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Robert Pazmiño

By Elizabeth Conde-Frazier


Robert W. Pazmiño (1948- ). Christian educator and mentor par excellence.  He is the Valeria Stone Professor of Christian Education at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts where he has served since 1986.  He has also served that institution as the interim academic dean for 16 months and as director of the Master of Divinity Program. He is ordained in the American Baptist Churches.   He is the author of ten books and numerous chapters and articles.  Among his books are: Foundational Issues in Christian Education, 3rd ed(2008), So What Makes Our Teaching Christian? (2008), Doing Theological Research (2009) and God Our Teacher (2001).  He holds a B.A. from Bucknell University, a M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University in cooperation with Union Seminary. 


To understand Robert Pazmiño as the Christian educator one must come to know the details of his personal and faith pilgrimage since these inform and fashion his gifts, insights, passions and commitments as an educator. 

Robert Pamiño’s family was a multicultural family.  His father’s side of the family came from Ecuador.  His great grandfather, Felicisimo Lopez, was a physician and politician who was ultimately excommunicated from the Catholic church for his advocacy of the separation of church and state.  Lopez had served as the Minister of the Interior where part of his responsibilities included the oversight of the national education program.  After social ostracism because of the excommunication the family came to New York City where Mr. Lopez served as the Consul General for Ecuadorean citizens to New York City.  His father, Albert August Pamiño, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y and after active service in the military was as a deacon in Kenilworth Baptist Church. 

His mother Laura Ruth Pazmiño had Dutch and German roots from Pennsylvania.  Her Dutch roots included Huguenot connections.  The family had fled from France to Holland seeking religious liberty. After the death of her parents while she was a teenager Laura Ruth came to New York City to find employment.  She met Albert August and the two married and served faithfully in the Baptist Church.  She was a Sunday School teacher, choir member and deaconess.

While the family began its early religious affiliation in the Episcopal Church and Pazmino was baptized at birth, they later attended the Kenilworth Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York.  His father’s conversion experience came when he was seven years of age.  The Kenilworth Church was where Pazmiño was raised. In his memoirs, which are currently being written for publication under the title "A Boy Grows in Brooklyn: The Manna of Memories", Pazmiño tells of how the Brooklyn Day parade featured the music and programs of the churches in the neighborhoods in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.  The parade displayed a representation of the various programs in the churches that nurtured the educational ecology of the area.  This served to inform and form his life and identity as a Protestant Christian who would later devote his life to being a professor of Christian education.   Pazmiño later used Lawrence Cremin’s paradigm of educational configurations as an interpretive lens for his expanded understanding of the Christian education ministry.  It would include Boy Scouts, museums, camping, the YMCA and other programs and organizations along with the family and the church.

Pazmiño attended summer camps and these experiences served to nurture his faith with a sense of God’s presence in creation and all that has life. These many experiences and the modeling of his parents nurtured his faith, but after a class for preparation for baptism, Pamiño decided not to undergo a public profession of his faith through baptism.  He found it necessary to continue to ask intellectual questions about the Christian faith making his teen years a season of searching and inquiry while still participating in the life of the church as choir member and teaching as a camp counselor.  It wasn’t until the summer before going to college that after listening to the gospel message preached by a visiting pastor, Pazmiño was moved to the depths of his soul while looking at a cross over the fireplace.  The cross became a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, death and resurrection which in those moments became very personal to him and he opened his heart and life to God’s love and grace in Jesus. 

That fall he was at Bucknell University and joined the Inter-Varsity Christian (IVC) fellowship.  That group, led by a local Presbyterian pastor, discipled him.  At the end of that year he became the vice president of the chapter.  The chapter gave leadership to Young Life chapters in local high schools and grew greatly.  Pazmiño had brought leadership to the IVC during the chapter’s years of growth which later were seen as a part of a revival.  Many of the leaders of the IVC chapter went on to seminary. He did not have intentions of going to seminary, He had majored in psychology and minored in religion and was hoping to become a clinical psychologist specializing in children and families.  This is how, after college, he was employed as a crisis counselor for emotionally disturbed children at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center, psychiatric division.  He also continued to give expression to his Christian commitment to serve God by serving local churches in the Bronx and Manhattan teaching children, youth and adults.  He had become a member of the Second Spanish Baptist Church in East Harlem where he met Wanda Ruth Melendez who became his wife on August 16, 1969. 

Pazmiño applied to and was accepted into doctoral programs and social work studies.  However, his call to seminary studies was confirmed as were his love for teaching the faith.  The potential of Christian education as a way for bringing transformation to the lives of persons, families and full communities began to emerge for him.  He was able to recognize in himself the joy of teaching and mentoring youth, children and families.  The congregation also recognized and affirmed his calling in this area of ministry. Pazmiño then entered Gordon Conwell Seminary, graduating in 1978, and on January 21, 1980 he was ordained in the American Baptist Churches.  He continued his studies at the Teachers College, Columbia University in cooperation with Union Seminary, earning his Ed.D in 1981.  During his studies Pazmiño served as a house husband while his wife worked full time to support his graduate work.  His dissertation was "The Educational Thought of George W. Webber, Theological Educator, and Issues in Theological Education."  It was later published by the University Press of America under the title The Seminary in the City: A Study of New York Theological Seminary. 

