Dr. Eddie Byun, head of Talbot’s Doctor of Ministry program, is the author of a number of books, including the award-winning Justice Awakening, Praying for Your Pastor, and Praying for Your Missionary. He was born in Korea and moved to Chicago at the age of 2. He is a fifth-generation Christian who has traveled around the world preaching, pastoring and discipling the nations everywhere he has gone. He is married to Ally, and they have a 9-year-old son named Enoch and a daughter named Emma who went to be with the Lord. They currently reside in Irvine, California.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your faith journey, including when you came to faith and how you felt called to vocational ministry.
God gave me a desire to read through the Bible in 6th grade and when I came to John 3:3 on being born again, I was wrestling with what that meant and wondered about my own salvation. Later that summer, I attended my first retreat and the speaker talked about how to be born again. God prepared me for this moment and I immediately gave my life to Christ. I was so overjoyed and my life was never the same. As for ministry, I received God’s call into pastoral ministry my first year of college at the University of Illinois. Upon graduation, I went to Regent College for my M.Div. and later to Gordon-Conwell where I studied preaching under Haddon Robinson.
Q: What are you generally passionate for in your calling? Also, what are some of your hobbies that you like to do for relaxation?
If I were to summarize my 25 years in pastoral ministry, I’d say three passions that stand out would be: justice, missions and preaching. When it comes to justice, God led me to help vulnerable groups (trafficked victims, orphans, stateless children, single moms, refugees) in Korea and throughout Southeast Asia. For missions, I was able to go to over 30 countries and see God’s Spirit moving among the nations. And for preaching, I see the Word of God as one of the greatest gifts entrusted to us. I love studying it and seeing it declared faithfully.
For relaxing, I love going to the beach with my wife, traveling and finding new places to eat. With my son, we love to play and watch football and baseball (I’m a huge Ohtani fan).
Q: Share a bit about some of your highlights and favorite memories in ministry.
There are so many, but a couple that stand out would be my time in Sydney (7 years) and Korea (12 years). God gave me the honor of seeing hundreds of young people in Australia give their lives to Christ and many of them are now in pastoral ministry. Additionally, my time in Korea was when God led me to pursue justice through the church. We were able to change 15 laws in Korea (10 for trafficking issues and 5 for adoption and orphan care issues), CNN covered one of our Freedom Sunday services that highlighted human trafficking, and God led me to make a documentary on trafficking in Korea called Save My Seoul, which won best documentary at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in Los Angeles a few years ago. Those were some special seasons of ministry.
Q: How and when did you come to Biola? And what classes do you teach?
I came to Biola in January of 2020, a few months before Covid-19 hit, so I still feel like I’m a newbie in many ways. After pastoring for 25 years, I sensed it was a new season to prepare others for church ministry. My prayer since college was “Prepare me as best as you can, to use me as much as you can.” Now my prayer is “Use me as much as you can, to prepare others as best as you can.” Currently I teach Biblical Interpretation and Teaching (Preaching) and Spiritual Formation, and I am also the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program for Talbot.
Q: What have you appreciated about Biola so far? And what exhortation would you like to give?
I’ve been really blessed by the humility and camaraderie of the faculty. I also love the school’s commitment to the faithful study of God’s Word. As for a final exhortation, since we’re still in the midst of Covid-19, I’d like to touch upon suffering. Suffering has a way of both revealing and refining faith. It seems many were not prepared (in faith) to enter a prolonged season of suffering. Therefore, now more than ever, we must teach a solid theology of suffering, helping our people hold on to Christ and to hope in him.