Biola Faculty Contribute to National Theological and Philosophical Discussions

Professor Scott Rae Gives Plenary Address

Dec. 8, 2009 By Jenna Bartlo

More than 20 professors from Biola University participated as panelists or presented academic papers at the 2009 Evangelical Theological Society and Evangelical Philosophical Society gatherings in New Orleans on Nov. 18-20.

The large contingent of Biolans–including President Barry H. Corey–joined nearly 1,900 evangelical students and professors of theology, biblical studies, philosophy, education, history, and apologetics at the annual conferences, which always occur the week before Thanksgiving and provide a snapshot of issues currently stirring among evangelical scholars and their institutions.

Biola's involvement was particularly strong this year, and included papers on a diverse array of topics, including Trinitarian theology, spiritual formation, theological imperatives for diversity, and much more.

The theme of this year's conference was "Personal and Social Ethics." Biola's Scott Rae, chair of the department of philosophy of religion and ethics at Talbot School of Theology, delivered one of the conference's four plenary addresses on the theme. Rae's paper, "On the Intersection of Faith, Economics and Social Ethics: Business and Spiritual Transformation" was Biola's highest-profile contribution at this year's conference and struck a chord with many in attendance.

"The direction of most conversations around 'faith-business integration' has been one way (with faith transforming the workplace)," observed Rae in the address. "Less obvious, however, are the ways that God may move in the other direction and use business in a reciprocal (though not always comfortable) manner to shape us in positive ways."

The ethics of business involves more than just paying attention to whether someone or some organization has integrity, suggested Rae, who teaches business ethics at Biola and co-authored with Bruce Fong, the well-received textbook, Beyond Integrity: A Judeo-Christian Approach to Business Ethics (Zondervan, 2004).

"God uses business as an arena for spiritual transformation," said Rae in his plenary message. "Involvement in business is a crucible in which many important character traits are nurtured, and in which a person's daily intimacy with God is cultivated."

Rae's emphasis is similar to a unique orientation within Biola's Crowell School of Business which fostered by associate professor of economics Steve Rundle, has put special emphasis on the interrelationship between business and international Christian missions (see the recent Wall Street Journal column that highlighted the work of Rundle).

Rae's talk provided a helpful bridge wherein theologians, soul-care providers, ethicists, entrepreneurs and business leaders could connect and benefit from each other's knowledge and experience.

In addition to Rae's plenary talk, several other Biola faculty presented papers on a wide range of topics:

Coe, John, 'Spiritual Theology: Bridging the Sanctification Gap for the Sake of the Church.'

Draycott, Andy, 'How May Ethics Be Preached? Comparing the Sermons of Oliver O'Donovan and Stanley Hauerwas.'

Finley, Thomas, 'An Exegetical and Theological Study of Daniel 11 with Hermeneutical Implications.'

Franklin, Richard, 'The Image of God: Defining Self-Concept for Authentic Leadership.'

Geivett, Doug, 'An Anti-Naturalist Argument from Beauty.'

Gomes, Alan, 'Faustus Socinus (1539-1604) and John Calvin on the Merits of Christ.'

Hutchinson, John, 'Significance of the Vine Motif in John 15: An Interpretive Model For Jesus' Messianic 'I am' Statements.'

Jenson, Matt, Joanne Jung, and Benjamin Shin, 'Theological Imperatives for Diversity.'

Jones, Clay, 'Christians Don't Take Human Evil Seriously so We Don't Understand Why We Suffer.'

McKinley, John, 'Some Christological Psalms as Pre-Recorded Accounts of Jesus, not David's Experiences.'

Naidu, Ashish, 'Christology and the Christian Life in the Preaching of John Chrysostom.'

Pickavance, Timothy, 'A New(ish) Argument Against Humeanism.'

Russell, Walt, 'The Intended Application.'

Sanders, Fred, 'Trinitarian Theology's Exegetical Basis.'

Saucy, Mark, 'Kingdom Now!...Er, Kingdom Not Yet? The Role of the Spirit in Kingdom Ethics.'

Saucy, Robert, 'The Role of Good Works in Biblical Salvation.'

Smith, R. Scott, 'For Lack of Intrinsic Intentionality, and Its Constructive Implications' & 'Implications of Brian McLaren's Ethics.'

TenElshof, Judy, 'The Unique Roles of Marriage, Family, and Community in Spiritual Formation.'

Wilkins, Michael, 'Discerning the Theology of Matthew: Method and Issues.'

In addition to the above presentations, J.P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy, delivered a word of encouragement at the reception of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, where he stressed the importance of Christian philosophy for the sake of the church and the advancement of God's kingdom.

Biola's Christian apologetics program supports an annual apologetics conference following ETS where speakers help people grow in knowledge of how and why the Christian worldview is trustworthy.

Read more on EPS.

Audio from the ETS and EPS meetings can be purchased from ACTS products and services.

Written by Joseph Gorra, Christian Apologetics. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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