Meet Our Speakers
Founder and Board Member, Renovaré
Richard J. Foster is founder, past president and current team member of Renovaré. Having studied at George Fox and Fuller Theological Seminary, Foster has served as a pastor and taught worldwide on spiritual formation. Author of dozens of articles and six books, including Celebration of Discipline, Richard continues to write on the spiritual life. He and his wife, Carolynn, have two grown children, Joel and Nathan, eight grandchildren, and live near Denver, Colorado.
Director of Community Life, Renovaré
Nathan is the Director of Community life for Renovaré. He was a professor for over a decade teaching in both social work and spiritual formation. He was awarded Professor of the Year (at Spring Arbor in 2006) where he also held the Andrews Endowed Chair in Spiritual Formation. Outside of academia, Nathan has also been a pastor and licensed clinical social worker.
Nathan holds an MSW from University of Denver. He has also completed extensive course work in addictions counseling and holds a CAC III (certified addictions counselor senior level).
Nathan frequently speaks nationally and internationally at universities and conferences and has authored two books, most recently The Making of An Ordinary Saint: My Journey from Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines. Nathan currently lives in Florida with his wife and two children and plays bass for the band Istra Blue.
Senior Pastor, Menlo Church
John is an author, speaker and senior pastor of Menlo Church in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, John earned his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, and his M.Div. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary. John teaches at churches and conferences all over the world and his books include, Soul Keeping, directly inspired by his relationship with Dallas Willard and Willard’s work on the aspects of the human person; All The Places To Go; Who Is This Man?; and his latest title, I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me. John and his wife Nancy are parents to three young adults. He can be followed on twitter @johnortberg and www.johnortberg.com.
Managing Editor, Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care; Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Biola University
Steven L. Porter (Ph.D. University of Southern California; M.Phil. University of Oxford; M.A. Talbot School of Theology) is Professor of Theology, Spiritual Formation, and Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and at Rosemead School of Psychology (Biola University). His areas of interest include spiritual formation, theological methodology, and philosophical theology. He has contributed articles to the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Faith and Philosophy, Philosophia Christi, Journal for Psychology and Theology, and Journal of Psychology and Christianity. Dr. Porter’s Restoring the Foundations of Epistemic Justification was published by Lexington Books in 2005. Dr. Porter serves as editor of the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care.
Director of Education, Renovaré
Carolyn Arends is Renovaré’s Director of Education, which includes, much to her delight, overseeing the Renovaré Institute of Christian Spiritual Formation. Her multi-faceted background includes authorship (three books published, as well as standing columns for Christianity Today, Faith Today and CT Women), music (twelve albums released to date and multiple international tours), teaching (adjunct professor for ACTS seminary, CBC, PLBC and, of course, the RI), and speaking at retreats and conferences. She holds a master’s degree in theological studies from Regent College. She lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada with her husband Mark and their two teenagers. She is passionate about spiritual formation, arts and creativity, and the beautiful sport of hockey.
Executive Director of the Martin Institute (Track Coordinator)
Gary W. Moon, M.Div., Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture and the Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation at Westmont College. He also has served as the Executive Director of the Renovaré International Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation and as Editor-in-Chief of Conversations Journal. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Georgia and a M.Div. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is a licensed psychologist in Georgia and Virginia.
Gary has served as an instructor at Fuller Graduate School of Theology, and Fuller Graduate School of Psychology and on the faculties of Erskine Theological Seminary, Regent University, Richmont Graduate University, Azusa Pacific University, and Westmont College.
Gary serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Psychology and Christianity, The Journal of Psychology and Theology, Marriage and Family: A Christian Journal. He along with David Benner and Larry Crabb founded Conversations Journal: A Forum for Authentic Transformation. He conducts research concerning the theoretical and practical integration of psychology and theology and has published and presented over 300 professional and popular papers.
He is married to Regina Reynolds Moon and they have two daughters, Jessica Erin, and Jenna Rebeccah.
