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Dear ABR family,

I am happy to write to you today to encourage you in your daily walk with Jesus and to urge you on in your faith during these days of trial and difficulty. Thankfully, we stand in the manifold blessings of Christ and His goodness as we serve Him in all circumstances of life. More than ever we look to those around us who are facing mental and emotional fatigue and discouragement to strengthen them and build them up in every way possible. We are reminded by the writer of Hebrews, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God…” And by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God…” As you read the words that follow may the Lord lift you up in spirit and may He grant you endurance, joy, and peace through His all-sufficient grace!

My ABR update for you today will cover quite a bit of ground as I seek to provide a portrait of the many moving parts and activities of the ABR ministry in these days. I’m grateful to report that in almost every measurable way ABR is thriving and growing in spite of many setbacks and difficulties. In fact, our challenges have led us to much important ministry and to give attention to essential projects that have required our undivided attention.

I asked our staff to provide updates on their primary areas of ministry for this newsletter and for my appeal for your support. Let me share at the outset that I am encouraging donations to strengthen the work of ABR, but I am providing two particular areas where your gifts can be targeted for strategic impact for the ABR ministry:

1. ABR is building a scholarship fund for college students who wish to participate in an ABR excavation. A $10,000 matching gift opportunity is available for gifts received in April and May to support our students! spring 2021 appeal pic 1

2. The ABR exhibits continue to impact Christians and those who may have never considered the world of the Bible or God’s saving message within the Scriptures. The World of Jesus is our traveling exhibit and Joshua, Judges, and Jesus is our museum based exhibit, both conducted in partnership with universities and museums across the United States. We have a $10,000 matching gift opportunity for those who want to help us create major new features, add artifacts, and improve displays for both exhibits.

Improving these projects now is important while some Covid restrictions are in place and as we prepare for times when travel limits will be lifted. We seek to impact the lives of students and families whether through the museum experience or through direct involvement in an ABR excavation in Israel. More than ever we want students to experience the world of the Bible! Please help us do this with your generous support.

The ABR Staff and Current Projects

I spoke with each of our ABR staff members as I prepared to write today and there are many great things to share with the ABR family.

Bryan Windle, ABR researcher and writer shares:

As pastor of Island Bible Chapel in Ontario, Canada, I have been engaged in all aspects of ministry, including preaching, livestream outreach, and youth ministry. I continue my weekly reports from the world of biblical archaeology, writing the Breaking News updates for ABR’s newsletter, website, and social networking platforms. I also publish three blogs per month on my own website - BibleArchaeologyReport.com. I'm currently working on a Master’s degree in Archaeology and Biblical History from Trinity Southwest University. 
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I recently filmed two episodes on the Digging for Truth TV program with Henry Smith: The Top Ten Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2020 and an expose on Tiglath-Pileser III.  Two more episodes are planned for the month of March: Nebuchadnezzar and Shishak. If you don’t recognize these important biblical characters, please check out these fascinating programs!

Bryant Wood, ABR’s director of research shares:

I am working on part 1 of volume I of the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation Final Report.

This section entails the fortress we uncovered, which we believe to be the Ai that was conquered by the Israelites as described in Joshua 7­–8.
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This is an extremely important discovery since the site currently believed to be Ai by biblical scholars (et-Tell), was not occupied at the time of the Conquest. Thus, Bible critics use Ai as a prime example of how archaeology disproves the Bible. Our research provides evidence for the proper location of Ai, evidence that is affirmed in the biblical text.

I have completed an analysis of the pottery excavated during 14 seasons at the site, which indicates that the fortress was constructed around 1650 BC and was destroyed around 1400 BC.  According to the Bible, Ai was destroyed in 1406 BC. I have also completed the introductory material for vol I which is a description of the fortress. I am now working on chapter 2, which is an overview of all the pottery from Khirbet el-Maqatir.

