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Longtime missionary, ministry school founder Cline Paden dies at 87

Cline Rex Paden, minister, missionary and founder of Sunset International Bible Institute, died May 26 at his home in Lubbock, Texas. He was 87.
In its 45-year history, the institute — a ministry of the Sunset church — has trained thousands of ministers and missionaries.
In addition to his 31-year tenure as the institute’s director, Paden served as an elder for the Sunset church for 30 years.
“Cline was a missionary’s missionary, a visionary leader,” said Truitt Adair, a former student of Paden’s and his handpicked successor as director of Sunset. “He lived for world evangelism.”
Though suffering from multiple health problems in recent years, Paden made regular visits to Adair’s office, discussing plans for missionary work, Adair said.
“He believed the church could evangelize the world,” he added.
Paden’s 65-year preaching career began in Hawley, Texas, where he delivered his first sermon. In 1949 he joined a mission team to Italy, and quickly ran afoul of the Catholic church and Italian police.
Unable to secure a license to meet as a church, the missionary began preaching nonetheless. He was arrested for unlicensed activity, but his sentence was delayed. In the meantime, he posted a sign reading “Chiesa di Christi” (“Church of Christ”) on the church’s meeting place on Via Achille Papa in Rome, in the shadow of the Vatican. Police repeatedly removed the sign and turned parishioners away from the building, but Paden continued to preach. Time magazine reported on his struggles with Italian authorities in the 1950s.
“You can close the doors of the church buildings, (but) the church is God and you cannot close him down,” Paden, then 33, told the magazine in 1955.
Paden moved to Denmark in 1957 and served as a missionary there before returning to Texas and establishing the Latin American Bible School in Lubbock. Paden hoped the school, which began with six students, would help train Spanish-speaking preachers for West Texas. The elders of the Sunset church accepted oversight of the school and changed the name to Sunset School of Preaching.
Sunset International Bible Institute, or SIBI, continues to train ministers at its Lubbock campus. In addition, the institute is affiliated with 25 schools on five continents and has more than 300 satellite schools. SIBI serves more than 7,000 students worldwide through extension courses.
Known for his global vision for evangelism, Paden was particularly interested in training preachers in Cuba, Adair said. After his experiences in Italy, Paden stressed the need for such a program to be conducted with the permission of the Cuban government.
Through its branch school in Miami, the Atlantic International Bible Institute, Sunset operates an extension program in Havana, with licenses from the Cuban and U.S. governments, Adair said.
Adair recently attended a graduation ceremony in Havana for 33 ministers who completed the training program. Just weeks before Paden’s death, Adair showed his mentor a video of the graduation.
Paden could barely open his eyes, but perked up immensely after seeing his dream fulfilled, Adair said.
Paden is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jo Iris, three children, nine grandchildren, a brother and two sisters.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Sunset International Bible Institute. For more information, see www.sibi.cc.
May 29, 2007

  • Feedback
    I would like some Information on books that William (Billy) Hatcher has written, I under stand he was an Instructer At the Sunset School of Preaching in the 1960s. If you could help contact me through my EMail address, Thanks
    Don Greene
    Donald R. Greene
    Church of Christ 1356 5th Avenue
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    United States
    December, 26 2012

Filed under: Obituaries

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