Church History Summary
Written by: Kennedy, Tod M. Posted on: 03/17/2003
HIS:Church History Summary by Tod M. Kennedy, 1980*
1. The Apostolic Period, AD 30-100.
1.1. Review of the apostles James, Peter,Paul, and John. See Bible
1.2. Missionary expansion in Acts. See Chronology of Acts.
1.3. The NT canon was written. See Bible Survey.
1.4. Persecution was local and sporadic until c. 250. Nero (r.
54-68), Domition (r. 81-90).
1.5. Church organization in the first century
(elder=overseer=P/T, local. See doctrines) was different from the
church which soon developed (overseer over elders).
1.6. Beginning, foundation, documentation, spread of church.
2. The Post-Apostolic Church And The Struggle +For Survival, AD 100-
2.1. Persecutions and the martyr complex. Causes: exclusiveness
in political, religious, social, economic life. Edict of Milan
2.2. Doctrinal and philosophical controversies.
Ebionites, Gnosticism, Marcion (c. 150), Manichaeism,
Neoplatonism, Montanism (Montanus c. 150), Monarchianism.
2.3. Doctrinal developments. Monarchial bishop, primacy of Rome
in dignity and honor by 250, then in jurisdiction and authority.
Formation of canon (c. 175). Theology proper and Christology
beginning to be thought out and formulated.
2.4. Important persons of this period. Fathers, Apologists,
Polemicists. Clement of Rome (c. 95), Ignatius (d.c. 110),
Polycarp (d.c. 155), Tertullian (c. 150-240), Justin Martyr (c. 100-
166), renaeus (b.c. 120), Cyprian (c. 200-258), Origen (c. 185-
3. The Imperial Church consolidates And Expands, AD 313-590.
3.1. The political scene and some emperors. Constantine
(r. 306-337) legalized Christianity. Theodosius (r. 379-
395) made it illegal to depart Nicene faith.
3.2. Church councils. Nicea in 325, essence and trinity.
Constantinople in 381, restate Nicene and add HS.
Ephesus in 431, Nestorian/Pelagian. Chalcedon in 451, the
Person of Christ.
3.3. Canon of NT was officially closed by end of fourth century.
In the east Athanasius' Easter letter (367) lists all 27 books.
In the West through Jerome and Augustine at two African councils
(Hippo 393, Carthage 397) and then ratified by the Roman bishop.
3.4. Doctrinal developments. Theology proper, Christology,
3.5. Monasticism. Stages: Aceticism, hermit life, cloister
life, orders. Poverty, celibacy, obedience. Misunderstood
priorities in the Christian Way of Life.
3.6. Missions. Migrations of peoples. Ulfilas (c. 311-383) to
Goths. Martin of Tours (c. 316-396) to Burgundians. Clovis,
king of Franks (d.511), to Franks. Soldiers, merchants to British
Isles. Patrick (c. 389-461) to Ireland. Columba (c. 521-597) to
3.7. Important persons. Arius (d.336), Athanasius (c.296-373),
Jerome, (c. 340-419), Augustine (354-430), Eusebius of Caesarea
(c. 260- 340), John Chrysostom (347-407). Leo the Great,
Bishop of Rome from 440-461, preeminence of Roman Bishop as
Peter's successor, administrator, enforced church uniformity,
4. The Rise Of The Church Empire And Its Missionary Expansion, AD
4.1. The growth of the papacy and its relationship to the Holy
Roman Empire. Leo I (p. 440-461). Gregory the Great (p. 590-
604), true pope in fact, maintained Roman bishop had jurisdiction
over whole church, conflict with Eastern bishops, civil duties,
great doctor of RCC in moral theology. RC Franks (Charles Martel,
689-741, Pepin the Short, 714/15-768, Charlemagne, 742-814.
Charlemagne controlled France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain)
and popes cooperated to defeat the Barbarians and rule Europe.
Charlemagne crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III on 25
December 800. Re- established old Roman Empire in the West.
4.2. Missionary expansion. Islam (Mohammed, 570-632).
Expansion in British Isles resulted in Whitby (663) and Roman
Christianity. Germany (Boniface 680-754).
4.3. Doctrinal controversies. Monotheletic (690),
Saint and Image Worship (787), Filioque (9th), Adoptionism (9th),
Predestinarian (9th), Eucharistic (9th and 11th).
5. Movements Within The Church And Between The church And State, AD 800-
5.1. The Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne died 814. His son,
Louis the Pious ruled 814-840. Sons of Louis the Pious divided
the kingdom in Treaty of Verdun (843). Charles the Bald (France),
Louis (Germany), Lothair (Central Corridor). Treaty of Mersin
(870). Germany. Otto I (912-973), A German king and emperor of
Saxon dynasty. Crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 962
by Pope John XII. Holy Roman Empire extended from 962-1806.
5.2. Feudalism. System of government based upon land. Manor,
lord, feudal knight, serf, priest. Beneficial to society.
Church entered feudalism.
