Luis R. Rivera

Senior Scholar of Theology


  • M.Div., Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • Th.M., Th.D., Harvard Divinity School

Dr. Luis R. Rivera is Associate Professor of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (UMC). He served as the Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Garrett-Evangelical  from 2014-2019. Rivera also served as faculty member (1995-2013) and Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the James G. K. McClure Professor of Theological Education (2009-13) at McCormick Theological Seminary (PCUSA) in Chicago. Dr. Rivera started his teaching career in 1986 when he joined the Faculty of the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico (1986 -1995). He is a native of Puerto Rico.  Before starting his teaching career, Dr. Rivera served as lay pastor for nine years (1973-1979) and associate lay minister for leadership development in the Puerto Rico Baptist Churches (ABC, 1990-92). He is a member of the United Methodist Church since 2004.

Dr. Rivera holds degrees from the University of Puerto Rico (B.A.), the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico (M.Div.), and Harvard University, the Divinity School (Th.M., Th.D.).  His research and teaching focuses on the theological and hermeneutical challenges posed by the experiences of global migrations and the formation of diaspora communities and congregations amidst multicultural societies in a globalized world.

He is co-editor of Diccionario de Intérpretes de la Fe (2004; also in Portuguese (2005) and English (2006) and contributor to the following works, among others:  Encyclopedia of Religion and Violence (Routledge, 2004), Shaping Beloved Community (JKWP 2006), Character Ethics and the Bible (JKWP, 2007), Feasting on the Word (JKWP, 2008), The Encyclopedia of Hispanic American Religious Cultures (Baylor University, 2009), and Jesus in the Hispanic Community: Images of Christ from Theology to Popular Religion (2009).

He has made presentations at: Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago; Catholic Theological Union; North Park Theological Seminary; Garret Evangelical Theological Seminary; Loyola University (Chicago); DePaul University (Chicago); Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico; Brite Divinity School (Dallas); Union Theological Seminary (Virginia); Koinonia Program (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil); Central America University (El Salvador); Reformed University (Colombia); the Society for Biblical Literature, and the American Academy of Religion.

Dr. Rivera has served Hispanic theological education and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in several ways.  He has been a teacher, workshop leader, and Board member for the Hispanic Summer Program. He served as mentor and is the current chair of the Member Council of the Hispanic Theological Initiative. He was a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism, San Diego University. Dr. Rivera was chair of the program committee of ATS Chief Academic Officers Society and a consultant for the Committee on Race and Ethnicity.  He has also contributed to the work of the Forum for Theological Exploration and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.