President of Renovaré
Chris Hall currently serves as President of Renovaré. Chris previously served at Eastern University for over twenty years in several roles, including chancellor, provost, dean of Palmer Seminary, dean of the Templeton Honors College, and Director of Academic Spiritual Formation and Distinguished Professor of Theology.
Chris holds a PhD in Theological and Religious Studies from Drew University. He is the author of a number of books, including The Mystery of God (with Steven D. Boyer), Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers, Learning Theology with the Church Fathers, Worshiping with the Church Fathers, and The Trinity (with Roger Olson). He is also associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.
Chris and his wife Debbie reside in Philadelphia. They have three grown children.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Baylor University
Charity Anderson is assistant professor of philosophy at Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. Her areas of research are epistemology and philosophy of religion, with a focus on the intersection of the two. Recently, she has written on the problem of divine hiddenness and also the rationality of miracle reports.
Gregg Ten Elshof
Professor of Philosophy at Biola University
Gregg Ten Elshof (Ph.D. University of Southern California; M.A. Talbot School of Theology) is Professor of Philosophy at Biola University. His areas of interest include metaphysics, epistemology, modern philosophy, and Confucianism. He has published articles in Midwest Studies in Philosophy, The Modern Schoolman, Grazer Philosophische Studien, The Journal of Philosophical Research, International Studies in Philosophy, Philosophia Christi and Christian Scholar’s Review. His book, I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life (Eerdmans, 2009) won Christianity Today’s 2009 Book Award for Christian Living. He is also author of Confucius for Christians Eerdmans, 2015).
Lifegroup Pastor, Fellowship, Monrovia
Christine Suh is a LifeGroups pastor at Fellowship Monrovia. In her current role she oversees discipleship groups that are multi-ethnic, intergenerational, and committed to being transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Prior to her current role, she was the Assistant Director of Spiritual Formation and Care at Pepperdine University where she oversaw the student chaplaincy program and various soul care initiatives. She received her M.A. in Theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2010, her B.A. in Intercultural Communication from Pepperdine University, and is a graduate of the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. Christine is passionate about encouraging others to cultivate soul care and a vision for Christ-centered life transformation. She and her husband, David have been married for seven years and love doing life together with their young children, Samuel and Elisabeth.
Christian Educator, Spiritual Director, Writer, Theologian
Michael Stewart Robb is the Director of Research for the Martin Institute and Dallas Willard Research Library. At present, he is completing a large scholarly volume on Dallas Willard’s soteriology and theology of the Christ event. Part of this research he submitted as his PhD dissertation through the University of Aberdeen. As adjunct faculty at Ashland Theological Seminary he teaches a course on “The Spirituality of Dallas Willard.”
Since 2004 he has lived in Europe learning how to best serve the European church as an outsider. He is currently founding a European institute for theology and spiritual formation as a strategic way of furthering research and working directly with European pastors, seminaries and churches.
For the past nine years Michael has lived in the city center of Munich with his German wife and two young children. He greatly appreciates urban life, riding bikes instead of driving cars and cooking with ingredients from the many ethnic supermarkets on his block. He spends part of his spare time writing a creative coming-of-age memoir about going abroad, finding one’s vocation, returning home and living in the waiting rooms of life.
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of Philosophy, Valparaiso University
Aaron Preston holds a BA (Classics and Philosophy) and a PhD (Philosophy) from the University of Southern California, and may be the only person to have studied under Dallas Willard as both an undergraduate and a graduate student. (From this you can conclude either that he’s a slow learner or that he knows a good thing when he sees it. Probably both are true.) He also has a MTh in Systematic Theology from the University of Edinburgh. Most of his scholarly work has focused on the history and nature of Analytic Philosophy, and on the Analytic tradition’s corrosive effects on phenomena central to the moral life. Along with Steve Porter and Gregg TenElshoff, he has helped to complete Willard’s last book, The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge. He has also written on the metaphysics of substance, personalism, religious epistemology, and on topics at the intersection of Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology. His current interests focus on connections among moral psychology, moral and spiritual formation, and the theological concept of grace.
