Here is my final report of 2007 with news from West Africa, the next debate: Imam-Rabbi-Christian, and updates on Israel plans and David Bercot.
Report from West Africa
Last week I returned from the last trip of the year. The tour included Senegal, Cote D'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Accra. Every congregation was warm, welcoming, and eager to learn. Sponsorship came principally from the Cornerstone Church of Christ, in Duluth, Georgia. The North River Church of Christ and several private donors funded the balance. Many, many thanks! In next week's update you can read about my time in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The Next Debate: Imam-Rabbi-Christian!
In connection with the 2008 International Apologetics Conference, there will be a 3-way debate on June 7th, in Chicago. The provisional topic: "Which Is The True Legacy of Abraham?" Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (www.shmuley.com) willrepresent Judaism, and Shabir Ally (www.shabirally.com), a Muslim apologist, has confirmed that he will represent Islam.
These men are well-known debaters, and I am excited to be able to represent Christianity. The debate will be recorded.
Sorry, no report has yet been written on the Ephesus Study Tour (November). When I returned from Turkey I was not well (near pneumonia, the doctor said), and unable to get it all done. But at my blogspot, jacobyblogs.com, there is a space to comment -- so I'm hoping that many of the 80+ participants from 2007 would like to write a sentence (or paragraph) there.
We'll certainly schedule a return visit to Ephesus in a few years, as this part of the world is chock-full of artifacts of biblicalinterest. Also, this note is from our Turkish guide for all 2007 participants: "It was wonderful to meet each one of you…
Thank you for visiting my country and sharing your times and your prayers with us. I wish each one of you Merry Christmas and many happy and healthy years with your friends and families. I will always remember you as a wonderful, positive community-- which made me feel very lucky as a tour guide and as a human being… Thank you for bringing this wonderful group to my country. Warm regards from Turkey." - Gokcen Art
The next biblical study tour takes us to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. To sign up for the July 2008 event, please click on VISIT ISRAEL at the website. So far 6 people have registered from the United States and Italy. The deposit deadline is 20 February. Note: If you have already sent a check, please also email me with your home address, email address, and the segments of the tour you plan to take part in.
Want your knowledge expanded and your interpretative skills challenged? Attend a special program on early church history and the patristic writings! David Berçot, author of Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up, is an expert in these areas, and has agreed to be our guest speaker in 2008. Dates for the weekend program TBA, also featuring Joseph Harris and Steve Staten. (For all AIM graduates, this is our 2008 Continuing AIM session.) All are welcome. Details forthcoming.
In 2008 the updates will come more often than in 2007. Instead of the 10 e-bulletins you received this year, look for anupdate every week or so. Further, the website will feature daily Bible studies, beginning in the gospel of Matthew. Most days will cover one chapter. So if you're looking for inspiration, or Bible study suggestions, this is for you. Check it out on New Year's Day!