It was with joy that John became acquainted with preachers in the south. They loved his sermons, and from all appearances, the southern folks loved his English accent. The books that he had been writing while in Chicago, were fresh with his Welsh insight, and were thought-provoking. One of the early books he wrote while still at Moody Bible Institute (MBI) was “The Bible Explorer’s Guide.” It was written to address his own need while he was teaching in MBI’s evening classes. “Bible Explorer’s Guide” was submitted to publishers, and of all the books he has written, it has never gone out of print.
There were other books that gained notoriety; among them was his book on Romans. A copy was given to Dr. Jerry Vines, pastor of the great Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama by the widow of a man whose funeral Dr. Vines had just preached. Dr. Vines read the book, and said, “I’ve got to meet this author.” He asked his secretary to search every phone book in Georgia to find the number of John Phillips, who was at the time living in Marietta, Georgia
When his phone number was located, Dr. Vines called to inquire if he was the John Phillips who had written “Exploring Romans.” When John said “Yes,” Dr. Vines asked if he could come with some of his ministry friends to meet him and talk about his book. Of course, John was delighted, and a friendship was formed that only death brought to an end.
Sometime later, Dr. Vines was asked to become the associate pastor of Dr. Homer Lindsey at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He accepted the invitation, and soon initiated the “Pastor’s Conference.” It was the desire of Dr. Vines to introduce southern pastors to men like John Phillips, as most of them had never been exposed to his books or heard him speak.
Remember, John was from Wales, and with his distinct Welsh accent, he quickly endeared himself to these southern pastors, and in doing so, was introduced to a whole new world!