A Conversation with Rev. Phillips

By Body of Christ News

Editor’s Note: Body of Christ News talked with Rev. Acen Phillips, who in the midst of a criminal trial over insurance fraud charges. If convicted, it’s likely he will spend time in jail. Here’s what Rev. Phillips had to say about his feelings regarding the situation he finds himself in:

“It is a really difficult challenge to have to stand against all the parts of the accusations, but that is part of what happens when you are in a high profile position. You just have to come and be ready to allow yourself to stand and do whatever you can to keep yourself strong. That’s about what I’ve been doing.

I’m just standing prayerful and I’m really grateful for all those who continue to call and pray for me because that has been the source of my strength. Most of the pastors in the city have just been wonderful about calling and praying daily and even those out of the city have been calling and praying with me. So that’s why it is so spiritual—it is a real spiritual battle that you have to fight and wage. It’s part of what you know that you commit to when you get involved in ministry.

It’s a written document that Calvary is always going to be on the agenda and there’s no way to go around it, you just have to go through it. When you go through ig, you understand that you don’t go through it alone. You go through it with the spirit of God, being a present God and in the midst of your trouble.

That’s what I’ve been preaching all my ministry and the Lord reminds me once in a while that you have to live what you preach and encourage others to do so also. You can’t be a man of God and not understand that you’re going to have a warfare with God’s enemy. Satan doesn’t just come to some of us but to all of us. I believe in God for his deliverance and thank him for his presence in the midst of the storm.”

Body of Christ News asked Rev. Phillips if he had any regrets.

“I don’t really have any regrets. I’m always trying to do what I can to be a blessing to other folks. Anytime you set out to be a blessing, you know that there will be a challenge involved. I’ve always tried to be as up front as I could with what I’m trying to do and be helpful. I know we had an excellent program that was trying to meet the needs that were prevalent in our community.

One of those challenges has always been ways to provide care for people at the time of death and at other times. That’s one of the things that the American Church program was designed for was to find a way to maximum their dollar and get discounts and this has really been a blessing across the county.

You always hope that people who have been blessed by the program would come back and say so but that doesn’t always happen. I know for a fact that the program did help a lot of people and it was a strong program that contributed to lessening poverty.

My prayer is that this won’t be the last time that someone will try to do something collectively for the people who are still struggling at the bottom of the pole. Things are still happening in the community that need to be addressed. We need someone to stand up for them.

I was very disappointed to see that we lost the election in District 8. For the first time in 50 years we have only one representative of our persuasion on city council. We are taking a backseat now. Where we had at least two people from the African American community, now we only have one. I would caution that if we are not careful in the next election, we could lose the seat that Michael Hancock has now.

There is conflict and division with other races coming back into our community. You have to be conscientious now on how to handle it politically in Michael’s district. It’s always been a challenge as far as race has been concerned. We’d like to believe that race is not an issue but when you look at what continues to happen in our country, it is a real issue.

The reason this continues to be an issue is that you have to have black folks registered to vote and voting. It’s appalling that we lost the election by 300 votes.

You can’t tell people of other colors that they can’t run for election. The problem is that we have to learn how to stand up and be counted. Right now when City Council meets we don’t have the same kind of impact that we did have and it’s going to ultimately affect our whole community.

We’ve got to know how to deal with what we call integration and not just limit ourselves to desegregation. I think we’ve become so satisfied with desegregation that we’ve forgotten the commitment that we need to make to leadership and the community. We have a lot of work to do in the community and we need some strong leadership from the black community to stand up and be counted.

It seems like the flood gates have been opened and it’s open season on all pastors, mainly Black pastors. I think what we forget sometimes with the devil is that it’s always open season on pastors and sometimes because he is subtle in his approach we forget that he’s still the devil and he does the same thing all the time—steal, kill and destroy. Sometimes we think that we are exempt from what he does but there is no exception for anyone. Some of us tend to stand back and almost gloat sometimes with ‘Good, it’s not me.’

If it’s not you today, then it will be you tomorrow. When you look at the attacks that are going against clergy all across the nation and the fact that the enemy is lifting up a different standard, we are falling into the trap of believing that the Church is not relevant today.

Even now the attack is coming where if you don’t agree with what the state wants done, they are dominating what you preach. Once they start with one thing—they’re starting on an issue that they think may be subtle, because they are dealing with the gay issue and homosexuality, but that’s not really the issue. The issue is God versus Man. The real issue is whether a man of God can preach the word of God without a challenge.

To pick on one sin doesn’t make any sense to me and sometimes we get drifted off and forced into a fight that we can’t win, but the truth is that we need to stand up as a church and declare that this nation was founded on principles of religious freedom and we ought to have the right to preach the gospel as the gospel was declared in God’s words and that should not be interfered with by the state. They should not be interfering with any truth that is being preached from the pulpit. But when you can pull them out one by one and fill them with fear—that’s what happened in the early church.

They’d kill off one prophet and the others would scatter. You can always go back to the scripture that says ‘If you can bind a strong man then there’s no problem in taking over the house.’ That’s what the attempt is when they come against the men and women of God who are leaders of the community and you notice that it’s not just Black preachers, it’s Black preachers, White preachers any kind of preachers who are declaring the truth.

The enemy Satan does not want to see God’s word prosper. When you begin to preach the truth about his word you automatically come under attack. He doesn’t attack folk who don’t declare a truth against him. But when you are designing your gospel based on the word of God then it comes directly against Satan and he’s not just going to roll over and not fight back. We have to understand that we are being called into a warfare.

I think many times as men and women of God we think we are called into a time of peace and tranquility where everything is going to be a flowery bed of ease and that’s not the case. If you are going to be involved with Christ then you are going to be involved with the cross and the cross is not a nice easy application but it is the emblem of suffering and shame. We wear crosses around our necks and we make them beautiful and look as though it was a time of peace and calmness.

Jesus was involved with a conflict in society and he was involved on a good level where he came on purpose to wage a war against the enemy Satan and to restore man into a positive relationship with God. You’ve got to remember that’s your job; that’s what you’ve been called to do and you can’t cry and complain. You have to follow through.

All you can do is ask people to pray for you and that’s what I am always doing. I thank God for this community and for all of those who are praying for me and I just ask them to continue to pray for me to the Lord who is our deliverer.”

One Response to “A Conversation with Rev. Phillips”

  1. For all things.. Says:

    I’ve Rev. Phillips to be an ever loving and giving man; I think it is a shame when Black folks stoop so low as to play the game of the masses. We have to stick together and not get caught up in malicious tit-for-tat games that are not representative of “us.” He tried to orchestrate a wonderful program that was greatly and much needed in our community and evil individuals tired to mess that up.

    He may go through the fire but he will come out like gold. I admire him greatly for his tenacity throughout this ordeal and pray for him and his family. As a young woman I have the utmost respect and admiration for him. May his latter be greater the former. “The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts, and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the LORD of hosts.”

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