SBC DIGEST: SWBTS master's for Hispanic pastors; Baylor acknowledges slavery ties; 'Who's Your One' devotional for students
By Alex Sibley
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Pastors without bachelor's degrees may now enroll in the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's (SWBTS) Spanish-language Master of Theological Studies degree (Maestría en Estudios Teológicos or MET) due to revised accreditation standards.
The revised accreditation standards were approved June 25 by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools, which accredits the seminary and approves post-baccalaureate professional and academic degree programs.
The MET is a 36-hour degree, available online, that provides basic theological education in Bible, history and theology. Brent Ray, director of SWBTS World Missions Center, said this degree is "perhaps the most unique and advantageous Spanish-language theological studies program available anywhere in the world -- and because of its fully online delivery system, it is literally available everywhere in the world."
Ray added that because of this accreditation change, the MET is now "within the reach of every Spanish-language church leader, pastor, missionary, or denominational worker."
Greg Smith, SWBTS associate vice president for distributed learning, says the MET program is "uniquely designed to reach our Latino pastors with solid theological education and without asking them to relocate their families and disrupt their ministries."
Philip Levant, pastor of Iglesia Bautista La Vid in Hurst, Texas, is excited for the potential impact of this accreditation change.
"The truth is, not all Hispanic pastors have had the opportunity to get their undergraduate degrees," said Levant, who currently serves as chairman of the SWBTS Board of Trustees. "On top of that, there are many who are enrolling in this program who are not even in the United States, and so this is allowing the reach of Southwestern Seminary to be global. And the more pastors are enrolling and engaged in foundational training, then their ministries will just be that much better."
Baylor University acknowledges school's ties to slavery, Confederacy
By Lori Fogleman
WACO, Texas (BP) -- Baylor University's Board of Regents passed a resolution June 26 acknowledging the University's historical connections to slavery & the Confederacy and beginning a process of racial conciliation.
In an email to the Baylor community, the Board noted "an opportunity and an obligation to pursue racial healing as an expression of the Christian faith and adherence to Biblical principles of justice and love."
The Board's acknowledgement initiates a process on racial conciliation across the University and calls on the Board and the University to "pursue opportunities to inclusively explore and engage in significant conversations about this aspect of the institution's past."
With a mission to "educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community," the Board stated that the University's "Christian commitment is inconsistent with racism in any form."
Read the full statement here.
New 'Who's Your One' devotional aims to equip students to share their faith
By Brandon Elrod
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- Since the launch of the "Who's Your One" evangelism initiative, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) has created several resources designed to encourage believers to share their faith. The fourth of these devotionals aims to equip students.
"This devotional is geared specifically towards cultivating your heart to go tell your 'one' about Jesus, by helping you spend time with the Lord in Scripture reading and in prayer every day," said Shane Pruitt, executive director for next-gen evangelism at NAMB. "I know for me personally, when I am walking in intimacy with God through Scripture reading and prayer, I naturally will share out of the overflow of my own worship of Jesus. We all naturally talk about what our heart is excited about."
The "Who's Your One 30 Day Devotional for Students" is the most recent devotional in a lineup that includes a family devotional, prayer guide, and a general 40-day devotional, all of which may be accessed through WhosYourOne.com or through the mobile YouVersion Bible app. In total, these devotionals have been downloaded more than 13,300 times.
"Who's Your One is an evangelism initiative that every believer can be a part of, no matter your age," said Catherine Renfro, a NAMB evangelism strategist. "If you know Jesus, you can identify someone who doesn't know Jesus, pray for them, and look for opportunities to share the Gospel with them."
The Who's Your One student devotional is designed to be a personal resource for students and provides next-gen leaders, college pastors and student pastors with a tool to encourage youth and young adults to pray for and seek out opportunities to have gospel conversations with their friends and family members.
For these devotionals and other helpful evangelism resources, visit WhosYourOne.com/for-you.