Synod 2023 interviewed and approved Gabriela Tijerina-Pike, Ph.D. as the director of Latino ministry, and as associate professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary.
Mary Stegink, Classis Hudson, interviewed Tijerina-Pike before delegates asked further questions from the floorr. Stegink prayed, “We have heard her heart, her spirit, and her love for you and your Word and kingdom. May that be apparent to the brothers and sisters gathered here.”
Tijerina-Pike shared some of her life story. She grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, and has served in various ministries. At a young age, she said she encountered heresy—teachings that were wrong and harmful—and it was then that she devoted herself to study Scripture and become a missionary.
Tijerina-Pike said that her path to Reformed theology was a “long path with different layers.” After being led astray by a pastor, she devoted her effort to studying the New Testament and learning Greek. The influence of a Christian Reformed pastor made an impact, she said.
“I prayed and prayed” over the selection and interview process at Calvin Seminary, Tijerina-Pike said, noting it was a long application. “I need to be responsible with my gifts,” she said of her reasons to apply. She doesn’t see this position as a job, but as a ministry.
Tijerina-Pike obtained her Ph.D. from University of Aberdeen, The School of Divinity in Scotland in 2008. She has served as the academic director for the Spanish program at Christian Leaders Institute since 2017, and was the president of Seminario Todas Las Naciones (All Nations Seminary) from 2019 to 2022. She taught at ThirdMill Seminary and Christian Leaders Institute.
She said she was “all in” for the three forms of unity in the CRC, which she called “the three main guides”—the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism—and referred to them as “treasures.”
When asked about her views on the Christian Reformed Church’s human sexuality report, received by Synod 2022 and recommended to the churches as a useful summary of biblical teachings, Tijerina-Pike said she was impressed by the report. She said, “I know the Scripture, I believe the Scripture is the Word of God, and he’s stated in his word that marriage is between a woman and a man and any sexual relationship outside of marriage is sinful, and God is the one who defined what is good and what is sinful.” She said being compassionate and merciful is also of utmost importance, “especially with those struggling with temptation.” She said she saw that in the report.
“Everything!” Tijerina-Pike exclaimed, when asked what excited her about teaching the New Testament at Calvin Seminary. Elaborating, she said, “A lot of professors and peers, staff, and the community of this church that’s keeping the sound doctrine of the seminary.” She continued, “Our world needs us to prepare the bride for Jesus Christ.”
Tijerina-Pike’s husband, Schuyler T. Pike, is from Michigan, where they now both live.
Synod 2023 is meeting June 9-15 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod. Visit crcna.org/synod for the synod schedule, webcast, recordings, photos, committee reports, and liveblog. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.