KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen announced today the addition of Rudy González, who will join the seminary’s instructional faculty in a part-time capacity as professor of Biblical Studies and as assistant director of Midwestern’s new Spanish Ph.D. program.
González comes to Midwestern Seminary after two decades of service in various leadership and teaching capacities, serving most recently as professor of New Testament and dean of the William R. Marshall Center for Theological Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas until his retirement in 2019.
Allen expressed delight in welcoming González to the instructional faculty and into his role in the forthcoming Spanish Ph.D. program, particularly noting González’s strong ties to the Hispanic community.
“Our Spanish studies programs have flourished in recent years under the leadership of Dr. Bobby Sena and his capable staff. The addition of Dr. González in an assistant director capacity will bolster our continued efforts to serve our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters in theological academic settings and in Southern Baptist churches around the world.”
Sena, who serves as director of Midwestern’s Spanish Studies programs, expressed similar excitement over González’s addition: “Having served faithfully in notable posts prior to joining Midwestern, Dr. González brings the necessary administrative skills to ensure that our Ph.D. program moves forward with efficiency.
“What is more, Dr. González was raised in Mexico, is thoroughly conversant in Spanish, and is comfortable with the diversity of the Latino culture. Few Hispanics have both the academic credentials and life experiences he brings to the table; those who know him can testify to his theological acumen and his heart for the church.”
González is a graduate of Criswell College in Dallas with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. He earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J., and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
In addition to his prior academic posts at Southwestern, González served as director of interfaith evangelism at the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Ga., associate professor of New Testament at Golden Gate (Gateway) Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif., and assistant professor of New Testament at Criswell College.
González said his primary motivation for joining the team at MBTS derives from the lack of available Spanish theological resources and an increasing number of underequipped ministry leaders within the academy and in local churches.
“As I begin to work with the staff at Midwestern Seminary, I am reminded that, for years, a constant lament and complaint has centered on the paucity of Spanish language resources, particularly in the academic theological field,” González said.
“One of my hopes is to produce Ph.D. graduates who will engage scholarship with Christ-centered zeal and contribute to the growth of scholarly and ecclesial knowledge in the Spanish language. Of course, this will go a long way to developing Christian leaders, not just in North America but wherever Spanish is spoken.”
Midwestern Seminary Provost Jason Duesing commented on the seminary’s continued commitment to Spanish-speaking students, saying, “It is a joy to see more and more of Midwestern’s degree programs offered in Spanish. Now, with the Ph.D. especially, we are able to train more leaders from the Spanish-speaking community for the church. To have Dr. Rudy González, a long-time friend and colleague, assist us is a blessing and significant aid to our efforts.”
Thor Madsen, dean of Doctoral Studies and Academic Initiatives at Midwestern Seminary, added, “Dr. González brings to MBTS the experience and knowledge of a veteran scholar, educator, and administrator. We anticipate that his contributions to the Spanish language programs will advance our efforts to serve the church through high-quality postgraduate education, putting special emphasis on contextualized leadership and scholarly development.”
Ph.D. degree expands MBTS Spanish program offerings
The addition of González comes at a critical juncture for Midwestern Seminary’s Spanish Studies department, which launched in 2010 with a small cohort of Doctor of Ministry students. Today, more than 100 students are enrolled in the seminary’s Spanish Doctor of Ministry program, with over 100 additional students taking courses in certificate and master’s degree programs.
González desires to build upon the momentum the seminary has already generated, saying, “I am excited to be at Midwestern Seminary because of the seminary’s desire to continue pressing in at every level to strengthen the church in every context.
“The seminary is already equipping students in Spanish at various levels; this new initiative will build upon the institution’s existing momentum. Offering a Ph.D. in Spanish will ensure Midwestern is poised to meet the challenges the church faces today in North America and beyond.”
According to Sena, adding a Ph.D. pathway to the seminary’s Spanish program offerings is the fulfillment of a long-term goal. “At Midwestern, we already offer a master’s degree and Doctor of Ministry degree in Spanish. The next logical step is to begin offering a fully accredited Ph.D. The Ph.D. will be a traditional research doctoral degree in every sense, albeit delivered primarily in Spanish. The expectation is that a student is conversant in Spanish but also has access to English as a research language.”
Sena added that, via the Ph.D. program offering, Midwestern’s Spanish Studies department aims to shore up glaring deficiencies in the total number of formally trained Hispanic ministry leaders within evangelicalism, particularly within academic settings.
“Statistics demonstrate that the number of Hispanics is growing exponentially within Baptist and evangelical circles, yet they are grossly underrepresented with respect to the theological academy,” Sena said.
“It is Midwestern’s desire to begin to remedy the deficiency by graduating competent Ph.D. students in the field of ministry. We believe this will benefit the evangelical community more broadly as equipped men and women make their mark in the academic world, as well as in the local church.”
Details regarding Midwestern’s new Spanish Ph.D. program are forthcoming. To learn more about the seminary’s Spanish Studies department and current program offerings, visit mbts.edu/Spanish.