100 books like The Church in the Canadian Era

By John Webster Grant,

Here are 100 books that The Church in the Canadian Era fans have personally recommended if you like The Church in the Canadian Era. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Ravished by the Spirit: Religious Revivals, Baptists, and Henry Alline

Mark A. Noll Author Of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

From my list on the history of Christianity in Canada.

Who am I?

Instead of experiencing a mid-life academic crisis, I discovered Canada. Through George Rawlyk, a senior historian at Queen’s University in Ontario, and then through many fruitful contacts with older and younger Canadians as well as frequent visits north of the border, I became increasingly intrigued by comparisons with U.S. history. Most of my specialized scholarship has treated American developments, but I have been able to explain those matters more perceptively by keeping Canada’s alternative history in mind. The chance to introduce undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame to Canadian history provided a regular stimulus to think about a common subject (Christianity) taking somewhat different shapes in the two nations.

Mark's book list on the history of Christianity in Canada

Mark A. Noll Why did Mark love this book?

In his years as a historian at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) Rawlyk inspired a wealth of solid writing on Canada’s religious history, while also inaugurating an ambitious series in religious history for the McGill-Queen’s University press that continues to this day. Rawlyk’s own research detailed the religious history of the Maritime Provinces, especially the dramatic, long-term impact of radical Christian revivals in the period of the American Revolution that were spearheaded by Henry Alline. A special feature of this book is the shrewd assessment of how Canada’s early religious history differed from parallel developments in the United States.

By George A. Rawlyk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ravished by the Spirit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rawlyk sees the Baptists of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as reaching their zenith during the latter half of the nineteenth century. He makes some controversial comments on the differences between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Baptists of both the present and past century. Ravished by the Spirit does not deal merely with a distnt historical past but raises some fundamental and disconcerting questions about the vulnerability of the Baptist denomination in contemporary Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.


Book cover of Religion and Public Life in Canada: Historical and Comparative Perspectives

Mark A. Noll Author Of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

From my list on the history of Christianity in Canada.

Who am I?

Instead of experiencing a mid-life academic crisis, I discovered Canada. Through George Rawlyk, a senior historian at Queen’s University in Ontario, and then through many fruitful contacts with older and younger Canadians as well as frequent visits north of the border, I became increasingly intrigued by comparisons with U.S. history. Most of my specialized scholarship has treated American developments, but I have been able to explain those matters more perceptively by keeping Canada’s alternative history in mind. The chance to introduce undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame to Canadian history provided a regular stimulus to think about a common subject (Christianity) taking somewhat different shapes in the two nations.

Mark's book list on the history of Christianity in Canada

Mark A. Noll Why did Mark love this book?

This wide-ranging collection of authoritative chapters provides an outstanding general account of Canadian religion at the start of the twenty-first century. Coverage extends across the nation (New Brunswick, Quebec, Toronto, Alberta); the book includes perceptive articles on Catholics, mainline Protestants, and newer evangelical Protestant movements; there is revealing treatment of Jews and Sikhs, residential schools for Natives, and church-guided social reform, efforts of missionary outreach and more. The diverse ways that Canada’s religious organizations have engaged with national public life provide a strongly unifying theme.

By Marguerite Van Die (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Religion and Public Life in Canada as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Academic and popular opinions agree that Canadian public life has become wholly secularized during the last hundred years. As this book acknowledges, religion has indeed lost most of its influence in education, politics and various interest groups. But this rigorously researched volume argues that religion was one of the early institutional bases of the public sphere, and although it has since become differentiated from the state, it should not be overlooked or underestimated by historians and sociologists of modern Canada. A compilation of scholarly case studies, it addresses the continuing influence of religion on modern, 'secular' institutions and thus on…


Book cover of The Catholic Origins of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, 1931-1970, Volume 2

Mark A. Noll Author Of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

From my list on the history of Christianity in Canada.

Who am I?

