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History: Cook School of Intercultural Studies

Biola’s Story

Biola was founded in downtown Los Angeles in 1908 to prepare men and women to impact the world for Jesus Christ. Soon, it began reaching out to the world and founded the Hunan Bible Institute in China in 1909. However, wars and civil strife continued to rage in China, making Biola's Hunan Bible Institute work all the more dangerous. In the summer of 1937, when Japan invaded China, the institute's buildings were threatened by constant bombings — Christian work in China was at great risk.

Continue the work of the Lord or leave China?

Biola's leaders had a tough decision to make — continue the work of the Lord or to leave China. It was decided to continue the work of the Lord under strenuous circumstances, and the institute graduated its first class since the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. But it was not long before the Communists placed tight restraints on missionaries and the Hunan Bible Institute property was confiscated and closed down in 1952.

In 1979, 27 years after the closure, the People's Republic of China compensated Biola for its abandoned properties.

Furthering the Mission

That repayment from the Hunan institute property in China provided financial support to begin Biola's School of Intercultural Studies, which began in 1983 under the leadership of Biola President Clyde Cook, a fourth-generation missionary.

Biola's mission to impact the world for Jesus Christ has not changed since 1908. Missions has always been, and continues to be, at the heart of all the programs at Biola University.

The School of Intercultural Studies was founded to further the Great Commission. As Biola's founding fathers declared during the early 1900s, "There are thousands of unoccupied fields throughout the land, and more than half of the earth's inhabitants have never heard the Gospel." The world has changed drastically since 1908 and the places and ways of communicating the gospel are different. Yet the message remains unchanged. The Cook School of Intercultural studies exists to equip students to communicate, live and work effectively in culturally diverse contexts, to make disciples of all peoples and impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.

In 2000, the Cook School of Intercultural Studies opened an extension center in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which offers classes to students in multiple graduate programs at the masters and doctoral levels. Students come from all over Asia, including China. Consider how God’s Story and your story come together — see that it's all about him — and will find your place of preparation here.