Fact of the Week: history of Torrey Conference
Torrey, then and now. | Ashley Jones/THE CHIMES
The Torrey Memorial Bible Conference has been a Biola tradition for 76 years. This year’s theme of sabbathing brings us back to the roots of Torrey Conference.
Paul Rood stepped into the role of president at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles in 1935. His first decision in office was to hold a day of prayer. However, Rood realized the need for more than just a day of prayer, so he pushed to have a conference that would replace classes for an entire week.
In 1936, Rood commenced the conference we now know as Torrey, in honor of one of Biola’s founding fathers, R.A. Torrey.
This tradition is taken from Israel’s week-long Feast of Booths, a time of worship, prayer and study of Scripture, according to http://100.biola.edu.
The idea of suspending classes and encouraging more time for prayer, reflection and corporate worship seems to correlate with Leviticus 23, where the feasts of the Lord are introduced, including both the Sabbath and the Feast of Booths.
“Sabbath says, ‘Stop. Hush. Enough. Know Him,’” wrote Todd Pickett, dean of Spiritual Development on Biola’s Student Life website.
While Picketts words are not found explicitly in Scripture, the heart behind the Feast of Booths is to celebrate salvation, to rejoice in freedom and cease working so all attention and focus can be honed in on worshipping God, as seen in Nehemiah 8:13-18.
Rood’s original purpose in Torrey Conference and the encouragement to rest in God will be seen through the theme of The Sabbath Soul.