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Professor of Church History and Mennonite Studies
Widely recognized as a Canadianist, much of Bruce’s expertise has to do with aspects of Canadian religious history, and understanding the interrelations between Christianity and cultures. The combination of his teaching experience in a variety of schools (both public universities and faith-based institutions) across Canada, research and scholarship, and extensive leadership experience within academic institutions, and other denominational and community organizations, provide a rich source of insight and understanding. Bruce enjoys playing squash, riding motorcycle, watching movies and reading. He and his wife Lois have three adult children, and one grandchild.
How does the Bible inform your life and teaching?
One finds within the Christian scriptures an overarching narrative regarding the purposes of God for creation and humanity. They serve also as an invaluable witness to the incarnated revelation of God found within Jesus Christ, and to the beginnings of the church. The history of Christianity is an extension of this story.
Why do you value a theological education?
In addition to providing an opportunity for helping people understand more fully their theological convictions about God and humanity thereby handing down the faith from generation to generation, it challenges people to consider how they might best go about engaging, and serving within, their cultural context as thoughtful and prayerful Christians.
What are some of the diverse voices you incorporate into your teaching?
In my teaching students can expect to hear an emphasis on the good news of Jesus Christ as being for all people, and thus look for ways to expect and celebrate the diversity of cultural expressions of faith within the global church. Each of these expressions serve as examples of contextualization that need to be assessed by how well they go about making disciples and contribute constructively to the formation of communities and cultures characterized by God’s shalom.
What do you hope your students get out of your classes?
My goal is to help students understand the past in ways that will help them serve God better in the present. Towards this end I try to help students think critically about their faith experience without becoming cynical, historicize their church tradition without discrediting it, and recognize the symbiotic relationships between cultural forces, human actions, and the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church.
Why are you at ACTS Seminaries?
I love the way it models ecumenical collaboration. It is a place for using my gifts and expertise in service of the church. I particularly enjoy working with adults, and to teach and research in the areas of my specialization.
PhD (Canadian Religious History) - McGill University
MCS (English Literature and Theology) - Regent College
BA - Providence College
Christianity in Canada
Christian Higher Education in Canada
History of Evangelical Protestantism
Mennonite History and Theology
Christianity and Culture
“The Changing Landscape of Denominational Christianity in Canada, 1980-2020.” Historical Papers: Canadian Society of Church History (2020): 51-69.
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.
“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.
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
The Cultural Character of the Evangelical Tradition
Research Writing and the Ministry of Scholarship
Canadian Society of Church History
Canadian American Theological Association