Our New Ministry
Discontinuity and Continuity
Starting this fall I shall enter a new phase of ministry, returning to full time teaching in a seminary setting. It became clear this past spring through a number of circumstances that God was gradually closing one door and opening another; the discontinuity meant a change of location and emphasis; the continuity meant I would continue to teach the Word of God and train people for ministries. I will be a Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, in Birmingham, Alabama. Beeson is an ecumenical, evangelical seminary that is dedicated to the training of men and women for ministry. My part in the program will be to teach biblical interpretation, both the method and the practice, using various parts of the Old Testament.
The planning for the leadership center in Tallahassee and the progress that was made there will remain in place, but my part will be on hold for a while. There are a lot of capable people in Tallahassee who will continue the long and deliberate development of training programs for clergy and laity alike. Eventually what will emerge will be a fully accredited seminary and training center in that region. I will continue to be a part of the planning and development of it, although what exact way all of this will develop remains to be seen. We know that God has started something in that city. The laity are keenly interested and eager for it; the clergy are much less eager, especially if it is to be ecumenical in nature.
In the meantime my main focus will be on my teaching at BDS, my writing projects, and the continuation of the web site.
The web site will continue with the same name and format, but with expanded contents. It has been sadly neglected for a couple of months because we have been in the process of moving and setting up offices in Birmingham. Most of the books and files are still in boxes, and will be til the first week of July. Then, once again, more material will be added regularly to the site for people to use as needed. We will eventually draw upon other folks as well at the seminary to make contributions from time to time, so that more areas may be addressed in the site. But the name will remain the same.
My writing projects will continue once we get settled with our books on the shelves again. In and around the chaos of moving I have been working on some of them, notably the work on Biblical Patterns of Worship, which should be finished by August, and then should be available about 12-15 months after that (thatís how long the publishers take). I also have been editing the material I developed this spring for teacher training programs in the church; it should be completed by the end of the summer. But this summer, July 1 actually, the commentary on Leviticus will be out. It will be called Holiness to the LORD (published by Baker Book House); and while it is a commentary on Leviticus, it will have much to say about the Gospel, and about Romans and Hebrews. On the dust cover it will have a beautiful picture of the Mount Sinai mountains where the Law was given.
One of the courses I will be teaching at Beeson this fall is the Exposition of the Book of Psalms. That is providential, since I am devoting this coming academic year and next summer to finishing my commentary on the Psalms. I will continue to post exegetical studies of the psalms on the web throughout the year, in the order that I shall be teaching the class to be sure, and these will eventually become part of the commentary (once edited and revised for publication).
We are also going ahead with the scheduling of a Bible Lands trip next summer (mid May to mid June). It is easy to cancel at the last minute if need be; it is very difficult to schedule one at the last minute. The trip will have about 12 days in Egypt and in the Sinai and southern Jordan, and then about 12 days in Israel. If Israel is still troubled, the trip to Egypt and the Sinai could still be taken. But at this stage we are simply putting the plans together, and letting people know about it and to keep watching for more information. Of course, thinking about such a venture should also remind everyone to pray for peace in that land.
This announcement will at least explain why the web has not had as much material posted for a while, and it will let you know of the new direction our ministry will take. When I get my office sorted out I will post mailing addresses at the seminary, email numbers, and other information that might be helpful to you.
Allen P. Ross