Friday, January 20, 2006


For a variety of reasons, including a lot of work I have to tend to offline, I'm leaving the staff of New Testament Research Ministries. I'm leaving amicably. My decision to leave wasn't a result of any impropriety, personal dispute, or change in theology. I'm leaving in a good relationship with the rest of the staff and in a good relationship with our supporters.

Eric Svendsen has told me that he'll keep the ministry in operation after my departure, but I don't know the details of how the ministry will operate from day to day or who will be involved. Eric has been away a lot lately, as most of you probably know from reading what he wrote about his diminished role in online ministry last November. He could have chosen to shut down these online forums last year or after my departure this year, but he's decided to keep the ministry going. Those of you who appreciate these forums should thank him for that. These forums wouldn't exist if Eric hadn't started them, and he's the one who's primarily been responsible for keeping them going. This is his ministry. Thank you, Eric, for letting me contribute to it and for everything you've done to help me over the years.

I'll still be online. I expect to be posting in online forums every once in a while. But I probably won't be online as often. Instead of being on multiple times each day, there may be days or weeks when I'm not online at all. Some of you may have noticed that I haven't updated my America Online web site much in recent years, aside from the links page. I probably won't be updating it much in the near future either.

I came to this ministry a few years ago, in late 2001. I met Eric a few years before that, I think in either 1997 or 1998, on the America Online message boards. He was kind and generous to me then, and he has been ever since then. He took a significant risk in offering a staff position on this ministry to a layman who was only in his mid-twenties at the time. I've learned a lot from Eric and from other people on and off the staff during my years here, and I'm grateful to all of you.

I had the privilege of working with Tim Enloe and Mike Taylor during my earlier years here. Though both of them have moved on to other things, I still think of them, pray for them, and love and appreciate them. The same is true of those who have helped this ministry, and still help, in moderating the message boards and in other areas, people like Ronnie Brown and Brent Easey. Steve Hays has been generous in helping us in recent months. It's been an honor to work with him. (I imagine that some of you saw his comments recently on his blog regarding his plans to post less this year in order to get some other work done. I've seen some of that other work he's doing, and I can tell you that it's of high quality and worth the wait.) David King has been a blessing. He's been generous in helping us moderate the forums and in posting so much valuable information on the message boards. I doubt that there's anybody who has read the boards for a long time who hasn't benefited from David's work. And I've met a lot of other people here who have blessed me in many ways, too many people to list. We've prayed for each other, counseled each other, and shared our lives in other ways over the years. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I'm sure we'll stay in contact in the years to come.

A lot of things are trivialized in our world today. I don't want to trivialize what's happened during my time with this ministry over the last few years. Ideas have consequences. Influencing people's beliefs is significant. Praying for people is significant. Setting examples for other people to follow is significant. It's a high responsibility and honor to be involved in that sort of work. And if the good work done by this ministry is significant, so is the bad work that I've done. I know that I've stumbled in pride, selfishness, impatience, and other sins many times along the way. I've probably hurt a lot of people without realizing it. I'm leaving without animosity, and I hope only the best for everybody I've influenced.

I hope, most of all, that I've influenced people to have more love for Jesus Christ, who is the fountain of living waters and whose riches are unfathomable. "'Tis what I know of Thee, my Lord and God, that fills my soul with peace, my lips with song" (Horatius Bonar, "Not What I Am, O Lord").

"Neither will I myself shrink from inquiry, if I am anywhere in doubt; nor be ashamed to learn, if I am anywhere in error. Further let me ask of my reader, wherever, alike with myself, he is certain, there to go on with me; wherever, alike with myself, he hesitates, there to join with me in inquiring; wherever he recognizes himself to be in error, there to return to me; wherever he recognizes me to be so, there to call me back: so that we may enter together upon the path of charity, and advance towards Him of whom it is said, 'Seek His face evermore.'" (Augustine, On the Holy Trinity, 1:4-5)

In Christ,
Jason Engwer