In this three-course bundle, you will be introduced to the remarkable people, events, and ideas that shaped the church and world over the last two thousand years, with particular attention to the dramatic changes that took place during the Reformation five hundred years ago. Dr. Frank A. James provides a panorama view of church history, from the early church to the present, over two courses. In CH101 Introducing Church History I: Obscurity to Christendom, he examines the church’s inception and surveys its progress through the Middle Ages, highlighting themes such as persecution, controversy, and reform. In CH102 Introducing Church History II: Reformation to Postmodernism James reviews the Reformation and Counter-Reformation and then considers various movements of the church through the modern period, including the Great Awakening and the advancement of Liberation, Black, and feminist theologies. Zooming in one of the most turbulent eras for the church, Dr. Jennifer Powell McNutt, in CH221 Milestones of the Protestant Reformation, focuses on the complexities of the Reformation, demonstrating that the heart and intention of the Reformation was restoration, not division.
Beginning with the aftermath of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, CH101 covers the story of Christianity up to the 15th century. Dr. James unravels the distinct thought and persecution of the early Christians, as well as the key historical turning points that would result in the formation of doctrines such as the doctrine of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity. This course introduces you to the important work of Augustine, who responded to the Donatists and Pelagius in a way that would have lasting marks on the church. Dr. James traces the historical context of the rise of the papacy; the violence of the first Crusades and their lingering effects; and the rise of medieval scholasticism, particularly in the work of Thomas Aquinas. This course concludes with an explanation of the Great Schism of the 14th century and the early reform attempts by John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, which paved the way for the Protestant Reformation.
If you’ve ever wished you knew more about the events of the Protestant Reformation and how the Reformation produced the contemporary Protestant church, CH102 is for you. This course dispels popular misconceptions of Martin Luther’s intentions, and it provides a close look at Luther’s call from God which led him out of the monastery, his teaching on sola fide, and his eventual excommunication. Dr. James teaches you how to distinguish between Luther, the Swiss Reformers (including John Calvin, the “accidental reformer”), and the so-called Radical Reformers. He also provides a helpful explanation of the Council of Trent, the formation of the Jesuits, and the Catholic Counter-Reformation.
Dr. James then helps you navigate the historical and theological developments that led to Arminianism, English Puritanism, and Puritanism in New England. Learn how the spiritual decline in England led to John Wesley’s Methodism, the English Revival, and the Great Awakening in America, and get an in-depth look at Christianity in the modern era. After this course, you will be able to articulate how even through all of the twists and turns of the past 2,000 years, God is still working in the modern church.
Discover a selection of milestone moments in history that have introduced you to the events, figures, and ideas of the Protestant Reformation. From reformation precursors to the exploration of Erasmus’ publication of the Greek NT, Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses and his translation of the NT. We’ve explored the “radical reformations revolution and re-baptism” and how the Turkish invasion of Europe had an impact on the Protestant Reformation. Delve into “the meeting of Protestants and Catholics at the Colloquy of Regensburg” and the issuing of the Peace of Augsburg. Gain a better understanding of the church today through the church of the past.
Dr. James is president of Biblical Theological Seminary in the Philadelphia suburb of Hatfield, PA. Prior to taking his current post, he taught and served as president at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL, and served as provost and taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA. Additionally, he has been on the teaching faculties of Villanova University and Westmont College, and was a visiting professor at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University.
A Texas native, Dr. James holds a DPhil in history from Oxford University and a PhD in theology from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is married to author Carolyn Custis James.Jennifer Powell McNutt is associate professor of theology and history of Christianity at Wheaton College and a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Dr. McNutt received her PhD in history from the Reformation Studies Institute at the University of St Andrews, and an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the degree coordinator of the MA in History of Christianity program at Wheaton, and was the 2013 recipient of Wheaton’s Leland Ryken Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities. Dr. McNutt specializes in the history of the Reformed church and clergy from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Due to her original archival research, she was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2014. Currently she is working on her second monograph, which will explore the history of the French Bible from the early modern period through the Enlightenment. In support of that research, Dr. McNutt has received The Huntington Library Andrew Mellon Research Fellowship, The Huntington Trinity Hall Exchange Fellowship, Wheaton’s Faculty Global Research Award, and Wheaton’s Alumni Association Grant. She wrote Calvin Meets Voltaire: The Clergy of Geneva in the Age of Enlightenment, 1685-1798 (Ashgate Publishing Company, 2014) which received the American Society of Church History Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize. She is co-editing The Oxford Handbook of the Bible and the Reformation with Dr. Herman Selderhuis, and her work has appeared in Christianity Today and Leadership Journal online.