By Rachel Phillips
The TMC Bible Department has a new recruit. Longtime friend of The Master’s College and IBEX professor Todd Bolen will be coming to the Santa Clarita, Calif. campus next fall.
Bolen was a part of the team that founded IBEX back in 1996, and lived in Israel with his family until 2007, when he came back to the United States to study for his doctorate at Dallas Theological Seminary. Now he is bringing both his knowledge of God’s Word and love for the students a little bit closer to home.
“Todd taught Land and Bible when I was there, and I’m pretty sure we would have followed him to the ends of the earth,” said Jennifer Kitner, who had Bolen as both a professor and boss, going to IBEX as a student and coming back as a secretary. “He and his wife lived in an apartment that was smaller than mine with four kids, and he would invite all 40 of the students to come over. Packed into that tiny room, we would ask him questions about life and theology.”
When Bolen left in 2007, Dr. Abner Chou took his place. Chou, now a Bible professor himself, remembers what a “tremendous” professor Bolen was for the students. When he went out to Israel to observe him, he knew right away that these would be “big shoes to fill.”
“He was the IT guy, was in charge of student life and taught. He was basically both the RD and the Dean, and would come along side people to council and disciple them,” Chou said. “It was a lot of hard work, and you realize how much IBEX professors really do.”
Bolen was known not only for his personal care for the students, but for his rigorous academic classes as well. While in IBEX, he taught Life of Christ, New Testament Archaeology, and Land and Bible, among others. The students knew him as “tough,” but they learned from him and knew he cared.
His teaching wasn’t boring either. Described by Kitner as both engaging and passionate, Bolen “knows what he’s talking about and is able to tell you why you should care.” He would even take time in to allow the students to do fun things in order to make sure the students were engaged, like bringing in a song to listen to before class.
“Todd is a great leader and a great teacher,” Chou said. “He prizes excellence and has a deep knowledge of the scriptures. His (presence on campus next year) will be a breakthrough and can take the student body to the next level. You can teach students, but Todd can inspire them. That’s the kind of leadership Todd has.”
Bolen visited the campus briefly towards the end of the spring semester this year, and explained how much he is looking forward to teaching.
“At Master’s, students want to grow and know the Bible backwards and forwards,” he said. “I want to bring my passion to meet their passion for God’s word and growth in Christlikeness. It’s the perfect fit.”
Bolen will be teaching two sections of both New Testament and Old Testament survey. He knows it won’t be the same as IBEX, but he will “work hard to be personally involved” and hopes to eventually open up his home for the students to come and fellowship.
Rachel Phillips is a TMC communications major