Dear ABR family,
In the past 18 months Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) has seen waves of growth and development of historic dimensions. A number of projects that I have shared with you and have provided repeated updates, have now come to fruition. The years 2022 and 2023 will be marked in our history as one of the most significant times of growth in ministry outreach and worldview impact, including contributions to digital and broadcast media, publications, and the expansion of impact at the academic table of ideas in the world of biblical archaeology and biblical studies. The outline I will lay out for you here is just a general summary of these impacts, but they represent countless hours of work involving scientific analysis and the disciplined application of skills from academic disciplines such as textual and manuscript research, paleography, orthography, and historical and literary studies (among others). The great sacrifices of time, talent, and treasure in pursuing these efforts have not just yielded results impacting the scholarly world alone but also reach with profound implications to the church of Jesus Christ around the globe. Pastors and teachers write to us and interact with us on these implications as they prepare sermons and lessons for the people of God. They express the joy they feel in preaching with greater confidence and seeing the results in the lives of their congregants. Gospel-transformed lives, where the people of God trust the Word of God, is what all of this is about. And I want to stop to thank you today for making this possible and to challenge you to give at this critical time to help launch ABR into even greater opportunities throughout 2023 and 2024. Our fiscal year-end is upon us, and your help is crucial in enabling us to overcome the significant economic pressures we face, and to move forward in God’s calling and mission.
Before I get to the accomplishments your prayers, love, and support have brought about, let me briefly share about the opportunities that have come our way.
1. At a meeting just concluded this week with local civic leaders in Israel, ABR has been requested to be the lead organization to complete the sifting, study, and publication of the remaining material remains from Joshua’s altar on Mt. Ebal. With the historic announcement of our discovery of a curse tablet (defixio) from our first efforts in sifting the dig pile remains from Mt. Ebal, we greatly anticipate this new opportunity!
2. ABR is developing plans to open a new dig site in Israel in partnership with a leading American university. Unfortunately, the discussions on this matter have not been concluded, so I am not able to provide you with greater details at this time. Please pray for this effort as it will allow us to bring to light yet another biblical site and to point the world again to the Bible as the source ultimate truth!
3. Our radio and podcast outreach is in its infancy. ABR has been requested to broadcast its radio version of Digging for Truth in several new locations. Please pray for us as this outreach grows!
I want to give you great encouragement today that your support has made all the difference in ABR’s efforts to make the Bible unavoidable before the watching world. Biblical archaeology, though at times appearing to be coldly academic, is one of the great instruments of apologetic witness to the Bible and to the reality of absolute truth in a post-modern and increasingly post-Christian era of Western history. ABR’s calling is to openly and boldly proclaim that God has spoken inerrantly in the Scriptures and to show the evidence from the historical and archaeological record that affirms that declaration. The problem that the secular and anti-Christian world faces every day is that every discovery, interpreted with fairness and integrity, displays and, indeed, affirms the Bible! What evidence has come to light and what discoveries has ABR made in the past year or more? What has been accomplished in our calling and purpose?
1.The Shiloh Excavation: – We began our fifth season of excavations at ancient Shiloh in Israel today! The excavation at Shiloh has produced several surprising and important finds that have helped to confirm the biblical account that Shiloh was the center of worship in Israel for over 300 years. A few examples: a bone depository that shows evidence of representative animals used in the sacrificial/cultic system, a ceramic pomegranate likely used in the worship at Shiloh, altar horns used in the sacrificial system, the foundation of a monumental building in the dimensions of the Tabernacle, and socket stones from an important gate complex; possibly at the location where the priest Eli died. These and many other discoveries are helping to paint a clearer picture of biblical Shiloh.
2.The curse-tablet / defixio from Mt. Ebal: – ABR’s wet-sifting project of the material remains from Joshua’s altar on Mt. Ebal created an earthquake in the world of biblical archaeology when ABR held a press conference revealing this extraordinary discovery. ABR made an important decision to announce the discovery of the artifact after threats of academic piracy became apparent. Since then, the academic world and some media entities tried to pressure ABR to release its findings prematurely. ABR resisted such efforts and worked with our research partners to produce a peer-reviewed article with a highly regarded scientific journal, Heritage Science. Contrary to what some have reported, there was nothing “slow” about the process, as Dr. Scott Stripling and our team worked tirelessly to move the article along to publication! Please go to our website or our YouTube channel to learn more about this exciting discovery!
3. The completion of the Khirbet el-Maqatir Final Reports, volumes 1 and 2, and the publication of volume 2 (391 pages) with ArchaeoPress in Oxford, England. Volume 1 edits are being completed by Dr. Bryant Wood, and we expect to publish this volume later this year or early in 2024.
4. Digging for Truth radio begins on Saturday, June 3rd, on the Good News Radio Network that operates radio stations across the southwestern region of the U.S. More networks and stations are expected to be added in the year ahead!
5. Growth and training of ABR professional staff: In April, Abigail Leavitt joined the professional archaeological staff of ABR after serving for many years on ABR’s dig staff at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Shiloh, and the MEDS project (Mt. Ebal). Abigail is completing her PhD at Ariel University in Israel. Henry Smith is working to complete his PhD at Amridge University in the U.S. ABR’s professional archaeological staff includes Dr. Scott Stripling, Dr. Bryant Wood, Dr. Gary Byers, Henry Smith Jr., and Abigail Leavitt. Our professional research staff include all the above and Richard Lanser Jr., Bryan Windle, and Scott Lanser.
6. ABR staff members have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and popular publications in the past year. TV and radio outreach has included appearances with Eric Metaxas, Kirk Cameron, and Sean McDowell, primarily surrounding our defixio discovery from Mt. Ebal.
This list could be easily expanded to include scores of stories, discoveries, and other surprising and important research. Connect with ABR on our Facebook page and regularly check out the ABR website for new articles and research and for important announcements, especially while ABR is in the field at Shiloh.
As I draw this appeal to a close, I urge you to give sacrificially to ABR so that our arms can be lifted up while we do battle in the arena of ideas and in our daily ministry where our apologetic witness is tested every day (Ex 17:12). Your outpouring of support will take us over the finish line for this fiscal year and move us forward as we press on to new and important ministry for the next year.
Associates for Biblical Research
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