5.3. Decretals and Transubstantiation. Decretals are papal
letters with the force of law. False decretals were forgeries
used in 9th-11th centuries to strengthen papal
supremacy. Transubstantiation developed by Radbertus in 831.
5.4. Separation of Roman and Greek Church 1054. Began in 330 with
5.5. Monastic reform began in Cluny, Eastern France in 910.
6. Papal Supremacy And The Rise of Scholasticism, AD 1054-
6.1. The rise and fall of papacy. Hildebrand became Pope
Gregory VII in 1073. College of Cardinals, dictatus papae,
Investiture Struggle. Innocent III (p. 1161-1216) was zenith of
papacy. Henry IV (1077), Philip (1200), John (1213) were
goats. Boniface VIII (p. 1274-1303) low point. Clericis
Laicos (1296), unam sanctum (1301).
6.2. The Crusades, 1095-1291. Holy Wars against enemies of cross
to recapture Palestine for Christianity. Seven major crusades.
Religious failure. National changes.
6.3. Scholasticism. An intellectual movement to strengthen
faith by reason through rationalizing theology.
Rationalize, arrange existing content. RCC. Summa
Theologica. Universities c. 1200.
6.4. Sacraments. Developed in twelfth- thirteenth centuries.
Contain and cause grace. Baptism, confirmation, eucharist,
penance, extreme unction, ordination, marriage.
6.5. Monastic reform. Reform, new orders (Dominicans), military
6.6. Lay reform. External forces of reform. Albigenses,
7. Preliminaries To The Reformation, AD 1305-1517.
7.1. Roman Catholic Church. Abuse of authority and power,
Babylonian Captivity (1309- 1377), Great Schism (1378-1417),
decline in clergy and spiritual life.
7.2. The Renaissance and Humanism. The period of accelerated
transition from medieval to modern life in Europe
(fourteenth-sixteenth centuries). Humanism was the rebirth of
classical learning within this transition. Northern (Erasmus)
and Southern (Petrarch). Involved classical learning and
languages, man centered, secular, individualistic world view.
Emphasized confidence in human nature and education,
theological skepticism, natural religion.
7.3. Mysticism. Movement by man to experience presence of
God. Subjective experience without objective authority.
Faith active. Minimized Bible Doctrine.
7.4. Forerunners of Reformation. John Wycliff (1329-1384), Jan
Hus (1373-1415), William Savonarola (1452-1498). Bible the
7.5. Other factors. National consciousness, printing
press (John of Guttenburg c. 1456), world exploration.
8. The Reformation And The Counter Reformation, AD 1517-1648.
8.1. Causes. Indirect causes were political, economic,
intellectual, moral, social, theological. Direct cause was sale
of indulgences in Germany. Albert of Mainz. Tetzel.
8.2. German. Martin Luther (1483-1546). 95 theses, 31
October 1517 in Wittenberg. Heidelberg, Augsburg, Leipzig,
Worms, Wartburg, Wittenberg, Diets of Speyer, German
Bible. Katherine Von Bora (1525). Strong leader, student,
writer, preacher. Bible, faith, priesthood. Philip Melanchthon
(1497-1560). Theologian. Wrote Lutheran creeds.
8.3. German Swiss. Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531). Priest,
patriot, student. Zurich. Disputations. Second Battle of
Kappel. Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575). Pastor.
8.4. French Swiss. John Calvin (1509-1564). Universities of
Orleans, Bourges, Paris. Lawyer. Basal, Geneva. Student,
thinker, exegete, theologian, writer, teacher. Institutes
(four editions), commentaries. Reformed Theology. TULIP.
Theodore Beza (1519-1605). Good exegete, theologian.
8.5. Anabaptist Tradition. Conrad Grebel (1498-1526), Felix Manz
(1498-1527), George Blaurock (1491-1529), Menno Simons (149601561).
Maligned , three disputations in Zurich, many martyrs. Bible,
faith, believer's baptism, gathered church. Separation of
church and state, many pacifists. Some radicals (Munster). Most
8.6. English Reformation. Lollards, William Tyndale (1494-
1536). Henry VIII (r. 1509-1547) wanted male heir. Edward VI
(ruled 1547- 1553), Book of Common Prayer, 42 Articles. Mary
Tudor (r. 1553-1558), RC, martyrs. Elizabeth (r. 1558-1603),
Settlement of 1559, 39 Articles, Church of Middle Way. Thomas
Cranmer (1489-1556). Church of England. Puritans.
8.7. Roman Catholic Counter Reformation. Internal/external.
Authority of Pope, orthodox, change moral and religious life.
Spain (Ximenes c. 1436-1517). Theologians, reforming orders
(Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola 1491-1556, authorized 1540),
reforming popes (Paul III, p. 1534-1549). Index, inquisition,
writing, anti-Protestant. Council of Trent (1545-1563), official
RC theology and papal authority.
Tod M. Kennedy, 1980*
*Periods 1-4 completed 1979, revised 1980. Periods
5-8 completed 1980. Periods 9-11 to be added at a
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