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From This Place: Torrey Conference 2012

Yeh discusses the nature of explicit and implicit proclamation in opening session

Dr. Allen Yeh illustrates explicit and implicit proclamation by playing a few songs on his violin, including "Come Thou Fount." | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

Just when I thought Chase Gymnasium was at maximum capacity this morning, students were still streaming in to attend the first Torrey session of 2012. People squeezed past each other, trying to find the rare seat amid the crowd. The morning began with worship followed by an introduction from president Barry Corey. He reminded us of Biola’s theme for the year and the conference, “From This Place: Proclaiming Good News In a Changing World.” It seemed as if he was speaking to me when he asked, “What is your mission?”

As this was my very first Torrey conference, I was excited for the first session as food for my soul. It’s that time in the semester where midterms and projects and being away from home really starts to kick in. Instead of feeling obligated to go to these conferences, I am excited to attend!

After a brief — and humorous — introduction from Todd Pickett, dean of Spiritual Development, Allen Yeh, associate professor of intercultural studies and missiology took the stage. He took the first few minutes to share an endearing story about his inner nerd.

A trusted friend helped decorate his home, and the only advice he didn’t take was to take down his Lord of the Rings posters. This friend gave him a proclamation and he listened. Yeh defined a proclamation as listening to someone with authority and trusting their opinion.

Yeh broke down the theme by saying the first half, “From This Place,” comes from Lyman Stewart, Biola’s co-founder, who had big goals for evangelists in Los Angeles. The second half, “Proclaiming Good News In a Changing World,” comes from the Nazareth Manifesto, found in Luke 4.

California has one of the biggest, most diverse cities in the world, or at least in the West, Yeh said. The city needs Jesus. Biola may have left the city, but we are smack in the middle of the Southland of Orange County. Just as Jesus chose the city of Jerusalem to start the ministry of the good news, Yeh said, we have both the location and the opportunity to go out and do the same.

Yeh emphasized the importance of of learning different languages. Those with the skill should learn a variety of languages in order to spread the good news to every corner of the earth, he said. This really resonated with me. I love learning languages; in order to better proclaim my faith, Spanish is the next language on my list to learn.

As Evangelicals, we can sometimes confuse explicit and implicit proclamation. But we shouldn’t have to choose, Yeh said.

“Explicit proclamation is a necessary but insufficient condition for salvation ... it is faith-bearing fruit that works,” he said.

Implicit proclamation is the gospel shown through action. As Christians, we love the word “integration.” At Biola, it is not just the Bible programs that are a proclamation of Jesus. Examples of implicit gospel can be found in science, literature and music. At this point, Yeh started playing the violin, which led the audience to clap along with him, enthusiastically.

This speaker went to Yale, Oxford, knows three languages, has traveled to 54 different countries and even plays violin, I thought. Wow.

He used the violin-playing as an example to demonstrate that even though we may not know the lyrics to a song, it may make us want to worship, as a demonstration of implicit good news.

His closing statement was a strong encouragement to all students, continuing with the theme of Torrey 2012.

“Everything declares the glory of God, whether implicit or explicit. Whatever you do, do it for God. All truth is God’s truth. Fill the world, and go into every place on earth to infuse it with the flavor and the glory of Jesus Christ,” Yeh said at the close. 

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