Hispanic Scholarship Recipient Close to PhD
Written by Tammi Reed Ledbetter, TEXAN News Editor
DALLAS—Baltazar Alvarez III is excited to see what God will do in the next seven years based on what he’s seen in the last seven. As a scholarship recipient in the Hispanic Education Superhighway developed by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Alvarez is about a year from finishing a Ph.D. in foundations in education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Quoting the British poet and hymn writer, William Cowper, Alvarez said, “‘God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.’ Seeing God’s will in my life is much clearer in the present than while experiencing it in the past. He has worked different aspects of my past to come together in ways that are fitting more perfectly every day.”
His first connection to Southern Baptists came in 1993 when he joined a Southern Baptist church in Dallas pastored by David Allen, now theology dean at Southwestern Seminary. Serving as a music intern, Alvarez followed his pastor’s advice and enrolled at Criswell College where he earned the bachelor of arts degree in biblical studies with honors.
“I can still remember how proud my parents were when I started my studies at Criswell back in 1998,” he recalled. “Their influence to persevere and complete anything I start has been a driving influence in continuing and completing my education.” Further encouragement came from his wife whom he described as “my constant companion, cheerleader, drill sergeant, life coach and friend.”
Allen provided Alvarez with additional ministry opportunity at MacArthur Blvd. Baptist Church in Irving, enlisting him to teach “Theology for Everyone” on Sunday nights. Former Criswell professor Doug Wood helped him refine his presentation skills in both academic and church environments.
After serving as an academic assistant and instructor, Alvarez was elected as an assistant professor upon completion of his M.A. in theology at Criswell. He began leading an annual cross-cultural mission practicum to Brownsville where students help with Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church and share the gospel throughout the city.
When Criswell theology professor James Bryant told Alvarez about a new education commission begun by the SBTC, he learned of a scholarship named for the state convention’s second president, Rudy Hernandez, to assist Hispanics pursuing ministerial training at Jacksonville College, Criswell College and Southwestern Seminary.
“My connection to the SBC in 1993 led me to Criswell. My connection to Criswell led me to the SBTC. My connection to the SBTC led to my Ph.D. as well as my service to the SBC,” he said, referring to his service on the Committee on Committees for the annual SBC meeting in 2010. Alvarez also served on the SBTC Resolutions Committee in 2007, and the Education Commission, most recently as chairman.
Grateful for the influence of people like Hernandez who developed the idea of the Hispanic Education Superhighway, Alvarez said, “I am grateful to God for those who have been good stewards of their efforts and goods to give to such a venture as this. My hope is that I can return this stewardship with one of my own.”