Professor of Religious Studies, Westmont College
Rev. Dr. Helen Rhee is a professor of history of Christianity at Westmont College. She earned her B.A. in History at UC Berkeley and her M.Div. and Ph.D. at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. Prior to coming to Westmont in 2004, she served as pastor of Hana Church (Buena Park, CA) for a number of years and is currently an Associate Pastor of the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara.
Dr. Rhee specializes in early Christian history and theology, focusing on the diverging Christian self-identities in relation to Greco-Roman culture and society. Her first book, Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries (Routledge, 2005), explores the very issue through the lenses of the apologetic works, apocryphal acts, and the martyr acts. In her second book, Loving the Poor, Saving the Rich: Wealth, Poverty, and Early Christian Formation (Baker Academic, 2012), she examines early Christian attitudes toward and practices involving wealth and poverty and how these contributed to shaping Christian identities within larger Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts. Dr. Rhee’s forthcoming volume, Wealth, Poverty, and Early Christianity (Ad Fontes: Early Christian Sources; Fortress, 2017), is a sourcebook on how Christian faith interacted with money and property and propelled social justice and the care of the poor. Her recent research also includes early Christian understandings of and approaches to bodily pain, illness, and healthcare in conversation with ancient medicine.
Dr. Rhee received the Bruce and Adaline Bare Teacher of the Year Award in Humanities, 2010, and the Faculty Researcher of the Year Award in 2014
Professor of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary
Rev. Siang-Yang Tan, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Senior Pastor of First Evangelical Church Glendale, in Southern California. He s a licensed psychologist in California, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He has published numerous articles and books, including Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective, Lay Counseling (with Eric Scalise), Disciplines of the Holy Spirit (with Douglas Gregg), Full Service, and Rest.
Professor Emeritus, Westmont College
Tremper Longman III was the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. He earned a B.A. in Religion at Ohio Wesleyan University, an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in ancient Near Eastern studies from Yale University.
Tremper has authored or co-authored over twenty books and written numerous articles. A number of these works are interdisciplinary. His Literary Approaches to Biblical Interpretation (Zondervan, 1987); Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (contributor and co-editor along with Leland Ryken; Zondervan, 1993) and numerous articles approach the study of the Bible through literary criticism.
He also co-authors books with the psychologist Dan Allender (Bold Love [NavPress, 1991]; Cry of the Soul [NavPress, 1994], Intimate Allies [Tyndale House Publishers, 1995], Bold Purpose (Tyndale House Publishers, 1997]), a church curriculum called The Intimate Mystery of Marriage (InterVarsity Press, 2005), and most recently Breaking the Idols of Your Heart: How to Navigate the Temptations of Life (IVP, 2007).
Tremper and Alice have three sons. Tremper IV works for the Carrier Division of United Technologies as a marketing analyst and has two daughters, Gabrielle and Mia. Timothy is an antitrust lawyer working for Paul Hastings in Washington D.C. Andrew is a financial advisor with Citigroup Gold in Washington, D.C. He is married to Tiffany (Love) Longman, and they are both graduates of Pepperdine. For fun, Tremper watches movies to relax and for exercise, he plays squash.
President, Westmont College
Gayle Beebe is in his eleventh year as president of Westmont College and his 26th year in higher education.
An active scholar, he has authored or edited 10 books and over 40 articles, including The Shaping of An Effective Leader: Eight Formative Principles of Leadership and Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion, which he co-wrote with Richard Foster.
His degrees include:
- PhD in Philosophy of Religion and Theology from Claremont Graduate University
- MBA in Strategic Management from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University
- MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary
- BA, George Fox University and Westmont College
The eleven years at Westmont have been a period of unprecedented growth but also significant challenges. He has loved the opportunity to attract new resources to Westmont that in turn have allowed the college to build out the campus, develop new academic and co-curricular programs, and pursue the next horizon for Westmont.
A great believer in the role and importance of mentors he is especially thankful to have learned leadership from Peter Drucker, the nature of faith from John Hick and the meaning of life from Diogenes Allen and Richard Foster.
Married to Pam for 29 years, they have three children: Anna (24); Liz (23) and Ricky (19), all of whom have attended or are attending Westmont!
