The Cook School of Intercultural Studies: Biola's Story

It was World War II, and China was in chaos. Communists wanted to overthrow the government and all missionaries. Biola's leaders had a tough decision to make...

Soon after Biola was founded in downtown Los Angeles in 1908 to prepare men and women to impact the world for Jesus Christ, it began reaching out to the world and founded the Hunan Bible Institute in China in 1909.

Wars and civil strife raged 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 leave China. They continued 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 it became only a matter of time before Hunan Bible Institute property would be confiscated and closed down in 1952.

Twenty-seven years later, in 1979, the People's Republic of China began compensating 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 since 1908 to impact the world for Jesus Christ has not changed. Missions has always been — and continues to be — at the heart of all the programs at Biola University and its ten schools — the Cook School of Intercultural Studies, the Crowell School of Business, Rosemead School of Psychology, the School of Education, the School of Fine Arts and Communication, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Science, Technology and Health, The School of Cinema and Media Arts and Talbot School of Theology. 

The School of Intercultural Studies was founded to further the Great Commission. To take the story and tell it to all people, in all places. 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."

Biola continues to respond to the call of the Great Commission. We are called to tell the story, to give it voice. In 2000, the Cook School of Intercultural Studies opened an extension center in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which offers classes to missionaries in multiple graduate programs at the masters and doctoral levels. Students come from all over Asia including China. The newest extension center opened in Europe in 2016. Classes take place in Saint-Legiér, Switzerland. This center meets the needs of expatriate North American missionaries as well as Western and Eastern European Christians.

Consider how His Story and your story come together — see anew that it's all about Him — you will find your place of preparation here.

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