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Historian Thomas S. Kidd joins Midwestern Seminary faculty as distinguished visiting professor

Posted May 23, 2019 by T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen has announced that historian Thomas S. Kidd will join the MBTS faculty as distinguished visiting professor of church history.

Kidd will continue his role as distinguished professor of history at Baylor University. As such, he will serve the Midwestern Seminary community by commuting from Waco, Texas, to Kansas City, Mo., for doctoral seminars and to instruct graduate and doctoral students in the discipline of history both in classroom and in conference settings.

“I could not be more delighted to announce Dr. Tommy Kidd’s joining our faculty as a distinguished professor of church history,” Allen said. “We, at Midwestern Seminary, have a longstanding relationship with Dr. Kidd, and we look forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead. I’m thankful for the partnership with Baylor University that though Dr. Kidd will remain in residence there, he’ll be on our campus multiple times a year, leading doctoral seminars, teaching Master of Divinity intensives, and supervising doctoral students. Students can come to Midwestern Seminary and anticipate to study with Dr. Tommy Kidd.

“Dr. Kidd is extensively published and widely respected throughout the Baptist and evangelical world—and beyond. Dr. Kidd stands out as one of our generation’s leading church historians. What is more, he deeply resonates with Midwestern Seminary’s mission of existing for the church. Adding Dr. Kidd to the ranks of our other church historians and historical theologians is a tremendous step forward in those disciplines, putting us as a theological institution in an enviable position. It’s also a significant step forward in our goal of assembling at Midwestern Seminary the premier faculty in the evangelical world.”

Allen added that Kidd’s joining the faculty here reflects “God’s blessing on Midwestern Seminary wherein in recent years He has been pleased to send us a new generation of accomplished scholars, dedicated churchmen and devoted Southern Baptists who are committed to Midwestern Seminary’s vision of existing for the Church.”

Kidd noted excitement about his new responsibilities, saying, “I am thrilled to join Midwestern Seminary in its work to glorify the Lord and serve the church by training up a new generation of pastors and Christian scholars. Midwestern is one of the most exciting seminaries on the American church landscape today, and I am delighted and honored to contribute to the dynamic faculty that Midwestern is assembling.

“Additionally, I hope to bring students a strong sense for what the Lord has done in and through the church and for them to learn from the great ‘cloud of witnesses’ that we encounter in church history. Too often, American Christians act as if not much has happened in between the time of Christ and this Sunday’s church service. Our failure to search out the lessons of church history deprives us of a trove of wisdom for ministry.”

Kidd added that his hope for students taking his courses would be for them to realize Christians need not set aside their faith while they do serious, scholarly historical inquiry. Instead, they can serve the Kingdom with a deeper historical understanding of how the church came to be what it is today.

Kidd began his teaching career at Baylor in 2002 after completing a Ph.D. in history at the University of Notre Dame, where he worked with historian of religion George Marsden. He also earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees at Clemson University in South Carolina.

“To have someone of the caliber of Thomas Kidd, both in heart and mind, join our faculty is a true blessing to the Midwestern Seminary community and especially our students,” said Provost Jason Duesing. “I can think of no one else currently writing and researching in American history that would be a better complement to our academic programs and our vision of pursuing scholarship for the church than Dr. Kidd.”

In addition to his professorship in history, Kidd is the associate director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor, and he has authored numerous books including American History, vols. 1 and 2 (B&H Academic, 2019), Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2017), American Colonial History: Clashing Cultures and Faiths (Yale University Press, 2016), Baptists in America: A History (with Barry Hankins, Oxford University Press, 2015), George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2014), Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots (Basic Books, 2011), God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution (Basic Books, 2010), American Christians and Islam (Princeton University Press, 2008), and The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (Yale University Press, 2007).

Kidd has written for media outlets including the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and he also blogs at “Evangelical History” at The Gospel Coalition website. In the classroom, Kidd teaches courses on colonial America, the American Revolution, and American religious history.

He and his wife, Ruby, have two sons, Jonathan and Joshua. The Kidds attend Highland Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, where Tommy teaches Sunday school.

To learn more about academics at Midwestern Seminary, visit

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