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OPINION

SBC DIGEST: SBTS expository ministry guide; also LifeWay, SWBTS

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- SBTS Press, a division of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has released "A Guide to Expository Ministry," the third volume in SBTS Press' guide book series.
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A Guide to Expository Ministry, edited by Dan Dumas, calls for the recovery of the call to deliver from the pulpit what has already been delivered in the Scriptures. The book encourages pastors to apply the demands of expository preaching to their lives and to their preparation. And it provides practical help for God's people to become more effective sermon listeners, Bible readers and church members.

In addition to Dumas, a senior vice president at Southern and teaching pastor at Eastside Community Church in Louisville, Ky., the expository ministry guide includes essays by Southern Seminary faculty R. Albert Mohler Jr., Russell D. Moore, Donald S. Whitney, Robert L. Plummer and James M. Hamilton Jr.

A Guide to Expository Ministry is available from press.sbts.edu and Amazon.com. More information about the book and SBTS Press -- including the first and second volumes in the guide book series, "A Guide to Adoption and Orphan Care" and "A Guide to Biblical Manhood" -- is available at press.sbts.edu.

STETZER RECEIVES MISSIONS & EVANGELISM RESEARCH AWARD -- Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, has been named as the 2012 recipient of the Donald A. McGavran award from the Great Commission Research Network (GCRN).

The annual meeting of the GCRN at LifeWay Christian Resources Oct. 23 included nearly 200 Christian researchers, professors, writers and students whose purpose is to study church growth trends and identify issues regarding effective evangelistic methods.

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Bob Whitesel, current president of the GCRN and professor of Christian ministry and missional leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University's Wesley Seminary in Marion, Ind., said the award recognizes a person who has exemplified "scholarship, intellect and leadership in the research and dissemination of the principles of effective disciple-making as originally developed by Donald A. McGavran. Ed Stetzer exemplifies these attributes.

"Not only does Ed bring an exacting mind to research and scholarship, but he shares his insights in a personable and amiable manner," Whitesel said. "Subsequently, he has a great deal of influence with his research, which was something his colleagues in the Great Commission Research Network wanted to acknowledge. And, his evangelism passion is evident in his research."

The award is named after McGavran, founding dean of the School of World Missions at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. A third-generation missionary in India, McGavran spent much of his life trying to identify and overcome social barriers to Christian conversion. McGavran's "Understanding Church Growth" was voted by Christianity Today magazine as the second most influential book of the 20th century. The book substantially changed the methods by which missionaries identify and prioritize groups of persons for missionary work, and in North America stimulated the birth of the church growth movement.

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Former recipients of the Donald McGavran Leadership Award include LifeWay President Thom Rainer and Saddleback pastor Rick Warren.

Stetzer, reflecting on the award, said, "I've had a not-so-secret agenda for a long time. I just want to get people reaching their neighbors, starting churches and reaching the world. We use research to help them see how to do it, so I am honored the GCRN would share this award connecting our research with the Great Commission that has driven our work. I'm exceedingly thankful and plan, for many years to come, to keep banging the drum for the Great Commission."

Stetzer has planted, revitalized and pastored churches and has trained pastors and church planters on five continents. Along with his primary role as president of LifeWay Research, Stetzer serves as visiting professor of research and missiology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and visiting research professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and has taught at 15 other colleges and seminaries. He holds two master's degrees and two doctorates.

Stetzer's catalogue of books includes "Subversive Kingdom" (2012), "Transformational Church" (with Thom Rainer, 2010) and "Planting Missional Churches" (2006).

TEXAS GOVERNOR VISITS DEAD SEA SCROLLS EXHIBIT -- Gov. Rick Perry visited the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible exhibition at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in mid-October, inviting more than 20 prominent North Texas pastors to join him for lunch and a tour of the exhibition.

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Perry was impressed by the tour and tweeted, "Great Isaiah Scroll over 22' long part of Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at SW Theological Seminary, Ft Worth...excellent!" The exhibition, which ends on Jan. 13, has drawn thousands of visitors to the campus.

In a lecture in conjunction with the exhibition, archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel noted that excavations of the ancient city of Khirbet Qeiyafa may provide evidence that refutes revisionist scholars who deny the existence of the biblical kingdom of David.

The excavation of Khirbet Qeiyafa confirms that a Judean kingdom existed in the time of the biblical King David, said Garfinkel, who directs the excavation of the ancient city perched above the Valley of Elah where David defeated Goliath. Garfinkel is professor of prehistoric archaeology and archaeology of the biblical period in Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Garfinkel said revisionist archaeologists have, over the past 30 years, questioned the biblical account by denying the existence of a united kingdom under Kings David and Solomon. These scholars also argue that the southern kingdom of Judah existed only after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians in 722 B.C.

"Now, according to our site, we have evidence and radio-carbon dating that show us that Judah indeed started about 1,000 B.C.," Garfinkel said in his lecture in early October. On the other hand, he said, evidence from Khirbet Qeiyafa does not provide information concerning the existence of a united kingdom of Israel and Judah. He briefly added, however, that data from excavations at the ancient city of Tel Gezer may someday provide evidence of a united monarchy. Current research at Tel Gezer, a biblical city associated with King Solomon, is sponsored by Southwestern Seminary and directed by Stephen Ortiz, associate professor of archaeology and biblical backgrounds. This spring, Gezer was also featured in an issue of Near Eastern Archaeology, a prominent academic journal published by the American Schools of Oriental Research.

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Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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