Gary Byers, ABR’s Shiloh co-director reports:

I stay engaged daily with Scott Stripling in my role as the Co-Director of ABR’s Shiloh Excavations, which we hope will happen again in July. spring 2021 appeal pic 5

I am teaching courses in the College of Archaeology at Trinity Southwest University and affiliated School of Archaeology at Veritas International University.

While the Tall el-Hammam excavation in Jordan was cancelled, I will take part in a 2-week Field School in the desert of Albuquerque NM.

Check out Gary’s recent article entitled, Let the Stones Cry Out? Dolmens and Megalithic Standing Stones in the Biblical World, from our October ABR E-newsletter (the article is now on the ABR website also).  If you are not currently receiving the free ABR newsletter, just sign up at BibleArchaeology.org.

Rick Lanser, the editor of Bible and Spade magazine provides this update:

Bible and Spade magazine, ABR’s “flagship” publication, continues to improve in every facet of development. We were thrilled to bring Susan Gliatta on the ABR staff this year as our design and layout specialist after years of voluntary help. Susan is gifted in creating eye-catching graphics as she beautifully crafts Biblespring 2021 appeal pic 7 and Spade four times a year for our ABR members and subscribers. We are blessed to have Susan as part of the ABR staff!

My recent work on the Daniel 9:24-27 Project has focused on organizing and preparing the articles and research for an anticipated book publication. If you have not had the opportunity to check out the Project, just visit my articles on the ABR website. I welcome questions and comments on my research which provides me the opportunity to interact with many in the ABR family. 

Lastly, I’m also preparing an article for a journal publication on the Parthian War period and its significance to the chronology of Herod the Great.

Scott Stripling, ABR’s director of excavations, outlines his current activities:

Excavation – I am actively planning Shiloh Season 4 which launches on July 4, 2021. Our focus will be on a monumental building and a bone deposit, both from the Tabernacle period.

Speaking – Last week I lectured virtually at Veritas International University on Shiloh’s cutting-edge technology and protocols. Tomorrow I, along with Dr. Randall Price and Dr. Boyd Seevers, will be part of a virtual panel discussion for the Historical Faith Society on Biblical Archaeology. In mid-March, I will speak at Mid Atlantic Christian University and the Museum of the Albemarle for the opening of the Joshua, Judges, and Jesus exhibit. In late March, I will record two episodes on ABR’s Digging For Truth TV program on the location of the Jerusalem Temple.

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Publication – Here are some of my current writing projects:

  1. I wrote two articles for the forthcoming issue of Bible and Spade.

  2. Khirbet el-Maqatir Final Reports: Volume 2 is in the peer-review process with Archaeopress. I will submit the final version in April, and we will have printed copies by July.

  3. The Shiloh three-year report is complete, except for the pottery section. I hope to have this published before Season Four begins.

  4. I just wrote an article entitled “Buried Secrets” with Jordan McClinton, The Bible Seminary graduate student and part of the ABR dig team. It will be published in the journal, Biblical in English and Spanish.

  5. I am co-authoring a peer-reviewed article with Dr. Craig Evans which refutes the claim that the Temple was located in the City of David.

Henry Smith reports:

I have enjoyed opportunities to speak to students of all ages about the Bible and how archaeology helps us understand God’s Word. I will be speaking at two Christian schools in the weeks ahead:spring 2021 appeal pic 10

Archaeology and Science at Covenant Christian School and Archaeology and the Bible at Salem Christian School, both located in eastern Pennsylvania.

I am deep into writing and editing my upcoming book, From Adam to Abraham, due to be submitted to the publisher on August 1, 2021.

I continue writing for Bible and Spade magazine and look forward to publishing a two-part article, “Wild West Evangelical Hermeneutics: The Case of the Patriarchal Lifespans” in the summer and fall of 2021.

ABR Director, Scott Lanser will be interviewing me for three upcoming episodes of our Digging for Truth TV program: Two episodes on the controversial subject, Genocide in Canaan? And one episode on the fascinating topic, How Tall Was Goliath? You can watch all our Digging for Truth episodes by going to the ABR YouTube Channel, BibleArchaeology.

