Southern Seminary’s Hispanic program adds new professors, reduces online costs

Communications Staff — April 11, 2016

Southern Seminary students (left to right) Joel Peña, Jairo Namnún and Erick Jimenez, all from the same church in the Dominican Republic, sit together at Towery Plaza.
Southern Seminary students (left to right) Joel Peña, Jairo Namnún and Erick Jimenez, all from the same church in the Dominican Republic, sit together at Towery Plaza.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — The addition of two influential Latino pastors to the faculty and significant discounts for online Hispanic students are key elements of a new initiative at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary designed to serve more effectively those called to ministry in the Spanish-speaking world.

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“The Lord has opened an incredible door for Southern Seminary to minister all over the globe, but in a powerful new way to form this partnership for the Hispanic Initiatives,” said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “The Spanish-speaking world is on Southern Seminary’s heart, and we see both a great opportunity and a great responsibility. Prosperity theology and other challenges have made significant inroads into the Hispanic world. At the same time, there is an incredible, even unprecedented openness to the gospel and we are excited to establish partnerships with pastors and churches who we see as the crucial leaders for an awakening of Christ’s church in the Spanish-speaking world.”

Miguel Núñez
Miguel Núñez

As part of the Hispanic Initiatives, Southern Seminary has appointed Miguel Núñez and Juan Sanchez to the faculty. Núñez, senior pastor of Iglesia Bautista Internacional (IBI) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and founding president of Wisdom & Integrity Ministries, will serve as associate professor of pastoral leadership and lead strategist for Latin America. Sanchez, senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, will serve as assistant professor of Christian theology and lead strategist for North America. Sanchez graduated with his M.Div. in 1999 and earned a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Southern in 2015. Núñez and Sanchez will teach courses on the Louisville campus.

Juan Sanchez
Juan Sanchez

“Miguel Núñez and Juan Sanchez are two of the most faithful pastors I know,” Mohler said. “They combine a deep passion for the gospel with an urgency in biblical preaching and with the full wealth of theological conviction. Both are natural leaders whom God has raised up at this significant moment for a unique ministry to the Spanish-speaking world and far beyond.”

Núñez received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern in 2014. His thesis, “The Power of God’s Word to Transform a Nation: A Biblical and Historical Appeal to Latin American Pastors,” called for pastors to “seize the moment” of spiritual awakening and bring to Latin America what happened in Europe during the Protestant Reformation. An infectious disease specialist with more than 35 years of medical experience, Núñez sold his practice in the United States and moved to the Dominican Republic in 1998 after feeling called to address the need in his home country for healthy churches and theological resources. In addition to pastoring the 1,300-member IBI, Núñez founded the Institute of Wisdom & Integrity and hosts the TV program Answers, which is broadcast in more than 30 Latin American countries and the United States.

“The Hispanic Initiatives of Southern Seminary is a new and holy ambition of the institution, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ among the Hispanic population in North America and Latin America by training Spanish-speaking leaders who are grounded in the Word of God and passionate about the Great Commission in their different regions,” said Núñez. “I am thankful, honored, and humbled by my new appointment as an associate professor of pastoral leadership at Southern. And as such I am looking forward to learning and also contributing to the cause of Christ through this program.”

In addition to the new faculty, the initiative also includes offering all online Spanish master’s-level courses for $250 per class. This discount demonstrates Southern’s institutional investment in making evangelical theological education more broadly accessible in the Spanish-speaking world, said Felipe Castro, director of Hispanic Initiatives. Castro is a retired businessman from the Dominican Republic and was on the pastoral staff at IBI before moving to Louisville in 2015.

“God is doing great things in the Hispanic world, and he is raising up men and women that are fully committed to spreading the gospel,” Castro said. “Southern sees the opportunity to train these men and women so they can be faithful to what God has put in their hands. We have embraced the opportunity and invested in the program and we have made the online program more affordable and are establishing relationships at churches all over Latin America, Spain, and the United States to pursue this purpose.”

Southern has a history of leading efforts in Spanish theological education and is one of the few institutions accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) approved to offer M.A. and M.Div. degrees fully in Spanish. Through the support of key donors, SBTS has already raised funds to offset the cost of these initiatives. The online program through the seminary’s Global Campus offers the same high-level education as the on-campus courses and are available for any Hispanic student interested in training others for ministry, Castro said.

“The profile is anyone called by God to train others, to make sure that we have people who have the knowledge and the drive to actually live out their faith,” Castro said. “So we will train people offsite so they can be in their environment, be transformed, and be part of the transformation in the society.”

Those interested in partnering with these efforts should contact the Office of Institutional Advancement. For more information on the program, visit sbts.edu/hispanos.

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