Course Summary

Understanding the early church

The course is an analysis of the sources that reveal the history and nature of the church from its inception in about 29 C.E. to the end of its fifth decade, 79 C.E. It deals with events that surrounded the formation of the church, the essential theological concepts contained in New Testament documents, and responsible application of the content found in the New Testament. 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit.  May not be taken for credit along with BRS 13.


1. Analyze the features of a true Christian community

2. Explain how disputed issues faced by early Christians were resolved

3. Appraise the theological significance of early Christian practices

Credit. The course grade is calculated as the average of scores on three multiple choice examinations, an essay, and a book review. Each graded element requires a minimum of 70% on each exam. Each graded element is valued at 20 percent each. A sample exam problem is given below:

A unique characteristic of the God who reveals himself in the New Testament is his (A) distance from mankind, (B) identification with mankind through Jesus, (C) plurality, (D) association with a specific place.


An e-book in the Electronic Collection, plus the availability of other electronic sources are without cost to the student.  A Bible is also required.  If the student prefers hard copy secondary sources, the following are recommended::

Ferguson, Everett. The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997. 463 pages. $30.29 ISBN: 978-0802841896.

McKechnie, Paul. The First Christian Centuries: Perspectives on the Early Church. IVP Academic, 2002. 270 pages. $45.57 ISBN: 978-0830826773