Dr. Richard Shelley Taylor (1912-2006)
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Dr. Richard Shelley Taylor (1912-2006)

June 19, 2006
Well-known theologian, Richard Taylor, passed away

Richard Shelley Taylor was born in Cornelius, Oregon, March 30, 1912 and passed away on June 19, 2006 at the age of 94. Dr. Taylor was a widely respected Church of the Nazarene minister, educator, and author. He was Professor Emeritus of Theology and Missions where he had served at the Nazarene Theological Seminary from 1961-1977.


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A Brief Survey of His Life

I. His Education

He attended Northwest Nazarene College (now University) before receiving undergraduate degrees from Cascade College (1942) and George Fox (1944) respectively, both of which are located in Oregon. He received a Master’s Degree from Pasadena College (now Point Loma Nazarene University) in 1945, and in 1953 received his Doctor of Theology degree from Boston University School of Theology.

II. His Ministry

Dr. Taylor served the Church of the Nazarene as a pastor for nearly thirty years. From 1931 to 1941, he served as a pastor in Washington State and then in Oregon (1941-1949), Massachusetts (1949-1951), and Australia (1954-1960).

His teaching ministry began during his pastoral ministry in Oregon. Here he taught at Cascade College from 1944 to 1946 before serving as president of the Nazarene Bible College in Sydney, Australia (1952-1960), and then at Nazarene Theological Seminary (1961-1977) in Kansas City, Missouri.

In the formative years of the Wesleyan Theological Society (1968-1969), he served as its president. It may be noted that, contrary to many in the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition today (2010), the founders of the Wesleyan Theological Society affirmed the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture, as may be seen in the first doctrinal standards of WTS.

III. His Death

On Wednesday, June 21, 2006, Dr. Taylor passed away. His funerals service was held at the First Church of the Nazarene in Upland, California on June 26 at 7:00 pm. Assisted by several of Dr. Taylor’s seminary students, Rev. Greg Gates conducted Dr. Taylor’s funeral service.

His Life’s Contribution

Dr. Taylor was one of the most prolific Wesleyan-Arminian writers of the twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries. His numerous articles appeared in the Preacher’s Magazine, God’s Revivalist, Herald of Holiness, and the Wesleyan Theological Journal. In addition to his articles, Dr. Taylor made considerable contributions to his tradition through his numerous books. (Please see bibliography of his books below.)

As will be observed from a bibliographic perusal of his books, Dr. Taylor wrote on varied subjects, often theological but practical as well. It may generally be asserted, however, that Dr. Taylor often concerned himself with the erroneous teachings of Calvinism and the perpetuation of the message of scriptural holiness. Lamentably, as was true for well-known Nazarene scholar Dr. Donald Metz, Dr. Taylor found himself disenfranchised by the Nazarene Church which he had so faithfully served throughout his ministry. As the twentieth century came to a close, the Nazarene Church found itself caught up in new currents of thought and practice—the latter being a deep concern to Dr. Metz. As the Nazarene publishing house, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, was influenced by such editorial leaders as Dr. Wesley D. Tracy,[1] Dr. Taylor’s traditional Wesleyan-Arminian theology was less accepted by the Nazarene press. Fortunately, other printers realized the contribution which Dr. Taylor could make even late in life!


Taylor, Richard. A Right Conception Of Sin; Its Importance To Right Thinking And Right Living. Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1939.[3]

________. The Disciplined Life. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press [c1962]

________. Preaching Holiness Today. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press [1968].

________. Return To Christian Culture. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, [1980?] c1973.[4]

________. Purkiser, W. T., and Willard H. Taylor. God, Man & Salvation: A Biblical Theology. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, c1977.

________. Hearing God’s Voice: Biblical Authority And Christian Faith. Salem, OH: Schmul Publishing Co., c2000 (originally published in 1980).

________, ed. Beacon dictionary of theology. Associate eds., J. Kenneth Grider & Willard H. Taylor. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, c1983.

________. ed. Leading Wesleyan Thinkers. Kansas City, Mo: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, c1985.

________. Exploring Christian Holiness: Volume Three, Theological Formulation. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1985.

________. Dimensions Of Church Growth: The Upward, Downward, Inward Factors. Foreword by William Greathouse. Grand Rapids, MI: Francis Asbury Press, c1989.

________. Principles Of Pastoral Success. Grand Rapids, MI: Francis Asbury Press, c1989.

________. Some Holiness Cornerstones. Salem, OH: Schmul Publishing Co., 1992

________. Scandal Of Pre-Forgiveness. Salem, OH: Schmul Publishing Co., 1993

________. Life In The Spirit. Salem, OH: Schmul Publishing Co., 1994.

________. What Does It Mean To Be Filled With The Spirit? Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1995.

________. Understanding Ourselves: Acquiring A Christian Mind: Biblical Studies In The Psychology Of Holiness. Salem, OH: Schmul Publishing Co., c1997.

________. God’s Integrity And The Cross. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Publishing House, 1999.

________. What Every Christian Ought To Know: Basic Answers To Questions Of The Faith. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, c2002.

________. All You Are Meant To Be: Can Teens Be Holy? Salem, OH: Schmul Pub. Co., c2003.

________. A Return To Christian Culture: Or, Why Avoid The Cult Of The Slob? Salem, OH: Schmul Pub. Co., c2004.

________, Keith Drury, Kenneth J. Collins, Wallace Thornton, Jr., and Larry D. Smith. Counterpoint: Dialogue with Drury on The Holiness Movement. Schmul Publishing Company, Salem, OH, 2005.

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[1] Dr. Tracy and other more recent Nazarenes have differed with the historic positions of the Methodist tradition concerning the doctrine of the atonement.

[2] This bibliography lists only Dr. Taylor’s books but does not list his articles. Though an attempt has been made to list his books according to date rather that alphabetically, thorough investigation of original publisher and publication date has not been made. Entries here have been taken from the Library of Congress.

[3] Revised in 1945.

[4] First published in 1973 under title: A Return To Christian Culture.

* Richard Shelley Taylor *

* Richard Shelley Taylor *

* Richard Shelley Taylor *

* Richard Shelley Taylor *

* Richard Shelley Taylor *

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Written by Dr. Stephen FlickNumber of posts: 218
Stephen Flick heads Christian Heritage Fellowship, a national organization dedicated to reclaiming America’s Christian Heritage and celebrating the life-changing influence of the Gospel around the world. Concerned with the cultural decay of America, Dr. Flick has sought to provide answers to fellow Christians (and unbelievers) concerning the questions and objections to Christianity often posed by secularists and the irreligious. Dr. Flick is a writer and speaker and has authored numerous articles and books on America’s Christian heritage. He earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in history and Christian theology and has taught at the graduate level as full professor. He has been a licensed minster for nearly forty years and resides in East Tennessee with his wife, Beth. They have two grown, married children and five grandchildren.

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