Thomas Jefferson continues to elicit a wide-range of reactions. Jefferson had a brilliant mind and engaged with Christianity in ways that were both sympathetic and critical. Along with many others during his time, Jefferson was intrigued by several principles from the Enlightenment era, which influenced his perception of Christianity. Jefferson embodied a tension over issues such as church and government, slavery and equality, and the rise of “rational Christianity,” a tension Christians today still struggle to overcome.
In this fascinating podcast, Thomas S. Kidd joins Gary Steward and Matthew Barrett to discuss the many difficult tensions that rise to the surface in the thought and life of Thomas Jefferson, while also addressing how Christians today should think about the triumphs and tragedies of historical figures before them but with no little humility.
Thomas S. Kidd serves as research professor of church history at Midwestern Seminary. Kidd completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Notre Dame, where he worked with historian of religion George Marsden. He is the author of numerous books including Thomas Jefferson: A Biography of Spirit and Flesh (Yale University Press, 2022).
Gary Steward is Dean and Associate Professor of History at Colorado Christian University. He received his Ph.D. in Church History and Historical Theology from Southern Seminary. He is the author of many books within American political and religious history, most recently Justifying Revolution: The American Clergy’s Argument for Political Resistance, 1750-1776 (Oxford Press, 2021).
Matthew Barrett is the author of Simply Trinity: The Unmanipulated Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Baker). He is the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine and host of the Credo podcast. He is associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.