Revivalists: Marketing the Gospel in English Canada, 1884-1957

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 296
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The history of religious change has been largely devoted to study of the churches. Revivalists focuses on evangelists, singling out several significant entrepreneurs - Hugh Crossley and John Hunter, active from 1880 to 1910; Oswald J. Smith, who built his independent Toronto church into a popular evangelistic emporium; Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group, who appealed to the upper classes in the 1930s; and Charles Templeton, who enjoyed two careers as a revivalist. Kee shows that by adjusting their methods to the cultural forms of the day, these evangelists contributed to the vitality of Canadian Protestantism.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6009-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    St. Catharines
  4. Illustrations
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    In 1888, a small-town Ontario journalist observed that “a stranger would have been led to ask the question … what is going on to-night in the city. Are Booth and Barrett here?”¹ He was referring to Edwin Booth, billed as “the Hope of the living Drama,” and Lawrence Barrett, celebrated in the United States as “our greatest tragedian,” two of the continent’s biggest theatrical stars. The previous year they had combined their considerable talents to stage several Shakespearean classics, includingJulius Caesar, Othello,andThe Merchant of Venice,and bring culture to the hinterlands.² The celebrity actors created a stir...

  6. 1 A Night at the Theatre: Hugh Crossley, John Hunter, and the Marketing of Late Nineteenth-Century Mainstream Protestant Revivalism
    (pp. 13-52)

    On a Sunday evening in September, 1889, evangelists Hugh Crossley and John Hunter opened their campaign in Kingston, Ontario. Hunter stepped behind the pulpit of Sydenham Street Methodist Church and announced his hope that “Jesus Christ would by some means reach the hearts that were as yet strangers to Him.” During his sermon, Crossley told the audience that “they could not be happy without coming to Christ.” His partner took over again and appealed to the men and women in the audience to make a conversion. As a result, according to a front page article in the KingstonDaily British...

  7. 2 “Anything at all to get a crowd”: Oswald J. Smith and Fundamentalist Revivalism between the Wars
    (pp. 53-95)

    On a Sunday evening in September 1928, evangelist Oswald J. Smith stood on the platform of Toronto’s Massey Hall and announced the establishment of the “Cosmopolitan Tabernacle,” later named the “Peoples Church.” The institution, Smith declared, would be “a permanent evangelistic centre, standing pre-eminently for the conversion of souls, the edification of believers and world-wide evangelism.” Smith launched his new church with a sermon describing the “last days” and the coming of the Messiah, and concluded his message with an altar call. According to a report in the TorontoGlobe,“a large number” responded to the “impassioned evangelical appeal at...

  8. 3 Reflecting “the distinctive character of the age”: Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group in Canada, 1932–1934
    (pp. 96-142)

    In November of 1932 the Oxford Group arrived in Canada’s capital city. Clad in evening dress, ten Group members sat before an expectant audience assembled in the elegant banquet hall of Ottawa’s finest hotel, the Chateau Laurier. One by one they rose, stepped forward, and told of how they had been “changed” as a result of their contact with the Group. They had been transformed after confessing their sins and surrendering their lives to God, and now they wished to see others changed. The movement’s primary purpose and “paramount thought,” a speaker observed, was “complete surrender to the will of...

  9. 4 “In tune with the times”: Charles Templeton and Post-World War II Revivalism
    (pp. 143-187)

    A reporter for the MontrealStandarddescribed the scene: it was seven o’clock on a Saturday evening in the spring of 1946, and Toronto’s Massey Hall was packed. “Outside on the street, hundreds of frantic bobby-soxers pushed and scrambled and pounded on the big wooden doors.” The burly policeman standing nearby shook his head: “No more room inside. Now run along home … I tell you there’s not an empty seat left in the place.” The “bobby-soxers” let him finish, then continued their pounding. “We want in!” they chanted. “We want in!” “What goes on?” the reporter quizzed a blonde...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 188-194)

    On June 25, 1998, more than a century after Crossley and Hunter had held their campaign in Canada’s capital, evangelist Billy Graham stood before a crowd of twenty thousand assembled at Ottawa’s Corel Centre. According to an article in the OttawaCitizen,“Mr. Graham said the ills of our world are explained by the fact that humans have broken God’s laws, and the solution is to turn to Him and ask for forgiveness and divine help in bettering our way of living.” “Don’t leave this place until you make that commitment [to following Jesus],” Graham told the crowd, “because this...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 195-244)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 245-264)
  13. Index
    (pp. 265-269)