Edgar Aponte, director of Hispanic leadership development at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, “Younger Hispanic Southern Baptists should be grateful for the work of those that have been fighting for decades. We are here because of them. We must reject the cavalier attitude towards the past.”
Hispanic leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) gathered for a breakfast hosted by Southeastern during the 2014 annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on June 11.
Aponte moderated a panel featuring Jose Abella, lead pastor at Providence Road Church in Miami, Florida; Daniel R. Sanchez, Associate Dean, Fish School and professor of missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Fermín A. Whittaker, executive director of the California Southern Baptist Convention,
The panel discussed the past, the present and the future of Hispanics within the SBC. The conversation focused on the history of the Hispanic population in the SBC and the people who served as pioneers for the opportunities Hispanics have today.
Participants also spoke about the lessons and encouragement of the past and today, and how Hispanics should work toward unity around the gospel and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
One of the issues addressed by the panelists was the need of theological education, as Hispanics seek to serve the church and reach the nations. The Christian evangelical Hispanic population continues to increase in the United States.
Sanchez and Whittaker were presented awards from Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern, on behalf of the seminary for over 30 years of outstanding leadership and service. The two men are known as pioneers within the Hispanic community in SBC life.
Abella said, “The challenge is not to emphasize culture and ethnicity but the gospel. We are Hispanics and we enjoy our heritage, but the gospel is what should identify us.”
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The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.