Matthew Esquivel

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Religious Studies


Matthew’s research explores early Christianity and its notion of salvation as a participation in the life of God, as well as its theology of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. He studies how early Christian communities in the Roman province of North Africa understood what it means to be the church on a pilgrimage toward union with God, the role of charisms like prophecy, healing and miracles in the life of the church and the significance of martyrdom. He also researches the interactions between early Christian and Jewish communities, the Christian mystical tradition, and Christian renewal movements throughout history. 


Matthew served for seven years in nondenominational, multicultural, charismatic churches and campus ministries. He became an ordained pastor in 2011 and led classes in discipleship and spiritual formation for young adults. In 2015, Matthew decided to enter academia at SMU, where he would deepen his understanding of Christian history, theology and other world religions. He received a master’s in theological studies at Perkins School of Theology and then entered the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU. Aside from reading history and theology, Matthew enjoys spending time with his family, reading works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and kayaking.