Church History: Wisdom for Mission Today

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Online with the Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership: January 18 – March 8, 2021
Videoconferences: This course does not include videoconferences.

This course will explore the history of Christianity by focusing on snapshots of it in different times and places, by attending to its diversity over time, by encountering contrasting historical figures in its history, by asking what “salvation” meant and what “mission” consisted of in each of these times and places, and by pondering how  these historical forms of Christianity may inform our faith and praxis today.

Over the seven weeks we will get to know the early Jesus movement, Constantine’s imperial church, missionaries among Germanic “barbarians,” the culture-dominating Christianity of the Middle Ages with its mysticism and monasticism, the marriage of church and state in Henrician and Elizabethan England, the political tensions within Christianity during industrialization, the hot and cold wars from 1800 to today, and whether this history is our “heritage” or just so much “baggage.”

This course is suitable as an introduction or a refresher from a distinct line of questioning.  In addition to the basic coursework’s reading, reflecting and writing, a discussion program for local formation groups will be available, as well as suggestions for further personal reading, on-line viewing and travel.


Instructor: Bradley Peterson, D. Phil

Required readings:

Justo L. González.  Church History: An Essential Guide. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.

David Chidester.  Christianity: A Global History. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000.

David Hein and Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr.  The Episcopalians. Westport, CT:  Praeger Publishers, 2004.