Sundoulos - Winter 2007

Educating for a Lifetime of Faithful Service

by Rick Bee

In 1955 when the first graduating class of Talbot Seminary walked the stage in the Church of the Open Door, “it was a very different time.” So says David Carver, a member of that first graduating class. At the time, the school met in the downtown campus of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and classes were integrated into the curriculum of the undergraduate program using many of the same Bible professors that the undergraduate students enjoyed. One sign of the excellent things to come was the introduction of Dr. J. Vernon McGee in 1945, and Dr. Charles Feinberg in 1949. David recalls that these men were significant additions to Biola (and, with the formation of the seminary, to Talbot also), key parts of a tradition of excellent Bible teaching and preparation for pastors, teachers and laymen who wanted advanced Bible training.

Mr. Carver believes that his experiences at Talbot made him the person he is today. In those early years, the relationships with faculty and staff framed both his future career and his love for the word of God. Because of his passion for Bible resources and training, and seeing a need within this young school, David was asked as a senior student in 1955 to establish the first theology library to serve Talbot and Biola. Many of those early texts remain today as classic library holdings in Biola’s library—and now we know who to thank!

That first graduating class at Talbot included Lee Burris, David Carver, Bob Cleaver, Irvin Jenkins, Austin Lent, Laverne Hoffer, Stewart Smith, and Burney Stymus. All were students who had come up through Biola’s undergraduate program and desired advanced training in God’s word. Several of these men became pastors and teachers, and all demonstrated a love for God’s word throughout their lives.

But, like today’s seminary, not everyone who finished in those early Talbot years was destined for the pulpit. Some worked in ministry in the secular world, passionate about upholding their faith with strength, knowledge, and conviction. David Carver himself spent time serving the Pasadena Parks Department as a draftsman, worked with a landscape architecture firm, and completed his career serving the ministry of his old seminary professor Dr. J. Vernon McGee, through the ministry of “Thru the Bible” Radio writing scripts, editing tapes, and serving in the shipping department. It was while working at “Thru the Bible” that Dr. McGee introduced David to his future wife Jacquelyn.

When asked about the challenges during those early years at Talbot, David recalled that “Teachers made little money at either the seminary or college level, the downtown facilities were old (even in the 1950s) but the education was good!” Radio was also a big part of Biola and Talbot at the time and much of the publicity to recruit students came from the Bible teaching that was done on air.

As for his most memorable class moment, David said, “One of my advanced Bible study classes with Dr. Feinberg only had two of us in it. The other student got sick and had to drop out of school, so the last month of class it was only me and Dr. Feinberg. That’s when you really learn how to study, because you’re the only one in class he can ask a question!” That’s one thing that has changed at Talbot as classes are full and students and faculty alike are challenged by space issues!

One thing that hasn’t changed is why people come to be trained at Talbot. David says, “We came because of the quality of the teaching” and “how it prepared us to serve others.” He continues, “Talbot was the equipping part of my Bible training. I’ve had much good training through the years but the training at Talbot was the foundation upon which everything was built!”

Talbot students would say the same thing today, now fifty years later, as the tradition of creating a firm biblical and theological foundation, preparing men and women to serve Kingdom causes, remains the hallmark of a Talbot education. Thank you, David, for being a wonderful example of a faithful steward to future alumni and friends of Talbot. May God continue to bless you and other members of Talbot’s growing alumni population, with years of faithful service to our God.

Rick Bee
Biola ’79, Talbot ’90, ‘01
Senior Director of Alumni Relations

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639