FROM THE SEMINARIES: Felix Cabrera joins SWBTS Hispanic Programs; Eric Smith joins SBTS faculty

Felix Cabrera named associate director of Hispanic Programs at SWBTS

By Ashley Allen/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Southern Baptist leader Felix Cabrera has been appointed associate director of Hispanic Programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, President Adam W. Greenway announced today.

Felix Cabrera

“The appointment of Felix Cabrera to help lead our Hispanic Programs is further proof of our resolve to meet the needs of more faithfully trained Hispanic and Latin-American Gospel workers to the end that the Gospel will advance among all Spanish-speaking peoples everywhere,” Greenway said. “I am grateful to God for the blessing of having Dr. Cabrera join Southwestern Seminary’s already stellar team and look forward to even greater things from this area of urgent institutional priority.”

Cabrera, who will remain in his current capacity at the North American Mission Board as senior director of Send Network Español, will serve the seminary in a part-time capacity to assist in building Hispanic Programs, including developing new undergraduate degrees.

“Dr. Felix Cabrera brings to the Hispanic Programs of Southwestern’s Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions a wealth of ministry experience as a gifted church planter, pastor, denominational statesman, and theological educator,” said John D. Massey, dean of the Fish School, which houses the seminary’s Hispanic Programs. “He is a proven and gifted leader in Hispanic ministry among Southern Baptists and is a welcome addition to the team. He will take SWBTS en Español to new heights.”

A native of Puerto Rico, Cabrera currently pastors Iglesia Bautista Ciudad de Dios in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is executive director of the Convention of Southern Baptists in Puerto Rico. He also served as second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) from 2018-2019. In his role with NAMB, where he has served since 2019, Cabrera oversees the church-planting strategy in North America for the Spanish-speaking context in addition to serving as the regional director of Puerto Rico.

“I am convinced that my calling until the Lord changes it is directed in three areas that converge: pastor the Lord’s flock in a local church, train men and women theologically in the context of the academy, and prepare leaders and send them to plant churches,” Cabrera said. “For this reason, the opportunity that Southwestern Seminary is providing me fits so well with who I am and what I do. I am excited, honored, and expectant to be able to serve alongside my mentor, Dr. Mark McClellan, to continue and expand the legacy of SWBTS toward our Spanish-speaking Hispanic community. I am grateful to Dr. Adam Greenway for giving me this important task.”

Prior to serving with NAMB, Cabrera was the pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central (IBC) in Oklahoma City, a church he planted in 2011. Additionally, he has served as the assistant director of Spanish studies and assistant professor of pastoral ministry at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he developed the curriculum for the certificate and master’s level programs offered in Spanish.

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Pastor-historian Eric Smith joins church history faculty at SBTS

By Jeff Robinson/SBTS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – President Albert Mohler has appointed Tennessee pastor and two-time Southern Baptist Theological Seminary alumnus Eric Smith to the seminary’s faculty.

Eric Smith

Smith, who received both his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Southern, will serve as associate professor of church history. He has been the senior pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in Savannah, Tenn., since 2013, a role he will continue while serving at Southern.

“Eric Smith is a premier historian who has already produced a wealth of important research on the Baptist tradition and church history,” Mohler said.

“He is a model scholar with the heart of a pastor. His research is stellar, and his heart for the church is evident. I am incredibly proud that he has joined the Southern Seminary faculty, and generations of students will bear his professorial imprint.”

Smith is the author of three recent books on Baptist history: Order & Ardor: Oliver Hart and the Revival of Spirituality of the Eighteenth-Century Regular Baptists of South Carolina (University of South Carolina, 2018), Oliver Hart and the Rise of Baptist America (Oxford, 2020), and John Leland: A Jeffersonian Baptist in Early America (Oxford, forthcoming 2022).

Smith previously served as an adjunct professor at Southern for several years and says it’s an honor to teach students at the institution that educated and invested in him.

“I am thrilled and humbled to join the faculty of Southern Seminary, an institution God has used to shape my life and ministry so profoundly over the past 15 years,” Smith said. “The opportunity to now invest in a new generation of students is a sweet and unexpected gift from the Lord’s hand. I am especially excited to be teaching courses in American and Southern Baptist history at an institution with such a rich heritage and the place where I first learned the Baptist story.”

A native of Dyersburg, Tenn., Smith has worked in local churches since graduating from Union University in 2008, first as pastor of Curve Baptist Church in Ripley, Tenn., from 2008-2013. While in college, he served as college minister at Englewood Baptist Church.

He fits Southern’s faculty well as a scholar who is also deeply devoted to the local church.

“Eric Smith has established himself as one of the most gifted and prolific young historians of Baptists in America,” said Provost Matt Hall. “His scholarly work is of the highest standard and reputation.

“But Dr. Smith is also a dedicated pastor and churchman. This wonderful combination makes me especially happy to welcome him to the Southern Seminary faculty. His addition strengthens the already outstanding church history department in the School of Theology. I cannot imagine a better place or time for students of Baptist history than SBTS right now.”

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