Hispanic Baptist pastors align behind BF&M 2000

by Diana Chandler, posted Monday, August 10, 2015 (3 years ago)

NASHVILLE (BP) -- A group of 40 Southern Baptist Hispanic pastors have aligned to equip and encourage preachers to proclaim the Gospel truth among the growing Hispanic community in the U.S.

The Hispanic Baptist Pastors Alliance will work to foster fellowship among Hispanic pastors, encourage a Great Commission mindset and nurture the soundness of "the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)," said Felix Cabrera, a member of the alliance's four-man executive committee and pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City.

Composed of 40 pastors who lead 42 Southern Baptist churches in 15 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico, the alliance is committed to God and His Word and promotes the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a clear expression of truth, Cabrera said.

"In the last three decades, our [Southern Baptist Convention] has experienced both the Conservative Resurgence and the Great Commission Resurgence, which has resulted in amazing positive change," the alliance states in its official declaration. "Now is the time for our Hispanic churches to experience these changes so we can rise up to reach our nation and world for Christ."

The alliance will encourage sound doctrine through training and fellowship among Southern Baptist Hispanic pastors, Cabrera said. The Hispanic community in general, perhaps partly because of cultural tradition "and a lack of biblical exposition, has embraced a combination of positive thinking, soft prosperity gospel, theological moralism and subjectivism," Cabrera said, drawing language from the alliance's official declaration. "This is a concern for many of us.

"We believe that the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is a faithful and helpful expression of biblical truth, and we want our people to be well aware of what we believe and why we believe it," he said. "We are calling our Hispanic communities to work together, center on the Gospel of Christ and the BF&M 2000, to see the glory of God being displayed in our churches and national ministries."

Bobby Sena, Hispanic relations consultant with the SBC Executive Committee, welcomes the alliance to work alongside existing Southern Baptist Hispanic groups at the national, state and associational levels.

"Each of these groups brings a unique focus, but all of them are committed to the inerrant Word of God, evangelism, church planting, missions and the Cooperative Program," Sena said. "Together we can do more than by ourselves. We know that the task before us is bigger than all of us, that nothing short of divine intervention will enable us to accomplish the assignment. I call all Southern Baptist Hispanics to unite in prayer, purpose and the fulfillment of the Great Commission."

Southern Baptist Hispanic congregations in the U.S. number 3,200 among the 46,000 total Southern Baptist churches, Sena said, and are working to reach the 52 million Hispanics who encompass a broad spectrum of cultures and are the largest ethnic group in the nation.

"This reality demands, calls and should motivate us to covenant together to make unprecedented efforts to reach millions with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, plant thousands of churches, train pastors and leaders, preach and teach the inerrant Scriptures, expand our involvement in missions and make a commitment to the Cooperative Program," Sena said. "There is not one individual, church, group, fellowship or network that speaks for all Hispanics, or can achieve this monumental task."

Joining Cabrera on the alliance executive committee are Jose Abella, pastor of Providence Road Church in Miami; Julio Crespo, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Buenas Nuevas in Lilburn, Ga., and Raudel Hernandez, campus pastor of the Summit en Español in Durham, N.C. An additional 36 pastors have signed the alliance declaration.

In its declaration, the alliance expressed appreciation for the support of Southern Baptist leaders across the convention.

"We greatly appreciate the support of many leaders, including presidents of national entities, former SBC presidents, members of the Executive Committee and the president of the convention," the declaration states. "In this critical hour in our Hispanic churches when we are so fragile and have so many needs, we want our national leaders to know of our true status, calling upon them to pray for us and join us in seeing these needs addressed."

Pastors interested in joining the alliance may contact Cabrera at fcabrera@ibcentral.org.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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