The Cross and Our Calling

The History, Challenges and Opportunities of Redeemer University


  • David Zietsma Redeemer University Author
  • Nicole Benbow Redeemer University Author



university, education, post-secondary, Reformed, Christian, identity


Redeemer University is a Canadian Christian university located in Ancaster, Ontario. Founded in 1983 in the Reformed Christian tradition, Redeemer’s mission is to prepare students to join Christ in his redemptive work through their careers and callings, while also fostering faculty research and scholarship in every discipline from a Christian perspective. Over the past forty years, Redeemer has evolved from a small college with limited degree granting authority to a full university offering a variety of programs including a B.A., B.Sc., B.Ed., B.B.A., B.Kin., and B. Comms. Redeemer currently faces challenges stemming from a post-Christian Canadian culture and the impact it has had on widespread individual belief in the psychological self as the ultimate source for personal identity and 
understanding. The changing higher education marketplace also contains a proliferation of degree granting institutions, and students are increasingly seeking clear and direct pathways to careers, making institutions like Redeemer with traditional degree nomenclature to appear less relevant and desirable. However, some of these challenges also present opportunities. Post-Christian culture also means that more Christians desire a unique, faith-based higher education institution, as it becomes more difficult to express faith in public spaces.

Author Biographies

  • David Zietsma, Redeemer University

    David Zietsma is Associate Professor of History and President at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario. His research interests include United States history, foreign relations and religion, film and American culture, and international relations.

  • Nicole Benbow, Redeemer University

    Nicole Benbow is an Adjunct Lecturer in History and Academic Program Manager at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario. Her research interests include the history of religion, medicine and the environment in Canada, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Benbow is the inaugural manager of Redeemer’s on-campus Makerspace, and also serves as a researcher and writer for projects related to institutional history and memory.


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How to Cite

Zietsma, D. ., & Benbow, N. (2023). The Cross and Our Calling: The History, Challenges and Opportunities of Redeemer University. Religious Studies and Theology, 49–66.