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Graduate Program Course Study Guide
Church History CH-501
Professor: Dennis D. Frey, Th.D.

Three (3) Credits


  • Pray for God’s guidance before you begin this course, and each time you work on it.

  • Become totally familiar with the Master's Online Digital Library, and make ample use of its resources throughout this course. The address is: You will need your student ID# and password (contact Master's if you have forgotten these).

  • Follow the instructions in either your Student Start Pack (offline students) or your Student Access Page (online students) related to course formatting and submission.

  • Your Master's Student Portal is also a place to get information on most subjects related to completing this course. The address is:

  • We strongly recommend that you use word processing software and make frequent use of the spell checker/grammar suggestion aspects, and back up your files!

  • If you need to contact the professor for this course (or the academic office), we recommend that you do so first by email. Unless you already know the address of the professor, you may either refer to your Student Portal, or request contact by writing to

  • The total length of time required to complete this course is different for each person, with subject background, previous education, and personal situation all having a major role in personal study habits and ability. However, on average each course credit usually requires between 35-40 clock hours of study. Therefore, a two credit course will require about 85-90 hours of work, likewise a three credit course between 130-140 hours. Since you are not restricted by classroom hours, the average student might expect to complete a three credit course in about nine weeks by devoting four study hours per day only four days per week (i.e. two hours morning and evening).

  • When you have completed your course, send it to Master's for grading (do not send it directly to your course professor). From the time you submit your course, until it is returned to you (graded) will vary, but generally courses sent by postal mail will require as much as two weeks in transit (to and from), and another two weeks to get through the recording and grading process. Email submissions generally require about two weeks. These are averages, and your course may take slightly more or less time. While you are waiting, make good use of your time by beginning your next course, but if this is your final course, then enjoy the rest…you have earned it!

  • May God bless you as you study, as you follow the timeless encouragement given by the Apostle Paul to Timothy as recorded in II Timothy 2:15.


Course Purpose:

To present and expose the student to an advanced survey of Church History from the time of the Resurrection to the Present Age; to enable the student to recognize and identify important Political and Church Leaders who had a major impact on the development and life of the Church; to recognize and be able to state wide-sweeping trends in Europe which influenced the Church; to indicate how the Church influenced Europeans; to trace the overall growth and development of the Church from 33 A.D. onward; to identify the individuals and events that led to the Reformation, particularly in Germany, Switzerland, England, and the United States.

Course Objectives:

1. To introduce the student to the growth and evolution of the Church from the end of the Apostolic Age to the Present Age, thereby enabling the student to recognize and interpret how this often meant its policies and ministries separated and distanced itself from the work of Jesus Christ.

2. To enable the student to examine and summarize both the successes and failings of the Church in evangelism, ministry, and church-state relations.
3. To encourage the student to trace how the Church became "big business" and a political power as it broke across Europe from the collapse of the Roman Empire onwards, identifying the major issues and persons that necessitated the Reformation, then beyond to the period of the Great Awakening. The student will also achieve a greater understanding of the major issues, people and movements which shaped the Christian world, in particular, the American Christian experience.

REQUIRED PRINTED MATERIALS: (Purchased from Master's by the student)
The Story of Christianity, Volume One, by Justo Gonzalez, ISBN 0-060063315-8, Harper, 1984.
The Story of Christianity VOL 2 The Reformation to the Present Day, Gonzalez, Justo L., Published by Harpers San Francisco, ISBN 0-06-06331-6 (pbk.), 1985.
From Tyndale to Madison: How the Death of and English Martyr Lead to the American Bill of Rights, Michael Farris, Published by B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, ISBN: 978-0-8054-2611-3, 2007.

This Study Guide contains questions and written assignments that are related to the materials. These are referred to as Course Projects.

Part One: Read The Story of Christianity, Volumes I and II, and write a one-paragraph affirmation that you have read these two textbooks. Put your signature on this document.
Part Two: Assume that you are asked to write a Book Review of the textbooks for a magazine. Write your review, as both a synopsis and a critique of the content. Use not more than 750 words for each of the two volumes (two book reviews, not one).
Part Three: Read From Tyndale to Madison: How the Death of and English Martyr Lead to the American Bill of Rights, and write a one-paragraph affirmation that you have read this textbook. Put your signature on this document.
Part Four: Write a paper in which you express how reading From Tyndale to Madison: How the Death of and English Martyr Lead to the American Bill of Rights informed and reshaped your thinking concerning the religious persecution and tolerance in England and the American Colonies. Use not less than 500 words (about four to six pages), and not more than 750 words (about seven to ten pages).

1. Read the questions to be answered for each Volume (the Questions are printed at the end of this Study Guide).

2. HELPFUL TIP: Using the index at the end of the textbooks, locate by keyword the section that deals with the question.

3. Answer the assigned questions related to each Volume. SPECIAL NOTE: In some cases, you may find that the text does not provide you with enough information to adequately answer the question. In such cases, you are to refer to outside sources. Be certain to document all sources. SOURCE RECOMMENDATION: Go to the Master’s Online Digital Library (, from “Study Resources” select “History.”
Layout your answer page for the each of the questions as follows:
Volume #_______

Question #1: (Print question here.)

Answer here. Be very thorough.

