The foundations of Biola University were laid in 1908, when Lyman Stewart and T. C. Horton started the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. By 1912, the institute was large enough for its first dean, R. A. Torrey. The institute expanded under Louis T. Talbot and in 1949, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles became Biola College. The college moved La Mirada in 1959 under Sam Sutherland and became Biola University in 1981 under Richard Chase. Under the leadership of Clyde Cook, Biola has grown to 6 schools and 5,752 students.

Much has changed since 1906, but at least one important thing has remained the same: the direction set in 1908--to teach the truths of Scripture--remains the direction today. Biblical authority and learning permeate every program. Understanding the Bible is part of who we are.

Today, Biola University is on the verge of another transformation. President Cook is retiring after 25 years of faithful service. A candidate is in the wings. Many things will change. The commitment to the Word of God will stay the same.

Some are concerned that a presidential candidate with no formal theological training will be unable to stay the course. I am not concerned. First, Biola is replete with theological and biblical experts. In addition to the fine faculty of Talbot School of Theology, many employees (including staff (like me), faculty in other departments, and administrators) have formal theological training and are willing to stand and speak the truth. Second, thinking theologically does not require formal theological training. It requires cognitive, affective, and volitive submission to the Word of God. Third, a president with formal training in the processes of Christian higher education can lead the executive administration to lead Biola to become the exemplary Christian university and global center for Christian thought that it envisions.

We need a president with bible in his blood, educational excellence in his heart, and Jesus in his daily life.


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


  1. I am not worried about the fact that Correy is not a theologian. You are correct, we have enough around Biola to correct him in any errors he may mistakenly committ. My only concern is his AOG background. If he truly is going to "take a hit" from the AOG, then great. However, we graduate admissions can not even recruit from the AOG, and now we are hiring a president that is AOG, something does not quite add up. We'll see where this journey takes us!

  2. The AOG thing is an issue and it will be much harder to grill prospective AOG students. This is one reason I think it would be wise for Corey to write and publish an article describing and explaining his journey. Since it is public, it needs to be very public.

    It is quite likely that there will be issues with long time fac/staff, alumni, and donors. They remember the old days--not that long ago--when Biola was cessationist.

  3. Hi Laura,

    I feel a bit of an intruder coming in on your Biola President topic from way out here on the rim. There are a couple of things I noticed that are a bit disappointing:

    - some one ordained in the AOG who does not speak in tongues - how can that be? Seems like undermining the AOG franchise.
    - and the apparent prickliness about denomination and theological purism around this topic.

    Sure, it is a great thing that Biola has nearly six thousand students in schools where the authority of the Bible is held so high. And of course it is very important for such an institution to have good leadership and such a leadership transition is a delicate moment in the life of the institution.

    But what is the issue with tongues and the AOG? Should we not expect that with "the Bible in our blood" the Spirit will be manifest on our lips?

  4. Andrew,

    I realize that for those outside the "Biola bubble" this may be confusing. A few historical tidbits may help.
    - Biola started in 1908, two years after the Azusa Street revival that helped birth the Pentecostal movement. Some say it was started partially in response to this movement.
    - Up until just a few years ago, Biola was officially cessationist, teaching that the so-called sign gifts were most certainly not for today. This changed about five years ago, when a few of our seminary profs studied the issue and found it could not be clearly supported in Scripture. We are now "open but cautious".
    - The AOG holds (at least) two doctrines with which Biola still disagrees: 1) the baptism of the Spirit as a second work of grace. 2) tongues as THE sign that one has received the Holy Spirit.
    - Biola holds that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at regeneration and that the gift of tongues is one of the gifts (and that not everyone receives it).
    - Both AOG and Biola hold their respective doctrinal positions with some degree of vigor. Because of this, it is quite extraordinary that someone ordained in the AOG is becoming the president of Biola.

    On another note, I am quite skeptical of the gift of tongues as it is practiced today, for it does not seem to coincide with what I read in the New Testament. From my reading, tongues in the NT seem more like human languages, while the practice--as I have heard and seen it (which, honestly, is limited) seems to be an ecstatic prayer language. (Please note: I am not opposed to the notion of a prayer language; I just do not believe such a language to be the NT gift of tongues. I realize this puts me at odds with a rather large swath of Christianity, but I must stand by what I see in Scripture.)

    Hope this sheds light...

  5. Thanks. For the light and the resulting clarity.

    I admire your rigorous theology. Precision. A whole system of concepts that hang together and explain the Bible for us. It does help. It does bring clarity.

    But I pray for you that you can also hold the vision, the experience, the relationship with God, the experience of the love of God - that all this does not get buried in a systematic theology.

    Recently a phrase in Frank Viola's book "God's Ultimate Passion" caught my attention - "After a sighting of the true God ..."

    "Sightings of the true God" are life changing. It was life changing for Abraham. He had a sighting of the true God and left home for a strange land.

    I have the expectation that "a sighting of the true God" makes theology irrelevant. When we know God because we have seen Him we don't need theology. We know whom we have seen. We have met Him. He is a Person. The Person. The I AM. If we have experienced that, the castle of systematic theology falls away. Our libraries of books can quietly gather dust. All this blah blah on the Internet can be archived. The King declares His Kingdom among us and that is the reality.

    Sorry ...

    Getting carried away ...

    Am I overstating this? Did I miss something?

    On the other note, personally I do pray in tongues. Sometimes. I find it a helpful way to pray. And, I think, it builds me up in the Spirit and enables a communication with God at a different level from natural language.

    I believe it is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person.

    At times I have undergone teachings that tried to pin this down more precisely in theological terms. Such teaching can be helpful in an attempt to understand things. But more and more I have the attitude that the ways of God in His Kingdom are not to be captured and defined in our truth functional logic and terminology.

    He is the King. It is His Kingdom. And it is different in nature from any earthly kingdom no matter how precise its constitution and legal system.

    BUT, please keep on doing the theology and mediating the good bits to us! ;-)

    Thanks again,

  6. Thanks for shedding your light as well. In reading Newbigin this term I am becoming more and more dedicated to listening to the voices of other Christians, in hopes of clarifying and correcting my beliefs. For example, I was also a cessationist until I did some listening and read Scripture with a light on my filters.

    As for theological precision--I do try, though it is difficult for a global, artsy thinker like myself. Funny thing is, many have thought me to be just a bit too mystical for my own theological good. I mean, what kind of evangelical Protestant theologian writes splat poetry after doing a lectio divina?

    I--we--must always remember that knowing and loving God is much more important than knowing a set of propositions, however neatly categorized.