About this Course

History of Christianity 1 is the first of a two course survey (3 credits each) on the history of Christianity over the last 2,000 years. .

The course aims to identify the significant historical movements in the first 1,500 years of church history and consider their influence and relevance for contemporary Christians, especially those living in Asia.

We begin with the theological, historical and spiritual developments in what John Calvin calls the ‘Golden Age of the Church’, that is, the age of the church fathers (2nd to 5th centuries). From here, we then examine the history of three major streams of Christianity, namely the Orthodox, Oriental and Western (Latin) Christianities, from the Middle Ages right up to the pre-Reformation period.

Topics to be discussed include the formation of the biblical canon and how this affects our Christian beliefs, the challenge of evangelism and Christian living in a multi-cultural and religious society like the Roman Empire, the insights that we may gain from the Nestorian evangelization of China in the 8th century, and the legacy of medieval theology and spirituality for modern day Christianity.

The guiding principle is to consider the relevance of these historical movements for contemporary Protestant / Evangelical Christianity.


Dr Lai Pak Wah

Principal and Lecturer in Church History and Historical Theology

Dr Lai Pak Wah is BGST’s Principal and Lecturer of Church History and Historical Theology. He also serves as an elder at Mt Carmel Bible Presbyterian Church where he worships and oversees the church’s Hybrid Church Initiative. His interest is the very heart of BGST’s mission: which is to help Christians make sense of their faith at work, church and society. Previously, Pak Wah engaged in investment promotion work with the Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB) and was a full-time lecturer at the School of Business, Singapore Polytechnic. He is the author of The Dao of Healing: Christian Perspective of Chinese Medicine, and a certified Belbin coach. Pak-Wah holds a PhD from Durham University, UK. He enjoys engaging in Chinese culture and playing the cello.

Course Curriculum

  • 2

    Session 1/ Topic 1

    • Welcome to CH101

    • CH101 Course Syllabus

    • 01a Historiography Ch101 2022

    • Historiography

    • Whirlwind tour of history CH101 2022

    • Whirlwind Tour of Church History: An Overview

    • How to Write Historical Paper Lecture Slides (2022)

    • How to write historical essays

  • 3

    Session 2/ Topic 2.1

    • 1P01 Background to Early Christianity CH101 2022

    • Patristic Christianity I

    • 1P02 Scripture _ Canon CH101 2022

    • Primary Source Reading: Epistle to Diogentus

    • Article 1: Introduction to Church History Bradley and Mueller

    • Primary Source Reading 1: The Didache

    • Exercise: Brief Notes on Readings

  • 4

    Sessions 3-4/ Topic 2.2

    • Patristic Christianity II - Patristic Soteriology 1 & 2

    • Patristic Soteriology 3: Post-Nicene Soteriology in the 4th-5th Centuries Part 1

    • Patristic Soteriology 3 Part 2: Teachings of Athanasius to John Chrysostom

    • 1P03 Patristic Salvation 1-Pre-Nicene Ot to NT CH101 2022

    • 1P04 Patristic Salvation 2-Pre-Nicene 2-3 Cent CH101 2022

    • Post Nicene Doctrine of Salvation Lecture text

    • 1P05 Patristic Salvation 3 Post-Nicene 4 Cent CH101 2022

    • Primary Source Reading 2: The Martyrdom of Polycarp

    • Exercise: Brief Notes

  • 5

    Session 3/ Topic 2.3

    • Patristic Christianity III

    • 1P06 Early Christian Life _ Martyrdom 2022

    • 1P07 Christian Monasticism CH101 2022

    • 1P08 Augustine _ His Legacy CH101 2022

    • Primary Source Reading 3: Epistle to Diogentus

    • Exercise: Brief Notes

  • 6

    Sessions 5-6/ Topic 3

    • Byzantine Christianity I: The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent

    • Origins of Byzantium to Ecclesiastical Reforms in the 7th Century

    • The Rise & Impact of Islam

    • Byzantine Christianity II: Iconoclastic Controversy & Flourish & Decline of Byzantium

    • BC01 Byzantine Christianity 1-Origins _ Developmts to 7C-Reforms CH101 2022

    • BC02 Byzantine Christianity 2-Rise of Islam CH101 2022

    • BC03 Byzantine Christianity 3-Icons CH101 2022

    • BC04 Byzantine Christianity 4 CH101 2022

    • MCQs

    • Lecture MCQ Questions-Byzantine Christianity

    • Lecture MCQ Questions-Rise of Islam

    • Primary Source Readings 4: Sayings of the Desert Fathers

    • Primary Source Reading 5-6: Against those who Attack the holy images (John Damascus) & Gregory Palamas

    • Exercise: Brief Notes

  • 7

    Sessions 7-8/ Topic 4

    • Christianities in Asia I

    • Christianities in Asia II

    • Christianities in Asia Lectures 1-4 Slides

    • Lecture MCQ -Non-Chalcedonian Christianity

    • Lecture MCQ -Monophysite Christianity

    • Lecture MCQ - Nestorian Christianity

    • Primary Source Reading 7: Prologue to the Rule of Benedict

    • Primary Source Reading 8: Chinese Nestorian Texts-Jesu the Messiah

    • Article 2: Nestorians in Inner Mongolia

    • Exercise: Brief Notes

  • 8

    Sessions 9-10/ Topic 5.1

    • Medieval Christianity in the West 5.1-5.4

    • Medieval Christianity in the West 5.5-5.7

    • Medieval Christianity in the West Slides 5.1-5.7

    • Lecture MCQ: Medieval Christianity in the West 1

    • Lecture MCQ-Medieval Christianity in the West 2

    • Article 3: Benedictine Spirituality in Business

    • Articles 4: Readings for Crusades

    • Exercise: Brief Notes

  • 9

    Sessions 11-12/ Topic 5.2

    • Course Evaluation Form

    • Medieval Christianity in the West III (5.8-5.12)

    • Primary Source Reading 9: On Humility and Pride - Bernard of Clairvaux

    • Article 5: On Anti-semitism

    • Medieval West II Lecture Slides 5.8-12

    • Exercise: Brief Notes

  • 10

    Assignment Submission

    • Book Review

    • Essay

    • Reflection Paper

    • Introduction to Writing Assignments

    • How to Format an Academic Paper

    • How to Write an Academic Paper