Church History 1:  From Christ to the Pre-Reformation


Course Description

Church History: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation, taught by Everett Ferguson, offers a unique contextual view of how the Christian church spread and developed. The church did so not in a vacuum, but in a setting of times, cultures, and events that both influenced and were influenced by the church. This course looks closely at the integral link between the history of the world and that of the church.


In particular, it explores the development of the church from the days of Jesus to the years prior to the Reformation. It offers overviews of the Roman, Greek, and Jewish worlds; insights into the church’s relationship to the Roman Empire, with glimpses into pagan attitudes toward Christians; the place of art and architecture, literature and philosophy, in church history; and much more, spanning the time from the first through the thirteenth centuries.

By completing this course, you'll gain:

  • familiarity with the most important figures, controversies, and ideas that defined the church during its first 1,200 years
  • an understanding of key turning points in church history, such as the Roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, the Great Schism between churches of the East and West, and the Crusades
  • insight into the dynamic relationship between broader world history and church history
  • confidence in your growing knowledge through personalized review sessions, including award-winning memory building tools, and unit assessments

Course Instructor

Everett Ferguson

Ph.D., Harvard University


Everett Ferguson is Professor of Church History Emeritus at Abilene Christian University. His numerous academic and scholarly honors include an honorary John Harvard Fellowship (1956–57), a Harvard Graduate School Fellowship (1958–59), a Ph.D. "with distinction" (Harvard, 1960), and selection as the John G. Gammie Senior Lecturer by the Southwest Commission for Religious Studies, 1996–97. He is a member of the Council of the Association internationale d'etudes patristiques and past president of the North American Patristics Society. In 1998, he was presented with a festschrift, The Early Church in Its Context: Essays in Honor of Everett Ferguson, ed. Abraham J. Marlherbe, Frederick W. Norris, and James W. Thompson. Dr. Ferguson has been co-editor (with Elizabeth A. Clark) of the Journal of Early Christian Studies. His other publications include Backgrounds of Early Christianity, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Recent Studies in Early Christianity, The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today, and Church History, vol. 1: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation.

Course Outline

1.   The Setting for the Story’s Beginning; Jesus and
      the Beginnings of the Church

2.  The Subapostolic Age and the Church and the Empire

3.  Heresies and Schisms in the Second Century and The
     Defense against Rival Interpretations

4.  The Fathers of the Old Catholic Church and Their Problems
5.  Church Life in the Second and Third Centuries and
     Development of the Church during the Third Century

6.  Diocletian and Constantine and the Church in the Fourth
     Century

7.  Monasticism, Expansion, Life, and Worship

8.  Christological Controversies to Chalcedon; Augustine,
     Pelagius, and Semipelagianism

9.  MIDTERM EXAM


10.  Transitions to the Middle Ages; Eastern and Western
       Churches in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries

11.   The Eastern Churches from the Seventh to Eleventh
       Centuries

12.  The Western Church from the Seventh to Ninth Centuries

13.  Decline and Renewal of Vitality in the West: The Ninth to
       the Eleventh Centuries

14.  The Papal Reform Movement and the First Crusade;
       Intellectual Revival

15.  Monastic, Literary, Political, and Cultural Activities in the
       Twelfth Century

16.  The Glory of the Western Medieval Church and Portents
       of Decline

17.   FINAL EXAM

Course Textbook

This Course is based on the book Church History Volume One: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation by Everett Ferguson. While taking this course, you will have online access to most of this book's contents. However, if you want off line access or want this book in your personal library as a long-term reference, you may purchase it by clicking on the button to the right which will link you to amazon.ca. 


Clearwater College is a participant in the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.ca. When you purchase from amazon.ca by linking through our website, Clearwater College receives a referral fee not only for this book, but also for any other purchases during your session on Amazon after linking through our site.


Course Details

Church History 1

by Everett Ferguson


15 Units, Self-paced

6 Hours of Video

12 Months of Access to All Online Content

3 Credits toward a Certificate, Diploma or Degree

Support by a Clearwater College Professor


Cost: $510 CAN

Church History 2:  From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day


Course Description

Church history is the story of the greatest community the world has known and the greatest movement in world history. Yet just as the biblical record of the people of God is the story of a mixed people who display great acts of faith and great failures in sin and unfaithfulness, so is the history of the people who have made up the church through the ages similarly mixed.


In Church History: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day, scholars John D. Woodbridge and Frank A. James III recount the ups and downs, the triumphs and struggles, of the Christian movement. They offer a unique contextual view of how the Christian church spread and developed from the period just prior to the Reformation through the next five hundred-plus years. This course also looks closely at the integral link between the history of the world and that of the church, detailing the times, cultures, and events that both influenced and were influenced by the church.


Primary attention is given to the history of Christianity in the West, but the course also covers developments in Africa, eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

By completing this course, you'll gain:

  • familiarity with the most important figures and ideas that shaped the church from just before the Reformation until modern times
  • an understanding of key turning points in church history
  • insight into the dynamic relationship between broader world history and church history
  • confidence in your growing knowledge through personalized review sessions, including award-winning memory building tools, and unit assessments

Course Instructors

Frank A. James III

Ph.D., Oxford; Ph.D., Westminster Theological Seminary


Frank A. James III is the president of Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of numerous works on the Reformation and has been a consultant and script writer for a historical documentary film series.


John Woodbridge

Ph.D., University of Toulouse, France


John Woodbridge is research professor of Church History and History of Christian Thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he has taught since 1970. He was previously a senior editor of Christianity Today and is the author of Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal and coauthor of Letters Along the Way. He is the editor of Great Leaders of the Christian Church and coeditor of works including The Mark of Jesus. Woodbridge is the recipient of four Gold Medallion Awards.

Course Outline

1.   European Christianity and Renaissance

2.  Luther’s Reformation

3.  Swiss Reformations, Radicals, and Rome

4.  Reformations in England and Refining the Reformation

5.  Christianity in an Age of Fear, Crisis, and Exploration; the
     Question of Authority

6.  Christianity Under Duress

7.   Christianity in the Age of Lights

8.  Christianity in an Age of Revolutions

9.   MIDTERM EXAM


10.  Adjusting to Modernization and Secularism

11.   Nineteenth-Century Christianity in the British Isles

12.  Christian Churches on the European Continent

13.  Global Christianity

14.  Modern Theological Trajectories

15.  Catholicism and Orthodoxy

16.  Contemporary American Evangelicalism; Christianity
       and Islam

17.   FINAL EXAM

Course Textbook

This Course is based on the book Church History Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day by Frank A. James III and John Woodbridge. While taking this course, you will have online access to most of this book's contents. However, if you want off line access or want this book in your personal library as a long-term reference, you may purchase it by clicking on the button to the right which will link you to amazon.ca. 


Clearwater College is a participant in the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.ca. When you purchase from amazon.ca by linking through our website, Clearwater College receives a referral fee not only for this book, but also for any other purchases during your session on Amazon after linking through our site.


Course Details

Church History 2

by Frank A. James III and John Woodbridge


15 Units, Self-paced

9 Hours of Video

12 Months of Access to All Online Content

3 Credits toward a Certificate, Diploma or Degree

Support by a Clearwater College Professor


Cost: $510 CAN