Ronald E. Wright, August 27, 1930 - March 22, 2002
Ronald Wright was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, of parents who were Salvation Army officers. Despite a battle in his early life with illness, Ronald won tuition and scholarships that enabled him to complete high school. He later received his diploma from South African Bible Institute in Johannesburg and his B.A. from Central Bible College.
Other schools he has attended are Central Baptist Seminary, Toronto, Canada (M.R.E. degree); Northwest Baptist Theological College, Vancouver, Canada (M. Div. degree); and Capilano College in Vancouver for language study.
Rev. Wright’s extensive ministry experience further enriched his teaching. He was engaged in evangelism and pastoral ministry in South Africa as well as evangelism in England and Scotland. For three years (1960-1963) he was Minister of Education at Danforth Gospel Temple in Toronto, Canada and director of their children’s summer camps. While in Vancouver, he taught the College and Career Sunday School class for several years (1963-1971) at Broadway Pentecostal Tabernacle.
For those eight years, Ronald Wright was also dean of education and vice-president of Western Pentecostal Bible College, in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He represented the school each summer in public relations work, and as dean was instrumental in securing a charter from the Provincial Government that enabled the college to grant degrees in Theology, Religious Education and Sacred Music.
He became a part of Central Bible College, Springfield, Missouri (“CBC”) faculty in the Fall of 1971. His teaching ministry at CBC included courses in New Testament History and Literature; Wisdom Literature; Psalms; New Testament Greek II; New Testament Greek III; Introduction to Theology; Systematic Theology I; Systematic Theology II; Ancient and Medieval Church History; and The History of Religious Education. He was also a member of the Christian Service Committee.
In comments concerning his feelings about being at CBC again (first as student and then as professor), Rev. Wright stated, “My life’s ambition is to be known as a capable exponent of the Word. No one will ever truly know my deep sense of gratitude to God for bringing me to CBC, my beloved alma mater. If, while serving the Lord in this institution, I can see in the young people committed for so brief a time to our care, a continuation of the transformation into the Divine image, my living will not be in vain.”
Ronald Wright kept busy during the years from 1971 through the time of his death in 2002 working on his homes in Springfield and later, California. He and his wife, Barbara, enjoyed travel and photography, and have a color slide history of travels on several continents.
In 1975, Rev. Wright joined the faculty of Southern California College (now Vanguard University). During his illustrious tenure there he was a stalwart for orthodoxy, passionate lover of his Savior and champion for the cause of inerrancy—THE theological hot-button of those days. Aside from administrative duties, he taught many courses, including, Romans and Galatians, Methods of Instruction in Bible, Biblical Hermeneutics, The Corinthian Letters, The Prison Epistles, Theology I-V, The Sermon on the Mount, Introduction to Hebrew, Introduction to Greek, Denominational Polity, and The Life & Teachings of Francis Schaeffer. He retired from SCC in 1999.
In a letter dated June 13, 2000 from Rev. Wright to a former student of his at WPBC, he wrote: “As for us, the path that the Lord marked out for us has been very pleasant. After ministering in Missouri for a few years (1971-1975), we received a Macedonian call to California. I was so happy in Missouri that I really did not want to move to California. (I know that may sound strange given the popular adage expressed as a wish, ‘O to be in California and in the will of the Lord!’) I was teaching at Central Bible College, teaching a Bible class at Evangel Temple which grew in numerical size from three in the first meeting – Barbara, Cathy and myself – to an average of three hundred and fifty within eighteen months, ministering in AOG (Assemblies of God) churches and to the leadership of a large Episcopal church, doing some writing and, at the time SCC (Southern California College) called us, was about to teach adjunctively at both Evangel College and the Graduate School of the AOG and to commence a mentoring program for young Lutheran Christians at the state university. But, of course, I had no idea of what God was about to do in the enlargement of the ministry He had given to me. God added to my professorial vitae at SCC those of senior adjunct in New Testament, Theology, Biblical Languages and Exegesis at Melodyland School of Theology, American Christian Theological Seminary, Bethesda School of Theology, Grace Theological Seminary, and Bethesda Christian University. This year (2002) BCU invited me to become their Vice President for Academic Affairs. After much prayerful soul searching, I declined because I am so busy that I would not be able to do justice to that position. So, you see, the news of my retirement more than eighteen months ago was greatly exaggerated. I did teach a full load of classes in 1999, and then stepped out of formal teaching at SCC, about the time that the college became a university. I have just completed a series entitled ‘Rudiments of the Christian Faith’ in the Calvary Chapel of Rancho Santa Margarita. Some time ago the Lord impressed upon me that I should audio tape my classes at the college. My students had already developed the habit for themselves – I would come into the classroom to face, not just my students, but a battery of tape recorders. Certain of them have told me with some sense of accomplishment that they had on tape almost all of the courses I then taught. So I decided to protect myself…. Of course, I kid on that. Yet it has been great to witness the acceptance and growth of the tape ministry. (I just received a telephone call from a Christian high school in San Jose, where they have started to use the series on Romans and Galatians.) So much for retirement! And, Rose-Marie, for some of us there is only one option – with two possibilities – burn or rust!”
Ronald Wright passed away on March 22, 2002 at the age of 71 with “his boots on” as he had wished. He was working hard in the garage to meet an impossible deadline, when he just died. He had had a bad heart for some time. He often told Barbara, his wife, that he was ready to go, that he had had a wonderful life and would not have changed a single thing. This is because he could say at the end that he had lived his favorite verse in Scripture: For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil 1:21).