Dear Fellows, Associates, and Friends of IBR:
Greetings in the name of Jesus.
In a little more than two months many of us will be making our way to San Antonio. I am looking forward to seeing you there and am confident you will find the annual meetings on November 19-21 intellectually stimulating and spiritually enriching. This year John Walton, the program chair, has arranged for a special treat, a series of lectures on the Septuagint. As many of you know, this field has generally received too little attention in both Old Testament and New Testament scholarship. Karen Jobes, Peter Gentry, and Tim McLay have been representing us well on these matters in the broader academic arena, and we look forward to their papers. The discussions will be enriched by responses from Larry Perkins and David Baer. And please mark on your calendars the Sunday morning service, as we gather for worship and meet to be inspired and encouraged in our walk of faith. Once more Wayne Johnson will lead us, as he has done so well in the past, and we will hear a meditation by John Oswalt of Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS. You will find copies of the programs for each of these meetings in the AAR/SBL Program booklet under additional meetings, as well as on our Web Site. We are delighted that the kind folks at InterVarsity Press have agreed to provide food and drinks for the reception after the Friday evening lecture.
I can scarcely over-emphasize the importance of the annual business meeting for all fellows of IBR, scheduled for Saturday, November 20, from 10:30–12:30. You will see from the schedule attached that we will begin the business meeting an hour earlier than we have in the past. And yes, we will try to arrange for coffee. Although I feel very good about the progress we have made on a host of fronts this year, some of these issues will probably call for fuller discussion on the floor than we have had in the past. We are in a state of transition, which means that we must proceed carefully, being sensitive to the interests of all. Here are some of the issues we will need to discuss and on which we will need to take action:
A. Amendment VII of the constitution, formally severing the link between the library in Fort Worth and IBR. The proposed amendment reads as follows:
1. The International Reference LIBRARY of the INSTITUTE for Biblical Research, 1721 West Broadus Street, Fort Worth TX 76115 (POB 22238, Fort Worth TX 76122), is hereby constituted an independent and self-governing entity in friendly association with the INSTITUTE.
2. The current (2004) board of Library Trustees shall constitute the governing board of the LIBRARY and the trustees of its property and funds. They shall make such organizational and any other structural and operational decisions that they may deem best for the LIBRARY, and they shall rename the LIBRARY accordingly.
3. Current (2004) members of the INSTITUTE shall be members of the LIBRARY unless and until they shall individually decide otherwise.
4. The INSTITUTE shall bear no further liabilities or obligations to the LIBRARY nor interests of any kind in it.
The motion will be presented to the members for a vote. We commend Earle Ellis and the trustees of the library for the actions they have taken during the year in anticipation of this vote, incorporating the International Reference Library for Biblical Research, Inc., as an independent non-profit organization.
B. Dissolution of the Institute for Biblical Research. Since the organization has been incorporated under a new name, the Institute for Biblical Research, Incorporated, the old organization needs to be dissolved and its members and assets formally transferred to the new.
C. By-laws. Technically the constitution of the Institute for Biblical Research has no bearing on the Institute for Biblical Research, Incorporated. Since we have incorporated under a new name, we need to establish policies and procedures that will govern the new organization. Our attorney, Doug Bozell is providing invaluable assistance in drafting such a document, which will be presented in due course. The new realities may call for further adjustments in the schedules of dues and other matters.
D. Personnel. This period of transition also requires that we present to the members a slate of officers and trustees that will provide continuity with the outgoing structures and at the same time reflect the realities of the new organization. A roster of nominees for the positions that need to be filled will be presented at the meeting.
E. Editor of the Bulletin for Biblical Research. In March I mailed a letter to all the fellows requesting those interested to apply for the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin. We were pleased that several excellent candidates applied, and regret that we could not engage them all. Earlier we had agreed that if all other qualifications of applicants would be equal, preference would be given to an Old Testament scholar. Accordingly, we are delighted to commend to you Rick Hess of Denver Seminary as Craig Evan?s replacement. As those of you who heard his lecture last year know, Rick has distinguished himself as an evangelical scholar of the first rank, and is highly respected in non-evangelical circles both on this continent and abroad. Based on familiarity with his work and discussions with him regarding the direction he would like to lead BBR, I know the journal will be in excellent hands, and the standard of editorial excellence established by Bruce Chilton and reinforced by Craig Evans will be maintained.
F. Communication. To cut down on expenses and increase efficiency I am sending this letter by e-mail to all the members whose e-mail addresses are current in our files. Those who are not served by electronic mail will receive hard copies. I will also post this letter and the attachments on the Web-site. We are grateful to Hampton Keathley and Todd Lingren for establishing and maintaining the site for us. We are working on ways to make it more helpful for the dissemination of information not only between the fellows and the organization but among the fellows as well.
Attached to this letter you will find a call for information for the ?2004 IBR, Inc. Newsletter? from Brent Sandy. Would you please send him the information you would like him to publicize as soon as possible?preferably before September 30.
By now many of you will have learned of the passing of our beloved friend, my predecessor as President of the IBR, Bas Van Elderen. He died of a sudden heart attack on August 1, after undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. It is with deep sadness that I have received this news. From his work I have long known him as an excellent scholar, and from his involvement in the Institute for Biblical Research I have long respected him as a leader in the world of biblical scholarship from an evangelical perspective. But I will always remember him for his kindness to me in orienting me to this office. When I needed help and perspective I could always turn to him, and he would always give it in his own wise and gracious way. All the members of IBR are deeply grateful for the long hours and many years that Bas invested in this organization. Through his service he inspired many and through his faithful fulfillment of duty he brought great honor to the name of the living Christ. Please continue to pray for his wife Vivolyn and the family.
Please continue to pray for us as we seek to conduct your business in accordance with your interests and for the long-range well being of IBR, Inc. If you have any suggestions for improving the organization, including ideas for the annual lectures, please let us know. In the mean time we will try to keep you posted on developments through the Web Site.
Until we meet in San Antonio, may God be with you all.
Cordially in Him,
Daniel I. Block, President