LA MIRADA, CALIF. — Biola University will launch the Center for the Study of the Work and Ministry for the Holy Spirit Today in fall 2017. Funded by a $3 million donation, the academic center is a 10-year initiative that will provide resources for a biblical examination of the person and ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, including research, publications, conferences, events and services for students.
"I believe this center will play a critical role in strengthening Biola University in the midst of the challenges we face in a rapidly changing, secularizing context," said president Barry H. Corey. "We need to tap into the Spirit's power in our own campus and celebrate His movement in the wider world. Christian higher education demands not just intellectual development but spiritual formation, not just rational inquiry but supernatural encounter."
The center is envisioned as a home for biblical scholars who wish to provide greater attention to not just a theology of the Holy Spirit but also the awakening and empowering of the Holy Spirit. It will be a training ground for students and faculty who want a greater infusion of the Spirit’s enablement to be more effective in evangelism, global mission, praying for the sick, bringing deliverance to the oppressed and defeating the power of sin.
Among the initiatives led by the center will be a global leader-in-residence appointment with two one-week intensive residents for an internationally influential Christian leader, a faculty fellows research program, a biennial international student conference on spirit empowerment, a biennial symposium featuring faculty research, monthly spirit empowerment vespers services, and collaborative work with existing Biola departments.
“Biola wants to learn from the extraordinary ways that the Spirit is working globally and for our students to experience this empowerment to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Clinton E. Arnold, dean of Talbot School of Theology, who has helped to guide the proposal for the center. “We believe that this may indeed be a place where God pours out his Spirit in palpable ways that call us to bolder lives of obedience and service and evangelism.”
In funding the center, the donors, who wished to remain unnamed, noted that Biola has a long tradition of emphasizing the importance of the Word of God. The motivation for funding a center at Biola was to balance the study of the Word of God with a renewed emphasis on the empowering work of the Holy Spirit, they said.
The center will function under the oversight of Talbot School of Theology, and will be housed on campus. A director to lead the center will be selected with help from a search committee later this spring, at the conclusion of a nationwide search process that began earlier this year.
Biola leaders see the center as a powerful counterweight to the challenges pressing upon Christian colleges and universities.
“We would be so bold as to pray and plan that through this project Biola would be a place where God would begin a revival the likes of which we have never seen and the impact of which would be globally felt, advancing the gospel around the world,” states the center’s proposal document.
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