Church History

Fall 2019 (September 15 - December 7th)

This course provides a basic overview of the history of Christianity and historical theology from the post-apostolic period into the twentieth century. Attention will be given to the origins and developments of various expressions of the doctrines and practices of the historical church. Focus will be limited to the development of “Western” Christianity.

Learning Outcomes/Course Goals

Completion of this course should result in (1) a conversant understanding of the major people, places, movements, vocabulary, and theological themes of Church history, (2) the appropriation of spiritual insights and resources from history for personal growth and ministry, (3) an appreciation for the origins and development of expressions of the Church, and (4) a researched engagement with a specific person of interest from Church history.

Course Format

Weekly online video instruction coordinated with textbook reading and online forum reflections/discussions. Workload: approximately five to seven hours per week.

Required Reading

Shelley, Bruce. Church History in Plain Language. Grand Rapids, MI: Thomas Nelson, 2006. 


Highly Recommended Resource

Livingstone, E. A., ed. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.


Recommended Reading/Resources

Bradley, James E., and Richard A Muller. Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995. [advanced resource]
Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of Christianity, vols. 1 and 2. New York: Harper & Rowe Publishers, 1975.
Shellley, Bruce L. Church History in Plain Language, 4th ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library – (contains many historical writings of the early church translated into English)



(“Satisfactory” evaluation required for completion of the course)
1.    Weekly online posts and participation in online forum related to video instruction, class notes, and textbook reading
2.    Final essay (3–5 pages) that demonstrates the integration of course content with a contextual personal or ministry issue of biblical interpretation
3.    Participation in video-conference calls