Wiley Richards is a retired professor of theology and philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
Latest Articles by WILEY RICHARDS
Dec 15, 2013
Courage can be understood as the ability to face difficulty, pain, danger, etc., in spite of fear. It is related to bravery. We understand when we read an obituary that says the person died after a courageous battle with cancer. At times, courage can be understood in its being associated with faith in what God says in His Word. Those willing to take up their cross daily in living for Jesus must have the courage to live out their convictions. In all my years of teaching God-called people, I never got over the respect I had for those who gave up the comfort of one way of life to enroll in college. God always knows best, as the life of Joseph, Mary’s husband, illustrates.
Dec 8, 2013
I remember in times past in which we used what was called the Roman Road of Salvation. We began in Romans 3:23, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, then pointed to 5:8. We then focused on Romans 10:9-10, that all who believe in Jesus and confess their sins are saved by the grace of God. Later, we refined the beginning point, not with sin, but with the affirmation that God loves them. We could not always make the parallel between the love of our earthly fathers because so many families had never had a human father in the home. Further, some fathers were abusive and therefore poor role models. Fortunately, even people deprived of stable family relationships can identify with the assertion that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. In that love lies hope for them.
Dec 1, 2013
At this time of the year, our minds turn inevitably to the subject of gift giving. In fact, some diligent persons have been known to start on gift buying for the next year by taking advantage of the post-Christmas sales each year. How sad it is when a person passes on to glory and cannot enjoy the gift already set aside. The death gives new meaning to the question one could ask, “When is a gift not a gift?” If the intended receiver either does not or cannot receive the gift, the giver is deprived of the joy of sharing a happy moment. Is this not true also when a person dies without receiving the gift of salvation already readied by God? Although God’s gift of salvation cannot be earned, it nevertheless must be received.
Nov 24, 2013
Some time after the flood in Noah’s time, the entire human race eroded into a moral tragedy. In the words of the Divine Historian, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful: but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things” (Rom. 1:21-23). God made man in His own image (Gen. 1:27), an act that made all humans to be incurably religious, even in the absence of a written revelation from God. Anthropologists report, for example, that archeologists have never found a society, no matter how primitive, that did not exhibit a belief in the supernatural world. The human race to this day is resoundingly god-oriented. Atheists are few among all nations. Against the rampant evidence of sin, God is revealing His power through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Nov 17, 2013
Sometimes a simple “Thank you!” suffices, as when a person holds a door open for you. It can speak volumes. I remember a cutting-edge song we sang when I was young, which goes: “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole. Thank you, Lord, for giving to me, Thy great salvation so rich and free.” It was a simple confession of our faith. We used to sing another song which begins, “Every Day With Jesus was Sweeter Than the Day Before.” Each successive generation of Christians produces songs of praise and thanksgiving that express their happiness and joy in Christ. Psalm 100 presents themes with which all of us can agree.
Nov 10, 2013
Two southern Baptist missionaries, Jim Lanly from China, and Rich Elligson, formerly of Brazil, confirmed the mission strategy when working with Unchurched People Groups. For those without any knowledge of the true God, one must begin the story with the Genesis account of creation. Once the workings of God in creation are settled, additional stories leading to the cross can follow. Getting the big[ger] picture can also help us in understanding God’s unfolding plan in history.
Nov 3, 2013
The advice to “step in” must be exercised with extreme caution. If a husband and wife appear to be squabbling, one cannot attempt to step in unless at least one partner asks for help. The old adage is, if two brothers are in a fight and a third person attempts to separate them, the brothers will turn on the intruder, beat him (or her) up, and then resume their fight. For widespread social problems, on the other hand, community involvement is important. The fact is that up to 70 percent of some families have no husband or father in the home. The condition has been brought about by congressional laws passed to help needy children. As a result, several children but no father in the home, bring in more money. Society is trapped in a downward spiral. In the case of David and Abigail, they began an effort to bring about a solution to the boorish Nabal. Neither Abigail nor David directly influenced the outcome.
Oct 27, 2013
After reading the minutes of scores of Baptist churches to write a history of Southern Baptist theology, I am convinced that Southern Baptists have the courage to take a stand. The problem is how to get the wisdom to know when to take a stand and defend it. My favorite is the church which debated an ethical issue back in the days when hostile Indians roamed the area. The issue was, in the case of an attack on your home and you had hidden children in supposedly safe places, were you obligated to tell the Indians you had children hidden? Some argued that we are not to lie under any circumstances. Others took the contrary position that the children’s lives must be saved, even to the extent of lying. You guessed it. After the vote the congregation divided between the Lying Baptists and the Truthful Baptists. We have never lacked courage to stand our ground. Our problem is having the wisdom of knowing which is which. We focus today on an issue that is absolutely crucial to our Christian mission.
Oct 20, 2013
The phrase “Stand Down” has become a part of everyday speech since the terrorist attack on Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. As the attack was under way, someone from Washington told the diplomat service people in the annex not to get involved with defending the embassy. Diplomat service people in other locations received the same order to “Stand Down.” They reluctantly and grudgingly obeyed. Who issued the order to stand down has not yet been publicly identified. In the contention between Abram and Lot, the advice of Abram would be, “Let’s remain calm,” or, as we would say, “Cool it!”
Oct 13, 2013
In order to appreciate fully David’s attitude toward King Saul, we have to go all the way back to Saul’s original title. When Israel pressured Samuel in setting them up with a king as was common in the surrounding nations, Saul, head and shoulders taller than others (1 Sam. 9:21), was chosen. When Samuel formally set Saul aside, he noted that God had anointed him “to be captain of God’s inheritance” (1 Sam. 10:1). After Saul’s spiritual failure caused God to disinherit Saul (1 Sam. 16:1) and the subsequent anointing of David (1 Sam. 10:12, 13), Saul nevertheless remained on the throne. When David, by then a powerful general in Saul’s army, was forced to flee to the area of Judah, he amassed his own army and ruled at Hebron for 7½ years (1 Chon. 29:27). As long as Saul carried the title of king, David considered him God’s anointed one as shown in the affair with an Amalekite who claimed to have given the final blow that killed the mortally wounded Saul on Mt. Gilboa (2 Sam. 1:10). This was probably a concocted story because 1 Samuel 31:4 says Saul committed suicide. Nevertheless, David had the Amalekite killed for claiming to “destroy the LORD’S anointed” (2 Sam. 1:14, 16). In David’s eyes, Saul, God’s anointed, was God’s responsibility, not David’s or anyone else’s. Truly, David felt it was all about God, not David.