While writing a dissertation is a rite of passage of one’s doctoral work, Pazmiño saw it as an extension of his ministry seeing it as part of his call and thus a way to extend his teaching to those he could not encounter in his classroom.  This gave him a means through which to share more widely what God had placed on his heart and his mind regarding teaching in the name, spirit and power of Jesus.  This understanding of teaching in the power of the Spirit of Christ we will examine more closely below.

His first position as faculty was at the Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary where he taught from 1981 until 1986.  During that time he dedicated himself to the enrichment of Christian education of the churches in the area. To do this he preached  sermons on Christian education related themes and served on Christian education boards or led conferences on such topics for denominational bodies, in particular the American Baptist Churches.  He then went to Andover Newton Theological School in 1986 where he has served as professor until the present.  In that position he has been acting dean in 1990 and interim dean of the faculty from 2005-2006.  He participated in a small delegation to China and preached at the Community Church in Shanghai in May of 2000. 

The courses he has taught have not only been the required courses in Christian education but he has also taught a variety of courses on the urban context and ministry and multiculturalism. He has taught courses in Costa Rica and has advised doctoral students in the joint doctoral faculty with Boston College, Princeton Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, The University of Connecticut and the University of Maine. 

Contributions to Christian Education

Pazmiño is an educator with great integrity; as such, he has always identified himself as evangelical and Christ centered.   He also has been realistic about who he seeks to address as he writes and as a teacher, he has always addressed the classroom with deep respect for his students even when these believed differently than he.  He respected them as persons and also respected their views.  He created a place in his classroom where difference could be held by all.  Holding onto that difference did not mean that he ever feared to present his own views.  This in itself is a great contribution in a time when as evangelicals we are understanding the significance of the differences in our midst due to immigration and other forces that have brought others into close proximity.  How we learn to reflect on our history of evangelism and seek to weed out the roots of colonialism from the ways we bring the gospel message today is important.  Pazmiño’s respectful engagement gives us a model to follow. 

We can see this in his book Latin American Journey: Insights for Christian Education in North America (1994).  In this book he juxtaposes Latin American Liberation theology with the North American church explaining how the multiplicity of cultures can affect educational equity.  He models understanding for dialogue by providing theological definitions of Liberation theology and the context of how this theology came to be. He points out the strengths that each theology can contribute to the other but most importantly, Pazmiño shows the challenges they together must address if they are to create educational environments that bring about the fullness of salvation. 

In Latin American Journey, Pazmiño sees this taking place as we seek to create educational equity.  This is only the beginning of a larger educational and theological project of setting persons free from poverty and the devaluation of life which takes place through prostitution, substance abuse, institutional violence and the destruction of the environment.  In response to this challenge he sees the North American church bringing the intellectual gifts of it’s theology and Latin American liberation theology bringing its gift of orthopraxis or, the ability to experience the word of God and see it implemented to bring about a salvation that includes not only the spiritual dimensions of one’s life but the liberation of the full person from the evils that assail one on the personal, communal and institutional levels.  Here is where the reflection and analysis of how we are implicated at the personal and the historical levels in the very evils we seek to end comes in for the Christian educator.

How did Robert Pazmiño come to this important reflection as a Christian educator?  What is his approach to Christian education and what elements does he seek to integrate?  Let us trace his thought.  In the 1940’s the liberal camp began to take a social science approach to Christian education and the evangelicals began to resist this movement to ensure that theology continued to be at the center of Christian education.  In the dialogue Frank E. Gaebelein lifted up the foundations of Christian Education defined by evangelicals (Gaebelein, 1954).  Randolph C. Miller responded to Gaebelein’s challenges with a theory that integrated theology and practice (Miller, 1950) but his approach was found to be more neo-orthodox.  The voices that entered the conversation sought to address theology and the social sciences took a back seat in the arguments. 

Among these voices, it was Lawrence Richards who in 1975 presented an approach to Christian education that sees life as the way to develop a theology of Christian education.  His approach held the Bible as the authoritative revelation of God’s redemptive work in Jesus Christ (Richards, 1975).  Richards integrated theology, philosophy and educational theoretical constructs.  By the year 2006 George Knight posited that Christian education is built upon a Christian view of truth, value, and reality so that one’s theology which constructed one’s beliefs became the base for the practice of Christian education and where the social sciences could prove beneficial to Christian education (Knight, 2006).

Pazmiño writes very much aware of the arguments posed and of the issues that are at stake within the evangelical world.  Throughout his lifetime as a Christian educator he defines himself as an evangelical.  At the same time, he does not isolate himself in that world but is willing to explore and dialogue with other theological approaches.  In so doing, he never compromises the basic tenets of the evangelical faith as a Christian educator but his arguments help all of us to engage with respect and without fear.  His work integrates theology, the practice of Christian education, philosophy and the social sciences.  He expounds on this integrations showing how, as evangelicals, one can navigate the integration.  Pazmiño discusses and balances the places where controversy may exist and provides questions to facilitate a way for one to continue one’s own development. This carries over into his teaching where he creates a space for continuous dialogue where one can respectfully disagree and/or bring forth new ideas. 

Pazmiño proposes four theological distinctives for an evangelical approach to Christian education in his book Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective now in its third edition (Pazmiño, 2008).  These doctrines are: the Bible as primary source and authority for the Christian faith, conversion as a necessity, the redemptive work of Jesus Christ as an emphasis and personal piety and spirituality.  The scriptures provide the basic content for Christian education (Pazmino, 2002, 2008, pp58-69). The Bible serves as a filter for examining all other truths therefore, reason, tradition and experience are to be measured against the authority of the Bible.