Professor of Religious Studies, Westmont College
Charles Farhadian is professor of world religions and Christian mission at Westmont College, with research interests on the relationship between religions and cultures, particularly Christianity in non-Western contexts, world Christianity, comparative missiology, and religion and globalization. His fieldwork is in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, where he has investigated themes of worship, social history, and nation making. Farhadian’s books include Introducing World Religions: A Christian Engagement (Baker Academic), Christianity, Islam, and Nationalism in Indonesia (Routledge), Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices (Eerdmans), The Testimony Project: Papua (Deiyai, Papua), Introducing World Christianity (Wiley-Blackwell), co-editor with Lewis Rambo Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion (Oxford) and consulting editor, Handbook of Popular Spiritual Movements in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia (Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, Trinity Theological Seminary, Singapore).
Farhadian studied at Seattle Pacific University (BA), Yale University (MDIV), and Boston University (PhD).
Professor of Communication Studies, Westmont College
Since arriving in Santa Barbara in 1987, Greg Spencer has taught Communication Studies at Westmont College. He and his wife of over 30 years, Janet, have raised three daughters: Emily, Hannah, and Laura. When not teaching or having lunch with students, Greg can be found tending his roses or playing tennis. His most recent book is Reframing the Soul: How Words Transform our Faith, published by Leafwood Press (2018). He has also written Awakening the Quieter Virtues (InterVarsity Press), A Heart for Truth: Taking Your Faith to College (Baker), two novels (The Welkening and Guardian of the Veil), and numerous articles on what it means to live in a media-saturated culture. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
Professor of Philosophy, Westmont College
Jim Taylor is a philosophy professor at Westmont College. He received his B.A. in philosophy at Westmont, an M.A. in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Arizona. Jim taught in the philosophy department at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio from 1987 to 1993 before joining the faculty at Westmont in 1994. He has published a number of philosophical essays in professional journals. He has also written two books: Introducing Apologetics: Cultivating Christian Commitment (Baker Academic, 2006) and Learning for Wisdom: Christian Education & the Good Life (Abilene Christian University Press, 2017). Jim is a member of the American Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers. He is married to Jennifer and has three adult children: Sarah, Benjamin, and Nathaniel. He attends Montecito Covenant Church. In his spare time, Jim enjoys cooking, playing guitar, reading, and walking on Santa Barbara beaches and trails.
Lacy Finn Borgo, DMin, teaches and provides spiritual direction for the Renovaré Institute, for the DMin. in Spiritual Direction at Fuller Theological Seminary and at Portland Seminary. Lacy has her own spiritual direction practice and provides spiritual direction for children at Haven House, which is a transitional housing facility for homeless families. She is the author of Life with God for Children, A Curriculum for the Spiritual Formation of Children and Good Dirt: A Devotional for the Spiritual Formation of Families. Lacy also blogs at GoodDirtMinistries.org.
Lacy holds a B.A. in English and a Teaching Certificate from UTPB, a M.S. in Education from SUNY, a DMin. from George Fox Evangelical Seminary and is a graduate of the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. She holds a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Portland Seminary. Lacy lives on a small farm on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains in Montrose, Colorado. The rhythms of the earth have formed and shaped her. She currently worships with an Anglican community, but finds something of God in all spaces and places.
Vice President for Student Life
Dr. Edee Schulze joined the Westmont team as Vice President for Student Life in July 2014 after 6 years as Vice President for Student Life at Bethel University in St Paul, MN and 21 years in various student development capacities at Wheaton College in Wheaton IL (Dean of Student Life, Director of Residence Life and Residence Director). With a masters degree in Educational Ministries from Wheaton College Graduate School and a Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago, Schulze is passionate about the development of college students, particularly in the areas of leadership, spirituality and emotional well being. Her research focus has been on gender dynamics at Christian liberal arts colleges. At Westmont, Schulze has oversight of Student Life, which includes many areas of the students’ out-of-classroom experience, such as Residence Life, Campus Pastor’s Office, Campus Life, Career Development and Calling, Intercultural Programs and Health and Counseling Services. Schulze has been an active leader in several national organizations, including the Association for Christians in Student Development and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. I enjoy a good cup of morning coffee on my patio while I re-calibrate my soul with God and one of my favorite things to do is read as much of a good book as I can in one sitting.
Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies
Paul N. Anderson serves as Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University and as Extraordinary Professor of Religion at the North West University of Potchefstroom, South Africa. Author of over two hundred published essays and author or editor of over a dozen books, Anderson is a co-founder of the John, Jesus, and History Project. His contextual introduction to the New Testament, From Crisis to Christ, offers new paradigms for biblical interpretation, and his books on John include The Christology of the Fourth Gospel, The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for Jesus, and The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel. His Ph.D. is from Glasgow University, and he has served as a visiting professor or scholar at the Radboud University of Nijmegen (Fulbright Specialist), the Guttenberg University of Mainz (DAAD), Princeton Theological Seminary, and Yale Divinity School.
Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, Azusa Pacific University
Rico Vitz, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy and the executive vice president/treasurer of the Hume Society. He is the author of Reforming the Art of Living: Nature, Virtue, and Religion in Descartes’s Epistemology (Springer, 2014), co-editor of The Ethics of Belief (Oxford, 2014), and the editor of Turning East: Contemporary Philosophers and the Ancient Christian Faith (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2012). His work has appeared in The Oxford Handbook of Hume (Oxford, 2016), Journal of the History of Philosophy, The Modern Schoolman, Journal of Philosophical Research, Hume Studies, and Christian Bioethics. He recently edited a special edition of Res Philosophica on “Ethical and Religious Themes in Humean Philosophy.” In fall 2016, he was a research fellow at Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought.
Greg Jesson’s long journey from Los Angeles to Iowa took him to Switzerland where he studied philosophy at L’Abri with Francis Schaeffer, to UCLA where he finished his undergraduate degree in philosophy, to USC where he completed an MA in philosophy under Dallas Willard, and finally to the University of Iowa where he received a PhD in philosophy focusing on philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology, phenomenology, and philosophy of religion. He is an editor of Ontology and Analysis: Essays and Recollections About Gustav Bergmann, and of Defending Realism: Ontological and Epistemological Investigations. He has published articles on the nature of thought and knowledge, philosophy of mathematics, the portrayal of love in modern film, and the philosophical and religious thought of Dallas. He has taught at several colleges including a seminary, and has lectured widely in America and Europe, including the Veritas Forums at Stanford University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He has spoken for the military at the National Cathedral and the Pentagon, where he spoke on “The Barbarians are Inside the Gate: Relativism Undermining Character and Leadership.”
Over the years, he worked closely with Dallas and grew to know him, and later Jane, well. He spent many happy Thanksgivings and Christmases with the Willard family, worked often at the Willard’s home, and spent several weeks helping Dallas organize his library of thousands and thousands of books.
Associate Professor of Theology, Austin Graduate School of Theology
Daniel Napier is an associate professor of theology at Austin Graduate School of Theology. He teaches a range of courses spanning the fields of theology, spiritual formation, ancient philosophy, and the early church fathers. Among his favorite courses is one exploring the thought (both philosophical and theological) of Dallas Willard. He also serves as the preaching minister for the Holland Street Church of Christ in San Marcos, Texas. Daniel and his wife, Karly, have been married for 20 years and have two precious daughters.
Daniel is passionate about personal growth and transformation. Nothing excites him like seeing someone grow spiritually. From the early days of his ministry he has been drawn both to evangelism and the mentoring of young Christians. Daniel has made it his life’s ambition to become an instrument of God’s transformative work in people’s lives.
A similar passion pervades Daniel’s academic life. In tandem with his ministerial calling, Daniel has pursued advanced degrees in the New Testament, the history of philosophy, and the history of theology. In 2010, he earned his Ph.D. from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He is the author of En Route to the Confessions: The Roots and Development of Augustine’s Philosophical Anthropology (Leuven: Peeters, 2013).
Distinguished Professor of New Testament Language and Literature
Biography coming soon.
Senior Pastor of Pacific Crossroads Church
Biography coming soon.