The Man Who Built Churches: The Story of BD Stevens, a Parable for Our Time


119 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations
ISBN 0-919001-64-5
DDC 286'1'092





Edited by Edited and illustrated by Peter W. Brock
Reviewed by George A. Rawlyk

George A. Rawlyk is a professor of History at Queen’s University and
the author of Champions of the Truth: Fundamentalism, Modernism, and the
Maritime Baptists.


This is a history of B.D. Stevens (1900–1989), the Nova Scotian
contractor and influential Baptist layman who, among other things,
“built or renovated over 30 churches in Atlantic Canada.” However,
much of this slim volume is built on an uncritical and surprisingly
superficial interview with Stevens, conducted by Peter Brock a few years
before Stevens’s death. Apart from one especially perceptive and
critical assessment of Stevens by his eldest daughter, this book is
largely hagiography.

Stevens, who never wore his religiosity on his sleeve, was a committed
tither in his denomination. He also made remarkable personal sacrifices
in order to build churches: he usually built them at cost and supervised
the work at no cost to the congregation. What really motivated Stevens,
though, is very difficult to ascertain from this volume. This is a pity,
because we certainly need to know a lot more than we do about the
activity of laypersons in Canadian churches.

This book needed a firmer editorial hand. It also would have
significantly benefited from a longer introductory essay placing Stevens
firmly within a biographical and historical context.


“The Man Who Built Churches: The Story of BD Stevens, a Parable for Our Time,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 24, 2024,