In this position Pazmino is consistent with his predecessors.  However, Pazmiño is also aware of the need to balance this statement and he discusses the dangers of biblical literalism and doctrinal manipulation.  The first divorces biblical truth from application to reality and the later imposes without allowing reflection and personal appropriation on the part of the reader (Pazmiño, 1992).

For Pamiño the second component of Christian education is one’s encounter with God’s saving grace in Jesus which is appropriated by faith.  This encounter points to the reason for teaching the gospel and its basic truths about salvation for acquiring knowledge with the goal of facilitating the acceptance of the gospel.   In order for teaching about the faith to lead to acceptance of the gospel it must include three dimensions: notitia (intellectual affirmation), assensus (affective or emotional), and fiducia (volitional) (Pazmiño, p. 47, 61).  Given these, Pazmiño posits that it is imperative that one present to persons the fullness of understanding about conversion as a radical submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ or a “radical reorientation for persons that requires the centering of all of life upon the will and reign of God” (Pazmiño, 1992, p. 91).  This implies that conversion has a corporate dimension to it and the person is urged into the work of the Spirit in and through a community. 

Christian education as a focus on the redemptive work of Jesus is the emphasis of an evangelical theology since the doctrines of evangelicalism depend on the incarnation of the virgin birth of Christ, his sinless life and atonement, his bodily resurrection, the justification by faith alone, and the regeneration of persons who trust in Christ’s redemptive work (Pazmiño, 2008, pp. 69-72).  As a part of this discussion Pazmiño examines Sara Little’s categories of the intersection between theology and Christian education.  From these five points, Pazmiño points to three of them as helpful for the Christian educator: theology as content of Christian education, theology as the point of reference for what is taught and for methodology thus functioning as the norm for Christian education and theology and Christian education as separate disciplines that are engaged mutually and collegially in the advance of the reign of God (Little, 1983, pp. 31-33).  He employs her categories of theology as the content for Christian education and theology as the norm for the practice of Christian education.  Little’s last possibility of theology in dialogue with Christian education is considered by Pazmiño to be a useful tool for the Christian educator (Pazmiño, 2008, p.66).  These are the premises that allow Pazmiño to have respectful and scholarly dialogue with both Christian and religious educators. From here he theologically addresses the theoretical and practical propositions presented by other educators.  From this paradigm he examines the educational considerations of others under the areas of soteriology, Christology, anthropology, ecclesiology, eschatology and axiology.

The last of Pazmiño’s distinctives is personal piety or as more commonly named today, spirituality.  This is the devotional life that cultivates one’s relationship with Christ.  Pazmiño draws from the theological richness of Augustine’s order of loves to define spirituality for he sees the spiritual life as a life ordered around love.  He combines this notion with the gospel understanding of the great commandment to love the Lord with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength followed with the command to love one’s neighbor (Luke 10:27) (Pazmiño, 1998, p. 26).  This is possible for the believer through the Holy Spirit who pours love in our hearts (Roms.5:5).  A new layer of depth that Pazmiño brings to the definition of spirituality is the dimension of social concerns (Pazmiño, 2008, p. 68).

A paradigm that Pazmiño has brought to his work for the practice of Christian education is the educational tasks based on the different functions of the New Testament church.  This paradigm includes the areas of: kerygma (proclamation) which is to invite us to an obedient response of the teachings of Christ, koinonia or fellowship where community emphasizes the need for Christ.  This body is the context for education and the vehicle for the transmission of the values and teachings of Christ and the place where we are empowered to live in harmony with God, others and creation.  “Others” includes plurality of religions as we do the work of the reign of God in the world locally and globally.  At no point does this interaction compromise one’s stance about the person of Christ, but instead, it becomes a testimony of Christ’s love and a reflection of the Father’s love for all the world.

This leads us to diakonia which is how we give expression to God’s love in the world and propheteia or advocacy.  In the area of diakonia educators are called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry for service.  The experience of service is how we learn.  Advocacy is the restoration of community and society which helps to restore hope.  As Christians work out their Christian commitments in the world they must struggle with the values and ideals of the society around them.  It is faithfulness that calls on us to be counter cultural.  Our love in the world is now a love for those who are oppressed in the world which causes us to cry for justice and human rights so as to express our social love in the world (Pazmiño, 1994, p. 71).      

         The central point around which he integrates the other four functions is leitourgia/worship which encourages persons to celebrate the presence of God in all areas of life (Pazmiño, 2006, pp. 51-53).  Pazmiño borrows from the Hebrew notion where learning is for revering God; “The chief end and purpose of education, as of life, can thus be seen in terms of the glorification and enjoyment of God” (Ibid., p. 52).

            Pazmiño has written in a systematic way making connections between Christian education and theology.  He made the trinity his paradigm seeing the nature of the relationship between the three persons of the trinity as interdependent, interconnected and interpenetrating.  This relationship is known as perichoresis.  Within this understanding of the triune God, Pazmiño embeds his theological understanding of Christian education.  He sees the role of the trinity as “an emerging theme for the thought and practice of Christian education” (Pazmiño, 2001, p. 18). The educational trinity gives form to the content which comes from God the creator, Jesus the son and master teacher or person and the Holy Spirit as tutor, counselor and sustainer of communal life both among Christians and the broader society or context. 

