Experts on "World Religions"

Richard Gunasekera

  • Associate Dean and Professor, Academic and Research Affairs
  • Professor of Biological Sciences
  • Professor of Biochemistry

Richard Gunasekera, Ph.D., has enjoyed a 20-year career in higher education as professor and a scientist in the field of Biochemical Genetics and Forensic DNA. He earned his bachelor’s in biochemistry at Baylor University, where he researched and published in organic synthesis as an undergraduate. Gunasekera earned a master’s degree in bio-organic chemistry from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, a master’s in molecular genetics and a doctorate in Biomedical Sciences at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Before coming to Biola in 2018, Gunasekera founded the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Houston-Victoria and acted as the Department Head and later as Director of Graduate Studies. He has held faculty and research positions at Texas A&M University Health Science Center, the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and Rice University in Houston. Gunasekera’s research now spans several interdisciplinary fields such as cancer biology, forensic DNA studies, nano-biotechnology and biochemical genetics. He has also received awards for excellence in teaching, research and as a distinguished faculty member from his previous institutions. 

Working with his students and colleagues in research Gunasekera stays committed to the student and the classroom. He believes that all teaching in the sciences is an extension of rigorous research and discovery, and that a science professor is best when he professes what he practices in the laboratory. Thus, he considers teaching both graduates and undergraduates in the classroom and laboratory in a Christ-centered environment as his first calling. He is committed to work as a team member to contribute toward building a world class institution and continue to make Biola a national leader in the sciences.

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Craig J Hazen

  • Director, Christian Apologetics Program
  • Professor of Christian Apologetics

Craig Hazen is the founder and director of the master's program with a concentration in Christian apologetics and director of the master's program with a concentration in science and religion at Biola University.

Craig is the editor of Philosophia Christi, a philosophy journal. 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 a former co-host of a national radio talk program.

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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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Alan McMahan

  • Undergraduate Chair, Cook School of Intercultural Studies
  • Program Director Undergraduate Studies for 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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Ashish J Naidu

  • Associate Professor of Theology

Ashish Naidu's interests are in the areas of historical and systematic theology, particularly in exploring the historical-theological foundations of the Christian faith. Besides contributing to various publications and regularly presenting at academic societies, he relishes teaching theology enriched by insights from the great tradition of historic Christianity. Naidu desires to serve the church by assisting it to advance from the knowledge of sacred Scripture to the knowledge of sacred doctrine for the practical Christian life that is deeply committed to glorifying God. He is married to Sabita and they have two delightful children named Sharon and Nathan. Naidu is an ordained minister and has served in various capacities in the church, including preaching, teaching, pastoral care and evangelism-discipleship ministries in Asia, North America and Europe.

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Judith Mendelsohn Rood

  • Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies

Judith Mendelsohn Rood received her Ph.D. in Modern Middle Eastern History from the University of Chicago and her M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. She earned her B.A. at New College, an experimental liberal arts college modeled on the Oxford University curriculum, and did undergraduate and graduate work at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Rood was the first woman ever permitted to undertake research in the Islamic Archives in Jerusalem, and was the first American since 1967 to do so. Her specialization is the Muslim community in Jerusalem during the Ottoman period. She is especially interested in the relations of Muslims, Christians and Jews from an historical perspective. Currently she is working on writing a history of world civilizations. Rood loves the arts, hiking, swimming and good conversation.

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Thaddeus John Williams

  • Associate Professor of Theology

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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