Bruce Guenther, Ph.D.

President of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary Canada;
Associate Professor of Church History and Mennonite Studies;
Email: bruce.guenther@twu.ca



Personal:

Bruce has been married to Lois since 1982; they have three children. For recreation and relaxation Bruce enjoys playing squash, coaching fastpitch softball, riding motorcycle, watching movies and reading.

Education:

  • Ph.D. (2001), McGill University (Canadian religious history)
    Dissertation Title: "Training for Service: The Bible School Movement in Western Canada, 1909-1960”
  • M.C.S. (1989), Regent College (English literature and theology)
    Thesis Title: “An Enigmatic and Contentious Novel: Towards a Thematic Synthesis and Literary Appraisal of Rudy Wiebe’s My Lovely Enemy”
  • B.A. (1982), Providence College (formerly Winnipeg Bible College)
  • Diploma (1980), Millar College of the Bible (formerly Millar Memorial Bible Institute)

Background and Work Experience:

  • In 1999, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary appointed Bruce Guenther as their first faculty member within ACTS Seminaries located on the campus of Trinity Western University (Langley, BC).
  • Bruce has long been active in professional Christian service beginning shortly after his college graduation when he served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) in Saskatchewan (1982-86). The ministry with IVCF nurtured a broader intellectual curiousity, which led to further education at both Regent College (Vancouver) and McGill University (Montreal).
  • Prior to his appointment with MBBS, Bruce taught as a sessional lecturer in numerous schools including Briercrest Seminary, St. Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan, Bethany College and McGill University.
  • In addition to his educational credentials, ministry and teaching experience, Bruce has worked as a camp director, free-lance writer and researcher, farmer, and public school board trustee.
  • Although his initial understanding of the Mennonite story was shaped by his early childhood and adolescent experience as a part of an Old Colony Mennonite family, it was a series of research projects, and his entry into the Mennonite Brethren denomination in 1994 that initiated a keen interest in understanding better the evangelical-Anabaptist theological identity of the denomination.
  • Since 2008 he has also been active in academic administration, most recently as interim president of the newly formed Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary Canada.

Areas of Passion

Bruce considers himself to be a “Canadianist,” that is, someone who is involved in studying Canadian history, culture and religion. His more specific research interests include the Mennonite experience in Canada, evangelical Protestantism in North America, and the history of theological education.

As a professor, he strives for excellence both as a competent scholar within his particular areas of expertise, and as a capable communicator and guide to learning in the classroom. He has a particular aptitude for 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. Especially satisfying are teaching experiences in that help learners come to “see differently” and thereby apprehend a fuller understanding of Christian faith and practice.

As a seminary professor he sees himself as a bridge that conveys helpful insights about the study of religion within the academy to leaders in the church, and that conveys a fuller understanding of Christianity and its adherents to the academy.

As a Christian, he strives to support his role as a seminary professor by living a life characterized by integrity, honesty, joy, holiness, humility and faithfulness in Christian disciplines (worship, prayer and witness).

Selected Publications:

  • “Reflections on Mennonite Brethren Evangelical Anabaptist Identity. ”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.
  • “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.
  • (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.
  • (With Kevin O’Coin) “David Ewert: A Bible Teacher and Scholar for the Church.” Chapter in Leaders Who Shaped Us, ed. Harold Jantz, 231-242. Winnipeg: Kindred Productions, 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.
  • “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.” Presidential Address. Historical Papers: Canadian Society of Church History (2008): 153-174.
  • “Mark Noll, ‘What Happened to Christian Canada?’: A Response from an Anabaptist Perspective.” Church and Faith Trends 2, No. 1 (October 2008).
  • “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.
  • “Rediscovering the Value of History and Tradition.” In Out of the Strange Silence: The Challenge of Being Christian in the 21st Century, ed. Brad Thiessen, 187-202. Winnipeg: Kindred Productions, 2005.
  • “‘I Want to Become a More Efficient Worker for the Lord’: Mennonite Bible Schools in the Central Fraser Valley, 1930-1960.” In First Nations and First Settlers in the Central Fraser Valley: 1890-1960, eds. Harvey Neufeldt, Ruth Derksen Siemens and Robert Martens, 206-228. Kitchener: Pandora Press, 2005.
  • “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.
  • “‘Training for Effective Christian Service’: The Contribution of Covenant Bible Institute in the Life of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Western Canada.” Covenant Quarterly 61, No. 2 (May 2003): 2-26.
  • “‘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.
  • “‘Monuments of God’s Faithfulness’: Mennonite Brethren Bible Schools in Western Canada, 1913-1960.” Direction 30, No. 1 (Spring 2001): 21-32.
  • “Populism, Politics and Christianity in Western Canada.” Historical Papers: Canadian Society of Church History (2000): 93-112.
  • “Living with the Virus: The Enigma of Evangelicalism among Mennonites in Canada.” In Aspects of the Canadian Evangelical Experience, ed. George Rawlyk, 223-240. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1997.
  • “The Convergence of Old Colony Mennonites, Evan¬gelicalism and Contemporary Canadian Culture – A Case Study of Osler Mission Chapel (1974-1994).” Journal of Mennonite Studies 14 (1996): 96-123.
  • “The Origin of the Bible School Movement in Western Canada: An Ethnic Inte#8221; Historical Papers: Canadian Society of Church History (1993): 135-173.