            As he deepens the connection between Christian education and the trinity, Pazmiño posits: “the trinity reflects the fullest expression of love as God the Father so loved the world to send the son who, along with the Father sends the Spirit. The Spirit in turn, equips and sends these called as teachers” (2001, p. 33). This concept is what Pazmiño terms “God for us”. 

            The second concept he frames in his theological connections is “God despite us.” Here Pazmiño develops a Christian anthropology and describes the doctrine of sin and salvation.  He sees sin as being “pervasive enough to affect every area of our personal and corporate lives” (2001, p. 39), yet, for Pazmiño one can always be redeemed and teaching plays an important role in the work of restoration.  Christian educators are in partnership with God towards the purpose of intervention for remedying the problem of sin. 

            To carry this out Pazmiño proposes four movements which are constructed from a modification of Lawrence’s five theological categories associated with salvation: prevenient grace, where God draws us to Godself (hook), justification which comes through the understanding of Scripture (book), sanctification where Christians give consideration to God’s grace in our spiritual lives (look), and glorification or the kingdom’s perspective of our Christian living (took) (2001, p. 47).

            Pazmiño’s third educational connection to theology is captured in the phrase God with us.  This is the teaching ministry based on a practical Christology which includes the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and their meaning for the practice of Christian education.  This base requires that one teach in the name of Jesus or as his representative authority so that we “reveal his essential nature in some specific ways” (Pazmiño, 2008, p. 172).

            A notable contribution that Pazmiño makes to his presentation of Jesus as the master teacher is the concept of the Galilean principle which informs the multicultural dimension of Christian education.  Here, Pazmiño affirms the importance of bringing our clear sense of identity as a Christian community as we mix with the diversity of humanity in order to lead others to Christian community.

            God in us is the connection that speaks of the Holy Spirit teaching in the teacher. Teacher and Holy Spirit partner together in the dimensions of preparation, instruction and evaluation.  In preparation the Spirit is present in the prayer, planning and reflection.  In the instruction the Spirit is seen in the questions, responses and actions within the teaching/learning environment and in the evaluative phase The Spirit gives discernment for assessing the fruits of the teaching in light of the process of sanctification and edification.  Finally, the fifth connection between education and theology that Pazmino contributes is God through us where God works through the five tasks of the church aforementioned. 

            Pazmiño has given the greatest expression of his teaching through his educational ministry at the Andover Newton Theological School where he joined the faculty in 1986. He teaches courses that integrate both theory and practice and challenge his students to develop educational ministries in a variety of church and community settings and denominations.  True to his own evangelical Christian roots, Pazmiño always brings the fullness of who he is to the table while also allowing students to stand where they are in their own faith pilgrimage.  He is respectful of all his students and brings them to personal reflection in light of the dialogue between the voices of different educators, their communities and the Bible.

Among the many courses that Pazmiño has taught over the years are: History and Philosophy of Christian Education, Problems and Issues in Religious Education, Teaching: Principles and Practices, Teaching the Bible, Combating Racism and Sexism,

Development and Growth in Childhood, Education and Urbanization, Educational Ministry Across the Life Span, Teaching Methods, Educational Ministry with Children (bilingually), Theology and Educational Philosophy, and the Use of Media in Teaching and Evangelism.  Additionally, he has taught research courses for doctoral students.

Perhaps the educator that serves as Pazmiño’s teacher is Augustine.  In all of his courses on the history and philosophy of Christian education Augustine is featured prominently early in the course.  In a draft of his memoirs Pazmiño comments: “I have taken to heart the wisdom of the great North African Christian Teacher, Augustine, who noted that ‘One loving spirit sets another spirit on fire.’”  

It is necessary to end this section by speaking of Pazmiño’s greatest legacy- mentoring.  Over the many years he has given much time and thoughtful and intentional energies to the mentoring of Christian education scholars.  To his credit, he has lovingly worked with persons from different denominations, theological expressions and cultures.  In so doing, he has modeled what he writes about, the preparation, the listening skills, the way that he has allowed the Holy Spirit to guide have been evident.  In those relationships, he is supportive, he challenges one to excellence and holds up the mirror to the mentee with the purpose of bring forth the person to the fullness of their gifts.  His gift to this area has also been through his writing as he points to the distinctives of the Hispanic culture and the implications these have for mentoring Latinos/as in theological education.   His contributions have been not only with his own students but in the mentoring of students and preparation of mentors for the Hispanic Theological Initiative, an organization dedicated to supporting the training of doctoral scholars in the diverse areas for teaching in theological education and the church.  They choose scholars who hold the promise of making an impact in the Latino/a faith community.  He has also served a national consultant for the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, an organization that seeks to mentor new scholars and nurture more seasoned ones.  I write as a way of honoring Robert Pazmiño who has been my mentor. 

Works Cited

Gaebelein, F. E. (1954). The pattern of God's truth. New York: Oxford University Press.

Knight, G. (2006). Philosophy and education: An introduction in Christian perspective. (4th ed.). Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press.

Little, S. (1983). Theology and religious education. In M. Taylor (Ed.), Foundations for Christian Education in an Era of Change (pp. 30-40). Nashville: Abingdon.

Miller, R. C. (1950). The clue to Christian education. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Pazmino, R. (1998). Basics of teaching for Christians: Preparation, instruction and evaluation. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Pazmino, R. (2002). By what authority do we teach?: Sources for empowering Christian educators. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Pazmino, R. W. (1992). A comprehensive vision for conversion in Christian education. Religious Education Journal87(winter), 87-101.

