SBC DIGEST: Dave Miller, 2017 Pastors' Conf. president, diagnosed with cancer; Robert & Martha Bergen to retire at Hannibal-LaGrange Univ.

In today's SBC Digest: Dave Miller, 2017 Pastors' Conference president, diagnosed with kidney cancer; Robert & Martha Bergen to retire after combined 60 years at Hannibal-LaGrange University.

Dave Miller, 2017 Pastors' Conf. president, diagnosed with cancer

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (BP) -- Iowa pastor Dave Miller, president of last year's Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference, has been diagnosed with kidney cancer and will undergo surgery after the SBC's June 12-13 annual meeting in Dallas.

Miller, elected SBPC president in 2016 in St. Louis, reshaped the 2017 Pastors' Conference in Phoenix toward heightened participation by small-church leaders. He is senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, where he has served nearly 13 years.

Miller is a former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention and former president of the Baptist Convention of Iowa.

Miller underwent a biopsy May 1 at UnityPoint Health in Sioux City and underwent the removal of his gallbladder and spleen on May 3.

In a May 7 email, Miller said he will undergo robotic surgery June 26 to remove a tumor from his kidney. "[A]fter a brief recuperation I have every hope of returning to even better health than I had before my recent surgeries," he wrote.

Active on Twitter and the SBC Voices blog site, Miller tweeted gratitude May 2 for the well-wishes he had received: "I am absolutely overwhelmed by the number of people who have promised their prayer support. I go under the scalpel well covered in prayer. [T]hank you all."

He also relayed a bit of humor amid the ordeal:

May 1: "Had a Christian nurse, a mainline Christian nurse and a Syrian doctor. It was an interesting conversation."

May 1: "Going home [after the biopsy]. Trying to convince Jenni the doctor ordered stop at Mr Stirfry but she ain't buying it."

May 3: "The hospital turned down my request to live-tweet the surgery today. Some nonsense about general anesthesia making that a bad choice."

May 4: "Based on the pain I am experiencing, I have made the decision to never have my spleen and gallbladder removed again."

As Pastor's Conference president, Miller organized an event featuring 12 pastors from churches with fewer than 500 in average attendance preaching through the New Testament book of Philippians. The Pastors' Conference received funding to provide $1,000 scholarships to 61 pastors from smaller churches for travel expenses to attend the conference and the SBC annual meeting.

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Robert & Martha Bergen to retire after 60 years on HLGU faculty

HANNIBAL, Mo. (BP) -- Robert and Martha Bergen will retire from Hannibal-LaGrange University at the end of this summer after a combined 60 years of service, having taught an estimated 7,500 students.

Robert Bergen is HLGU's associate dean of academic administration and distinguished professor of Old Testament and Hebrew. Martha Bergen is chair of the division of Christian studies, professor of Christian education and director of ministry guidance.

They joined the university's faculty in 1987.

HLGU President Anthony Allen noted, "One cannot think about the impact and history of Hannibal-LaGrange University without associating it with the Bergens who have given so many years of their lives in service to this institution. I look forward to their continued relationship with HLGU as both the Drs. Bergen become emeritus faculty."

Miles Mullin, vice president for academic administration, said the Bergens are "exemplars of what it means to be faithful Christian faculty members. Immensely talented, they devoted their lives to each other, their local church and generations of students at Hannibal-LaGrange University.

"Many, many of those students are now faithful pastors, missionaries, teachers, nurses, business owners, husbands and wives, and moms and dads because they sat under the teaching and watched the example of Bob and Martha Bergen," Mullin said.

Robert Bergen has served as a Bible translator for three different Bibles: The New Living Translation, the New Living Translation 2.0 and the Holman Christian Standard Bible; and has published commentaries on the biblical books of 1-2 Samuel in the New American Commentary series, the Holman Old Testament Commentary series and the Shepherd's Notes series.

He holds Ph.D. and M.Div. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and an undergraduate degree from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.

Martha Bergen has published a Bible commentary on the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Shepherd's Notes series and is a regular contributor to Biblical Illustrator magazine.

She holds Ph.D., M.Div. and M.R.E. degrees from Southwestern and an undergraduate degree from Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.

Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston.
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