Experts on "Discipleship"

Octavio Javier Esqueda

  • Professor of Christian Higher Education
  • Director, Ph.D. and Ed.D. Programs in Educational Studies

Octavio Javier Esqueda is a professor of Christian higher education in the doctoral programs in educational studies at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. He was born and raised in Guadalajara, México, where he graduated with honors with a Licenciatura in Latin American Literature from the University of Guadalajara as well as two additional diplomas, one on religion and society and the second on journalism. He graduated with honors from Dallas Theological Seminary with an M.A. in Christian Education and completed his doctorate (Ph.D.) in Higher Education at the University of North Texas. Before coming to Biola University he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He and his wife, Angélica, have two children Darío and Salma. Dr. Esqueda has several publications on theological education, Christian higher education, and literature. Teaching is his passion and has had the opportunity to teach in several countries on different academic levels. He is an avid soccer fan.

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Kevin E Lawson

  • Professor of Educational Studies

Kevin Lawson cares deeply about strengthening the educational ministry of churches. For 11 years, he served on church staffs as a minister of Christian education. He holds degrees in Christian education, biblical studies and educational administration, and carries out research on local church educational ministry, church staff issues, theological and historical foundations of Christian education, children’s spiritual formation, and other related topics. Lawson teaches on the historical foundations of Christian education, leadership issues and educational research methods, and does ministry consultation. His recent publications include: Supervising and Supporting Ministry Staff: A Guide to Thriving Together (co-authored with Mick Boersma, 2017); Associate Staff Ministry: Thriving Personally, Professionally, and Relationally (co-authored with Mick Boersma, 2014); Infants and Children in the Church: Five Views on Theology and Ministry (co-edited with Adam Harwood, 2017), Understanding Children's Spirituality: Theology, Research, and Practice (editor, 2012) and has contributed chapters to Shaped by God: Twelve Essentials for Nurturing Faith in Children, Youth, and Adults (2010), Introducing Christian Education and Formation (2008), Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World's Religious Traditions (2006), Children's Spirituality: Christian Perspectives, Research, and Applications (2004), and multiple entries in the Encyclopedia of Christian Education (2015). His research and writing has been published in several periodicals, including Christian Education Journal, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Religious Education, Journal of Youth Ministry, Growing Churches, The Journal for Case Teaching and two international journals. He serves as editor of the Christian Education Journal and “Christian Educators of the 20th Century Project.” He chairs the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities’ Council for Collaboration in Doctoral Education and works with the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education on issues of doctoral education development.

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Gary L McIntosh

  • Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership

Gary L. McIntosh is a nationally and internationally known professor of Christian Ministry & Leadership. He is recognized as the foremost spokesperson for classical Church Growth Missiology in the USA. As a church growth expert, he publishes Growth Points, a monthly publication read by over 7,000 church leaders. McIntosh is in wide demand as a speaker and seminar leader on numerous subjects related to church life and ministry. He has published over 300 articles and reviews in Christian magazines and theological journals, and is the author of twenty-two books including One Size Doesn't Fit All; One Church, Four Generations; Staff Your Church for Growth; Biblical Church Growth, and the award-winning What Every Pastor Should Know: 101 Indispensable Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church (Baker Books, 2013).

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John E McKinley

  • Associate Professor of Theology

Professor McKinley is most interested in the theological questions that touch on personal engagement with God. God is there, but how does God sweep us up into relationship with him existentially? These questions about sanctification, discipleship, and Christology led to Dr. McKinley's doctoral study on the temptation experience of Jesus Christ. He has continued to work on the doctrines of Christology, ecclesiology, and sanctification as part of teaching through these topics. Dr. McKinley regularly teaches an integration seminar, The Human Body in Christian Perspective. This integration is to pull together theology of the human body with the best learning from science about nutrition, sport, fashion, medical technology, and etc. that help us to live in the body God gave us. Professor McKinley's interest in this course follows an earlier career aspiration to be a professional athlete in the sport of bicycle road racing, a sport he continues to enjoy at the level of a hobby. Dr. McKinley has also worked in youth ministry and urban ministry, and he is currently a member of Granda Heights Friends Church in La Mirada. He currently teaches Theology I, Theology II, Systematic Theology Seminar: Ecclesiology, and First Year Seminar: Biblical and Theological Studies Majors.

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Alan McMahan

  • Program Director Undergraduate Studies for Cook School of Intercultural Studies
  • Professor of Intercultural Studies

Alan McMahan has served in churches in North America and on the Pacific Rim as well as taught in the areas of missiology, church growth, leadership, organizational development and evangelism. He has been active in training undergraduate and graduate students including mid-career professionals, Bible school teachers, pastors and denominational leaders through the U.S., Canada, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia in the effective means to develop leaders and grow churches. He maintains an active consulting service in churches and is the former President of the American Society of Church Growth. He has earned degrees from Fuller Seminary, Asbury Seminary, the Alliance Theological Seminary and Nyack College. His Ph.D. dissertation was entitled, "Training Turnaround Leaders, Systemic Approaches to Reinstate Growth in Plateaued Churches." He has served as a Vice President for the Alliance Theological Seminary, and as the Academic Dean at The King’s College in mid-town Manhattan. McMahan now works at Biola University as an Associate Professor in the School of Intercultural Studies and serves as the Department Chair for the Undergraduate Intercultural Studies Program. He is married to Terri, and has two sons.

