About J.P. Moreland
I am the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in La Mirada, California. I have four earned degrees: a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Missouri, a Th.M. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, an M. A. in philosophy from the University of California-Riverside, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California.
During the course of my life, I have co-planted three churches, spoken and debated on over 175 college campuses around the country, and served with Campus Crusade for Christ for 10 years. For eight years, I served as a bioethicist for PersonaCare Nursing Homes, Inc. headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.
My ideas have been covered by both popular religious and non-religious outlets, including the New Scientist and PBS’s “Closer to Truth,” Christianity Today and WORLD magazine. I have authored or co-authored 30 books, including Kingdom Triangle, Scaling the Secular City, Consciousness and the Existence of God, The Recalcitrant Imago Dei, Love Your God With All Your Mind, The God Question, and Body and Soul. I have also published over 70 articles in journals, which include Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, American Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Metaphilosophy, Philosophia Christi, and Faith and Philosophy.
My hobbies are exercising, following the Kansas City Chiefs, and being fixated by really great TV dramas like 24 and Lost. With my dear wife and ministry partner, Hope, we have two married daughters, Ashley and Allison, and as of 2010, four grandchildren! We attend Vineyard Anaheim church and are deeply committed to the body of believers there.
On Who Has Influenced Me
Besides my family and close friends, three people have had the greatest impact on me during my journey with Jesus: Bill Bright, Howard Hendricks, and Dallas Willard. I first came to Christ in 1968, and joined Campus Crusade staff from 1970-75, and 1979-84. I will never forget being in Dr. Bright's presence during those years. He exuded intimacy with the Lord, he was full of faith, and he lived a holy life. These values were clearly put in place in my life due to his influence. He set a high bar in these areas, and his life gave me a living hope that significant progress in these areas was clearly within reach. Dr. Bright also died a vibrant, victorious death, and as I age, I very much want to do the same in a Christ-honoring way.
I have the honor of studying under Dr. Hendricks during my years at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) from 1975-79. I took several courses from him and was in a small discipleship group with Hendricks my last year at DTS. The values I saw in him were radical commitment to Christ, to reading in general and studying scripture in particular, and to the priority of marriage and family. He also had a commitment not to bore people while teaching the Bible and to exhibiting a keen sense of humor. These have all become my values, due in no small measure to Dr. Hendricks.
However as much as Bright and Hendricks have impacted me, the influence of Dallas Willard towers over everyone else. I was honored to have him as my dissertation supervisor at the University of Southern California and Hope and I have counted Dallas and his wife Jane as dear friends and mentors for twenty-five years. Dallas impacted me in his combination of a rigorous intellect with a vibrant walk with Jesus, his fresh, penetrating ideas about the kingdom and how to live in it, and by the reality of God that pours out of his life. I cannot overstate my debt to him. All three were full of humility. It was and is clear that they are about something much bigger than they.
My Dearest Partner, My Wife
My wife, Hope, has been my friend and partner for now 33 years. We were married in 1977. She has the gifts of evangelism, encouragement, helps/mercy. I have never met someone who is consistently happier than she, who loves to care for and serve others, and who exhibits the warmth and kindness of the Holy Spirit. It may sound canned to say this, but it is the truth, namely, that my life and work simply are inconceivable without her love and care all these years. She simply makes my life possible. Or, as I wrote of her in my 1985 book dedication (Universals, Qualities, and Quality-Instances) to her:
Her gracious life truly fits her name and her soul exemplifies that range of qualities that truly wise persons everywhere know as the moral virtues
Well said, I might add! For I experience her unconditional love in an ongoing way. And God made her to be a mother and grandmother par excellence. It is a joy to see how her children honor, respect and love her. My daughters, Ashley and Allison, have turned out to be good, solid people. What impresses me most about both of them is their genuine concern for others and their ability to be good listeners. It isn't all about them, and this is refreshing these days. Our girls not only love Hope and me, but they actually like us!! They, and their dear husbands, actually like being around us!! As of this writing, I have two grandchildren around three years old (a girl and a boy), a one-month old grandson, and a granddaughter due to be born October 2010. Does it get any better than this?
My love for the local church was not something that characterized me for much of my Christian life. I was primarily a parachurch guy and I wanted to get the job done, whether or not the local church was part of the solution. I was always committed to a sense of team, but my friendships were the primary source of fellowship for me and Hope within the body of Christ. But the last several years has been transforming.
My relationship with my local church—the Vineyard Anaheim—has shown me how short-sighted my previous vision was. I am fully committed to my local church's well-being and absolutely love being a part of the fellowship. I have never been a "Lone Ranger Christian"—quite the opposite—but I now see more than ever the centrality of the local church to my intellectual, affective, and relational maturation. I thank God that He brought me to my senses.