Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary Representatives Visit Logsdon
By: Dr. Bob Ellis and Kristen Harris
Editor: James Stone
Published in “The Logsdon Letter” ed. Winter 2012
Recently, Logsdon Seminary hosted two representatives from Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS) in Israel to inform Logsdon students and faculty about NETS, as well as to discuss a possible partnership between the two seminaries.
Logsdon’s relationship with NETS began due to the partnership between the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel and Texas Baptists. This partnership led Rev. Dr. Bryson Arthur, President of Nazareth Evangelical, to attend the 2009 Baptist General Convention of Texas Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas where he met Tommy Brisco, Chief Academic Officer for Hardin-Simmons University and former Logsdon Dean, and Dr. Bob Ellis, Logsdon Seminary’s Associate Dean for Academics.
According to their website, the goal of NETS is to serve the local church, to welcome students of all backgrounds and genders equally, and to aid in the process of reconciliation between Jewish and Arab communities. Azar Ajaj, a Baptist minister and NETS’ Dean of Students and Finance Officer, spoke about the plight of Evangelical Christians in Israel as one of the smallest religious minority groups in Israel. “Just looking at the statistics, you can see we have a huge mission field in front of us… and this is our call as a seminary—to prepare the people that are studying with us in this field of mission.” Dr. Arthur expressed his excitement about what the future may hold for the NETS-Logsdon partnership.
“Since we’ve been here we have a great since of being at one with you. And I’d like to say that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. We are really open to creating all sorts of creative possibilities for partnership,” said Dr. Arthur.
Since the initial meeting in Abilene, Dr. Bob Ellis travelled to Nazareth in June 2012 to tour NETS’ facility to engage in further discussion with Dr. Arthur and Rev. Ajaj about cooperative efforts, and to meet with pastors from the Galilee area. Most recently, in September 2012, Dr. Arthur and Rev. Ajaj returned to Logsdon for a second visit in order to make specific plans for a Logsdon Seminary travel course to Israel that will be closely linked with NETS. The travel course will be available for some master’s and doctoral students at Logsdon and will occur in May 2012. This travel course is the first step in what both Logsdon and NETS hope will be a long-standing and growing partnership in theological education.