Wiley Richards is a retired professor of theology and philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
Latest Articles by WILEY RICHARDS
Jul 22, 2014
When witnessing to a woman in a home, I have sometimes asked her whether her husband is a Christian. It is not uncommon for her to say, “I don’t know. I will have to go ask him.” That answer tells me what it is she thinks indicates one’s spiritual condition, namely, whether one’s name is on a church roll somewhere. In fact, in conducting a funeral for a non-church attendee, family members go to a lot of trouble, hoping to find a record in church files that the deceased was a member. Being saved becomes equivalent to church membership. Remember, though, that just being good does not guarantee that one is saved. Let’s look at enduring faith.
Jul 22, 2014
In reading Peter’s epistles, I am reminded of a casual remark made by a former fellow student and dedicated pastor. He shared that as he tried to study in sermon preparation, his mind would wander from member to member as he recalled the special events they faced. He admitted his burden for them usually overcame his need to study. He would get up from his desk and go to them. He was not a dynamic preacher, but he was one of the best pastors I have known. When he was stricken with a terminal disease, he was steadfast in his dying commitment. Opining that we preachers must sometimes be called on to show people how to die, he did.
Jul 10, 2014
Peter and James, authors of New Testament books by those names, were intimately associated with Jesus. Neither Peter nor James ever directly quoted Jesus, but their epistles throb with allusions to the teachings of Jesus. Peter’s denials of Jesus did not negatively influence what he wrote. On the contrary, Peter’s writings reflect his profound appreciation for God’s grace. The opening words of the first epistle testify to the depth of his contact with Jesus and His teachings. Peter was not present when John the Baptist received his revelation from God at our Lord’s baptism. The Holy Spirit, dove-like, descended on Jesus and the Voice identified Him as the Son of God (John 1:32-34), but accounts probably spread. Further, Peter, James, and John heard the Voice from a cloud on the mountain which identified Jesus as God’s Son (Matt. 17:5).
Jul 3, 2014
As we have seen, Simon Peter opened his epistle with some heavy theology, beginning with the Trinity. He enticed us with the prospect of a divine inheritance in the life to come. However, he abruptly changes our attention to the impact the Gospel makes on our daily lives. With that in mind, I have adopted informal headings for each section to reflect the mood.
Jun 26, 2014
You may have heard the anecdote of the little boy about to sit down at the kitchen table when his mother told him to go wash his hands to get the germs off. The little boy blurted out, “Germs! Germs! Germs! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” That’s all I hear around this house, and I’ve never seen either one of them!” We can sympathize with his frustration, but in a few years if he should become ill, he will be grateful that somebody studied about germs, and they may even have found a cure for his illness. Give him a few more years and he will find himself burdened with moral failures and not know what to do. If he is lucky, someone will tell him about the crucified Man from Galilee who paid the debt of sin on His cross. The sinful boy, now a man, need not be broken in mind and body with his sins. God offers forgiveness for the repentant.
Jun 26, 2014
Abraham, originally known as Abram (Gen. 12:1), stands out as one of the most significant men in history. Followers of three world religions—Judaism, Islam and Christianity—trace their physical and/or spiritual heritage back to him. Christians look to him as the clearest example of the meaning of saving faith. Genesis 15:6 says, “Abram believed the Lord; and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:3 quotes these words approvingly. Romans 4:5 adds for clarification, “But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who declares righteous the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness.” Our study in the Book of Hebrews highlights some of God’s qualities that point to our reasons for loving and trusting Him.
Jun 5, 2014
In the more than six decades I have been a Baptist preacher, one recurring problem arises: namely people lack assurance they are saved. Some people have said that they gain assurance by being baptized in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. After investigation, I made these conclusions:
Jun 5, 2014
I suppose most families have their own set of aphorisms, a pithy saying they use to describe the way we live or ought to live. I have heard my sainted mother observe, “Every tub has to sit on its own bottom.” The tribe of Judah had adopted a saying at the time of Ezekiel.
May 27, 2014
Psalm 99 represents the closing theme of Psalms 93-99. They are called the Royal Psalms because they proclaim God as King of the Universe. In those verses not naming God as King, the alternative name leaves no doubt as to His power and majesty. Look at Psalm 94:2, which refers to God as the “Judge of the earth,” a royal function in those times. The background of these psalms relates to the gods and goddesses of the Canaanites in which they magnify such idolatrous practices as sexual promiscuity and child sacrifices to Molech. Against such sordid worship styles, the Royal Psalms proclaim the righteous, but loving and forgiving, King-Judge whose holiness sets Him apart from all heathen gods and worship practices.
May 25, 2014
In our last study, based in John 21:16, we saw the incident in which Jesus was calling Peter to lead in creating a totally new procedure. No longer would God be dependent on the nation of Israel to spread the knowledge of Him. Jesus would change strategies and work through individual fellowships called churches. Peter was to lead in that endeavor. Today we will survey the changing role of the temple, the impact of Peter’s life, and the enlargement of the role of miracles in developing the new movement.