Pazmino, R. (2008). Foundational issues in Christian education: An introduction in evangelical perspective. (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Pazmino, R. (2001). God our father: Theological basics in Christian education. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Pazmino, R. (1994). Latin American journey: Insights for Christian education in North America. Cleveland, Ohio: United Church

Pazmino, R. (1992). Principles and practices of Christian education: An evangelical perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Pazmino, R. W. (2008). Teaching in the name of Jesus. Christian Education Journal5(1), 171-189.

Richards, L. (1975). A theology of Christian education. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.



Pazmiño, R. W. (1998). Basics of Christian teaching. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1994). By what authority do we teach?: Sources for empowering Christian educators. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, (translation into Korean, (2000) Timothy Publishing House).

Pazmiño, R. W. (2009). Doing theological research: an introductory guide to survival in theological education. Eugene, Or: Wipf & Stock.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1988). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, (translation into Spanish, (1995) Editorial Caribe)

Pazmiño, R. W. (1998). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,(translation into Korean, (2002).

Pazmiño, R. W. (2001). God our teacher: theological basics in Christian education. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1994). Latin American Journey: Insights for Christian Education. Cleveland: United Church Press.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1992). Principles and practices of Christian education: An evangelical perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Pazmiño, R. W., & Gomes, E. (2008). Temas fundamentais da educação cristã. São Paulo: Cultura Cristã.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1988). The seminary  in the city. Lanham, Md: University Press of America.

Pazmiño, R. W. (2008). So what makes our teaching Christian?:Teaching in the name, spirit, and power of Jesus. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock.

Jeyaraj, D., Pazmiño, R. W., & Petersen, R. (2007). Antioch agenda: essays on the restorative church in honor of Orlando E. Costas. New Delhi: ISPCK.

Dissertation:  (1981). "The Educational Thought of George W. Webber, Theological Educator, and Issues in Theological Education." Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Chapters in Books

"Adult Education with Persons from Ethnic Minority Communities," in The Christian Educator's Handbook on Adult Education, eds. Kenneth O. Gangel and James C. Wilhoit. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993.

"Double Dutch: Reflections of an Hispanic North American on Multicultural Religious Education," in VOCES: Voices from the Hispanic Church, ed. Justo L. González. Nashville:  Abingdon, 1992.  Also in Barrios and Borderlands: Cultures of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, ed. Denis Lynn Daly Heyck.  New York, NY: Rutledge, 1994.

“Education for Globalization?” in Tracing Contours: Reflections on World Mission and Christianity, Eds. Rodney L. Petersen and Marian Gh. Simion. Newton Centre, MA: Boston Theological Institute, 2010.

“Jesus: The Master Teacher,” in Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century, ed. Michael J. Anthony. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.

“Liberative Educational Practice: Reassessing Educational Configurations,” in Hispanic Christian Thought at the Dawn of the 21st Century: Apuntes in Honor of Justo L. Gonzalez, Eds. Alvin Padilla, Roberto Goizueta, Eldin Villafañe. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2005.

“Marriage for One North American Hispanic Couple,” with Wanda R. Pazmiño, in Marriage at the Crossroads: Couples in Conversation about Discipleship, Gender Roles, Decision-Making, and Intimacy, eds. Aida and William Spencer, Steven and Celestia Tracy. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 2009.      

"Nurturing the Spiritual Lives of Teachers," in The Christian Educator's Handbook on Spiritual Formation, eds. Kenneth O. Gangel and James C. Wilhoit.  Wheaton, IL:  Victor Books, 1994.

"Response to APOLOGIA with Special Reference to the Seminary as a Faith Community."  in APOLOGIA: Contexualization, Globalization, and Mission in Theological Education by Max L. Stackhouse et. al.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, l988.

“Restoring Adults: A Call for Multicultural Education-Formation,” in Introduction to Christian Education and Formation: A Lifelong Plan for Christ-Centered Restoration, ed. Ronald T. Habermas. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.

“Surviving or Thriving in the Third Millennium,” in Forging a Better Religious Education in the Third Millennium, ed. James M. Lee Birmingham, AL.: Religious Education Press, 2000.


Pazmiño, R. W. (2012). Deuteronomy 32 and anointed teaching: Bearing fruits of liberation, celebration and sustenance, Christian Education Journal, 9, 279-292. 

Jones, J. D., & Pazmiño, R. W. (2008). Finding a new way: a call to reconceptualize theological education. Congregations, 34(2), 16-19.

Lawson, K. E., & Pazmiño, R. W. (1995). Introduction : Theology and Christian education. Christian Education Journal,15(3), 9-11.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1992). A comprehensive vision for conversion in Christian education. Religious Education, 87(1), 87-101.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1992). A review of selected books for the study of multicultural religious education / by Pazmiño, Robert W...[et al.]. Religious Education, 87(2), 203-217.

Pazmiño, R. W. (2007). The renewal of joy in teaching. Teaching Theology & Religion, 10(3), 186-187.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1996). Jesuit Education and Social Change in El Salvador. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 5(2), 249-253.

