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Religion History

The Evangelical Century

College and Creed in English Canada from the Great Revival to the Great Depression

by (author) Michael Gauvreau

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Mar 1991
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 1991
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Gauvreau explores the persistence and development of the evangelical creed as the intellectual expression of Protestant religion which largely defined English-Canadian culture in the Victorian period. This popular theology, which linked Methodist and Presbyterian church colleges to the world of popular preaching, was based on the Bible not only as the foundation of personal piety but as a sacred record of human history: past, present, and future. Gauvreau shows that the evangelical creed proved flexible when faced with the challenges of Darwinian evolution, higher criticism, and other new intellectual currents, and that it remained central to the intellectual life of the churches. By accommodating those aspects of modern thought most compatible with evangelicalism and filtering out those more threatening, clergymen-professors such as Samuel Nelles, Nathanael Burwash, George Monro Grant, and William Caven were able to find creative ways to move their churches toward social reform in the late nineteenth century. The evangelical synthesis lost its cultural supremacy only in the twentieth century, when the complexity of theological discussion in the church colleges broke down the close links between professor and preacher.

About the author

Michael Gauvreau, professor of history at McMaster University, is the author and editor of numerous works, including Mapping the Margins: Families and Social Disciplines in Canada, 1700-1970 and Cultures of Citizenship in Postwar Canada, 1940-1955.

Michael Gauvreau's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"without a doubt this book will generate considerable debate ... it goes far beyond making a contribution ... Gauvreau asks the reader to rethink fundamentally both the traditional interpretation of religion and society in the nineteenth century and the basic organization of Canadian intellectual history." William Westfall, Department of History, York University.

Other titles by Michael Gauvreau