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Former Biola Professor
Student in Eviction Battle
are troubling economic times. People are losing their jobs, homes
and are being evicted at
an alarming rate. How should Christians respond to
such things in the light of Scripture? I would like to offer my
take on an actual situation I know of regarding a Talbot
School of Theology graduate (M.Div.) student and a
former Biola professor.
month (November, 2011), unless the Talbot student wins his unlawful
detainer answer case, he will become homeless. Why? Because like
many people, he ran into financial hardship and could not afford
his rent. The owner of the house, a former Biola professor, has
elected to evict him, despite knowing his hardship situation.
What’s even more disturbing is that the house is an “investment
property” completely owned by the professor who (to my knowledge)
does not owe any mortgage on the property.
what I understand, the Talbot student gave the owner a two-month
forewarning that he would soon not be able to pay rent, and then
asked to work around his home doing maintenance and repair to
“pay” his rent this way instead. To his credit, the owner initially
agreed, and everything was fine until a dispute arose. The owner
apparently only meant the oral work-for-rent agreement to last
for five months. The student was under the impression that the
agreement was longer, because the owner never gave the student
a specific end date for the agreement.
further complicate matters, the student, uncomfortable with such
an important issue only being oral, made up an “addendum” to the
written lease outlining what they had agreed upon orally. This
addendum had no specific timeframe such as five months, but only
stipulated that he would work for rent until he could pay rent
in cash after gaining employment. The student gave the addendum
to the live-in house manager, himself a former Biola student,
to be forwarded to the owner. But the owner never got the addendum
because the house manager never sent it to the owner. This is
obviously not the student’s fault, but it appears he’s being made
to pay for the house manager’s mistake.
for months the renting student worked under the false impression
that everyone was in agreement with his written addendum. After
the student informed the owner of the problem, and pleaded with
him not to take the issue to court, he still received an eviction
notice. The student's family lives thousands of miles away and
have limited funds. He can’t afford to move or find another place
to stay, and he faces eviction and homelessness should the judge
rule against him in the eviction case. The owner of the home knows
all of this but doesn't seem to care.
understanding the whole story, and trying to see both sides objectively,
I cannot help but be appalled that such a thing is happening within
community. We are the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, where we
are supposed to cherish and follow the Bible.
said in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another." How is “love” being shown
to a brother (or sister) in Christ, who is obviously struggling
and in need, by evicting him (or her) in a time of trouble? If
I were an unbeliever, this would turn me off to the idea of becoming
a Christian because it seems Christians don’t show the Biblical
kind of love to one another that they are supposed to.
John 3:16-18 teaches that we should love each other as Christ
loved us, laying down our lives for each other and loving with
our actions and not just our words. Now it is obvious that this
Talbot student is “poor” and in need. Interestingly enough, in
the Bible the word “poor” occurs 205 in 197 verses in the KJV,
201 times in 194 verses in the NKJV, and 177 times in 172 verses
of the NIV. Most of these are admonitions to help the poor and
needy. Proverbs 19:17 says, “He who has pity on the poor lends
to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs
14:31 also says, “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker,
but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.” So God has a heart
for those in need, and so should we as Christians.
final point comes from Matthew 25:40. Jesus said that what people
do to His brothers (believers), they have done to Him. So you
can’t separate doing something to a believer from doing it to
Christ. So my question is, if we would never evict Jesus were
He standing before us in the flesh, why would we ever do the same
thing to His brothers? As James, the brother of our Lord, would
say, “These things ought not to be so.” We as Christians need
to do better than this. We cannot be an effective witness to the
"world" if we cannot do better than unbelievers in these
matters. So I’m appealing to the Biola community, and all Christians
of good conscience, to pray for those involved, and if anyone
wishes to help this student, please feel free to contact me at
Arthur Daniels, Jr. holds a Th.B., B.S.
and is presently working on an M.Div. degree at Talbot School
of Theology in La Mirada, CA. He has been studying atheism and
unbelief for over 15 years and has written an exhaustive work
refuting atheism and unbelief aptly entitled "If
God Heals Your Eyes, Don't Cut Off Your Head."
He regularly challenges and debates atheists, agnostics, unbelievers,
and cult groups over Internet forums such as YouTube, Facebook,
Paltalk, and more recently on KKLA 99.5 Apologetics.com.