Torrey Conference Focuses on Being "With" God

Oct. 16, 2013 By Jenna Bartlo

LA MIRADA, CALIF. — Today, many Christian evangelicals work hard for Christ to be with God, rather than be with God to work hard, or simply be. This idea permeates Christian college campuses where to exegete Scripture and to pray are considered homework.

Some see nothing wrong with this. However, in theologian Skye Jethani’s new book, With, he delves into the potential problems of living for, under or over God rather than with God. 

Associate dean of Spiritual Development, Lisa Igram, at Biola University, sees these issues first hand.

“In discussing their spiritual lives, I hear students say things like, ‘I just need to work harder to not be so selfish/prideful/angry’ or ‘I just want to focus on serving God right now’,” said Igram.  “We see an assumption that being better for God or doing more for God will somehow make the struggles in their present life circumstances go away.”

Starting today, 4,000 students will gather for Biola’s 78th annual Torrey conference titled simply, “With,” inspired by Jethani’s book.

“While evangelical Christians should know better — acquainted as we are with the many scriptural invitations to open ever more deeply to his presence with us — we recognize that our enthusiasm to learn about God or work for him is not always the same as living life with him. And yet, this relational presence is our deepest human need,” said Todd Pickett, dean of Spiritual Development at Biola.

Classes are cancelled for the three-day conference each year to allow students to focus on the content. This year, the conference, named after Biola’s first dean, R.A. Torrey, will work through bringing that relational presence back to the forefront.

“One of our hopes is that our Torrey Conference theme, With, will help students consider how much the Lord desires to be with them in their present circumstances - as they struggle with sin, seek to serve, or whatever their situation may be - He offers us his presence,” Igram said.

Jethani is one of this year’s keynote speakers. Other speakers include VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer, author and Transforming Center founder Ruth Haley Barton, and psychologist and co-director of Biola’s Institute for Spiritual Formation, Betsy Barber.

View this year’s full Torrey schedule here:

For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Specialist, at 562.777.4061 or


Post a Comment

Your email will not be published as part of your comment.

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639