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Introduction to church history practice

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Introduction to church history practice

  1. 1. Introduction to Church History Dr. Loyd Allen
  2. 2. What is church history? <ul><li>Church history is an academic discipline that attempts to document past events related to the Christian story, so we can know what really happened and it means. </li></ul><ul><li>This definition highlights three things: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First, past events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second, evidence to recreate those events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third, interpretations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Church history is an ongoing task. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What Is the Content of this Church History Class? <ul><li>From the end of the NT up to the present day. </li></ul><ul><li>In four sections: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Early Church </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medieval </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reformation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modern </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Early church period (c. 100 CE to 500 CE) <ul><li>Two sections: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From the completion of the NT writings to the reign of Constantine (c. 100-300) . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From Constantine to the fall of the Roman Empire, c. 312 to c. 500. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Before Constantine (c. 100 to 500) <ul><li>During this era, Christianity emerged as a religion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>separate from Judaism, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>molded by martyrdom, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rapidly adapting to a Greco-Roman rather than a Hebrew culture. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The church had to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>create new institutional forms, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>love God more than life itself, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>share the gospel with people who didn’t know a messiah from a Caesar (both called “son of God”) or the God of the 10 Commandments from Bacchus the god of wine. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Constantine to the Fall of Rome (c. 312 – c. 500) <ul><li>Golden Age for Christianity when the church </li></ul><ul><ul><li>agreed on the New Testament canon, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>settled on its non-negotiable beliefs (creeds), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>established a clergy hierarchy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also the period during which Christianity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>became entwined with the state; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>divided across political lines with the establishment of separate traditions in Africa, Persia, and India as well as Rome, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>embraced the rich and powerful status quo alongside the counter-cultural vision of the monastic mothers and fathers in the deserts of Egypt and Syria. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Medieval section (c. 500 to 1500) <ul><li>After the fall of Rome the church split into two major streams of tradition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Western, Latin church and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Eastern, Greek church. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Medieval: The Western Church <ul><li>Built a European society based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The papacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Holy Roman Emperor, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monasticism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Latin heritage. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Medieval: The Eastern (Byzantine) Church <ul><li>Centered at Constantinople </li></ul><ul><li>Greek culture based </li></ul><ul><li>Besieged by Islam for nearly a 1,000 years </li></ul><ul><li>Fell to Islamic military force (1400s) after </li></ul><ul><li>Spreading to Russia and Eastern Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Eastern and Western (Orthodox and Roman) churches officially split in 1054 </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Protestant Reformation Section (1500s) <ul><li>European Medieval Roman Catholic Christendom collapsed and splintered into five Christian types: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Roman Catholic Church </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Four original Protestant traditions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Lutheran (Martin Luther) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Reformed (Zwingli and Calvin) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Anglican (King Henry VIII) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Radicals (Anabaptists mostly) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Protestant Marks <ul><li>The Bible alone for authority </li></ul><ul><li>Grace alone as the source of salvation </li></ul><ul><li>Faith alone as the source of justification </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Modern Section (c. 1600-2009) <ul><li>Themes in modern Western Church history </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bewildering diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rise of secular nation states </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dominance of reason and science as standards for truth. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decline of the Christian church public spheres of politics and policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tenacity of the Christian church in secular society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shift from the northern to the southern hemisphere </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Who cares? <ul><li>Three of many reasons church history matters: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First, increase of the breadth and depth of Christian vision </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second, church history provides a vast treasury of resources for living the Christian life today: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spiritual formation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Liturgy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Doctrine </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third, church history as homecoming </li></ul></ul>

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