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

7.  Monasticism, Expansion, Life, and Worship

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


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

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


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 offline 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

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