Question #2: (Print question here.)

Answer here. Be very thorough.
And so forth.

Part One: Select one of the church periods (e.g., Early Church Years, The Beginnings of Colonial Christianity), and write a paper explaining your view on how that period of church history has influenced the Church in our own age. Be sure to use an acceptable writing style (APA, MLA, Chicago), and properly document any outside sources. Use not less than 1,000 words (four to five pages).

Part Two: Volume II of the textbook is divided into four (4) parts. Select an element from one Part, (For Example: Part II Sub Part 17 The Puritan Revolution), and write a paper of about 1,000 words on how this event helped to shape the American Christian Church in the present. Be sure to use an acceptable writing style (APA, MLA, Chicago), and properly document any outside sources.

This is the final project, and must be completed only after you have finished all of the Projects. Write an assessment summary of the entire course. Include in this summary how this course has impacted your understanding of the history of the Christian Church; has helped you in your ministry to others; and how this understanding has changed the way you think and react in matters related to the subject of the course. Use not less than 750 words.


Questions Related to Volume I

1. Why did the Christians find making a sacrifice to the statue of the Roman Emperor objectionable and inconsistent with their faith? State some of their objections, identifying specific reasons.

2. Who was Constantine, and why is he important to the life and growth of the Church? Indicate some of the important events in his life, and identify the conditions which led to his embrace of Christianity as the official or state religion of his government.
3. The Church was often torn apart by various heresies, such as Arianism, Docetism, Pelagianism, and others. Select one of the heresies, define its beliefs, and indicate its fallacies.
4. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire the Church began exploring new areas of work. Identify some of these areas, and state whether or not you believe some/all/none of these areas were appropriate.
5. Prepare a brief summary of the growth of the Islamic faith, indicating important people, dates and events, as you compare and contrast its theology to that of Christianity. Formulate your own reasons why Islam became so popular in the Middle East, and explain its perceived threat to Christianity.
6. Research the life work and ministry of Francis of Assisi, summarize his impact on the life of the Church.

7. Define the nature of Indulgences, explaining from the Church's perspective why this practice was acceptable. Analyze the Church's motives for this scheme, as well as its impact on lay members.

8. Analyze some of the reasons why Martin Luther's attempts at church reform were successful, including his theology, social conditions, and the new technology. NOTE: Most of the content for this question will be found in Volume II. However, it is recommended that you begin with the (brief though very important), information found near the end of Volume I.
9. Summarize the theology of the Pelagian heresy, and from it, infer why it was so popular among some Christians.
10. Evaluate the impact of the Roman departure from Britannia, and the invasion of the Saxons.
11. Estimate the importance of Christian missionaries to the Viking and Danish invaders.
12. Identify Thomas Becket, and explain the significance of his life, and manner of death.
13. List and explain the three great challenges facing the English Church during the reigns of Edward I and his court.
14. Analyze why Pope Clement V turned against the Knights Templar.
15. Describe John Wycliffe, discussing some of the important aspects of his life's work and ministry.

Questions Related to Volume II

1. Critique Luther's role, or lack of it, in the Peasant's Revolt of the 1520's. From your own perspective, evaluate whether he was right or wrong to do what he did.

2. Trace the people and events which led up to the Peasant's War.
3. Identify the important innovation of Zwingli's preaching, and determine its impact on his congregation.
4. Generalize the doctrine and practices of the Anabaptists. Compare and contrast their beliefs with Lutherans and Roman Catholics.
5. Identify the following church leaders, and write a one-paragraph biography for each: John Calvin, Meno Simmons, Jacob Hutter.
6. Give brief accounts of how King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and James I effected English Christianity.
7. Write on King Henry VIII. Specifically, identify his relationship with the Church of Rome, and explain his reasons why he was initially opposed to Protestantism.
8. Summarize some of the major differences between the Church of Rome and the Church of England, paying special attention to the differences in power and authority.
9. Explain the importance of John Winthrop to early colonial Puritans.

10. Discuss the three functions which the Reformed tradition attributed to the Moral Law and why Roger Williams disapproved of the third application of this Law.

11. Name the colony founded by Roger Williams and explain how this colony made him the father of religious liberty.
12. Identify the two major Black Baptist movements in the United States.
13. List the four reasons for the diversity among Baptists in the United States.
14. Name the sources of American Presbyterian doctrine and polity.
15. Explain how Princeton Seminary scholars confronted Modernism’s three challenges to orthodox Christianity.
16. Describe the early history, up to Aldersgate Chapel, of the Wesley brothers.
17. Name the four post-Civil War challenges which confronted the Methodist Church.
18. Explain the significance of Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Sola Scriptura in the Lutheran tradition.
19. Cite the two reasons Lutheranism had a slow start in colonial America.
20. Discuss the two reasons Congregationalism sponsored public education in colonial America.
21. Determine the role of Congregational involvement in the American foreign missions movement.
22. Develop a brief theme on Catholicism in colonial America.
23. Explain the effect of America’s War of Independence on the Anglican Church in colonial America.
24. Cite four reasons why the Holiness movement evolved into a denomination.

25. Write a paragraph on how the Holiness movement made possible Pentecostalism.

This completes the Projects for this course.

Church History CH-501

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