Reports Relating to the Fifty-Second Annual Meeting of the Society

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, March 2001 | Go to article overview

Reports Relating to the Fifty-Second Annual Meeting of the Society


The 52nd annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society was held in Nashville, Tennessee, November 15-17, 2000, with a record-breaking registration of 1689, more than 350 over the previous year's record. The beautiful Opryland Hotel provided the setting. Participating publishers offered generous discounts on their books and other products from more than sixty booths in a large exhibit hall.

The program theme, "Israel: Past, Present and Future" was explored in six plenary sessions and by many of the several hundred individual papers. Participants came from as far away as Israel, Jordan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and from Europe to fellowship, exchange ideas, critique one another, and to keep abreast of the most recent scholarship in their disciplines. Nearly twenty study groups also met as part of the overall program.

President-elect Darrell Bock served as program chairman and put together an impressive array of plenary speakers. On Wednesday afternoon, Ronald Youngblood of Bethel Seminary West began with a superb address on "Israel in the Old Testament: Its History." That evening, a record 835 persons gathered in the presidential ballroom for the fellowship banquet and after a delicious meal heard ETS president John Sailhamer of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary deliver a provocative address on "Messiah and the Hebrew Bible," which appears in this issue of JETS. After the banquet, Marty Goetz, a Jewish Christian recording artist presented a vocal and piano concert, accompanied by violinist Joy Garmaise.

On Thursday afternoon, Louis Goldberg, past ETS president, currently with Jews for Jesus, addressed a plenary audience on the "Identity and Affirmation of the Messianic Congregation within the Body of the Messiah," followed by a time of audience participation. Immediately thereafter, Darrell Bock moderated a panel discussion on "Evangelizing Jews Today." The participants were Stuart Dauerman, a Jewish believer who founded Jews for Jesus with seven others and is now rabbi of Ahavat Zion Messianic Synagogue in Beverly Hills, CA; Michael Rydelnik, professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute; David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, both of whose parents were holocaust survivors; John Fischer, executive director of Menorah Ministries; and Mitch Glazer, president of Chosen People Ministries. They discussed practical ways of reaching Jews with the message that Jesus Christ is God's promised Messiah.

The fourth plenary session was held on Thursday evening and featured two Arab believers, Bishira Awad, president of Bethlehem Bible College, and Imad Shehadeh, president of Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS), as they each spoke on "Israel Present and Future from the Eyes of Non-Israelites in Contact with Israel." That was followed by a plenary session address by David Friedman, "Israel Present and Future from the Eyes of a Messianic Jew Living in Israel." These two sessions featured viewpoints that were much in contrast, and lively public discussion followed each.

The sixth and final plenary address was delivered by Craig Blaising, professor of New Testament at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His topic, "The Future of Israel as a Theological Question," wove together the various threads of the issue and gave well-reasoned critiques of positions that seek to eliminate a future for the literal descendants of Jacob.

As many as eighteen parallel sessions ran concurrently on such disciplines as Old Testament, New Testament, theology, archaeology, and philosophy, as well as on the conference theme. Parallel programs were also conducted by the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Near East Archaeological Society, the Evangelical Missiological Society, and the Adventist Theological Society. As last year, an area was set aside for members to display resumes, for institutions to advertize available positions, and where informal interviews could take place. …

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