Instead of experiencing a mid-life academic crisis, I discovered Canada. Through George Rawlyk, a senior historian at Queen’s University in Ontario, and then through many fruitful contacts with older and younger Canadians as well as frequent visits north of the border, I became increasingly intrigued by comparisons with U.S. history. Most of my specialized scholarship has treated American developments, but I have been able to explain those matters more perceptively by keeping Canada’s alternative history in mind. The chance to introduce undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame to Canadian history provided a regular stimulus to think about a common subject (Christianity) taking somewhat different shapes in the two nations.

Mark's book list on the history of Christianity in Canada

Mark A. Noll Why did Mark love this book?

With deep research in both French and English sources, Gauvreau offers a convincing explanation for the dramatic flight from traditional Catholicism that occurred in Quebec during the 1960s. He shows that young reforming Catholics, whose number included the future prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, successfully critiqued the stultifying conservatism, unthinking nationalism, and intellectual sterility of the province’s traditional alignment of church and state. Gauvreau also details the reasons why the reformers’ hopes for a reformed, but reinvigorated Catholicism were frustrated by trajectories they themselves had set in motion. The result was to transform Canada’s most actively religious province into its most secular, and to do so in less than a decade.

By Michael Gauvreau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Catholic Origins of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, 1931-1970, Volume 2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A cogent study that investigates the Catholic origins of Quebec's Quiet Revolution.


Book cover of A Church with the Soul of a Nation: Making and Remaking the United Church of Canada

Mark A. Noll Author Of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

From my list on the history of Christianity in Canada.

Who am I?

Instead of experiencing a mid-life academic crisis, I discovered Canada. Through George Rawlyk, a senior historian at Queen’s University in Ontario, and then through many fruitful contacts with older and younger Canadians as well as frequent visits north of the border, I became increasingly intrigued by comparisons with U.S. history. Most of my specialized scholarship has treated American developments, but I have been able to explain those matters more perceptively by keeping Canada’s alternative history in mind. The chance to introduce undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame to Canadian history provided a regular stimulus to think about a common subject (Christianity) taking somewhat different shapes in the two nations.

Mark's book list on the history of Christianity in Canada

Mark A. Noll Why did Mark love this book?

The United Church of Canada began in 1925 with the merger of the nation’s Methodists, Congregationalists, union churches in the West, and two-thirds of its Presbyterians. The church’s early leaders aspired to guide all of Protestant Canada, indeed the whole nation, in realizing the best of activistic Methodism, theologically consequential Presbyterianism, and the social potential of ecumenical cooperation. Airhart’s empathetic study shows how powerfully the United Church contributed to moving Canada in the direction of humane social development, but then how internal divisions and the growing secularism of Canadian society frustrated the grand nationalistic and spiritual visions with which the church began.

By Phyllis D Airhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Church with the Soul of a Nation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"As Canadian as the maple leaf" is how one observer summed up the United Church of Canada after its founding in 1925. But was this Canadian-made church flawed in its design, as critics have charged? A Church with the Soul of a Nation explores this question by weaving together the history of the United Church with a provocative analysis of religion and cultural change. The story begins in the aftermath of Confederation, when the prospects of building a Christian nation persuaded a group of Congregationalist, Methodist, and Presbyterian leaders to set aside denominational differences and focus instead on shared beliefs.…


Book cover of What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World

Cory Hartman Author Of Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth

From my list on making disciples today the way Jesus did.

Who am I?

Cory Hartman (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) collaboratively crafts practical tools, interactive processes, and breakthrough content for the Future Church Company, three interconnected organizations that exist to help the church embody the movement Jesus founded. I previously served as a pastor for thirteen years and founded Fulcrum Content, a gospel communication training organization.

Cory's book list on making disciples today the way Jesus did

Cory Hartman Why did Cory love this book?

