Associate Academic Unit Head and Assistant Professor of Religion
Contact Info

Office: Cleveland Hall 220

Phone: 540.568.6394

Fax: 540.568.8072



Ph.D., University of Edinburgh 


Dr. Kirkpatrick is a scholar of religion and politics working at the intersection of Latin America and the United States. Prior to JMU, he was the T. Gannon Postdoctoral Associate in American Religious History at Florida State University and Teaching Fellow in World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh. 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, 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 thinkers. He also co-edited (with historian Jason Bruner) a collection of essays titled Global Visions of Violence: Agency and Persecution in World Christianity (forthcoming with Rutgers University Press). The groundbreaking volume brings together diverse scholars from multiple fields to reassess the relationship between global Christianity, violence, and intolerance around the world.

Dr. Kirkpatrick is currently working on a new book entitled Blood and Borders: Violence and Intolerance at the Intersection of Latin America and the United States (under contract with Oxford University Press). 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. His research has also been quoted in mainstream media outlets such as as and The Australian. Professor Kirkpatrick currently serves on the steering committee of the American Academy of Religion (World Christianity Unit) and the Executive Council of the American Society of Church History (American Historical Association).


At James Madison University, Dr. Kirkpatrick teaches a variety of courses on religious studies, civil rights movements, and religion and politics in the Americas. In the classroom, he opens up conversations on migration, politics, race and ethnicity, labor, 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, exchanging diverse opinions, experiences, and cultural backgrounds. Dr. Kirkpatrick has expanded the curriculum of the Religion program with new courses such as Latinx and Latin American Christianity (REL 325), and the Global Civil Rights Movement (REL450), which explores the breadth and diversity of the Civil Rights Movement and its vast worldwide reach.

As Associate Academic Unit Head of Philosophy & Religion, Dr. Kirkpatrick is passionate about identifying and amplifying the wonderful work of his colleagues and working to create new avenues for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Selected Publications:

Forthcoming. Global Visions of Violence: Agency and Persecution in World Christianity. Co-edited with Jason Bruner. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2022.

Forthcoming. “The Historiographical Sweep of Latin American Evangelicalism” in Latin American Evangelicalism. Edited by David Bebbington. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2022.

Forthcoming. “Beneath the United States: Global Crime, Decolonization, and Evangelicals of Color” in Global Faith and Worldly Power: Evangelical Encounters with American Empire. Edited by John Corrigan, Melani McAlister, and Axel Schaeffer. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2022.

2021. “The Origins of Misión Integral in Post-War Latin America” In Global Voices: What Is Integral Mission? (Oxford: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies).

2021. C. René Padilla: Father of Integral Mission." Christianity Today, April 7. 

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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