. Philip Arthur

Phil Arthur is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Lancaster, England.

Born in 1952 in Sunderland, in the North East of England, he spent his earliest years at Seaham Harbour, a small town in the Durham coalfield, where his father worked at Vane Tempest Colliery. The family moved back to Sunderland for the sake of his schooling, and he attended Bede Grammar School for Boys before going up to Queen’s College, Cambridge in 1970 to read History.

At the age of fourteen (February 1966) Phil ‘went forward’ at a meeting in Bethesda Free Church in response to the preaching of the gospel. He thinks he was probably truly converted at that time, although he had problems with assurance of salvation for some time –

because my focus was all on what I had done that night in 1966 instead of on what Christ had done for me at Calvary, and it was only with the passage of some years that my faith became secure and settled. Reading Lloyd-Jones’ volume on Romans 5 titled “Assurance” was itself an enormous help to me in that area.

After graduating MA from Cambridge he began teaching History at a comprehensive school in Peterlee, south of Sunderland, later moving on to lecture at a tertiary college in the town. In 1976 he married Barbara, and became involved in the youth work of Sunderland Free Church; he also found himself increasingly in demand as an ‘occasional’ preacher. Challenged as to whether he should take this up ‘full time’, he took the four-year ministers’ training course run by the Evangelical Movement of Wales (1981-85). After helping his own church in a period of vacancy, in 1988 he was called to the then newly planted church in Lancaster, which he still pastors.

Phil is a visiting lecturer in Church History at London Theological Seminary. He is a member of the conference committee for the Westminster Conference – to which he has regularly contributed – and Consulting Editor for Grace Publications Trust. He has authored a number of devotional commentaries on New Testament letters.

Phil and Barbara have three sons.