The Newsletter of IBTM 
with Douglas Jacoby



Good evening from icy England—now back from even icier Iceland. The last time I spoke in Reykjavík was in 2008, and this visit too was quite encouraging, with great food and fellowship, talks around the theme of the problem of suffering, and enjoyable walks praying and exploring the city.

The amazing volcanic island straddles the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, so tremors and eruptions are not uncommon. You may have seen the recent Grindavík eruption on the news a few days ago. With the approaching lava flow, several thousand were evacuated. At first this may not seem a large number—not quite 1% of Iceland’s total population—but it would be like 3 million Americans having to flee their homes. A time of sober reflection.

Photos: Iceland from space (above L), inspecting a facsimile of 1584 Icelandic Bible (above R). Below: Grindavík eruption and Reykjavík sunrise [11:02 am],\.

During this same weekend we also held our next session of the European School of Missions, on (1) Islam and (2) the religions of the ancient biblical world.

There was also a session of the Athens Institute: Family Life, with Joseph Harris and Guy Hammond, teaching colleagues for many years.

How useful to be able to teach online!


Founded in 2019, the Phoenix Seminar Text & Canon Institute produces academic research and church resources illuminating the history of the Bible. I only discovered this two months ago at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. You will find accessible articles on how we got the Bible from leading scholars—beneficial for your church or ministry. Visit


Q: What do you think of membership covenants for congregations? Are they helpful, or harmful?

Guest reply by Malcolm Cox (Watford, UK)

A: Lately, from a number of sources, I’ve been hearing discussion about membership covenants. I am aware of some churches who have adopted them. I will not write a full treatment of the topic here. Rather, I will share a few initial thoughts.

When I recently heard someone talking about membership covenants, I had a visceral reaction. I felt something like a hot flush in my body. I took this to be a warning sign. But a warning of what? A warning that membership covenants are unhealthy, or a warning sign that I have un-dealt-with issues, or both—or something else? KEEP READING


This weekend we have another session of the European School of Missions. Many thanks to Micha Brück, Brad & Ann King, and Jonathan Buchholz for facilitating everything. Topics: (1) Judaism, Christianity & Islam and (2) The [so-called] God of the Old Testament. Your prayers and support are sincerely appreciated.

Your brother,