Staff development

spring 2021 appeal pic 11I want to reiterate how happy we are to welcome Susan Gliatta on the ABR staff. Many have noted the wonderful improvement to our magazine Bible and Spade and Susan has been a big part of those positive developments. In addition to Susan, ABR will be adding an assistant editor to our ABR team very soon (more to come on this new appointment!)

On our dig staff some exciting new appointments have been made as well. Abigail Leavitt was recently promoted to be the Assistant Dig Director of the Shiloh Excavations! We congratulate Abigail in this new role where she brings many years of experience to her new responsibilities. Related to this important development, Gary Byers has been appointed to be Co-Director of the Shiloh excavations. Gary’s many years of archaeological experience on ABR digs and as Assistant Director of the Tel-Hammam excavation in Jordan will greatly benefit our ongoing work at Shiloh.

The growth of the ABR ministry

There are several key areas of our work behind the scenes that I want to make everyone aware of. Several years ago we brought Ms. Lien Voong on to the ABR administrative staff. Lien’s job has been to complete our website migration processes (an enormous task!), to be our social networking specialist, and to assist with our regular publications. In just the past few weeks the data related to our outreach has provided incredible evidence of the impact ABR is having upon a larger and larger population around the world. Just a couple of examples will suffice:

One episode of ABR’s Digging for Truth TV program just reached 200,000 views. ABR’s YouTube Channel in February saw an astounding increase of 500%  in viewership in the first week of the month and then over 800% in the second week. These incredible numbers will not continue at these levels, but it tells us that people are hungry for the information presented by ABR. In one year book orders from the ABR bookstore have increased more than 40%. ABR’s membership has grown 25%. The blessing of God and His people and the tireless work of the entire ABR staff are the reason for this growth and impact.  Thank you for making all of this happen!

Support for ABR

Over the past 5 years ABR’s financial support has grown so that ABR has been able to support its staff, research and projects more effectively. Giving has increased on average about 14% per year in that time period. This growing base of support is the story of the entire ABR family who have partnered with us in giving, volunteering, and sharing our mission with others. I am grateful to each and every one of you who have embraced our vision and who have stood with us as we do the hard work of original field research and publication. You have encouraged us in our efforts to defend the Faith against its detractors, and to bring critically important research from biblical archaeology to the desks of pastors and professors, and to the entire Body of Christ worldwide.

Together we bring a united testimony of faith in the Word of God as we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and defend the Scripture against the mockery of aggressive and antagonistic unbelief.

How you can help ABR at this time

The ministry of ABR is all about God’s people coming together to proclaim that God’s Word is true and can be trusted, and that Jesus will rescue anyone who reaches out to Him by faith. Through the affirming evidence of biblical archaeology and the dedicated research work of our staff ABR is addressing some of the most difficult biblical questions, calling out the spectacular but false claims of Indiana Jones styled “adventurers”, and encouraging the faith of those who have been shaken in this world of blinding cynicism and unrelenting skepticism.

In this letter I’ve shared about our matching gift efforts to help fund our biblical archaeological exhibits and for dig scholarships for our ABR college students. Each of these campaigns have $10,000 that has been committed with a challenge to our ABR family to match these funds in the months of April and May. In addition to these special efforts is the need to support the overall work of the ABR ministry. spring 2021 appeal pic 12

As an added incentive, everyone who provides a gift of $50 or more in the months of April and May will receive Douglas El’s fascinating and impactful new book, Proofs of God. If you've ever wanted a short, easy-to-read book on the scientific evidence for God, this book is for you! Whether you are a believer looking to defend your faith, or to reach out to agnostics and skeptics in your life, this creative new book delivers in an engaging and entertaining format.

On behalf of the ABR board and staff I thank you for all of your love and support in building up this ministry. I thank you for praying for us. If you can help at this time we will be grateful. Your partnership and continuing support opens doors of ministry as the Spirit of God leads us forward in the critical battle for souls.

All for Jesus,
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Scott Lanser
Director
Associates for Biblical Research


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