About Ralph I. Tilley

Christian Heritage

All four of my grandparents were devout Christians. My dear mother was a godly woman who went to be with the Lord in the winter of 1956. I attribute her sterling Christian character and fervent prayers as the chief human contributors in my conversion.

ralphtilleyConversion

I was converted to Christ at the age of sixteen in a Sunday evening service in Columbus, Indiana, in the summer of 1961. While still kneeling at the altar I sensed God was calling me into Christian ministry. Following the service I was driven by my brother Gordon to the manufacturing plant where my father was employed as a night watchman. I informed my father of my conversion and asked his permission to enroll (for my senior year) in a Christian high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Having received father’s permission, I went home, apologized to my step-mother for my sinful attitudes toward her, packed a suitcase, and was taken by my brother to school that same evening.

Education

  • Bachelor of Theology (Th.B); area of concentration: Bible, Theology; God’s Bible School & College, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Master of Arts (M.A.); area of concentration: New Testament Studies; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.
  • Doctor of Religious Studies (D.R.S); area of concentration: Biblical Studies, Trinity Theological Seminary, Newburgh, Indiana.

MINISTRY

  • Ordained to the Christian ministry in 1966
  • Founding Editor of Life in the Spirit journal in 1993 (discontinued 2012)
  • Executive Director of Life in the Spirit Ministries since 1993
  • Pastored for 38 years
  • Served as an adjunct faculty member with several educational institutions
  • Conducts a limited number of preaching engagements, seminars and Bible conferences

TheologicaL PositionS

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope that I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.”

Furthermore, ecclesiastically and theologically, my roots are in the Wesleyan tradition, for which I am grateful. However, the apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian Church for exalting one man over another: “One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas.’ ” (1 Cor. 1:12). Much damage has been done in the Church because we have said I follow a certain man.  I thank God for the contribution wise and godly men and women have made to give us a better understanding of the Scriptures; nevertheless, the Word of God is our standard of faith, and the Holy Spirit is our faithful Teacher.

I extend to every person the right hand of fellowship, who has been born of God and aspires to live a life in conformity to the Word of God. Personally, I will be content if there are those along the way who will be able to recognize me as a follower of Christ—a mere Christian. Jesus is Lord! In the words of Thomas O. Chisholm,

I have one deep, supreme desire,
That I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
That I may be like Jesus.

– Soli Deo Gloria –