Wiley Richards is a retired professor of theology and philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
Latest Articles by WILEY RICHARDS
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.
Feb 9, 2014
The enquiry about how we got here, I take to be a question about the origin of the universe. The answer will come from one of three sources: science, philosophy, or the Bible. The investigation boils down to science and the Bible. The discussion took on new dimensions following Edwin Hubble’s 1929 discovery that the universe is expanding in all directions. Astronomers concluded that the expansion began from a single point about 13.7 billion years ago. The number of years is not my main interest. The fact that the universe grew from a point to its limits in less that one second stands out as the beginning of our exposition.
Feb 2, 2014
Someone has said, humorously I hope, that we know the Bible is inspired because it has withstood so much preaching. Most of us can recall instances in which a preacher made ridiculous applications of a given text. In commenting on Isaiah 3:18, that God would take away “their round tires,” the preacher alleged this was fulfilled during WWII when car tires were rationed. The WWII bombers with their guns spitting streams of bullets reminded some preachers of the locusts of Rev. 9:10. These applications give evidence of the warning we received in our preaching classes which stated, “He who marries his theology to the technology of one generation will find himself a widower in the next.” The Bible, however, speaks emphatically about human spiritual needs. When Jesus inquired of the disciples whether they would abandon Him, Peter voiced the opinion of us all when he asked, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). We have applied biblical principles to our own lives, and they work.
Jan 26, 2014
The question posed in our topic for this study is not directly answered in the assigned verses, including the background materials. Yet, I think we will be able to present some relevant—I hope—insights to build a larger picture. To put the issue into perspective, we must deal with the material presented in verses 18-25, plus the remaining verses in the chapter as well as 2:17-29. The main theme revolves around the evidence for a guilty world in the sight of God. If all the world is guilty, how can anyone be saved?
Jan 19, 2014
In thinking about proofs for the existence of God, theologians generally divide the evidence into two categories, general, or natural, revelation and special revelation. The former would include indications of a creative mind or person, as indicated in the natural order, such as the heavenly phenomena or data gleaned from the earth. Special revelation, in turn, refers to the unveiling of God by Himself as recorded in the Bible. Psalm 19:1-6 illustrates evidence from general revelation and 139:7-9. Verses 10-14 addresses human spiritual needs.
Jan 12, 2014
The United States Supreme Court made a ruling about abortion in 1973 that has profoundly impacted the discussion about abortion. In Roe v Wade the court declared abortion in the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy was permitted without a doctor’s recommendation. The court described relevant issues for the second and third trimester. In the public arena, evangelicals and others, argue against abortion on the grounds that babies, even unborn, bear the image of God and should be protected. Others argue in favor of abortion on the grounds of a woman’s right to choose her course of action, disregarding the status and rights of the unborn. The answer to the question, “Is Every Life Sacred?” depends on whether or not one accepts the unborn as sacred because the baby is made in God’s image. To some, an aborted unborn amounts to nothing more than disposing of an unwanted organ, such as a bothersome appendix.
Jan 5, 2014
Studying the Bible is somewhat like walking through a carefully planted and maintained garden owned by a Master Gardener. We pause in wonder and admiration before a scene with butterflies and hummingbirds joyfully living without being aware of our presence. Then we turn a corner, only to behold another scene of breath-taking beauty. So it is in this topic for today. We study the working of the Holy Spirit, only to learn, point by point, we are rising higher and higher.