CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Haiven, Judith.

Vancouver, New Star Books, c1984. 221pp, paper, ISBN 0-919573-32-01 (cloth) $14.95, 0-919573-33-9 (paper) $7.95. CIP

Reviewed by Alma Webster

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

Aware of the resurgence in evangelicalism in the United States and intrigued by the television preachers, the author began to devote a great deal of time to the born-again-rnovement. She has chronicled her research in two vignettes providing an introduction to the leading personalities, rallies, television programs, youth camps, publishing, and political activities, all with a remarkable honesty and charity that will help outsiders to understand the world of contemporary fundamentalism.

Each chapter describes a unique aspect of the world of born-again Christianity. The first deals with the Washington for Jesus Rally held in April 1980, for which the 100 Huntley Street Program in Toronto hired a bus to enable sixty Canadians to participate. Although billed as a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer for all Christian Americans, representatives of twenty religious groups, including the National Council of Churches, issued a statement charging that the gathering was political.

In the interviews with Jerry Falwell, Charles W. Colson (the former hatchet man for President Nixon), David Mainsie of 100 Huntley Street, Ben Kinchlow of the 700 Club in United States, and Ken Campbell of Milton, Ontario, much is shown about fund raising, political involvement, and rigid adherence to dogma.

The author describes her experiences at a home fellowship meeting, at a Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship Ontario convention, and the Alberta Physicians for Life banquet. Following an interview with a young woman defector from a Teen Ranch, Haiven discovered an active program for the recruitment of young people through school programs. It was startling to learn of the outstanding success of evangelical publishing with books on family problems, self awareness, self-help, prophecy, and individual testimony. She found the Christian Booksellers' Association in Canada very impressive, though the main line churches generally feel none too welcome there. Her visit to a Christian School in Edmonton describes a philosophy methodology, and materials surprisingly different to that of the publicly supported schools.

The book is well organized and written in a journalistic style; interviews interspersed with narrative that makes for easy reading. The chapter headings, for example, "For He's a Jolly Good Felon," "God Bless America," and "Snapped for the Lord," are mostly catchy and interesting. In addition to the twelve chapters, the book contains a five-page foreword by Charles Templeton, a lengthy introduction, and a bibliography of eleven titles divided between pro and con references.

In her introduction, the author indicates that she is Jewish and "classed as a secular humanist." She discovered a common thread that runs through each chapter and unites all the born-agains; "a type of intolerance. Anyone who is not born again, or a potential convert is ignored at best and denounced at worst." Yet, in most cases, her reporting seems extremely fair and factual, leaving readers to form their own opinion.

Judith Haiven is a Canadian freelance writer and investigative journalist whose work has appeared in a number of Canadian periodicals. Several chapters have appeared in part or in whole in a number of general, church, and professional journals. At present she is the editor of Alberta's Heritage magazine. This book deserves a wide circulation among thoughtful and responsible readers.

Alma Webster, Edmonton, Alta.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works