History of Christianity I – CHHI 520

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

A study of the first fifteen centuries of historical Christianity. Includes the rise of the church under persecution, orthodoxy vs. heresy, doctrinal developments, the rise of the Roman Papacy and opposition to it during the Middle Ages, and the events leading up to the Protestant Reformation.




This course is aimed at helping modern Christians and those in ministry appreciate the story of Christianity from the first century to the eve of the Protestant Reformation. Students are invited to identify with and learn from those who were persecuted for their faith, those who helped articulate Christian theology in the face of heretical threats, and those who sought to live out the faith and lead the church during uncertain times.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain key issues in light of the social, historical, and political contexts in which the church grew and expanded in the first fifteen centuries.
  2. Identify the key theological developments (both orthodox and heretical) and movements within the church in the first fifteen centuries.
  3. Identify the key personalities who led the church and contributed to its theological development in the first fifteen centuries.
  4. Relate the key elements of Christian orthodoxy and practice developed in history to contemporary challenges within the church.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings, online readings, lecture presentations, online articles, and websites

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student must first read assigned portions of the Ferguson book and other online sources for each forum. Then, he/she must thoroughly answer questions on these sources in a thread of 400–500 words that demonstrates a grasp of the content and stands up to scrutiny from others. Also, the student must reply to at least 2 classmates’ threads in 100–200 words each.

The student will write a 3,000–3,500-word (about 12–14 pages) research paper on an approved topic specified in Blackboard. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

  1. Topic and Research

The student will submit his/her topic, a thesis statement, an initial bibliography of at least 6 scholarly sources in current Turabian format to be used in his/her paper, and an answer to a question relating to research.

  1. Submission

The student will submit his/her completed research paper in current Turabian format.

Discipleship Reflection Paper

After reading Smither, Augustine as Mentor, the student will write a reflection paper of at least 1,000 words (about 4 pages) on lessons in discipleship and spiritual formation from the early church. The first half of the paper will summarize key aspects of early Christian discipleship, while the second half will reflect on relevant principles for discipleship and spiritual formation today. The reflection paper must adhere to current Turabian format. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

Reading Quizzes (4)

The student will take quizzes covering the Ferguson chapters assigned in the 2 most recent modules/weeks. The purpose of these quizzes is twofold: (1) to test the student on precise recall of basic facts from the chapters, and (2) to serve as a means of keeping the student accountable for reading the chapters. Each quiz has 25 multiple-choice and true/false questions, is open-book/open-notes, and must be completed in 1 hour. (MLO: B, C)