The Newsletter of IBTM
with Douglas Jacoby

Good morning from chilly coastal NW England! As you can see, I’m climbing one of Britain's many 8000m+ mountains. Photo (R): Douglas about to summit an icy British peak. I’ve grown my hair out, too. And if you believe either statement, I’ve got a bridge to sell you :-).

Actually, the tallest mountain in the UK is just 1345m tall, or 4413’. On a more serious note, today's offerings:

  • An excellent book on spiritual trauma, recently published by Sean St. Jean (Vancouver)
  • Israel & Palestine — What does the Bible say about the “Holy Land”?
  • AIM Evidences & Evangelism — this weekend
  • The true origins of Valentine’s Day
  • More cool quotes on Truth

Last week I’d mentioned that today there’d be a free book for all our website members. Alas, that was not meant to be—not yet! But in a week or two I’ll make good on that promise.


The hurts of spiritual trauma and abuse are real. They didn’t start with our church, but they do exist there. Why? Because people sin. Spiritual trauma is the mental and emotional harm that comes from having damaging or abusive interactions with other Christians. Any tight-knit church fellowship, regardless of denominational affiliation, will naturally supply the preconditions necessary for spiritual hurts to occur.

But what if we could heal from those painful wounds, without sacrificing our faith—not by trying harder, but by trying differently? Drawing on years of clinical practice with disillusioned Christians, Dr. St. Jean guides us through the steps needed to heal from trauma and find peace with God.

Sean St. Jean is a full-time professor at King University (Bristol, Tennessee), teaching therapy at a graduate level. He is also a therapist in private practice, and has worked with 100s of church members and ministry staff globally, who have struggled with spiritual trauma, workplace stress, or ministry burnout. Sean, his wife Erin, and their three children live in British Columbia, and are members of the Vancouver Church of Christ.

His book Spiritual Trauma: A Guide to Healing Your Heart From Church Hurts, just released, can be found at I devoured this book and recommend it heartily.


Like most of us, in October 2023 I was shocked by both the Palestinian assault on Israel and the violent Israeli response. The issues are tangled and complex. But what about the Bible? Do the scriptures shed any light on the conflict—and on who rightfully owns the land?

In Nov 2023 I attended a session of the Society of Biblical Literature on the Israel / Palestine land controversy. Four presenters held differing positions vis-a-vis the political and theological issues surrounding the Holy Land. (What, if anything, does the Bible say about the return of the Jews to their historic homeland in Palestine? Do 20th- or 21st-century events in the Middle East fulfill OT prophecy? In other words, is the "Holy Land" still "holy"? There is a spectrum of opinion on such matters.)

Christian Zionists and Jews who hold to Holy Land territoriality consider holy not only the land, but (even more so) the city of Jerusalem, and still holier the Temple. (Think concentric circles, with increasing holiness as one approaches the center.)

But if Gary Burge is right, this Old Testament paradigm is no longer valid. In the spirit of full disclosure, I agreed with Burge even before he spoke, as this is a topic I've devoted a lot of time to in study / writing. Still, he was the only speaker who seemed to grasp the big picture, tackle the relevant scriptures, and offer reasons that were both measured and sensible. His line of thought increased my conviction and led to this article.

In this article I highlight numerous insights in Gary M. Burge's invaluable work, Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land” Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010).  KEEP READING


Evidences & Evangelism kicks off with a live online session Sat 17 Feb, 9:30-11:00 ET. (You’ll receive a Zoom link before the live session to the email that you used to register on the website.)

On Sat 27 Apr, 9:30am-1:00pm ET we will enjoy a second live session with author, professor, and expert on the Resurrection of Jesus Mike Licona. Mike has authored an award-winning work on the Resurrection, and several volumes on apologetics and evangelism. You don’t want to miss this! It’s such a special opportunity that non-students can attend the April session for only $29.

Note: If you’re new to AIM and don’t already have an account, you’ll be asked to create an account before completing registration.


What do you know about this increasingly popular observance? Think it's all about hearts, romance, and chocolate? Think again. The roots of Valentine's Day are ancient. Here is a talk (plus notes) so you can learn about the origins and significance of Valentine's Day.

CLICK HERE to listen.


Today: three more cool quotes. Next week: memorable sayings on truth from G. K. Chesterton.

  • It is the very nature of Christian truth that it cannot be enforced. Coerce belief and you destroy belief and you turn the truth believed into a lie. — Richard Bauckham
  • Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, are things Christ unsparingly condemned. Destitute of fire, they are nothing more than a godless philosophy, an ethical system, and a superstition. — Samuel Chadwick
  • The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.— David Foster Wallace


I’ll be in Texas next week (the Teleios Conference), and would appreciate your prayers for safe travel. The trip includes five flights, two train journeys, and a few hours driving on the highway (on the right side of the road—not on the left, as in the UK, which was the original and more logical side). I’ll also be visiting friends in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.

Have a great week. And Happy Valentine’s Day!