Addison’s book lengthens and broadens Coleman’s Master Plan. While Coleman focuses on Jesus’ selection, training, and sending of his twelve closest disciples, Addison also examines what Jesus did before he named the Twelve, including rich historical background of his ministry context in first-century Palestine. In this way, Addison sheds light on how to engage unreached people who are still far from committing themselves to learn from Jesus.

Addison discerns a recurring six-step pattern in Jesus’ activity, in the early Palestinian church, in Paul’s Mediterranean travels, and in global disciple-making movements today. Importantly, he lays out these steps in a way that contemporary Western Christians unused to Jesus’ method can begin practicing them together.

By Steve Addison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Jesus Started as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year Sometimes we get so caught up in the power of Jesus shouting from the cross, "It is finished!" that we forget that Jesus started something. What Jesus started was a movement that began small, with intimate conversations designed to build disciples into apostles who would go out in the world and seed it with God's kingdom vision. That movement grew rapidly and spread wide as people recognized the truth in it and gave their lives to the power of it. That movement is still happening today, and we are called to play our part…


Book cover of The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity

Paula Gooder Author Of Phoebe: A Story

From my list on opening up the world of the New Testament.

Who am I?

I am a New Testament scholar, with an expertise in Pauline Theology, who has spent my working life trying to make New Testament scholarship more accessible for non-experts. After studying at Oxford University, I taught in two theological colleges before taking a few years to be a freelance writer lecturer. I am a lay theologian and have worked with most dioceses of the Church of England but now am a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral where I oversee Theology, Learning, and Art in the life of the Cathedral. I hope you enjoy reading these books that have had such a big impact on me and my thinking.

Paula's book list on opening up the world of the New Testament

Paula Gooder Why did Paula love this book?

One way of opening up the world of the New Testament is through fictional accounts of life in the period; the other way is by doing a deep dive into some of the academic debates that have explored issues from this period. This is an accessible but fascinating book that explores the life, culture, and background of the New Testament and provides a vast array of interesting nuggets that will enhance your reading of the New Testament. This book opens up our imaginations by providing the information we need to imagine the world for ourselves.

By James S. Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What was life like for first-century Christians? Imagine a modest-sized Roman home of a well-to-do Christian household wedged into a thickly settled quarter of Corinth. In the lingering light of a summer evening, men, women and children, merchants, working poor and slaves, a mix of races and backgrounds have assembled in the dimly lit main room are are spilling into the central courtyard. This odd assortment of gathered believers--some thirty in number--are attentive as the newly arrived and travel-weary emissary from Paul reads from the papyrus scroll he has brought from their apostolic mentor. But if you were to be…


Book cover of Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Lisa McClain Author Of Divided Loyalties? Pushing the Boundaries of Gender and Lay Roles in the Catholic Church, 1534-1829

From my list on how we got so confused about women, gender, and Christianity.

Who am I?

I do what I do for completely self-interested reasons. I am a woman, wife, and mother; a history professor specializing in the Catholic Church and gender; and a Christian (Episcopalian). I used to compartmentalize those roles. I was a Christian at church, a secular scholar at work, etc. It was exhausting. I was frustrated by conflicting messages about gender and faith from my family, profession, and religion. I wanted to be true to all aspects of my identity in all situations, but how? History is full of people who’ve questioned and adapted at the intersections of gender and religion. I learn from their journeys and add another piece of the puzzle.

Lisa's book list on how we got so confused about women, gender, and Christianity

Lisa McClain Why did Lisa love this book?

I don’t always agree with Bart Ehrman, but I do here. Forgeries, heresies, martyrs, even unfamiliar texts featuring women (who was Thecla and why was she hanging around with Paul?) contribute to an engaging read.

Whereas MacCulloch provides the “big picture” of Christian history, Ehrman targets the first centuries of Christianity—those centuries so critical to current debates about gender and lay roles in churches—to help us understand what we don’t understand about holy texts, especially ones that never made it into Christian Bible.

Ehrman takes us into the thought processes of early Church communities to help us see how Christians made decisions that shaped church policies relevant to gendered and lay leadership today.

