Survey of Church History

CH 505 Survey of Church History

Survey Church History, Vision Colleges, Internet Bible College, It has often been said that those who fail to take note of history are bound to repeat it.  It is a truth no more sure than in the Church as a view of church history demonstrates.  History is much more than a set of lesson from the past.  It is a fascinating jouney into our past that helps us to understand the trials and the victories of those who have travelled before us.  It is a journey of our heritage regardless of our denominational postion or affiliation and a journey that teaches, brings its own blessings and rewards, a jouney, that if taken well, will prepare us for the future.

I. Course Description

Church history is the heart of God and His story and His kingdom work on earth. This course explores the development of the Christian church from Pentecost to the present day. It covers key people and events that God used throughout history to bolster His Church and also those negative influences that infected her. The goal of the course is to use lessons from church history to advance the kingdom of God in life and ministry.

II. Course Objectives

Given active participation, upon completion of this course the student should be able to:

Cognitive Objectives:

Understand significant Christian doctrines in church history and their relationship to contemporary cultural context. Describe the social, cultural, intellectual, and religious environment in which Christianity arose and developed and the mutual influence of the church and world upon each other.

Recognize church history as a discipline which uses methods of historical research, inquiry, and evaluation.

Develop an appreciation for the importance of facts for the understanding, appreciation, and application of church history. Think critically about historical, doctrinal, biblical, and practical aspects of the Christian faith, and their relationships to one another.

Identify the major contribution that Augustine and the Reformers made to the church's theological understanding of salvation, redemption, and grace.

Appreciate church history as a narrative of God's activity in the world, and His activity among His people, the Church.

Performance Objectives:

Evaluate historical source materials in terms of their content, context, and interest, as well as contemporary trends in church doctrine and practice in light of church history.

Express clearly and coherently their knowledge and understanding of the history of the church, and identify significant points of church history and describe the impact of those events on the church today.

Assess their own beliefs and practices in light of church history.

Apply learnings to immediate cultural contexts and present-day situations.

Demonstrate an ability to give thoughtful consideration to current and historical issues in the light of church's Scripture and traditions.

Analyze the salient elements of early Christian worship and make application of that understanding in current worship practices.

Evaluate the implications of "martyr faith" for his/her own life and ministry.

III. Course Texts and Supplemental Resources

Required Textbooks:

Noll, Mark. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1997.

Shelley, Bruce. Church History in Plain Language, rev. ed. Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1995.

NOTE: At the time of the Final Examination, you will be asked to indicate what percentage of the required textbooks you have read.

Optional Textbook:

Dowley, Tim. Introduction to the History of Christianity, rev. ed. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1995.

IV. Course Requirements

Course Lesson Plans:

In general, you are to follow the Course Lessons by listening to the lectures, doing the readings, and responding for your own use to the "Focus" questions and "Develop" exercises. Each lesson is designed to begin (Ready) with an overview that will help you see what is ahead in the lesson and how this lesson fits with the other lessons. When you read the objectives (Aim) for each lesson, keep in mind that these are the points of reference around which you can organize the material in both the reading and the lectures. The objectives are what the lecturer thinks are important. You may find it helpful to write in your own additional objectives for each lesson. Now, (Focus) do the reading and listen to the lectures while focusing on the objectives. Questions are provided to help you do this. Keep in mind that the assigned readings are designed to insure that you read the entire text, so you will often be reading about more than just the subject of the lesson. This will help you put that subject in the correct historical context. Finally, (Develop) be sure you understand and can explain the concepts of the lesson by working through the exercise. The exams will be made up directly from these exercises and focus questions.


Two examinations will be given during the course that will require you to respond to several "Focus" and "Develop" questions (taken from the Course Lessons). For each exam, you will answer four out of six given "Focus" questions (short essay form) and two out of three given "Develop" exercises (long essay form).

Midterm: Covers the lectures and readings from Lesson 1 through Lesson 12.

Final: Covers the lectures and readings from Lesson 13 through Lesson

Research Paper:

You will select a topic in the field of Church History (from Pentecost to the present), research it thoroughly and write a paper on it. The papers should be typed and in correct form, footnoted where appropriate, and approximately 7 10 double-spaced pages in length. In no case should they exceed 12 pages. The paper will be due at the completion of the course.

Click here to download the course outline (PDF)

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