Why study Church History?
Winston Churchill said, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” The saying applies to politics as well as to the Church. The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
No one book or course entitled “Church History” could adequately cover all the major people, eras or events of the Christian Story. With that in mind, The Church History Seminar is designed to give the student a broad picture of our Story in the hope that a greater love and appreciation for the Church be cultivated. It is also an intention of this course that the student obtain a better picture of what our Lord has been doing and continues to do through His Church through the ages in order that we might catch a better glimpse of our place in the Story.
Three weeks of lecture will cover important persons, events and decision from the first century to the present. Week one covers the Patristic Era, week two covers the Middle Ages and week three covers the Reformation to the present. At the completion of this course the student should be able to: 1. Outline and explain the major figures that influenced the various eras of Church history 2. Outline and explain the important theological decisions made by the Church 3. Outline and explain the strengths and weaknesses of the Church as she has tried to fulfill the Great Commission 4. Outline and explain how the Church in previous eras has impacted the present-day Church
Classes will be held Monday through Thursday for each of the three weeks of instruction. Material from the Required Readings will be covered.
Shelley, Bruce L. Church History in Plain Language. Family Christian Press, 1982.
Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volumes 1 and 2. Harper & Row, 1984.
Each week the student will be required to write two 2-3 page, single-sided, double-spaced (10-12 pt.) Summary Papers, one for each required textbook. The summaries should demonstrate that the student understands:
1. The major topics or thoughts covered
2. The conclusion that Shelley or Gonzalez has reached to regarding these topics
**Also included should be at least a paragraph on what impacted you the most from the readings.
Each study pair, or groups of pairs, will debate another study pair, or groups of pairs, on a topic covered during the three previous weeks. For the final class the debate teams be will divided into two teams for a public debate on a topic covered during the previous weeks, followed by a question and answer time.
By the final day of the semester each student will submit one 8-10 page, single-sided, double-spaced (10-12 pt.) research paper. The paper should discuss an historic figure, event, era, controversy, decision or movement from Church history. The paper should build on the research, presentations and debates already made in class. The paper should include:
1. A thesis
2. An introduction explaining what the paper will discuss and how it will discuss it
3. A well thought out and articulated body
A concise summary and closing with points of application for the reader
5. A Bibliography