Is Jesus Your Personal Saviour? In Search of Canadian Evangelicalism in the 1990s,by George A. Rawlyk (McGill-Queen's University Press, 239 pp.; $19.95, paper). Reviewed by Preston Jones, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Ottawa (Canada).
Judging this book by its cover, one might conclude that there are no evangelicals to be found in Canada these days. For the spirit-filled congregation pictured there, clad in garments from some inscrutably remote epoch—probably the early 1970s—is clearly not of this decade. Just a blooper, one might think: amusing but insignificant. But this peculiar incongruity betwixt cover and title is in fact a portent.
This is not to say that the book under review, the last one that Rawlyk penned before his untimely death in the fall of 1995 (an edited work is forthcoming), is without value. Of particular interest are the tables, graphs, and accompanying commentary on the results of surveys of Canadian religious belief conducted in 1993 and 1994.
The primary survey discussed here was commissioned by Rawlyk and conducted as part of the monthly national Angus Reid Poll in 1993. Between January and April of that year, 6,014 Canadians were asked to strongly/moderately agree or strongly/moderately disagree with statements such as "My religious faith is very important to me in my day-to-day life," and "God the Father is very important in my life." In chapter 3 ("A Nation of Believers?") we read that 60 percent of Canadians believe that God looks out for them "personally"; two-thirds think religion is important in their daily lives; 50 percent believe Jesus was the divine Son of God; and so on. Based on responses to questions concerned with opinion on the Bible, eternal salvation, ...1