The year 1929 was not an auspicious time for new enterprises anywhere in the world. But as the Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala City celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this February, it was apparent that it had not only survived, but prospered. What began as the Central American Bible Institute in 1929, with nine students in borrowed quarters, has become one of the leading evangelical centers of theological preparation in the Spanish-speaking world.

Several hundred of the 802 graduates, along with local Christians, took part in the February week of festivities, which included special meetings, workshops on various topics relating to ministry, and alumni reunions. There was also a unique Bible exhibit which featured a number of valuable manuscripts and early editions along with copies of New Testaments or portions in twenty of Guatemala’s Indian languages, as well as a live demonstration by veteran translator Edward Sywulka and his Mam informant. Also included in the celebration was the dedication of the seminary’s new 500-seat chapel building.

The seminary program was added to the Bible institute in 1966 as the need for a higher academic level of preparation for pastors became apparent with increasing urbanization and a general rise in education across the continent. “The social structure of Latin American Protestantism has been changing,” says Dr. Emilio Antonio Nuñez, rector (president) of the seminary (known as SETECA from its name in Spanish). “More and more, professional people are found in the churches. In addition, young people who feel a call to the ministry are looking for an institution that will respond to their academic aspirations.”

Operated by CAM International (formerly the Central American ...

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