Diligently studying the Bible and professional resources
for continuous personal and professional growth in Christ and
communicating the same in spoken and written forms
A. Comprehensive and Well-Integrated Doctrinal Knowledge
The document below is my systematic organization of the twenty-eight fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The following document is a scholarly article that I published in Andrews University Seminary Studies in the field of systematic theology. It addresses the wrongful employment of the doctrine of the Trinity in the debates on gender roles in the home, church, and society by complementarian scholars. Click here to view a video recording of me presenting this paper at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Fall Symposium 2016 of the Adventist Theological Society in San Antonio, Texas.
The following document is a two-part paper presentation that I presented for a scholarly symposium of the Adventist Theological Society at the Instituto Avventista di Cultura Biblica Villa Aurora in Florence, Italy.
Tinkham, Jr., Matthew L. “Is There a Unilateral Hierarchy in the Trinity? Part 1: A Biblical Case Against the Eternal, Functional Submission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Paper presented at the Symposium on the Trinity of the Adventist Theological Society at the Istituto Avventista di Cultura Biblica Villa Aurora, June 20, 2019, Florence, Italy. & “Is There a Unilateral Hierarchy in the Trinity? Part 2: A Theological Case Against the Eternal, Functional Submission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Paper presented at the Symposium on the Trinity of the Adventist Theological Society at the Istituto Avventista di Cultura Biblica Villa Aurora, June 21, 2019, Florence, Italy.
B. Prepared Academically
From 2006 to 2010, I completed two Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennesse. One was in Theology (Ministerial) and the other in International Studies with Spanish Emphasis. I also completed two Minors in Biblical Languages and in Psychology, as well as a Certification in Ministry and a Bible Worker Certificate.
From 2013 to 2015, I completed a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews Unversity, in Berrien Springs, Michigan, with an Emphasis in Systematic Theology.
From 2016 to the present, I have been working toward a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Religion at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews Unversity, in Berrien Springs, Michigan, with a Concentration in Theological Studies and a Cognate in New Testament.
C. Masters Exegesis, Hermeneutics, and Relevant Application
I have a rigorous 5-step methodology based upon Ezra 7:10 that I follow when approaching the study of Scripture.
“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10 ESV).
Below is a scholarly paper that I presented for the 15th Seminary Scholarship Symposium on the campus of Andrews University that demonstrates my proficiency in biblical exegesis and ability to apply sound hermeneutical principles. It explores the subject of divine love in chiastic contrast to human love through the lens of Rom 5:6–8, using grammatical-syntactical, structural, literary, and historical-cultural analyses.
Tinkham, Jr., Matthew L. “The Impenetrable Depths of Divine Love in Contrast to the Shallowness of Human Love in Romans 5:6–8: Literary Structure as the Key to Meaning.” Paper presented at the 15th Annual Seminary Scholarship Symposium of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, February 15, 2019, Berrien Springs, MI.
Below is a scholarly paper that I presented for the 70th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Fall Symposium 2018 of the Adventist Theological Society in Denver, Colorado, that also demonstrates my proficiency in biblical exegesis and ability to apply sound hermeneutical principles. It explores the question "Where is the Spirit in Colossians?," a major question for New Testament scholars, who specialize in the disputed and undisputed Pauline writings. It utilizes grammatical-syntactical, literary, and intertextual, and analyses. Click here to view a video recording of this presentation.
Tinkham, Jr. Matthew L. “An Exegetical and Intertextual Exploration of the Presence of the Spirit in Colossians.” Paper presented at the 70th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Fall Symposium 2018 of the Adventist Theological Society, November 14, 2018, Denver, CO.
D. Comprehensive and Well-Integrated Biblical Knowledge
Below is a scholarly paper that I presented for the 70th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Denver, Colorado, that displays my ability to integrate comprehensive biblical knowledge from the Old and New Testaments on a particular issue. It explores the question of the nature of intra-Trinitarian relationships by way of a case study that observes how the Son and the Spirit relate to one another through Scripture, intersecting biblical studies with theology proper, Christology, and pneumatology. It uses a historical-grammatical methodology for exegesis, as well as a canonical-theological methodology for doing systematic theology.
Tinkham, Jr., Matthew L. “Hierarchy or Mutuality in the Trinity? A Case Study on the Relationship of the Spirit and Son.” Paper presented at the 70th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 13, 2018, Denver, CO.
One of my core values is intentional growth. See my Core Values. A primary way that I practice my journey of life-long learning is through reading regularly and widely. I read books, articles, and blogs about pastoral ministry, leadership, evangelism and discipleship, preaching, philosophy and ethics, theology, history, archeology, paleontology, biblical studies, hermeneutics, psychology and mental health, marriage and family issues, etc., as well as biographies and fictional works, such as those by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. I always have a current reading list of books, tangibly manifest in the tower of books on the corner of my desk in my study at home. Below is a picture of my current tower of books that I am reading.