By Bart D. Ehrman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lost Christianities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.
In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings…


Book cover of Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of its Practices and Beliefs

Vince L. Bantu Author Of Those for Whom the Lamp Shines: The Making of Egyptian Ethnic Identity in Late Antiquity

From my list on Christianity in Africa before colonialism.

Who am I?

I have had a love for the early Church in Africa since I took a trip to Egypt when I was in seminary. Since then, I’ve had a chance to visit all of the countries on the continent with ancient churches. It is my greatest joy to share what I learn with my students and any anyone else who will listen. I research and teach in the area of early African Christianity at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Meachum School of Haymanot. I have published two monographs on this topic and hold a doctoral degree in languages and literatures of Northeastern Africa during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. 

Vince's book list on Christianity in Africa before colonialism

Vince L. Bantu Why did Vince love this book?

This book is the best overall summary of Christianity in North Africa I have ever read. There are so many books that are close to this topic but are usually more specialized, focusing only on Augustine or archaeology.

This book not only surveys the influential theologians from North Africa, Perpetua, Tertullian, and Cyprian, but also illumines the lived worship practices of everyday Christians in what we now call Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria.

I love the well-rounded and comprehensive survey of North African Christianity that this book provides. 

By J. Patout Burns, Robin M. Jensen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christianity in Roman Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In-depth, illustrated exploration of how early North African Christians lived out their faith

Using a combination of literary and archeological evidence, this in-depth, illustrated book documents the development of Christian practices and doctrine in Roman Africa -- contemporary Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco -- from the second century through the Arab conquest in the seventh century.

Robin Jensen and Patout Burns, in collaboration with Graeme W. Clarke, Susan T. Stevens, William Tabbernee, and Maureen A. Tilley, skillfully reconstruct the rituals and practices of Christians in the ancient buildings and spaces where those practices were performed. Numerous site drawings and color…


Book cover of Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Who am I?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

The Christian experience in China is different. More than a century ago, a popular, independent religious movement began to take hold and continues today through “house churches” that operate beyond the control of the central government. Xi Lian, a professor of world Christianity at the Duke Divinity School, explains the political and cultural reasons for this and focuses on the Chinese Christians at the vanguard of the indigenous movement—including my great-uncle Watchman Nee.

By Xi Lian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Redeemed by Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is the first to address the history and future of homegrown, mass Chinese Christianity. Drawing on a large collection of fresh sources--including contemporaneous accounts, diaries, memoirs, archival material, and interviews--Lian Xi traces the transformation of Protestant Christianity in twentieth-century China from a small, beleaguered "missionary" church buffeted by antiforeignism to an indigenous popular religion energized by nationalism and millenarianism. Lian shows that, with a current membership that rivals that of the Chinese Communist Party, and the ability to galvanize China's millions into apocalyptic convulsion and messianic exuberance, the popular Christian movement channels the aspirations and the discontent of…


Book cover of A New History of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Who am I?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

In my journey to understand the historical backdrop for my family saga, I started with this tightly-written, comprehensive book by the late Daniel H. Bays. A former professor at the University of Kansas and Calvin College, Bays was an incredibly generous scholar. When I worked in China for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bays was frequently sought out by me and other reporters who needed to understand the long view of Christianity in China. I put this book in what I call the “readable academic” category. Yes, it’s often used as a college textbook, but it’s a good way to get grounded in China’s unique religious history.

By Daniel H. Bays,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A New History of Christianity in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New History of Christianity in China, written by one of the world's the leading writers on Christianity in China, looks at Christianity's long history in China, its extraordinarily rapid rise in the last half of the twentieth century, and charts its future direction. * Provides the first comprehensive history of Christianity in China, an important, understudied area in both Asian studies and religious history * Traces the transformation of Christianity from an imported, Western religion to a thoroughly Chinese religion * Contextualizes the growth of Christianity in China within national and local politics * Offers a portrait of the…


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