John Templeton Foundation Awards $3 Million to Biola University

Largest research grant in school’s history funds innovative new Biola University Center for Christian Thought.

Dec. 21, 2011 By Jason Newell

The John Templeton Foundation has awarded a $3.03 million research grant to the Biola University Center for Christian Thought, an ambitious new initiative that will bring world-renowned Christian scholars together to research, collaborate and write about important questions facing Christianity in the 21st Century.

Announced Dec. 21, this is the largest academic grant ever awarded to Biola University. It will fund the Center over the next three years, helping to produce research and resources that offer a Christian perspective on such topics as how neuroscience informs our understanding of the soul, how contemporary psychology relates to spiritual growth and how to foster intellectual virtue and civil discourse.

“In the years ahead, we envision the Biola University Center for Christian Thought will be a leading source of scholarship on some of the most important issues facing the Church, the academy and the broader culture,” said Biola president Barry H. Corey. “This will not be merely a cerebral think tank. Instead, I believe the rich conversations integrating the historic Christian truths with the big questions of our day will have currency around the family kitchen table, from the pulpit and in the media.

“Biola is tremendously grateful that The John Templeton Foundation has recognized the value of this Center and has committed to invest its generous financial support,” Corey said.

Set to launch in February 2012, the Biola University Center for Christian Thought seeks to serve as an innovative opportunity for scholars and an important resource for society. At the heart of the Center is a residential fellowship program that will bring together eight research fellows — four Biola faculty members and four external scholars — for a semester at a time to do work on a selected theme. The Center will also bring well-known “visiting scholars” to Biola’s campus for several days or weeks at a time to help facilitate the dialogue.

Over the course of each year, researchers will produce books, articles, blog posts, videos, lectures, podcasts and other resources to help address some of the questions that matter to the Church and the academy. Each year will conclude with a public conference where participants will present their research related to the year’s theme.

The Center will also include pastors’ roundtable discussions and a pastor-in-residence who will collaborate with the researchers each semester and produce a publicly available sermon series related to the research.

During its inaugural semester in the spring of 2012, influential philosophers Alvin Plantinga (Calvin College) and Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale University) will come to the Center as visiting scholars, joining a team of eight research fellows who will focus on the theme of “Christian Scholarship in the 21st Century: Prospects and Perils.” Participants will examine the role of Christian scholarship in today’s world and seek to identify issues of particular importance for Christian scholars in years ahead.

"The goals of the Center, and the strong team of leaders that have been assembled to pursue these goals, make this a very exciting endeavor,” said John Churchill, director of philosophy and theology at the Templeton Foundation. “We're thrilled to be partnering with Biola on this undertaking, and we're confident that the Center will have a significant influence on the academy, the Church, and beyond."

The $3.03 million grant is part of the Templeton Foundation’s wider efforts to promote research and informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, theologians and the public on subjects it deems to be of public importance. The foundation describes itself as a “philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.”

“We are very grateful for this generous grant from the Templeton foundation,” said Biola professor Gregg Ten Elshof, who is serving as director of the Center, alongside professors Steve L. Porter and Thomas Crisp, who are serving as associate directors. “This grant makes it possible for us to facilitate cutting-edge Christian scholarship from a variety of disciplinary perspectives on significant issues and questions facing our world today.”

For additional information about the Biola University Center for Christian Thought, visit the Center’s website at

Read coverage of the Templeton Foundation grant in the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Post.

Written by Jason Newell, Associate Director of Communications and Publications. For more information, please contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at or via phone at 562.777.4061.


  • Anon Dec. 21, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Maybe some of the 3 million can go to students who are being forced to leave this university due to the insane tuition costs and lack of help from financial aid...

  • T. Kurt Jaros Dec. 27, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    Woo-hoo!! Anonymous, $3 mil is chump change in terms of tuition. $3 mil equates to 600 students paying $5,000. So, suppose out of all the students, Biola can cover all of their budget if students pay $30,000. But Biola wants to charge students $35,000 so that way they can expand, become more beautiful, become more scholarly, attract more students, etc. $3 mil for the CCT will allow Biola to take the next step in scholarly achievement. It's really becoming the "Harvard of Christian universities."

  • Ogechukwu Ibem Dec. 27, 2011 at 7:00 AM

    A right step in the right direction!!!

  • Joshua Carvalho Jan. 2, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Praise God!!! This is an amazing opportunity for Biola. May God use this new center to powerfully impact our world for His glory. To my brothers who are complaining about the way that this donation is being used...please be grateful for your education at Biola. All higher education at private universities is insanely expensive. That's part of the package of any private institution, but let's thank God for this 3 million being used for His kingdom and not be complain about an amazing blessing He has given to Biola.

  • Konstantin Jan. 4, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Kurt, Biola has some good apologetic/philosophy scholarship. As far as being Harvard... I'm sorry to say that, but Yale and Harvard (and most if not all other secular universities) became queer activism propaganda breeding machines... not places to get educated in the positive sense of that word. ;)

  • Also Anon. Jan. 7, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Everyone benefits when Biola has a mixture of students from different economic, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. Students at Harvard do not pay anything to attend if their families have income levels below $65,000 ----Do we want Biola to become a country-club like school that only the wealthy can attend?

  • Jan. 25, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    The argument is moot because the Templeton Foundation gave its donation to the Center for Christian Thought, not to Biola's general fund.

  • L Davong Feb. 3, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    May the Lord be glorified in all that we do with the blessings of this fund. Please see that Biola can retain students until graduation even if lacking of funding such as tuition affordability. Can Biola increase in international students enrollment should funding more available?

  • David from Los Angeles Feb. 15, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    $3 million from the Templeton Foundation for research - that's fantastic news. As others have said, the money was earmarked for research, not for to cover tutition - or anything else. Ethically - and legally - Biola isn't in a position to use money for anything else.

  • Former Advancement Employee Aug. 27, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    For those who fear that Biola will be even more unaffordable for students to attend, the best thing to do is to put your money where your mouth is. If all alumni were to donate a small amount per year specifically to student aid, say perhaps $50 to 100 (which averages out to $4.17 to 8.33 a month), then quite a bit can be accomplished on behalf of the current and future generations of Biola students.

  • Brilliant student Dec. 26, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    How on earth can anyone say that Biola can even come close to Harvard or Yale? Doesn't Biola accept 70-80% of applicants while Harvard and Yale only accept less than 20%? Isn't Biola only a third tier institution while Harvard and Yale are not only in the third tier, but also in the top five of the world? I don't believe that Biola is anywhere near the Ivy League.

Post a Comment

Your email will not be published as part of your comment.

Media Contact

  • Jenna Loumagne

    Assistant Director of Media Relations and Strategic Communication

  • Brenda Velasco

    Senior Director of University Communications


Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
© Biola University, Inc. All Rights Reserved.