John Templeton Foundation Awards $3 Million to Biola University

Jan. 3, 2012 By Jason Newell

LA MIRADA, Calif., Jan. 4, 2011 —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.

Awarded 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 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 (www.templeton.org) describes itself as a “philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.”

For press information, visit http://now.biola.edu/.

For additional information about the Biola University Center for Christian Thought, visit the Center’s website at http://cct.biola.edu.

For media interviews, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at 562.777.4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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About Biola University

Biola University, named one of 17 “up and coming” national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, is a private Christian university located in Southern California. For more than 100 years, Biola has remained committed to its mission of biblically centered education, integrating biblical principles with every academic program. With a current record-high enrollment of 6,250 students, the university’s six schools offer 145 academic programs, ranging from the B.A. to the Ph.D. For more information, visit www.biola.edu.

 

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