Texas Baptist leader Rudy Hernández dies

GRAND PRAIRIE?Rudy Hernández, a past Southern Baptist Convention second vice president and former president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, died Friday at his Grand Prairie home after battling cancer. He was 77.

Hernández was born in San Antonio, the youngest of seven children, was well known in Texas for his work among Hispanic Baptists and in the SBC as a statesman and devoted Baptist leader. From 2001-2003, he served as special assistant to the SBTC executive director and strategist for Hispanic Ministries while founding what became the SBTC’s Hispanic Initiative.

Hernández served on the Baptist Faith & Message Study Committee that drafted changes to the confessional statement SBC messengers approved in 2000 and on the Implementation Task Force during the SBC’s restructuring in the mid-1990s.

He served as president of four different Texas Baptist organizations during his long ministry. He was saved at age 10 at Rosillo Street Baptist Mission in San Antonio, began preaching at age 13 and was licensed to preach at age 15. He was ordained at 19 and served as a pastor in San Antonio, Menard, Eden, Galveston, Fort Worth and Corpus Christi.

He held doctor of divinity degrees from Howard Payne University, where he earned his undergraduate degree, and Criswell College. He also was a Southwestern Seminary alumnus and a former Texas alumni president.

Since 1973, he was president of Rudy Hernández Evangelism International. He served the Baptist General Convention of Texas (1955-69) as the first Hispanic evangelism director and was a past BGCT second vice president.

The following Southern Baptist leaders eulogized Hernández, describing him as a “statesman” who loved souls and led with gentleness and humility.

?SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards: “Rudy Hernández was a giant among Texas Southern Baptists. His service to God’s kingdomtouchedTexas and the world. His support forthe SBTC was wholeheartedand sacrificial.His leadership as the second president of our convention was crucial during a time of explosive growth. Our convention’s Hispanic Initiative was born in his heart and will bear fruit for generations if the Lord tarries.

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