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Seminary in Spain Carries the Protestant Baton

Berea Seminary in León, Spain, has just celebrated its first graduating class of preachers. With a solid model church under the pastoral leadership of David Robles, the vision to equip pastors throughout all of Spain is beginning to be realized. After decades of dictatorial persecution, where the Gospel was systematically stamped out of the public square, this achievement marks the rekindling of an old Protestant fire whose tinder was first laid in León nearly 150 years ago.

The significance of this graduating class is appreciated better in its surprising historical context, which in one sense begins with Spurgeon. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the thunderous Baptist minister of nineteenth-century England, is arguably the preeminent preacher this side of Paul. To this day, he remains “the Prince of Preachers,” but while Spurgeon’s emphasis on preaching is well known, his emphasis on training preachers has been largely overlooked. When he was only twenty-two years old, he founded the Pastors’ College, focusing on equipping preachers who otherwise had no access to theological training.

It was two such graduates of Spurgeon’s college who brought the Gospel to northern Spain in 1870, and, through their influence and associates, churches in León were established. Though often persecuted, the true Gospel has survived in these churches for over a hundred years, and through the leadership of one such historic church, Spurgeon’s emphasis in preaching and in training preachers continues. Like Spurgeon’s school, and tracing its spiritual pedigree to the influence of Spurgeon’s students, Berea Seminary aims to continue the work of training preachers who would otherwise have little to no opportunity.

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Generalissimo_Francisco_FrancoDavid Robles, founding president of Berea Seminary and pastor-teacher
at Evangelical Church of León, understands well the historical significance of this graduating class. When he sought to be trained 16 years ago, there was nowhere locally he could go. For several decades in the 20th century the Gospel had been stifled under the repressive political measures of dictator Francisco Franco and these effects can still be felt. So to find theological training, David had to learn English, move to the United States, and leave family behind for five years.

He dreamed to return to Spain and establish a seminary for his Protestant countrymen. After five years of training and eleven years of prayer, this dream has finally come true. The first thirteen preachers have now graduated and were sent out to proclaim the good news across Spain and the surrounding regions. Many more have enrolled from places such as Madrid, Galicia, Andalusia, and even North Africa. Strengthening the evangelical church in Spain has now become a dynamic and present reality. Join us in praying for David and the saints in Spain who continue the blessed Protestant work of preaching and training preachers.