Experts on "Faith"

Octavio Javier Esqueda

  • Professor of Christian Higher Education

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 Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of North Texas. Before coming to Biola University in 2011, he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas for over seven years. He and his wife, Angélica, have two children Darío and Salma. 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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Craig J Hazen

  • Department Director
  • Director, M.A. in Christian Apologetics
  • Director, M.A. in Science and Religion

Founder and Director of M.A. Program in Christian Apologetics and Director of M.A. Program in Science and Religion at Biola University.

Craig Hazen is the editor of the philosophy journal, Philosophia Christi. He is also the author of the monograph The Village Enlightenment in America, the acclaimed apologetics novel Five Sacred Crossings, and dozens of articles and chapters in various books and journals. He is a recipient of the Fischer Award, the highest faculty honor at Biola and has lectured across North America and Europe on key apologetics topics — including lectures on Capitol Hill and in the White House. He is a popular church and conference speaker and former co-host of a national radio talk program.

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Joe Henderson

  • Associate Professor

Joe Henderson teaches Bible, literature, and hermeneutics. In his doctoral work at Fuller Theological Seminary, he studied hermeneutics and Old Testament literature. His dissertation on the poetry of the book of Jeremiah is the fruit of his interest in the relationship between the history of biblical interpretation and the history of literary criticism. His other interests include Robert Louis Stevenson's novels, Paul's theology, Milton's Prose, Brevard Childs' hermeneutics, Flannery O'Connor's stories, Charles Wesley's hymns and Francis of Assisi's life. Joe is a graduate of Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky and Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya. He and his wife Conchie served at Rift Valley Academy as dorm parents for fifth and sixth-grade girls. Now they are the grateful parents of Kip, William and Laurel.

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Matt Jenson

  • Associate Professor

Matt Jenson is a systematic theologian specializing in the doctrine of sin and ecclesiology. In so doing, he is motivated by a desire to understand what it means to be human in terms of the relationships for which we were created and in which we live, move and have our being. He holds a B.A. in literature and philosophy from Wheaton College and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), where he was part of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. He is the author of The Gravity of Sin: Augustine, Luther and Barth on 'homo incurvatus in se' and, with David Wilhite, The Church: A Guide for the Perplexed. Jenson is a happy and grateful part of Fountain of Life Covenant Church in Long Beach and an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

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Kevin Alan Lewis

  • Associate Professor of Theology and Law

Lewis specializes in the topics of systematic and polemical theology, theology and law integration, jurisprudence and Christian apologetics. He is the Founder and Director of the Evangelical Legal Society, an organization dedicated to the task of restoring the theological foundations of law and justice in society and providing Christians with the resources necessary to do law, justice and public policy from a foundation of evangelical theology. Lewis is an active lecturer at churches, colleges and conferences and has appeared on several radio and television shows, addressing a variety of topics.

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John E McKinley

  • Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies

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

  • Undergraduate Chair, Cook School of Intercultural Studies
  • Program Director Undergraduate Studies for Intercultural Studies
  • Associate 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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J.P. Moreland

  • Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

J. P. Moreland is Distinguished Professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He received a B. S. in physical chemistry from the University of Missouri, a Th.M. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of California at Riverside, and a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Southern California. He has authored, edited, or contributed papers to ninety-five books, including Does God Exist? (Prometheus), Universals (McGill-Queen’s), Consciousness and the Existence of God (Routledge), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism, and Debating Christian Theism (Oxford.) He has also published close to 90 articles in journals such as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, American Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, MetaPhilosophy, Philosophia Christi, Religious Studies, and Faith and Philosophy. Moreland was selected in 2016 by The Best Schools as one of the 50 most influential living philosophers.

