Biola to Feature Leading Christian Apologist, 'Godfather' of Intelligent Design

Biola University will conclude its centennial year Friday with a fall commencement that will feature renowned apologist Lee Strobel and the ?godfather? of the Intelligent Design movement, retired UC Berkeley professor Philip E. Johnson.

According to the La Miranda, Calif.-based biblical institution, Strobel will serve as the keynote speaker while Johnson will be awarded with an Honorary Doctor of Laws for distinction in public service.

?Strobel?s like-mindedness to Biola?s mission of impacting the world made him an excellent choice as the keynote speaker for this fall?s commencement,? expressed the university in a statement Wednesday.

Once an atheist, Strobel is today one of the evangelical community?s most popular apologists as well as a New York Times best-selling author of nearly 20 award-winning books. His ministry experience has included serving as a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and at Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

?Strobel encourages Christians to be culturally relevant,? Biola noted.

Johnson, meanwhile, is best known as one of the founders of the intelligent design movement, which asserts that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."

The idea of intelligent design, which critics view as a variation of creationism, has led to heated debates, a number of court battles, and the dismissal of several highly respected professors. It was also a key part in the highly successful documentary ?Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,? which featured actor Ben Stein.

According to Biola, Johnson will be awarded for having ?a clear evangelical Christian testimony? and having demonstrated ?significant service and achievement over an extended period of time, which is national or international in nature? and is relevant to the mission of the university.

Johnson will be awarded the honor at the undergraduate commencement ceremony, which will begin at 7 p.m. PT.

Starting from 2 p.m., Biola University President Barry H. Corey will confer degrees upon 121 graduate students, and 95 students who completed Biola?s adult-degree-learning program, BOLD. At the 7 p.m. ceremony, 196 undergraduates will be conferred degrees.