Bruce Guenther

Bruce Guenther, PhD
Associate Dean – Langley
Professor of Church History and Mennonite Studies

Widely recognized as a Canadianist, much of Bruce’s scholarly expertise has to do with aspects of Canadian history, culture, and Christianity. The combination of his teaching experience in a variety of schools (both public universities and faith-based institutions) across Canada, and extensive leadership experience within academic institutions including six years as president of MB Seminary, and within other denominational and community organizations, provide a rich source of insight and competency. As a professor, he is passionate about helping students to think critically about their faith experience without becoming cynical, to historicize their church tradition without discrediting it, and to recognize the symbiotic relationships between cultural forces, human actions, and the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. As a Christian, he strives to live a life characterized by integrity, honesty, joy, faithfulness in Christian disciplines (worship, prayer, and witness), holiness, and humility.

For recreation and relaxation, Bruce enjoys playing squash, riding his motorcycle, watching movies, and reading. He and his wife Lois have three adult children. Lois and Bruce are part of Bakerview Mennonite Brethren Church in Abbotsford.

Courses Taught

  • History of Christianity: Early Church to Reformation
  • History of Christianity: Reformation to the Present
  • Christianity and Culture: Critical Assessment and Engagement
  • Christianity and Canadian Culture
  • Mennonite Brethren Studies
  • The Cultural Character of the Evangelical Tradition
  • Research Writing and the Ministry of Scholarship

Areas of Scholarly Interest and Expertise

  • Christian Higher Education in Canada
  • History of Evangelical Protestantism
  • Mennonite History and Theology
  • Christianity and Culture

Bachelor of Arts | Providence College

Master of Christian Studies (English Literature and Theology) | Regent College

PhD (Canadian Religious History) | McGill University

  • PhD dissertation: Training for Service: The Bible School Movement in Western Canada, 1909-1960

The following is a selective sampling of Bruce’s publications:

Books

The Ältester: Herman D.W. Friesen, A Mennonite Leader in Changing Times. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2018.

Dueck, Abe, Bruce L. Guenther, and Doug Heidebrecht, eds. Renewing Identity and Mission: Mennonite Brethren Reflections After 150 Years. Winnipeg: Kindred Productions, 2011.

Articles & Chapters in Books

“From Bible School to University: Expanding the Scope of Mennonite Post-secondary Education in Canada since 1970.” Journal of Mennonite Studies (2018): 181-213.

“Navigating Tradition: The Life and Leadership of Ältester Herman D.W. Friesen, 1908-1969.” Historical Papers: Canadian Society of Church History (2018): 75-87.

“Exploring the Complicated History of Anabaptist-Mennonite Nonresistance.” Direction 47, No. 2 (Spring 2018): 184-206.

(With Erika McAuley) “Reaching Canada and the World for Christ: Canadian Mennonite Brethren and Mission.” Chapter in The Church in Mission: Perspectives of Global Mennonite Brethren On Mission in the 21st Century, ed. Vic Wiens. Winnipeg: Kindred Productions, 2015.

“Reflections on Mennonite Brethren Evangelical Anabaptist Identity.” Chapter in Renewing Identity and Mission: Mennonite Brethren Reflections After 150 Years, eds. Abe Dueck, Bruce L. Guenther, and Doug Heidebrecht, 47-82. Winnipeg: Kindred Productions, 2011.

(With Abe Dueck) “The Mennonite Brethren in Canada.” Chapter in The Mennonite Brethren Church Around the World: Celebrating 150 Years, ed. Abe Dueck, 49-71. Kitchener: Pandora Press, 2010.

“Life in a Muddy World: Historical and Theological Reflections on Denominationalism.” In New Perspectives in Believers Church Ecclesiology: Congregationalism, Denominationalism and the Body of Christ, eds. Abe Dueck, Helmut Harder and Karl Koop, 51-72. Winnipeg: CMU Press, 2010.

“From Isolation and Ethnic Homogeneity to Acculturation and Multi-cultural Diversity: The Mennonite Brethren and Canadian Culture.” Direction 39, No. 2 (Fall 2010): 138-161.

“Pentecostal Theological Education: A Case Study of Western Bible College (1925-1950).” In Canadian Pentecostalism: Transition and Transformation, ed. Michael Wilkinson, 99-122. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009.

“‘From the Edge of Oblivion’: Reflections on Evangelical Protestant Denominational Historiography in Canada.” Historical Papers: Canadian Society of Church History (2008): 153-174.

“Ethnicity and Evangelical Protestants in Canada.” In Christianity and Ethnicity in Canada, eds. Paul Bramadat and David Seljak, 365-414. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008.

“Evangelicalism within Mennonite Historiography: The Decline of Anabaptism or a Path Towards Dynamic Ecumenism?” Journal of Mennonite Studies 24 (2006): 35-53.

“The ‘Enduring Problem’ of Christ and Culture.” Direction 34, No. 2 (Fall 2005): 215-227.

“Slithering Down the Plank of Intellectualism? The Canadian Conference of Christian Educators and the Impulse Towards Accreditation Among Canadian Bible Schools During the 1960s.” Historical Studies in Education 16, No. 2 (2004): 197-228.

“The Road Less Traveled: The Evangelical Path of Kanadier Mennonites Who Returned to Canada.” Journal of Mennonite Studies 22 (2004): 145-166.

“‘Wrenching Our Youth Away from Frivolous Pursuits’: Mennonite Brethren Involvement in Bible Schools in Western Canada, 1913-1960.” Crux 38, No. 4 (December 2002): 32-41.