John D. Wilsey

Associate Professor of Church History and Philosophy; Chair, Church History Department; Book Review Editor, The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology

John D. Wilsey headshot

John D. Wilsey is a Georgia native whose research interests lie in the history of American nationalism, especially how theology has contributed to American national identity. 

Dr. John Wilsey is Chair, Church History Department; Book Review Editor, The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology and Associate Professor of Church History and Philosophy. Between 1992 and 2011, Wilsey taught history and Bible in middle and high school classrooms, held positions in Christian school administration, and served on pastoral staff in schools and churches in North Carolina and Virginia. From 2011–2017, Wilsey taught history and philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, with most of his teaching load in a fully accredited bachelor’s degree program in a maximum-security unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is married to Mandy, and they have two children. He is an elder at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

He has also researched and written on conservatism and American diplomacy in the twentieth century. His areas of teaching are in modern church history, history of Western thought, American patriotism and theology, history of the Black church, and American religious history. He supervises PhD dissertations in the areas of American church history and history of philosophy.

Wilsey holds, and has previously held, several academic fellowships with the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty as Affiliate Scholar; the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy as Research Fellow; the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal as Wilbur Fellow; the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission as Research Fellow; the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as Research Fellow; and the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in the Politics Department at Princeton University as William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and Public Life.

His work has been reviewed in such outlets as National ReviewPublisher’s WeeklyJournal of Church and StateFides et HistoriaProvidenceChurch HistoryReading Religion, Catholic Books ReviewReviews in American HistoryAnxious Bench, Claremont Review of BooksFirst ThingsThe American Conservative, Christianity Today, and The Federalist. He has appeared on podcasts and programs hosted by the Acton Institute, New Books Network, Current, Thinking in Public, Law and Liberty, Museum of the Bible, Family Research Council, BBC Radio Wales, 9Marks, McConnell Center, and Ben Franklin’s World.

Wilsey has contributed peer-reviewed articles in the journal Religions and in academic books published by Palgrave and Routledge. He co-edited a special peer reviewed issue of Religions on the historical interaction of nationalism and theology. He has contributed other chapters to books published by Crossway and B&H Academic and long-form articles to Modern Age: A Conservative Review and Fides et Historia. He has served as manuscript reviewer for American Political ThoughtReligions, InterVarsity Press, and New York University Press and book review editor for H-AmRel of the H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online network.

Wilsey has served on the Kern Foundation Advisory Council, the McConnell Center’s Tocqueville Society at the University of Louisville, the Board of Directors of the Society for Values in Higher Education, the Scholar’s Council for the Center for the Electoral College, the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives Advisory Board, and the Annual Meeting Proposal Review Board for Church History as well as the Membership Committee of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Wilsey was named the 2019–2020 Tutor of the Year in Boyce College’s Augustine Honors Collegium. In addition to his work at Southern and Boyce, Wilsey has been an invited lecturer at Princeton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Louisville, the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, Waynesburg University, Calvin University, St. Francis University, Hannibal-LaGrange University, Charleston Southern University, Grand Valley State University, the College of Biblical Studies, Houston Baptist University, Northwest Nazarene University, the University of Wyoming, Samford University, Spring Arbor University, Ave Maria University, the Philos Project, the Religious Freedom Institute, the Russell Kirk Center, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and the Kentucky Historical Association. He has read academic papers at the Evangelical Theological Society, the Conference on Faith and History, the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Christian Scholars’ Conference, the Society for Values in Higher Education, the Society for US Intellectual History, the African American Intellectual History Society, the Ciceronian Society, the Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, and the Center for Christian Study in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, the Ciceronian Society, the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Philadelphia Society, and the James Madison Society.

Wilsey is a columnist for World Opinions, and his other public writings have appeared in outlets such as Law and LibertyCurrent, Acton’s CommentaryChristianity TodayProvidencePublic Discourse9Marks JournalThe Gospel CoalitionAeonHistory News NetworkThe American ConservativeThe Imaginative Conservative, Anxious BenchReligion and Liberty, and Religion in American History. He has reviewed numerous books for ThemeliosSoutheastern Theological ReviewPublic DiscourseFides et HistoriaWestminster Theological JournalTrinity JournalThe Southern Baptist Journal of TheologyJournal of Church and StateEvangelical QuarterlyJournal of Markets and MoralityH-DiploAd Fontes, and The London Lyceum.


God’s Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles (William B. Eerdmans, 2021)

American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea (InterVarsity Press, 2015)

One Nation Under God?: An Evangelical Critique of Christian America (Pickwick, 2011)

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