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.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Alex Sibley is the associate director of news and information at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.)