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David Merrill

  • Assistant Professor, ISF-CTI

David Merrill and his wife first joined the Biola community in 2006 when Merrill began as a Master of Divinity student and his wife took on an administration role at Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation. During his time as a student, Merrill immersed himself in the academic and communal life of the campus taking on roles varying from adjunct faculty, staff spiritual director, and resident coordinator. Merrill earned his Master of Divinity in Spiritual Formation in 2010 and Master of Theology in 2012. In 2017, he completed his doctorate in theology at Durham University, in England. He still misses those beautiful crisp morning English countryside walks to his office every day. Merrill’s thesis dealt with the spiritual theology of Thomas Traherne; exploring how beauty and desire function as central components in his theological convictions and pastoral impulse. For the past two years he has been teaching spiritual formation courses for Talbot’s core curriculum. Most recently, Merrill has helped pastor a church in Paradise, California – Paradise Evangelical Free Church – as it navigates the aftermath of the recent devastating fires there and the ongoing call of God for that city.

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Victor S Rhee

  • Professor of New Testament Language and Literature

Victor Rhee specializes in Hebrews and general epistles in the New Testament. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on "The Concept of Faith in the Overall Context of the Book of Hebrews," and authored Faith in Hebrews: Analysis within the Context of Christology, Eschatology, and Ethics (Peter Lang). He also contributed articles to The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon Press). He had presented papers at the Evangelical Theological Society, Korean New Testament Society and Society of Biblical Literature meetings. He also had articles published in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Bibliotheca Sacra, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Filologia Neotestamentaria and Westminster Theological Journal. Rhee also initiated the formation the study group for Asian/Asian-American scholars in the the Evangelical Theological Society, which is now known as Asian/Asian-American Consultation Group. Before coming to Talbot, he served in different Korean churches in the U.S. as senior pastor, EM (English Ministry) pastor, youth pastor, assistant pastor and minister of education. Rhee is active in teaching and preaching in Korean-American churches, and has the role of visiting and encouraging the Talbot alumni pastors in different churches in Southern California. In the past he founded the Korean Talbot Institute for Biblical Studies (KTIBS) and taught the Bible systematically to the church lay leaders in Southern California for over 12 years. Rhee also played a key role in founding the Korean Student Scholarship for Talbot School of Theology through the generous contributions of Chan-il Foundation and many other Korean Christians.

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Kyle Strobel

  • Associate Professor of Spiritual Theology

Kyle Strobel (Ph.D. University of Aberdeen) is a systematic theologian who teaches spiritual theology for Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Formation Focus programs. His areas of interest include systematic theology, Jonathan Edwards, spiritual formation and prayer. He writes both popular and academic books and articles, and is on the preaching team at Redeemer Church, La Mirada.

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David L Talley

  • Professor, Talbot
  • Professor of Old Testament
  • NCAA Division II Faculty Athletics Representative

With varied ministry experiences, including student development, counseling, pastoring and teaching psychology and Old Testament studies, David Talley brings a blend of scholarship and practical application to his classroom instruction. He also serves as a member of the pastoral team at a local church. Talley enjoys research in the areas of Old Testament theological themes, local church ministry, and contemporary theological issues. His dissertation research on the judgment of pain in Genesis 3 continues to be a focus in his research as he formulates a perspective on Godly living in a difficult world. Talley is passionate about understanding and teaching the truths of God's Word, discipling and equipping others, and "passing on the faith" to the next generation. In 2013, he completed a survey book on the Old Testament, which blends the information of the biblical text with the transformation of the heart. His research has also been published in The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, Eikon (formerly the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) and the Christian Research Journal. Talley has traveled to over 20 countries in order to partner with the international church in leadership training, especially with a focus on pastors and equipping the church to impact Muslim nations with the gospel. He is Vice-President of an organization, which provides training for underground church leaders in persecuted countries, and he serves on several mission boards.

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K. Erik Thoennes

  • Professor and Chair of Theology

Erik Thoennes is committed to teaching biblical and systematic theology so that he and his students love God and people more fully. He strives to make the necessary connections between the study of theology, obedience to Jesus and fulfilling the Great Commission. He has taught theology and evangelism at the college and seminary levels for several years and is a frequent guest speaker at churches, conferences and retreats, in addition to co-pastoring a local church. Thoennes has received the University award for faculty excellence and professor of the year. His research interests include godly jealousy, the atonement, the exclusivity of Christ and theology of culture.

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Michael J. Wilkins

  • Distinguished Professor of New Testament Language and Literature

Dr. Wilkins specializes in New Testament theology, Christology, and discipleship. The former Dean of the Faculty and Chair of the New Testament Department, he now focuses on teaching advanced exegesis classes. He is author of Matthew (NIVAC); Following the Master: Biblical Theology of Discipleship; “Matthew” (ZIBBC); In His Image: Reflecting Christ in Everyday Life; and Discipleship in the Ancient World and Matthew’s Gospel (2nd ed.), among others. Dr. Wilkins was co-editor of Worship, Theology and Ministry in the Early Church (Festschrift for Ralph P. Martin) and with J.P. Moreland, Jesus Under Fire. He published articles in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Society of Biblical Literature, Anchor Bible Dictionary, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, Discipleship Journal, and Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, among others. He is a visiting professor at international schools, including University of Aberdeen, Asian Graduate School of Theology, Chongshin Theological Seminary, and Sheffield University. Dr. Wilkins is ordained in the Evangelical Free Church of America, and is the former senior pastor of two EFCA churches. He has been married to his wife Lynne for over 48 years, and they have two married daughters and two granddaughters.

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