Pazmiño, R. W. (2002). A transformative curriculum for Christian education in the city. Christian Education Journal, 6(1), 73-82.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1985). Biblical sources for the reappraisal of education. Christian Education Journal, 6(1), 47-51.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1986). The Christian, the Arts, and Truth: Regaining the Vision of Greatness. Christian Education Journal, 7(1), 90-91.

Pazmiño, R. W. (2010). Christian education is more than formation. Christian Education Journal, 7(2), 356-365.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1987). Curriculum foundations. Christian Education Journal, 8(1), 31-44.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1997). Designing the Urban Theological Education Curriculum. Christian Education Journal, New Series, 1(2), 7-17.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1988). Double Dutch : reflections of an Hispanic North-American on multicultural religious education. Apuntes, 8(2), 27-37.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1983). Educating for Responsible Action. Theological Students Fellowship Bulletin, 6(4), 19-20.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1983). The educational thought of George W Webber, theological educator, and issues in theological education. Religious Education, 78(3), 424-22.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1983). Faith at the Blackboard: Issues Facing the Christian Teacher. Religious Education, 78(4), 586-22.

Pazmiño, R. W., & Kang, S. (2011). Generational fragmentations and Christian education. Christian Education Journal,8(2), 379-394.

Pazmiño, R. W. (2003). The nature of God from an adolescent perspective: biblical, developmental, and theological insights. Journal Of Youth Ministry, 1(2), 35-50.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1987). Polity and Praxis: A Program for American Practical Theology. Religious Education, 82(4), 664-665.

Pazmiño, R. W. (1993). Public Values: Private Schools. Religious Education, 88(1), 154-155.

Pazmiño, R. W. (2008). Teaching in the name of Jesus. Christian Education Journal, 5(1), 171-188.

Pazmiño, R. W. (2003). Theological Education with Hispanic Persons: Teaching Distinctiveness. Teaching Theology & Religion, 6(3), 138-145.


Review of Critical Essays on Major Curriculum Theorists, by David Scott in Teaching Theology and Religion 11, 4 (October 2008): 242-243.

Review of A History of Christian Education: Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Perspectives, by John L. Elias in Christian Education Journal  Series 3, 1 (Fall 2003): 189-91.

Review of Storytelling in Religious Education, by Susan M. Shaw in NAPCE Newsletter 8 (Winter/Spring 2002): 6.

Review of Jesuit Education and Social Change in El Salvador, by Charles D. Beirne in Journal of Research on Christian Education 5 (Autumn 1996): 249-253.

Review of Teaching for Commitment: Liberal Education, Indoctrination and Christian Nurture, by Elmer J. Thiessen in Christian Scholar’s Review 26 (Fall 1996): 114-116.                 

Review of Public Values: Private Schools, edited by Neal E. Devins in Religious Education 88 (Winter 1993): 154-155.

Review of Teaching in a Pluralistic Society: Concepts, Models, Strategies, by Ricardo L. Garcia in Religious Education 87 (Spring 1992): 203-205.

Review of Polity and Praxis:  A Program for American Practical Theology, by Dennis P. McCann and Charles R. Strain in Religious Education 82 (Fall 1987): 664-665.

Review of The Christian, The Arts, and Truth: Regaining the Vision of Greatness, by Frank E. Gaebelein in Christian Education Journal 7 (Autumn 1986): 90-91.

Review of Faith at the Blackboard:  Issues Facing the Christian Teacher, by Brian Hill in Religious Education 78 (Fall l983): 586, 588.

Reviews of Pazmiño's Publications

Alicea-Lugo, B. (1998). Salsa y Adobo : Latino/Latina Contributions to Theolgical Education. Union Seminary Quarterly Review, 52(1-2), 129-144.

Carroll, J. E. (1995). Principles and Practices of Christian Education: An Evangelical Perspective. Reformed Review, 49(1), 69-22.

Cooke, M. (1990). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Lexington Theological Quarterly, 25(1), 24-25.

Cunningham, J. C. (1993). Principles and Practices of Christian Education: An Evangelical Perspective. Review & Expositor, 90(4), 596-22.

Daniel, E. (1999). Basics of Christian teaching. Religious Education, 94(3), 356-358.

Daniel, E. (1997). By what authority do we teach. Religious Education, 92(1), 133-134.

Drovdahl, R. (1989). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Christian Scholar's Review, 19(1), 101-102.

Gangel, K. O. (1995). Principles and Practices of Christian Education: An Evangelical Perspective. Bibliotheca Sacra, 152(608), 506-507.

Gibbs, E. S. (1996). By what authority do we teach. Ashland Theological Journal, 28, 203-205.

Gibbs, E. S. (1989). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Religious Education, 84(2), 300-302.

Glassford, D. K. (2011). Doing theological research: an introductory guide to survival in theological education. Journal Of Youth Ministry, 10(1), 139-141.

Glassford, D. K. (1990). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society, 33(3), 416-417.

Glassford, D. K. (1995). Principles and Practices of Christian Education: An Evangelical Perspective. Christian Scholar's Review, 24(3), 335-338.

Grafton, K. (2011). Doing theological research: an introductory guide to survival in theological education. Theological Librarianship, 4(1),

Heidebrecht, P. (1989). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Reformed Review, 42(2), 157-158.

Heiser, W. (2002). God our teacher. Theology Digest, 49(2), 185.

Hess, M. E. (2002). God our teacher: theological basics in Christian education. Word & World, 22(4), 450-452.

Holifield, D. (2009). Doing theological research: an introductory guide to survival in theological education. Journal Of Religious & Theological Information, 8(3-4), 185-186.

