Philip was raised in an orthodox Jewish home. At the age of thirteen, he was Bar Mitzvahed (a celebration recognizing his coming to the age of religious responsibility). He brought a brief message to the congregation from the text Psalm 119:105, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path". The light did indeed soon shine!
Later, Philip suffered a serious injury while playing high school football. Shortly afterwards, he heard the Gospel for the first time and began to search the Scripture both Old and New Testament. At a Nicky Cruz revival, his search for the Messiah came to a conclusion. On November 12, Philip accepted Jesus as the Promised Messiah and Savior. Several months later, just after he was baptized, Philip's parents learned of his new found faith. In an emotional meeting, they told him that he had two choices: go back into the Synagogue or leave home. In a dramatic moment, he realized that if God could save him, God would also take care of him. At the age of 16, he was forced to leave home to serve his Savior.
Call into the Ministry
Desiring to learn more of the Word of God, Philip attended the Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Texas in the fall of 1974. While there, he met the former Debra Spencer and they were married in 1975. That same year, Philip surrendered to the ministry. He received his B.A. in 1979, and also earned a master's degree from Grace Theological Seminary, in Winona Lake, Indiana in 1987. Philip and Debra have two children, Michael (1979) and Rachel (1981).