Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Biola: Is my alma mater "tanking"? Is there a shark to be jumped in its near future?

...or has the shark already been jumped?

As the former BIOLA (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) moved towards being Biola University, I was in the last graduating class to have its diploma show "Talbot Theological Seminary." After that, it was assimilated.

We had many concerns even then, in the early eighties. It seemed as if Biola, pursuing Caesar's acceptance, was selling out on its its doctrinal distinctives. Theistic evolution was being taught, many were going wobbly on the Bible's teaching regarding the sexes. Some of us were seriously wondering if our degrees would soon require "explaining," like those of Fuller Theological Seminary grads.

Now president Clyde Cook is being replaced by Dr. Barry H. Corey, an Assemblies of God pastor. Yes, that Assemblies of God, Jimmy Swaggart's denomination. The one who holds as one of its doctrinal distinctives that baptism in the Holy Spirit is (A) separate from conversion and regeneration, (B) always marked by speaking in "tongues," and (C) necessary for a truly empowered, God-pleasing life. (Don't believe me? See here.)

Those are all reasons for concern. Adding to them is the high praise of apostate Francis Beckwith, who's delighted about the appointment, because it "seems to represent a clear departure for Biola from its West Coast fundamentalist/dispensationalist roots."

Beckwith particularly loves Corey's 2005 comments:
"Evangelicals are not defined by a political party, by their views on when life begins or by their justification for the war in Iraq," says Barry H. Corey, academic dean and a professor of church history at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary outside Boston. "Evangelicals are Democrats, Republicans and independents; they are conservatives, liberals and moderates; Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians; members of churches large and small." (Orlando Sentinel, 9 July 2005)
For obvious reasons.


Unknown said...

Out of curiosity, what is your view of Sovereign Grace Ministries, the group with the Reformed charismatic beliefs? I know you are very cessationist, which I respect, but I wonder if you disqualify CJ Mahaney and Josh Harris for the same reason that you seem to disqualify Dr. Corey.

DJP said...

I think "very cessationist" is a fair characterization. (c;

If you read the post and the linked sources, what I am making most of is the AOG doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit vs. Biola's statement, not cessationism per se. I'm no expert on Mahaney or Harris and their positions on the sort of pre-Christian two-tier spirituality that the AOG position demands.

Also, Corey's reported statement that evangelicals are Roman Catholics and Orthodox—which makes as much sense as saying that free-market capitalists are communists.

That was my focus.

I don't know SG to have an opinion about them, per se. I do have an opinion about leaky-canonism, and twisting the Bible to accommodate fake spirituality.

I may have mentioned that once or twice before.

Anonymous said...

Dan, it may be time to break out the ole white out for your degree. I am sure that Charles Feinberg is not turning in his grave. He is instead saying that these events were foretold, like all good dispies would say (2Tim 4:3).

Kay said...

Evangelical now means whatever I want it to mean. How very postmodern.

Evanjellybean works much better.

Jeremy Felden said...

I went to an excellent educator's conference at BIOLA that featured John Mark Reynolds. He has created a homeschooling academy that functions like the old Oxbridge seminar/tutor method. He turns out some amazing students. I asked him if the Eduction department was likely to adopt a classical viewpoint. Things got a bit quiet. Those MA in Ed. programs make a lot of money, and I don't think they want to scare away students by teaching a robust Christian worldview.

Matthew Anderson said...

I'm a fellow Biola guy with a lot of the same concerns, but they were pacified by hearing Dr. Corey address them in person. Probably easiest to just read my report at http://mereorthodoxy.com/?p=905

Dr Fin said...


Sorry to hear about Biola. And I know what you mean about apologizing for one's old school.

Denver Seminary, 1986

AmazedByGrace said...

Ah Dan, this saddens my heart greatly. How very far the mighty have fallen!! :( I am very sorry to hear this about Biola - so VERY not what it's has been about historically; but not surprised. :( My first year at Biola was the 75th anniversary, complete with a large celebration held at the old Church on the Way downtown and a two-book version of the Biolan, one being a recounting of Biola's beginnings and history and what God had used Biola graduates for in the past. My first 2 years there were great - a student body who for the most part still put Christ and His Word first in their lives and their academics.

The last three years were already reflecting the downward spiral in the student body, resulting from the administration's focus on "competing with secular institutions" and seeking to woo the big-spender students (or parents), vs. the spiritually sound. I'm surprised Dr. Southerland and Dr. Mitchell were still associating themselves with the university, at the end. In my opinion, Rosemead School of Psychology, and the outgoing president bear much responsibility for where Biola stands presently.

I can relate to what Jeremy said about the money-making programs not wanting to alienate potential students, and very much relate to what Dr Mike said about one's alma mater.

Thank God for schools like The Master's College and Seminary!