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Various aspects of Nehemiah examined in Midwestern journal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–The Old Testament Book of Nehemiah is the focus of the Midwestern Journal of Theology’s fall edition, corresponding to the theme of the Southern Baptist Convention’s January Bible Study on Nehemiah.

“The articles contained in this volume are written to aid the busy pastor or teacher who will be leading studies on this Old Testament book,” journal editor Terry Wilder, associate professor of New Testament and Greek at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes in his editorial.

Guest contributor Mervin Breneman, professor of Old Testament at ESEPA Seminary in San Sebastián, Costa Rica, writes the main article for the issue, titled “A Theological Primer for Nehemiah.” “Certainly [Nehemiah] is an excellent leadership training tool, used frequently to teach godly leadership qualities and methods,” Breneman writes. “However, we also want to show the profound theological teachings in Nehemiah.”

Stephen Andrews, MBTS professor of Old Testament, Hebrew and archaeology, provides a teaching outline for Nehemiah, emphasizing its “essential connection to Ezra.”

“Given the compositional unity of Ezra-Nehemiah, the ideal situation would be to teach both books together,” Andrews writes. “But lacking this opportunity, great care must be taken in developing a teaching outline for either book separately.”

By showing the close correlation with Ezra, Andrews writes that he hopes to demonstrate “the ways in which the narratives of Nehemiah bring to a conclusion the work of God in restoring his people, the temple, and the walls of Jerusalem.”

Albert Bean, MBTS professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, lists 20 “preaching points” from Nehemiah, writing in his article that his purpose is for readers to “hear God’s voice calling you to learn, to share, and to do His work in your ministry setting.”

“Is leading the people of God something like pushing a piece of string? Or can God’s ministers discover principles of leadership through a study of God’s leaders as seen in Scripture?” Bean writes. “Nehemiah was a leader, a builder and a man of God. He cared for his ministry. He faced opposition. He led by influence and by word. He was used by God. Sound familiar?”

A transcribed and edited sermon from Scottish Baptist preacher Peter Grant, titled “Thanksgiving and Prayer to God: A Sermon on Nehemiah 11:17,” also is included in the journal. Grant, who was called “Peter Grant of the Songs,” was a hymn writer, pastor and preacher in Scotland for more than 60 years.

MBTS teaching assistants Stephanie Long and Andrew McClurg supply an annotated bibliography for the Book of Nehemiah. Their combined research provides a wide range of sources covering genres of devotional readings to scholarly commentaries.

Additionally, Midwestern President Dr. R. Philip Roberts contributes an article titled, “What’s Going On in Salt Lake City?” a special report highlighting recent efforts by the Church of the Latter-day Saints to increase understanding and improve relationships between Mormons and evangelicals.

“Are Mormons coming to their theological senses? Is there a doctrinal seismic shift afoot akin to what occurred with the Worldwide Church of God just a few years ago when that group renounced its heretical views and embraced evangelical theology?,” asks Roberts, who served as interfaith evangelism director at the North American Mission Board from 1994-99. “In this writer’s opinion, while hoping in some sense that he is wrong, that is hardly the case.”

The full text of Roberts’ article can be downloaded online at: www.mbts.edu/Resources/article.htm.

The Midwestern Journal of Theology is a publication of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. A subscription or copies of the journal can be obtained by contacting MBTS at (816) 414-3700.

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  • James Streicher