Wiley Richards is a retired professor of theology and philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
Latest Articles by WILEY RICHARDS
Apr 20, 2014
The order of the miracles Jesus performed presents our Lord’s plan for a stable society as well as the evidence for who He is. In His first miracle, He met the needs for the success of a marriage ceremony in Cana of Galilee (John 2:11). Two relevant applications stand out. First, He chose carefully the circumstances of His first miracle involving a home. Sin began with Adam and Eve, the first home. Jesus signaled to us the imperative of the family in a stable society. It is no mere happenstance that the biblical standard for the home is being assailed roundly in American society to define radically what is meant by marriage. The second truth shown in His miracles reveal His control of both natural and spiritual orders.
Apr 13, 2014
Our Scripture passage for today presents us with a marvelous opportunity to present our Lord’s resurrection from an exciting perspective. Beginning with the unquestioned importance of His resurrection, the Bible then piles experience on experience until we find ourselves breathless at what is presented. We accept each new aspect with the utmost respect and reverence. We introduce each new thought with the superlative word “greatest.”
Apr 6, 2014
We can identify with David’s actions in our assigned text. We have gone through a series of wars, beginning with World War II (1941-45), the Korean Conflict (1950-53), the Vietnam War (1963-75) and the Middle East wars for about two decades. In their aftermaths we tried as a nation to help our wounded warriors and their families. David’s actions fall into this category. After ruling in Judah for seven and a half years and over all Israel for nine years, he took advantage of the cessation of battles to carry out a neglected responsibility.
Mar 30, 2014
We Baptists call ourselves a people of the Book, meaning the Bible. We contend publicly for the right to publish the Ten Commandments in public places as well as plaques in our homes. Even a casual investigation shows we do not observe the fourth commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. We worship on Sunday. How did this disconnect come about? The reason most Christian denominations worship on Sunday is understood in the light of the history of Israel.
Mar 23, 2014
The necessity of working your plan is good advice, but only if the plan has a reasonable prospect of leading to success. The chances of a new business surviving the first year are quite small. One of my childish efforts at growing vegetables illustrates the point. Because I used to sell Grit Magazine, I was sent some packets of garden vegetable seeds to sell to customers. When I saw those pictures of lush tomatoes, I could hardly wait to plant some seeds. So, I went into the back yard and planted some seeds among the roots of a pine tree. Watering did not help. The venture was doomed from the start. What general principles for spiritual application can we follow?
Mar 16, 2014
I have altered my usual approach of dealing with the text and then inserting relevant application. In today’s lesson, I am beginning with a brief overview of the assigned verses, namely, in 8:10-15. The Bible urges the Corinthian believers to fulfill a pledge made a year ago to take up an offering to aid the struggling Jerusalem Christians. Second Corinthians 9:1-5 adds further encouragement to gather the funds in anticipation of Titus and two unnamed brothers taking the donation to Jerusalem. Two principles stand out. First, the money was collected from church gifts and not from individuals. Secondly, the funds were handled by a designated group. Because the Southern Baptist Convention has marvelously applied those two principles, I take the liberty of explaining how and why we do our work.
Mar 9, 2014
As to what we work for, I suppose the spiritual answer is, for the Kingdom of God. However, many other needs have a way of intruding in our lives. Take making a living for survival. I remember when several of us preachers made plans to attend classes at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary after we had finished our college work. Finding part-time work in New Orleans did not leave many options. One of my colleagues considered employment at a huge grocery retail group. Then he found out the company sold alcoholic beverages. He quit and moved back to central Alabama.
Mar 2, 2014
Toward the end of the Great Depression in the 1930s, my father used to leave home about 3 a.m. and walk to the Lighthouse Beach near Pensacola. Then he boarded a boat, the Sparrow, for the short trip to a Spanish Fort. At the close of the work day, he reversed his course. I never heard him complain. A job, the work, was nothing less than a blessing from God as far as my parents were concerned. The beginning of World War II resulted in expansion of Naval Air Station Pensacola, which brought the need for skilled tradesmen. My father found work there as a carpenter.
Feb 23, 2014
Back in the days when we sang from “The Modern Hymnal,” trained choir directors made their presence felt in country churches. One of our favorite hymns was Fanny Crosby’s “To the Work,” mainly because the chorus had a few phrases where bass singers could really shake the rafters, so to speak. No one bothered with the tenor parts. I must confess, though, that for a 13-year-old boy fighting gnats and scratches from sugarcane fronds, the words “toiling on” took on a decidedly non-spiritual meaning. Being removed from the seemingly endless days, I have to see wisdom in the adage that creativity is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration. But wouldn’t it be nice to be in a garden where one did not have to fight Johnson Grass in the sugarcane rows? As the Bible account shows, even an ideal garden can harbor problems.
Feb 16, 2014
The presence of evil in the world is probably the single, most critical argument against the existence of God. You may have heard someone in deep sorrow or agony of soul make a statement like this. “If I were God, I would not allow bad things to happen to good people. So, why should I try to be good?” Upon mature consideration that negative spirit will probably lose its appeal. After all, if being good guarantees we will not suffer, the Gospel is reduced to a divine insurance program and not a message of hope no matter what the circumstances. Further, most of us can cite instances in which God’s grace worked powerfully in and among us when life seemed to collapse around us, an example of His sustaining grace. Job learned that lesson and passed on to us the battle he fought and won in spite never being told the circumstances. We know what was going on, but God never explained it to him. We are sustained by faith, not by an explanation of why the hard times arose. James 5:11 speaks of the patience of Job. The word then means to hold to one’s faith under misfortunes and trial.