Assistant Professor of Religion
Contact Info

Office: Cleveland Hall 215

Phone: 540.568.6394

Fax: 540.568.8072



Ph.D., University of Edinburgh 


Dr. Kirkpatrick is an historian of Latin America working at the intersection religion and politics. Prior to JMU, he was the T. Gannon Postdoctoral Associate in American Religious History at Florida State University (2016-2018) and Teaching Fellow in World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh (2015-2016). His first book, A Gospel for the Poor: Global Social Christianity and the Latin American Evangelical Left (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), draws upon bilingual interviews and archives and personal papers from three continents. A Gospel for the Poor adopts a transnational perspective to tell the story of a Cold War generation of progressive Latin Americans that developed, named, and exported their version of social Christianity to an evolving coalition of global evangelicals.

Dr. Kirkpatrick is currently working on a new book entitled Blood and Borders: A History of Latin American Religious Violence (under contract with Oxford University Press). He is also co-editing (with historian Jason Bruner) a collection of essays, provisionally titled, A Global Vision of Violence: Agency, Persecution, and Martyrdom in World Christianity. His most recent research also appears in the Journal of the American Academy of ReligionOxford Encyclopedia of American ReligionJournal of World Christianity, and Journal of Ecclesiastical History, as well as public-facing outlets such as the Washington Post and LA Review of Books. He is often quoted in global media outlets such as and The Australian. Professor Kirkpatrick currently serves on the steering committee of the AAR World Christianity Unit and the Council of the American Society of Church History.


At James Madison University, Dr. Kirkpatrick teaches a variety of courses on religious studies, civil rights movements, and religion and politics in the Americas from a historical perspective. In the classroom, he opens up conversations on migration, politics, race and ethnicity, labor, biblical interpretation, and social movements. His teaching philosophy flows from a conviction that the classroom should be more than a data transfer station. Rather, it should be a learning community, where students are valued and challenged, while exchanging diverse opinions, experiences, and cultural backgrounds.

Selected Publications:

2019. “Globally many evangelicals lean left: what that means for America’s future.” Washington Post, August 30.

2019. A Gospel for the Poor: Global Social Christianity and the Latin American Evangelical Left. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2019. “Reforming Fundamentalism in Latin America: Power, Politics and Paternalism in Univeridad Bíblica Latinoamericana.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol. 87, no. 1 (March): 122-155.

2018. “American Protestant Foreign Missions after World War II” in Oxford Encyclopedia of American Religion, 25-37. Edited by John Corrigan (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

2017. “Freedom from Fundamentalism: The Surprising Influence of Christian Brethrenism on the Rise of Latin American Social Christianity,” The Journal of World Christianity, Vol. 7, no. 2 (2017): 211-233. 

2017. “Parachurch Competition in the Latin American Religious Marketplace: Scriptural Inerrancy and the Reshaping of Global Protestant Evangelicalism,” inRelocating World Christianity:  Interdisciplinary Studies in Universal and Local Expressions of Christianity, p. 93-112. Edited by Joel Cabrita, David Maxwell, and Emma Wild-Wood.  Leiden: Brill, 2017.  

2016.  “C. René Padilla and the Origins of Integral Mission in Post-War Latin America.”  Journal of Ecclesiastical HistoryVol. 67, No. 2 (April): 351-371.

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