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Ryan Peterson

  • Assistant Professor of Theology

Ryan Peterson’s goal as a professor is to help students grow in their knowledge and love of God through active participation in the church’s theological task. He teaches systematic theology with a commitment to recovering the theological and spiritual insights of the Christian tradition for the sake of contemporary appropriation. Peterson’s research interests lie in the areas of theological anthropology and theological method, including the theological interpretation of Scripture. His current projects include a book on the imago Dei (the subject of his doctoral dissertation) and a co-authored volume on the nature of theological language.

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Joshua Smith

  • Assistant Professor

Joshua Smith is very pleased to join the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola. He brings a wide range of experience in the instruction of literature and composition. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in American Literature and Culture. He received both his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern California. His research is in American literature, where he specializes in the nineteenth century, the American West, popular culture, media and race. As an ordained minister, he has participated in pastoral and short-term missions ministry at his local church for several years. Joshua is also a professional speaker and saxophone player. Animated, humorous, thought-provoking and explosive, he engages students with a personable and inspirational teaching style. Joshua and his wife Marsee have two boys, Josué and Angelo.

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Kyle Strobel

  • Assistant Professor, Institute of Spiritual Formation

Kyle Strobel 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, having published in the Harvard Theological Review, Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care and Relevant Magazine.

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David L Talley

  • Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Chair Biblical & Theological Studies Old Testament Department

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 co-pastors a local church, and enjoys research in the areas of Old Testament theology, the Pentateuch and the prophets. 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 seeks to focus on both the information of the biblical text and the transformation of the heart. His work has also been published in The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the Christian Research Journal . Talley travels extensively with the goal of partnering with the international church and training leaders, especially with a focus on impacting Muslim nations with the gospel. He has traveled to South Korea, Kenya, Thailand, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Honduras, Dominica, Nigeria, Mexico and the Congo to equip believers.

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Melissa Tan

Professor Tan hails from London, England. She gained a B.A. in Latin with Greek from University College London (UCL). After graduating, she moved to Taipei, Taiwan, where she spent six plus years working as a writer/editor for a Christian organization that specialized in producing ESL (English as a second language) TV and radio shows, magazines and other multimedia products, all as a form of pre-evangelism. Melissa moved to Southern California in 2009, to pursue two degrees at Talbot, while also ministering to the Talbot student community on Talbot Associated Students, with her final year as President. Since graduating, Melissa has been teaching Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation to Biola undergraduate students, and looks forward to serving Biola/Talbot students even more so now as full-time faculty.

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K. Erik Thoennes

  • Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Chair, Biblical & Theological Studies Theology Department

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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Suzanne Welty

  • Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Suzanne joins the Communicative Sciences and Disorders department this term after serving as adjunct faculty since 2011. She has been employed for over two decades in the public schools as a speech language pathologist and special education teacher. Suzanne has specialized in diagnosing and remediating communication, behavioral and social challenges of individuals diagnosed with Autism and other developmental disabilities. She counts it a privilege to equip her students to become competent and compassionate speech and language pathologists.

One of Suzanne’s deepest joys is helping those with special needs discover their unique talents and gifts as they find a place of service within the local church. In addition, Suzanne has a passion for missions. She has spent many summers in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Germany and finds joy in visiting, praying for, and investing in those who are serving Christ world-wide.

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Thaddeus John Williams

  • Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies

Dr. Williams loves enlarging students' understanding and enjoyment of God while teaching Theology 1 and 2 courses at Biola University. He also teaches History of Atheism, Introduction to Philosophy, and Biblical Literature in the secular college context. He has taught theology internationally, including seminaries in Nepal and Francis Schaeffer's L'Abri ministries in Switzerland and Holland. Dr. Williams is a frequent guest speaker at churches and conferences, in addition to serving as a teaching pastor at a local church. His academic works include Love, Freedom, and Evil (Rodopi, 2011), used in seminaries around the world and currently being translated to German, and his recent popular publication, The Exchange (AIMBooks, 2012). His research interests include the Trinity, divine and human agency, dialogue with atheists and theology of culture.

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