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Richard Riss, M.C.S., M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Chair of General Studies and Professor

Associate Dean of Traditional Undergraduate Studies | Chair of General Education | Director of Academic Assessment | Professor of History and Biblical Studies

Dr. Richard M. Riss is Pillar College’s Associate Dean of Traditional Undergraduate Studies, Chair of General Education, Director of Academic Assessment, and Professor of History and Biblical Studies. A recipient of the Pillar College Distinguished Faculty Award and the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, he also earned a spot in the Marquis Who’s Who Top Professionals. He has written several books, including The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Bethany House Publishers, 1977), A Survey of Twentieth-Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, 1988), and Images of Revival (Destiny Image, 1997).

His The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in 1973 was originally a 62-page paper for a Concepts of the Soul course, taught by Richard Taylor at the University of Rochester. Its goal was to prove that Christianity is intellectually defensible to the satisfaction of a leading secular professor of philosophy. Professor Taylor recommended that it be published, commenting, “My conclusion, after reading your work, was that it does indeed prove something—namely, that in the areas of philosophy and religion, and doubtless others too, one can prove anything.” Dr. Riss has also penned numerous encyclopedia articles, including The Encyclopedia of Religious Revivals in America (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2005), and has contributed to many other publications and academic journals as well.

As a University of Rochester freshman, Richard became very interested in philosophy, biblical studies, theology, and history, and earned four graduate degrees in those areas. His “favorite” formal education included:

  • Courses taken at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, in fulfillment of a Master of Christian Studies degree
  • Courses with John Woodbridge and others at Trinity Divinity School in fulfillment of his M.A. in Church History
  • Dissertation work under Donald Dayton, Randy Maddox, and Chuck Yrigoyen while at Drew University. Dr. Riss feels that Randy Maddox of Duke University enlightened him on a variety of subjects, particularly in the area of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European intellectual history.

His professional memberships include the American Conference of Academic Deans; the Society for Pentecostal Studies; Conference on Faith and History; Evangelical Theological Society; Society of Christian Philosophers; American Society of Church History; Wesleyan Theological Society.