My wife, Sonya, and I have been members of World Gospel Church in Terre Haute, Indiana, since the Spring of 1983. When our former Pastor Dr. Helmut Schultz and his dear wife, Norma Jean, were led of the Lord to return to the Oriental Mission Field in 1989, the Lord led the WGC congregation to extend a call to Dr. William B. Coker, Sr. to come and lead our church forward. Bill, as he preferred to be called, accepted the call and he and his lovely wife, Ann, served our congregation for the next 19 years. During those years under Bill’s leadership the congregation more than doubled in size, requiring additional educational facilities to be built, and moving from one service on Sunday mornings in the sanctuary to two services.
The highlight of each Lord’s Day was Bill’s capable exposition of the Scriptures. Dr. Coker’s educational training, teaching in college and seminary, and hard work made him expert in the biblical languages and history and cultures in which the inspired Bible was written. He was always able to mine the Scriptures for spiritual treasures, presenting and explaining the milk of the Bible to new believers for their understanding, and challenging the mature believers with the solid food required for their continued growth and service. Bill’s sermons were audible banquets to which the congregation gathered eagerly.
If my memory serves me correctly, recording Bill’s sermons on cassette tapes began as a ministry to members who were shut-in and unable to attend live services. That ministry quickly expanded to include essential workers who were prevented by their occupations from attending on Sundays, and later the staff sent tapes to former members who had moved away and could not find a church in their new locations that provided the richness of Bible teaching we were experiencing under Bill’s ministry. When the internet developed, the sermons were recorded and placed on the WGC website for anyone to listen or download for their personal benefit.
When Bill felt the need to retire from the ministry in 2008, he received permission from the board to obtain the recorded sermons. Because of Bill’s dementia, it became impossible for him to be involved in publishing his messages. Ann (who is a capable writer in her own right) stepped up to the task and organized Bill’s sermons and prayers and had them converted from tapes to digital audio files and finally to written forms. The book, Words of Endearment: The Ten Commandments as a Revelation of God’s Love is the first to be published.
Ann graciously provided a draft copy to examine when she asked me to write an endorsement. Bill’s book is a wonderful examination of the Decalogue from God’s point of view. Each commandment given through Moses to Israel (and by extension to all Christendom) is shown to reveal God’s love for His children by setting boundaries within which all can live full and free lives in covenant with the sovereign loving God and each other. The “Words” instruct us how to worship God in spirit and in truth. They teach us that we are His, and He is ours. They show us how to please God and be obedient to His will. Bill’s exposition is deep, yet clear, and filled with applications that help believers make proper choices to bring blessings in their own lives and that of others, while giving us ever deepening fellowship with God. The book will become a treasure to be read and reread by Christians. It will also light the way for the unbeliever who will take the time to read it to experience the joy of salvation through Jesus Christ. ―Charles Mallory North, Jr., PhD