Jones, A. (1994). Principles and Practices of Christian Education: An Evangelical Perspective. Spectrum, 26, 83-85.

Keller, T. J. (1989). The Seminary in the City. Urban Mission, 6, 51-53.

Knight, G. R. (1989). The Seminary in the City. Church History, 58(4), 549-550.

Lake, T. (2004). God our teacher: theological basics in Christian education. Perspectives In Religious Studies, 31(2), 229-233.

Levy, M. (2011). A Review of: 'Pazmino, Robert W. (2008). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective'. Journal Of Research On Christian Education, 20(1), 106-110.

Lines, T. A. (1989). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Review & Expositor, 86(2), 296-22.

Medine, C. (2011). Doing theological research: an introductory guide to survival in theological education. Teaching Theology & Religion, 14(1), 72-73.

Norris, D. A. (2009). So what makes our teaching Christian? teaching in the name, spirit, and power of Jesus. Pneuma, 31(2), 308-22.

Prevost, R. (2002). God our teacher: theological basics in Christian education. Review & Expositor, 99(1), 113-115.

Reis, G. (2008). Temas fundamentais da educação cristã. Fides Reformata, 13(2), 207-210.

Smallbones, J. L. (2001). God our teacher: theological basics in Christian education. Christian Education Journal, 5(2), 129-131.

Sullivan, J., & Sullivan, J. (2003). God our teacher. Heythrop Journal, 44(2), 213-214.

Theodore, B. (1991). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Evangelical Journal, 9, 44-45

Upshaw, B. S. (2008). An examination of selected Christian education textbooks in light of the theory of Robert W. Pazmino. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).

Walls, T. R. (1996). Latin American Journey: Insights for Christian Education. Missiology, 24(1), 120-121.

White, R. (2003). God our teacher: theological basics in Christian education. Christian Scholar's Review, 32(2), 250-252.

Wilson, K. (1989). Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. Expository Times, 100(11), 436-22.

Wright, D. R. (2002). God our teacher: theological basics in Christian education. Princeton Seminary Bulletin, 23(2), 233-235.

Excerpts from Publications

(1994). Latin American journey: Insights for Christian education. Cleveland: United Church Press, p.72.

The educational task in relation to propheteia is the raising of the consciousness of people to the see what the full implications of a commitment to God’s reign mean in relation to the dominant virtues and ideals of one’s community or society.  Advocacy and orthopathos arise from the whole-hearted embrace of the values, virtues, and ideals of God’s reign in the world.  Points of convergence or complementarity between gospel values, virtues, and ideals and those of one’s culture are to be celebrated and conserved.  However, points of divergence and conflict require of Christians a stance of protest and a willingness to struggle with the possibility of transformation or conversion.  It can be claimed that Christians have their first allegiance to the Christian faith and that in relation to propheteia they are people of hope who are willing to stake their lives on the changes God can bring to fruition in the culture of their society.  These changes require the work of the Holy Spirit at all levels of personal and corporate life and the willingness of Christians to accept their responsibilities as being in but not of the world. 

(2001). God our teacher: Theological basics in Christian education. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House, p. 94.

The authority of the Holy Spirit in teaching can be explored in relation to the authoritative Word of God and its role in teaching. God’s Word is creative, living, and written.

Jesus Christ, the living Word, encounters persons through the active presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit.  The living Word is a person, and his ministry relates to the individuals engaged in teaching and learning, namely, those called as educators and students.  The Holy Spirit is identified as the Spirit of Christ who makes available to humankind the surpassing grace of the crucified one in whom grace and truth have come (John 1:16).  Truth unfolds in the life of the faith community through the ministries of proclamation, fellowship, service, advocacy, and worship.  Teaching provides the occasion to discern the connections across these ministries that serve to accomplish God’s mission in the world.

The written Word is the essential source for authoritative teaching.

(2001). God our teacher: Theological basics in Christian education. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, pp.107-108.

Christians maintain that all truth is God’s truth, but that not all truth is of the same order or on the same level.  The question of priority is important and Christians can assert that only the truth revealed in Christ and in Scripture constitutes the ultimate and unifying perspective for learning and life.  Anything less can make persons the measure of all things.  Faith in Christ and reliance upon Scripture are to have a higher priority over those insights gained through reason.  Augustine maintained that if one did not believe in God that person would not come to know the essential truth.  In the eleventh century, Anselm of Canterbury stated, “Believe that you may know.”  Christians suggest that this principle extends beyond religious faith to other endeavors in that believing, as commitment, leads to the knowledge of truth.  This stance in Christian teaching implies the need to emphasize personal belief in Christ as the essential foundation for inquiry.

Conscious reliance upon Christ and Scripture follows from the recognition of the presence of sin and the fallen nature of persons, which affects the use of unaided reason not subject to divine relation.  The use of reason is marred or dimmed by sin, but not totally destroyed.  Given the presence of personal and corporate sin, Christian teaching must address the areas of moral and ethical character formation to supplement intellectual training, but not in a way that violates the worth and dignity of persons as God’s creatures.  How the balance is achieved presents a continual challenge in the practice of teaching.  For example what is the place of doubts and questioning that arise from the use of reason?  The use of reason implies posing questions and having doubts, even about certain truths that Christians have historically defended.  Posing questions becomes the occasion for discovery and inquiry using the capacities of human reason created by God. 

