Church History in Plain Language


Many Christians today suffer from historical amnesia. The time between the apostles and their own day is one giant blank. … As a consequence of our ignorance concerning Christian history, we find believers vulnerable to the appeals of the cultists. Some distortion of Christianity is often taken for the real thing.

At the same time other Christians reveal a shocking capacity for spiritual pride, hubris. Without an adequate base for comparisons they spring to the defense of their way as the best way – their party as the superior party. Finally, many Christians engage in some form of ministry without the advantage of a broader context for their labor. When they want to make the best use of their time or their efforts, they have no basis for sound judgment.


The Age of Jesus and the Apostles (6 BC-AD 70)

  • The Jesus Movement
  • The Gospel to the Gentiles

The Age of Catholic Christianity (70-312)

  • Catholic Christianity
  • The Persecution of Christians
  • The Rise of Orthodoxy
  • The Power of Bishops
  • The Alexandrians

The Age of the Christian Roman Empire (312-590)

  • The Conversion of the Empire
  • The Doctrine of the Trinity
  • Christ in the Creeds
  • The Beginnings of Monasticism
  • Augustine
  • The Beginnings of the Papacy
  • Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Mission to the Barbarians

The Christian Middle Ages (590-1517)

  • God’s consul
  • Charlemagne and Christendom
  • The Papacy and the Crusader
  • Scholasticism
  • The Apostolic Life-Style
  • The Decline of the Papacy
  • Wyclif and Hus

The Age of the Reformation (1517-1648)

  • Martin Luther and Protestantism
  • The Anabaptists
  • John Calvin
  • The Church of England
  • The Catholic Reformation
  • America and Asia
  • Puritanism
  • Denominations

The Age of Reason and Revival (1648-1789)

  •  The Cult of Reason
  • Pascal and the Pietists
  • Wesley and Methodism
  • The Great Awakening
  • The Age of Progress
  • Catholicism in the Age of Progress
  • Nineteenth-century England
  • Protestant Missions
  • A Christian America
  • Protestant Liberalism
  • The Social Crisis

The Age of Ideologies (1914-)

  • Twentieth-Century Ideologies
  • American Evangelicals
  • The Ecumenical Movement
  • Roman Catholicism: Vatican II
  • Christianity in the Third World
  • Christianity in America’s Me Generation
  • Christianity on the World Scene
  • Christianity at the Birth of the Third Millennium


Church History in Plain Language is a textbook used in the church history courses offered by Rockbridge Seminary.

Upcoming course schedule for church history courses

  • 2012 Term 3 (May 1-Jun 25) – Church History (DMS program)
  • 2012 Term 5 (Aug 28-Oct 22) – Church History I (MDiv, MML programs)
  • 2012 Term 6 (Oct 23-Dec 17) – Church History II (MDiv, MML programs)
Courses are taught fully online in 8-week terms.


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