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Fall 2012/Fuller NW

Fall 2012/FNW


B. Burton

CH500: EARLY CHURCH HISTORY (4 units). Bryan Burton                     


DESCRIPTION: Early Church History is a survey of the dynamic period in the life of the Church from 100 to 590 C.E. We explore how the Church dealt with doctrinal and philosophical issues that are of ongoing significance and importance. The key personalities and the major events that helped shape the Church are carefully examined. The course establishes these developments, people, and events as the spiritual heritage of all Christians. 


SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: Christianity is a uniquely historical faith rooted and grounded in history. To minister effectively in any age requires a thorough knowledge of the past. This course will provide the student with a historical context for ministry, and will be especially helpful for teaching and preaching.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students successfully completing this course, will have (1) a basic grasp of how the Church developed in the first five centuries; (2) a working knowledge of the people, doctrinal issues and the historical context of the early Church period; (3) practical insights in applying the lessons and events of the early Church history in preaching, teaching, and resolving current doctrinal disputes; (4) a foundation for a continuing study of Church history; (5) skills in researching the original sources; and (6) a deeper appreciation of the breadth, unity, and diversity of the Church.


COURSE FORMAT: The class will meet on Thursday evenings for three hours for lectures and discussion.



Š       Bettenson, Henry, ed. Documents of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press, 1970. 105pp. ISBN: 0192880713. (3rd edition) $29.95.

Š       Feldmeth, Nathan P. Pocket Dictionary of Church History. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780830827039. $8.00 (Reference not to be journaled)

Š       González, Justo. The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1. The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. HarperCollins (HarperOne), 2010. pp. xiii-262. ISBN-13: 978-0061855887. $25.99.

Š       Hall, Christopher. Learning Theology with the Early Church Fathers. (IVP) 2002. 308pp. ISBN-10: 0830826866 . $18.00.

Š       Hill, Jonathan, Christianity. How a Tiny Sect from a Despised Religion Came to Dominate the Roman Empire. (Fortress Press, 2011). 250pp. ISBN: 978-0-8006-9777-8. $19.95

Š       Oden, Amy, ed. In Her Words: Women’s Writings in the History of Christian Thought. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1994. pp.11-83. ISBN-13: 978-0687459728. $30.00  

Š       Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. Yale University, 2003. (ISBN 978-0300097085) (300 pp.) 285 pp. $19.00



Š       Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Doctrines. 3rd ed. Harper & Row, 2000. ISBN: 0826452523. $39.80.

Š       Livingstone, E. A., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN: 0192802909. $150.

Š       Noll, Mark. Turning Points:Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. 3rd ed. Baker, 2012. ISBN-10: 0801039967. $22.99

Š       Placher, William, Readings in the History of Christian Theology, Volume 1: From Its Beginnings to the Eve of the Reformation (Readings in the History of Christian Theology Vol. I). WJKP. 1988. ISBN-10: 0664240577. 142pp. $25.00



1.     A 15 page thesis driven research paper based on primary sources (40%)

2.     A Reading Journal of Required Texts for Course (20%)

3.     A Research/Reflection Paper on one of the Significant “Turning Points” in Early Church History (20%)

4.     Final exam-Take Home (20%)



RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Meets MDiv core requirement in Church History (CHA).