(1988). Foundational issues in Christian education: An introduction in evangelical perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, pp. 169 & 192.

…we must define culture in general and consider a possible Christian perspective on culture, which makes up the fabric of our lives.  Clifford Geertz, a cultural anthropologist, provides a helpful general definition.  He defines culture as a historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols.  It is a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which persons communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge and attitude toward life.  A worldview is the picture one has of the way things in actuality are, the most comprehensive idea of order.  Using Geertz’s conception of culture, educators should consider the ethos and worldview of the folk they intend to teach. 

(2009) Doing theological research: An introductory guide for survival in theological education. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers.

This is a concise work that guides its reader towards excellence in writing and research for theological studies.  As with all of Pazmiño’s writings, it offers us a theological perspective on the art and science of theological writing.  He presents it as a spiritual practice and act of worship.  The appendices include samples of distinct types of papers such as an exegesis. The reader is able to gain an understanding of professor expectations for papers, thesis and other writings that are a part of theological education. 

(1988). Double dutch : Reflections of an Hispanic North-American on multicultural religious education. Apuntes, 8(2), 27-37.

This is an essay on the significance and process of living as a bilingual and bicultural person.  Theology, sociological and psychological dimensions are mentioned.  Pazmiño uses the metaphor of the jump rope game of double dutch to speak of the dynamic of operating in two different worlds and keeping them integrated in one’s formation and self-definition. This is a must read for those of us who are bilingual, bicultural persons seeking to understand identity formation issues as they pertain to daily living and faith as much as it is an important reading for persons doing ministry with youth who are bicultural and/or in multicultural congregations.

(2008) Foundational issues in Christian education: An introduction in evangelical perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

This is Pazmiño’s seminal book.  In it he examines the biblical, theological, philosophical, and historical foundations of Christian education.  He also integrates the social sciences into his discussion.  This third edition includes the impact that post modernism has made to the philosophical educational foundation. His discussion is in dialogue with the arguments and contributions of Christian educators in the last fifty years.  He brings fresh perspective and his own contributions to the arguments as an evangelical Christian educator by defining the theological parameters that guide the Christian educator and then showing how even within those parameters one can have a robust discussion with educators who may not share Christian commitments.  His discussion on the social sciences- sociology and psychology in particular help to integrate these in helpful ways with one’s practice as an educator while maintaining the essential place of the scriptures and God’s knowledge. 

The reader is exposed to a great number of theorists in each of the disciplines that he integrates into the philosophical and educational discussions.  Pazmiño’s strong point is his ability to summarize the main theoretical points and to create a dialogue between theorists by comparing, contrasting and demonstrating creative and critical thought. The integrative models help one come to one’s own synthesis and to see more possibilities of such synthesis than one had thought.  Each chapter has points for one to ponder so that the book itself invites one to a reflective teaching/learning dynamic.

(2008) So what makes our teaching Christian?: Teaching in the name, Spirit, and power of Jesus. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.

This book gives consideration to the elements of teaching that make it distinctly Christian.  In a refreshing way the teachings of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament are revisited with the purpose of exploring how teaching in the name, spirit, and power of Jesus relates to the teaching ministries of both clergy and laity. The integration of the pastoral, theological and educational dimensions of teaching are featured in this writing.  

(2002) Principles and practices of Christian education: An evangelical perspective. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.

This book is also published in Spanish and in Korean.  The reader is taught to understand that teaching is a transformative process and that one must be in partnership with God in order to carry it out.  The transformation comes as one helps lead students to personal conversion.  For Pazmiño this is followed by not only a personal but a corporate process of discipleship.  This means that conversion is followed by connections between persons living together in society and learning to reconcile with God and one another in ways that eventually bring forth fellowship, Christian service, social action and worship as expressions of faith and commitment.  Central to this transformation that brings forth the fruits aforementioned are the Christian scriptures.  The model of the teaching of Jesus is defined for our present context.  The methodology flows from this understanding and includes the elements of the interaction between student and teacher: the teacher’s preparation for instruction and the student’s ability to mature in the gospel teaching.

(2002) Latin American journey: Insights for Christian education in North America. Cleveland: United Church Press.

In this work Pazmiño addresses the need in North American theology to speak to and to include in its mission the social dimensions of the gospel.  He juxtaposes Liberation theology with the theology of the North American church pointing to the strengths and weaknesses of each and the possibilities in the dialogue between the two.  He sees the Latin American church bringing its strength in addressing the orthopraxis of the Christian faith while the North American church is strong in its orthodoxy.  He defines the tenets of faith of both and the need for ensuring equity in education. 

As Pazmino himself seeks to demonstrate what equity in education might look like he puts forth a model of multicultural education that affirms the ethnic identity of persons as a part of this effort.   He also advocates for a North American church that is aware of and evaluates the ways in which as a society we have exploited others in Latin America.  He posits how entering in dialogue with the Latin American church can be a way of collaborating towards an end to that exploitation that brings poverty both in Latin America as well as North America. This book is a good interface between education, culture and social justice.  Pazmiño weaves into the book his own faith journey as a bicultural person living in North America and seeking to initiate a dialogue with Latin American theologians and educators.    


Author Information

Elizabeth Conde-Frazier


Elizabeth Conde-Frazier earned her PhD in theology and religious education from Boston College.  She is vice president of education and dean of Esperanza College of Eastern University.