F. Current on Best Practices for Ministry
To remain current on best practices for pastoral ministry, I do the following.
Subscribe to and read articles from the e-mailed newsletters produced by the ministerial department of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) concerning "Best Practices for Adventist Ministry," "Best Practices for Evangelism," and "Best Practices for Adventist Worship."
Subscribe to and read ministry articles from periodicals, such as Ministry, Elder's Digest, and Christianity Today.
Read more recently published books on topics related to pastoral ministry, such as leadership, evangelism and discipleship, homiletics, pastoral counseling, etc.
Meet with more experienced pastors in my PALS group.
Maintain a mentoring relationship with a more experienced pastor and meet with him periodically to discuss ministry ideas and challenges.
Attend the biannual ministers' meetings in my conference.
G. Develops Church as a Thinking and Learning Community
I often hear professional clergy speaking about our lay church members, as if they do not have the mental capacities to understand what we, who have gone through formal academic training in theology know. I believe this underestimates the brilliant minds that God has given to our parishioners and, thus, indirectly insults their Creator. I have found in my pastoral experience that lay members have an incredible aptitude for learning and critical thinking. This reality has led me to have a high view of the laity that makes up our churches—often higher than that which they have for themselves. I consider it to be part of my work to assist them in reaching their full potential in this regard.
One way I attempt to develop these capabilities is by crafting my sermons in such a way that they are not only spiritually uplifting and emotionally stirring but also intellectually stimulating. If the metanarrative of Scripture can be summarized as being "from creation to recreation," then it is part of my responsibility to be an educative tool in the hands of God for the full restoration of my church members into the imago Dei (i.e., the image of God). That transformation, according to the divine will, is to be holistic in nature, involving body, spirit, and mind. Thus, when preaching, I use and define large theological terms, explore seminary-level theological concepts, and raise matters in the text that pertain to the Bible's original languages of Hebrew and Greek with them (such as inaugurated eschatology, ἱλαστήριον, chiastic literary structure, etc.). This is perhaps the source of much of the positive feedback I receive from my listeners concerning my sermons.
To hear samples of my sermons, click here.
In addition to the above, I have even dared to utilize the study time of midweek prayer meetings to do radical things, such as leading my people through Fernando Canale's work on the problem of philosophical timelessness in revelation and inspiration (The Cognitive Principle of Christian Theology: An Hermeneutical Study of the Revelation and Inspiration of the Bible [Berrien Springs, MI: CreateSpace, 2013]) so to broaden their horizons through exposure to different perspectives for the sake of equipping them with needed apologetics when conversing with unbelievers. The key to maintaining their interest in such matters is answering why the information is important and what difference it makes, as well as clearly defining and explaining complex concepts in ways that they can grasp them. Jesus was a masterful teacher, revealing profound spiritual ideas about the kingdom of heaven in illustrative parabolic language drawn from the everyday experiences of his hearers' lives.
H. Seeks Member Feedback for Continual Professional Growth
One of my core values is intentional growth. See my Core Values. A key way to experience such growth personally and professionally is to receive feedback from others around you, especially those who are not wearing the same colored glasses and blinders as yourself.
Every year, I formally solicit feedback from my churches by sending them an anonymous electronic questionnaire to complete that guides them to evaluate whether I am living up to my stated vision, mission, and core values and exemplifying the seven qualities of pastoral ministry in my vocation. Once all of their responses are collected, I prayerfully read through them, rejoicing in their affirmations and reflecting on how to incorporate their suggestions for change.
One example that demonstrates my openness to feedback and willingness to take it into serious consideration for potential change is a reoccurring piece of feedback I received in the most recent assessment responses. While all of the respondents affirmed my sermons for their high quality in content and delivery, several of them stated that they wished that my sermons were shorter in length. So, this year, in my sermonic planning and preparation, I have limited myself to ten-page sermon manuscripts in the new year. (Previously, the average length of my sermon manuscripts was eighteen to twenty pages.) Already after delivering my first three sermons of 2022, I have received several pieces of positive verbal feedback, expressing appreciation of the new shorter length of my sermons.
(Knoxville Grace & Lenoir City Seventh-day Adventist Churches)
(Knoxville Grace & Lenoir City Seventh-day Adventist Churches)
I. Fulfills Continuing Education Requirement
I'm presently still in my Ph.D. program, the requirements of which meet my continuing education (CE) requirement. In the last ministers' meetings in my conference (January 2022), I was made aware of this CE requirement and learned how to use the Adventist Learning Community website. I plan to use this resource in the future to log my fulfillment of this CE requirement.