David Estrada-Herrero Received Honorary Doctorate

June 25, 2010

Rev. Dr. Peter L. Lillback, president, conferred the Doctor of Divinity to David Estrada-Herrero (WTS BDiv, 1956) at our May 27, 2010 Commencement.

David Estrada-Herrero was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1931 He studied at Westminster (BDiv, 1956) and University of Barcelona (MA, summa cum laude, 1965 and PhD, summa cum laude, 1974). Whether from the pulpit or from the university desk, his primary passion has always been the glory of God in the proclamation of the Gospel to lost sinners. While a student at Westminster, David Estrada spent the summers doing mission work for the Christian Reformed Church among the Mexican migrant workers in Michigan. After graduating, David was ordained by the Old Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, (now Free Reformed) as a pastor and missionary to Spain.

In 1959, David settled in Barcelona to initiate what would be a long life of gospel ministry in that country. In those days the religious and political conditions of Spain were quite adverse for evangelicals. The government was not democratic, and Protestants suffered greatly on account of the religious intolerance. Basic rights of religious liberty were disavowed, and fines and imprisonments were imposed on evangelicals for preaching the gospel or printing Bibles of which David Estrada experienced firsthand. Undeterred, he began his pioneering work of making known the doctrines of the Reformed faith. But among evangelicals and Roman Catholics alike, the prejudices against Calvinism were great. He began holding meetings at his home and publishing a Reformed magazine under the title El estandarte de la verdad —The Banner of Truth— that soon reached a wide circulation among Protestants and Roman Catholics —including priests. As a result, he received many invitations to preach in congregations scattered all over Spain. With the Banner of Truth Trust of England, Reformed faith books were translated into Spanish, and more evangelicals began to acquire a solid training in the doctrines of the Bible.

David’s concern for the training of young ministers for the pastorate turned the Estrada's home into a 'seminary' of Reformed theology for both Evangelicals and Roman Catholics.  One of his 'students was P. Ribes, canon and orator of the Cathedral of Barcelona, who visited “to get ideas” for his sermons. Under suspicions of “doctrinal unorthodoxy,” Canon Ribes was called “the Lutheran preacher of the cathedral.” In addition, the preaching and teaching of the Word has been a constant activity in his ministry both in churches he helped plant and as pulpit-supply and instructor of Bible studies.

David’s 800 page book on Aesthetics in several aspects is also a treatise on important topics of general history and History of Art.  Invited by the Governor of the Brazilian State of Pernambuco in 2000, he was commissioned to defend the thesis that Vicente Yañez Pinzon —Columbus’s vice-admiral— discovered Brazil in January 1500 and not the Portuguese P. Álvares Cabral. His interest in Church History has been evinced with his many articles on Protestantism that appeared in Enciclopedia Universal Salvat, Tu Reino (Spain) and Christianity & Society (UK) and the essays on the Spanish Reformers of the XVI century that appear in several magazines and in the recent on-going collection of books published by Eudoforma Historia (Seville).

The impact of his books on the Spanish Reformation have been deeply felt in Spanish religious circles —both among Protestants and perhaps even more among Roman Catholics. Under the sponsorship of the University of Seville and of governmental organizations, the First International Congress of Reformed Protestantism and Religious Liberties took place in 2009, having as its central theme the Spanish Reformation. David was the main speaker. The presidency of honor of the Congress was held by the Don Felipe, Crown Prince of Spain.
Married to Frances Mary Luttikhuizen, PhD (University professor), he has two children: David-Martin, PhD (University professor) and Pau-Erik, Fulbright scholar (Illustrator of children’s books and language teacher).