Meet Gabriela Tijerina-Pike

Date Published

March 12, 2024

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Published by Gabriela Tijerina-Pike

Director of Latino/a Ministries

I first heard the Gospel through a Pentecostal church outreach. Although virtuous, the church’s emphasis on evangelism hindered theological leadership preparation. Eventually the lack of good theological education culminated in some church leaders doubting, even denying, the divinity of Jesus Christ. This experience motivated me to acquire skills in higher critical thinking to correctly understand and explain the Scriptures to the church.

Naively, I thought reading the Bible in its original languages would be sufficient. Although these exegetical skills helped, I likewise discovered my need for a consistent and congruent theological approach to the task of biblical interpretation because situational and circumstantial comparisons were insufficient to correctly explain spiritual truths. Gratefully I learned about the church’s devotion throughout history to formulating theological concepts and systems. Being a computer systems programmer, I was providentially trained to formulate precise processes in theological concepts and systems. In this theological understanding, I found consistent and congruent reasoning that maintained the Scriptural unity of the faith in Christ Jesus. That is when I became a student of systematic theology.

Persuaded of the worth of theological concepts and systems, I pursued masters and doctoral studies. While researching the Judeo-Hellenistic and Greco-Roman contexts of the New Testament, I learned about the processes of knowledge formation and the priorities of cultural worldviews. This led me to the challenge of determining my hermeneutic philosophy, with the need to codify my theological organizing principles. Eventually, I concluded that covenant theology corresponds to and is coherent with the reality that exists in the relationships between God and humanity. Hereafter, I became a student of Reformed theology.

At present, I continue to devote my life to theological education. In the classroom, when students voice those same questions that I had, I help fill their intellectual gaps with the reasoning of Reformed theological concepts and systems. My experience in the classroom comes to fruition when students improve their understanding through Reformed epistemology. In such moments, as a Reformed student of the Word myself, I join the class. I know by experience that my students’ faith along with mine will gradually grow in the gift of theological education.

As Calvin said, “A special gift of God in both ways—in purifying the mind so as to give it a relish for divine truth, and afterwards in establishing it therein. For the Spirit does not merely originate faith, but gradually increases it, until by its means he conducts us into the heavenly kingdom.”


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