In pursuit of our priority of helping global partners to equip their leaders, The Outreach Foundation partners with the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Matanzas, Cuba, an ecumenical seminary where several denominations including the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba train their pastors. Here is an update on some recent activities of the seminary:
The Evangelical Seminary of Theology (SET) held the Biblical Pastoral Institute in Santiago from May 2nd to 5th. The theme was Towards a Peace Culture, and the institute was taught by professor Daniel Montoya Rosales, the institute coordinator. Thirty participants from different denominations including Baptist, Methodist, Free Evangelical, Assembly of God, Catholic, Sovereign Grace, and Episcopal enjoyed the teaching. From May 7th to 11th, students enrolled in the Bachelor in Theology program gathered on the seminary campus for their eighth week-long session. They studied Introduction to the New Testament taught by professor Orestes Roca and Educational Ministry by Professor Nelson Dávila. Pictured above is Reinerio Arce, rector of Matanzas seminary.
Workshops for Pentecostalism
The Workshop Course for Pentecostal Pastors was held at the seminary May 14th-18th. This is a continuation of the courses started four years ago with the aim of increasing the theological knowledge of members of different Pentecostal churches all over the country. These workshops are part of the programs coordinated by SET with the counseling of Dr. Carmelo Alvarez and Dr. Néstor Medina.
In this session, Dr. Alvarez taught the subject matter Faith and Politics from a Pentecostal Perspective. Professor Iván González taught Introduction to the Bible. There were 22 participants. The majority of them were young people from different denominations such as Sovereign Grace, the Church of God in Christ, the Orthodox Church of God, the Christian Pentecostal Church, and the Evangelical Church of the Fountain of Salvation. Professor Carmelo Alvarez said about the course, “We analyzed in-depth the biblical and theological bases of the concept of ‘discernment,’ and then we analyzed faith and politics based on the study of the letter of the apostle James. Finally we discussed the participation of Pentecostals in society, and the contribution that should come from their experience of faith, the ethical dimension, and the involvement of Christians in the Cuban process. I would like to add that we hope to continue these discussions, which have been very valuable and quite welcomed by the participants.”
Professor Tassé stated about his course Introduction to the Bible, “The objective of the course is to make people go deeper in the analysis of the Bible, by emphasizing its process of formation and how it has come to our days.” And he added, “This is important for the students, because many of them lack academic training. This will help them widen their horizon.”
Another workshop was held by the seminary for the first time in the Quaker Friends Church in Holguin. Professor Néstor Medina, of the Pentecostal tradition, taught the course Interpreting the Scriptures from the Pentecostal View: Hermeneutics and the Spirit. There were 17 students in the class from Holguin, Granma, and Santiago de Cuba. They belonged to these churches: Pentecostal Sanctity, Free Evangelical Pentecostal, the Church of God in Christ, the Orthodox Church of God, the Nazarene, the Quaker Friends, Missionaries of God, and the Berean Mission. This was a very enthusiastic group that learned this wealth of information to improve the way they read and interpret the Bible. The group was very open and asked for a longer session in order to go deeper in the debates.
The third three-week session of the Master Degree program, the last in this school year, took place from May 14th to June 1st at SET. During this session several subjects were taught, such as The Theoretical and Practical Bases of Axiology, Panorama of Latin American Theology, and Research Methodology by seminary professors Ofelia Ortega, Clara Luz Ajo, and Alina Camps, respectively. Professors Carmelo Álvarez and Néstor Medina were also present in this program. Dr. Alvarez taught the subject History and Mission in the Global Era, and he stated, “My participation was based on first explaining three key concepts: ecumenism, globalization, and mission; the second step was talking about the history of this process in the last 200 years; and finally I placed a special emphasis on the current challenges of mission, some challenges of globalization, and the contributions of mission theoreticians like Stephen Bevans and his concept of contextualization in mission. We also discussed the contributions of Justo González and Sidney Rooy toward the contextualization of missiology. But we cannot end without mentioning the contribution of the students of this program about mission at present.”
About his course named Latino Theologies, Professor Medina told us: “My course is an historical-theological exploration of the elements that contributed to the emergence of a theological discourse in the Latino-U.S. communities. This course also attempts to explain the historical events that made these Latino communities in the U.S.A. resist the forces of cultural assimilation and thus look for their self-definition and the consequent production of their own theological articulation based on their experience of faith in God. This course is very important at the Master level because the students need to be familiar with contemporary theological developments and because it can help them to know how a truly Cuban theology can begin to be articulated.”