The winter issue of Southwestern News magazine features Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s educational opportunities, alumni connections and influence among the places and people of Israel.

In the magazine, President Paige Patterson shares his thoughts on whether Israel should still matter to Christians. He outlines the history of the Jewish nation alternatively being dispelled from and then returning to the land of Israel, and then inquires whether Israel’s survival is relevant or even necessary.

“Surrounded by hostile enemies, and with few friends on the face of the globe, does Israel have a chance to survive?” Patterson wrote. “Should she even survive?”

Patterson answers these questions by pointing out that both the Old and New Testaments contain promises made by God to the Jews. Patterson concludes by describing how he witnessed and read Scriptures to Yassar Arafat during a meeting in one of Sadaam Hussein’s palaces in Iraq some years ago.

Patterson told Arafat “there is coming a day when there will be peace in the Middle East…That peace can only come in the land and in the heart of an individual when Jesus is made the King.”

The magazine also contains feature articles describing the work of Southwestern Seminary graduates who are witnessing to the people of Israel in anticipation of that “peace in the Middle East.”

Readers will also see pictures of the people and places in Israel through the lenses of seminary photographer Matt Miller. The stories and photographs depict locations such as Caesarea Maritima, Bethlehem, the springs of En Gedi, the Valley of Armageddon, the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem and the controversial Dome of the Rock.

In addition, the seminary’s Bible Lands Study program is described through the eyes of its organizers, Eric Mitchell and John Mark Yeats. Mitchell and Yeats are two young seminary professors whose passion for archaeology and history, respectively, led them to organize study tours in the Holy Land. This summer they will lead students on an archaeological dig at Tel Gezer, one of the three cities fortified by Solomon as described in 1 Kings 9.

The ministry of Jim Sibley, coordinator of Jewish Ministries for the North American Mission Board and a 1974 graduate of Southwestern Seminary, is also featured. Called to minister to Jews when he was only 14 years old, Sibley has planted churches and organized mass evangelism campaigns in Israel. Through his ministry with NAMB, Sibley travels throughout the United States and Canada training and encouraging Baptists to share their faith with Jews. 

In other sections of the magazine there are reports of the retirement of long-time seminary administrator Jack Terry Jr., an exciting new partnership with a seminary in Bonn, Germany, and the successes Southwestern students experienced in Zambia when they preached the gospel and baptized many new believers there last summer.

For a free subscription and a copy of the current Southwestern News, contact Brent Thompson, associate director of news and information at Southwestern Seminary, at or (817) 923-1921 ext. 7220.