Sundoulos - Summer 2009

Campus News

Faculty Awards

Faculty excellence was the focus of the March 16th Provost’s Luncheon. Among the University faculty, the following Talbot faculty were recognized and commended for their accomplishments: Mick Boersma (Christian Ministry and Leadership), Award for Career Achievement and Leadership; Betsy Barber, John Coe and Judy TenElshof (Spiritual Formation), the Robert B. Fisher Award for Faculty Excellence; and Joe Hellerman (NewTestament), Award of Excellence in Scholarship.

Hispanic Conference

On March 28th, Talbot and Biola sponsored the 30th Annual Biola Hispanic Conference. An enthusiastic and record audience of over 900 pastors, lay–leaders, youth, and children, enjoyed worship, plenary messages, workshops and other special programs. The conference is for Spanish–speaking evangelicals from the greater Southern California region, as well as English–speaking youth from these same churches. Participants came from as far as Tracy, San Diego, and Palm Desert.

Rev. Daniel Catarisano, U.S. Director of Hispanic Ministries with Focus on the Family, spoke on the theme “Strong Marriages: the Foundation of the Family.” Conferees packed many workshop venues to overflowing to hear practical teaching on topics related to the conference theme of strong marriages.

The 31st Annual Biola Hispanic Conference is scheduled for Saturday, March 13th, 2010 (details forthcoming). Additionally, a preaching seminar for Hispanic pastors and teachers is being planned for this fall on Saturday, November 7th. The seminar will be conducted by Talbot professor of homiletics and award–winning author, Dr. Don Sunukjian. The seminar will be translated into Spanish for those in attendance. Contact Dennis Gaines at (562) 944–0351, ext.5508, for information on either event.

“Does God Exist?”
Debate Brings Large Audience

More than 10,000 watched as William Lane Craig, research professor of philosophy at Talbot, and atheist and journalist Christopher Hitchens debated the question “Does God Exist?” in an event Saturday evening, April 4, 2009. The question of the night’s debate, hosted by Biola University’s Master of Arts program in Christian Apologetics, attracted a diverse audience of Christians, non–Christians and atheists alike.

Approximately 4,000 watched the debate on Biola University’s campus, either in Chase Gymnasium where the debate took place or in one of the overflow sites. There were satellite sites in the surrounding community, as well as more than 120 churches and other facilities in 30 states and 4 countries broadcasting the debate. The debate was moderated by Hugh Hewitt, a well–known law professor, nationally–syndicated broadcast journalist,guest commentator and author.

Hitchens, author of the bestselling God is Not Great, is among the best known critics and controversial writers in today’s media. Craig, one of the leading contemporary philosophers and Christian apologists in the world, is also an accomplished debater.

Craig’s opening argument presented five lines of evidence for the existence of God (cosmological argument, teleological argument, moral argument, the resurrection of Jesus, and the immediate experience of God). Hitchens argued that there is not a God or intelligent designer; rather, humans evolved over time. He emphasized that a claim as large as the existence of God would need substantial evidence, stating that there is no plausible reason to believe that there is a God.

Craig noted in his closing argument that Hitchens failed to engage any of his arguments throughout the debate. Hitchens relied for most of the night on the argument that morality is not dependent upon God, while affirming that he saw no evidence fora supernatural realm.

The debate attracted reporters, bloggers and even tweeters. Whittier Daily News article,“The Great Debate,” made the front page of their print edition. The Baptist Press ran an article, “Atheist Hitchens, Apologist Craig Debate God’s Existence.” Also, the Christian Post published an article on Tuesday, April7, “Renowned Apologist and Atheist Debate‘Does God Exist?’” Blogger Doug TenNapel wrote his view of the debate on Big Hollywood blog, “Does God Exist? Hitchens vs. Craig.” Nearly 40 blogs were posted during and after the event. Talbot Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, Doug Geivett, posted an excellent detailed summary on his blog. [Edited with permission from an article by Jenna Bartlo.]

Talbot Expansion Project Update

The Biola University graduating class of 2009 will be adopting a portion of the proposed Talbot building complex as part of their senior gift, according to AS President Eric Weaver. The class will either contribute to a rooftop garden on the new building, or donate funds for an entire classroom, depending on how much money is raised from seniors. A plaque in the building will acknowledge the class’s donations. [From The Chimes, May 7, 2009, article by Michelle Rindels.]

Giving for the new Talbot Building Complex is approaching $8M. The Development staff is working diligently toward the goal of raising the $10M needed to break ground for the Talbot East facility. The decision has been made for a number of strategic reasons to pull the building permit, which commits us to breaking ground within 12 months.

Please pray that the Lord will honor this step of faith and provide the necessary additional funding. Continue to pray for a number of potential donors who are considering sizeable gifts, for the Board, for Dr. Corey, and for the Development staff. For more information about this project, please visit: www.biola.edu/talbotproject.

Biola University
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