Seminario Teologico de Aguadilla
Evangelical - Biblical - Baptistic - Fundamentlist
A Letter to Pastors
Copyright 2012 by Raul E. Lopez, MD, MDiv

Dear Pastor,

I am writing to you about the need for a Fundamentalist Seminary in the Caribbean. The Lord told His disciples "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8). For the North American Christian Jerusalem is his home city or town, Judea is the United States, and Samaria is Latin America. The first step in the evangelization of a culture is the establishment of missionary churches. A missionary church depends on other churches to provide spiritual leadership in the form of the missionary pastor. The fundamentalist churches of North America have been moderately successful in the establishment of missionary churches in Latin America. It is possible that your church supports one or more missionaries to Latin America. This initial missionary effort represents the infancy of the fundamentalist church in Latin America.

The next step in church maturity may be described as adolescence, the gradual cutting of the dependence of the missionary churches upon the North American mother churches. During this period the emphasis needs to be the training of native Christian leaders. Paul emphasized to his pupil, Timothy, that "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (II Timothy 2:2). Many of the Apostles had disciples whom they trained to take their place as leaders of the church. The Bible mentions Timothy and Titus who were disciples of Paul, and Mark who was a disciple of Peter. The apostles themselves were trained by the Lord during His earthly ministry. During the coming years there should be a decreased emphasis on sending church planters into Latin America and an increased emphasis on sending Biblical scholars to train qualified young men for the ministry.

The most effective way to accomplish this is the theological seminary. This is a place where Bible scholars who have devoted their lives to the thorough understanding of one specific aspect of Biblical knowledge come together to instruct faithful young men in the knowledge of the scriptures. The alternative to the Seminary is the Theological Hall, which is the training of ministers by a few other ministers in a local church. However the Seminary has at least two advantages over the Theological Hall. The first is that training in each area of Biblical knowledge is conducted by specialists or experts in their field. This approach is used successfully in other fields of knowledge also. For example, physicians are not trained only by other physicians, but first of all by scientific specialists with Ph.D.'s. After the scientific knowledge which forms the basis of modern medicine is acquired, practical, hands-on training is then obtained in the form of clinical rotations, internships and residency with other physicians.

The second advantage to the seminary is that the student is exposed to a variety of emphases, focuses, and opinions. This decreases the likelihood of the transmission of quirks and error. Depending on a minister's personality and talents, each one has certain strengths and weaknesses. His strengths leads him to focus on certain areas of the ministry or certain topics or parts of the Bible, sometimes to the neglect of other important areas. His weaknesses may predispose him to quirks or mistaken views which may lead to outright error if such tendencies are amplified. In a seminary the strengths of the various men complement each other's weaknesses, resulting in a more balanced presentation of truth. It is of note that God inspired four different men to write down the life of Christ. If four divinely inspired men were needed to educate us about the life of Christ, at least that many fallible men will be needed to pass down a well rounded, balanced knowledge of scripture to the young minister.

The seminary differs from the Bible College in the intensity of training. In one year of seminary the student recieves as much Bible as in four years of Bible college. The reason for this is that in college the student studies many subjects in addition to Bible. Some of these subjects are modern language (such as English in the U.S.), history, science, math, speech and other important subjects. This knowledge is essential for a young person to function properly in modern western society. However, it does not prepare him to perform specialized tasks. In order for a person to become a lawyer, a physician, a scientists, a professor or some other type of professional he needs post college (graduate) training. The same should be true of the minister. His is the highest calling, the only vocation (a word derived from the latin word for "calling"). If a physician trains for at least seven years after college in order to heal the body, should not the minister train at least one or two years after college in order to help in the healing of the soul?

A scientist studies the work of God in the natural creation, a theologian studies the redemptive work of God. The acquisition of an understanding of this redemptive work as revealed in the Bible takes the same sort of effort as does the acquisition of an understanding of the creative works of God revealed in nature. Solomon said "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2:1-5).

I have the desire to start a Seminary in Puerto Rico to serve the Fundamentalist churches of the Caribbean and Latin America. My ultimate goal would be to develop a "Bob Jones University" of the Caribbean. However, the initial goal is more modest. We simply want to offer basic graduate level classes to supplement whatever training local pastors and leaders already have. We would offer one two credit hour class every semester on a five year rotating basis. After five years the student would have 10 graduate credits, about half a master's degree and would receive a certificate in Biblical studies for successful completion. As the Lord provides interest and resources we would increase the course selection.

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