Church in too many places

Aaron Fooks discusses the reasons he believes Biola to be a church.


| Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Aaron Fooks, Writer

Junior Aaron Fooks discusses the reasons he believes Biola to be a church. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES


“Get out of the bubble! Go to church!” the voice from the pulpit yells at me while I sit listening to yet another sermon on how to live while at Biola.

But why did I come to Biola and why am I still here? I chose Biola over the other universities because my tour guide prayed with me and my family at the end of the tour. The bubble makes Biola different. We live in an all-Christian community with people who work to engage you in ways that foster spiritual growth. Student Life and Spiritual Development provide ten chapels per week for our spiritual maturity. We have the foundation of our faith taught to us in a way that encourages us to love and serve God.

Biola sounds, feels, believes and acts as a church. I believe that John Calvin in his “Institutes of the Christian Religion” effectively boiled down the definition of a church. He wrote, “Wherever we see the word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ's institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists.”

The chapels and programs Biola puts on for the student body cover these parameters. In chapels, the word is preached not only by the faculty and staff of Biola but also by many famous and spiritually-wise speakers from around the world.  

We listen and respond, sometimes by joining a Student Missionary Union’s missions trip, sometimes by donating a meal to the Brown Bag Ministry or by seeking guidance from an RA, RD, professor, friend or Spiritual Director. We practice the sacrament of communion together at convocation, Singspiration or at the Torrey or Missions conferences. The sacrament of baptism happens through multiple ministries or during a missions trip.

With all this opportunity for growth, a huge administration that cares for my spiritual growth and friends who seek the love of God alongside me, why must I go to a local church? I know the benefits of going to and investing in a local church. However, right now I feel spread thin. I am disappointed in myself when I do go to church and cannot give my time or energy.

Now, this is not to say that I do not want to go to a local church or that I do not believe that the local church is the body of Christ. I look forward to the day when I start investing wholeheartedly into a local church and am able to give of myself to that community. I am saying it has become hard to see the difference and that I do not want to be guilted into splitting myself in two. I commit my time and energy to the healthy and growing Christian community that is Biola.

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