About this Course

History of Christianity I 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.

  • Location

    Online via Zoom

  • Dates

    Aug: 8, 15, 29
    Sep: 12
    Oct: 10, 31
    Nov: 7

  • Time



Dr Lai Pak-Wah

Principal and Lecturer in Church History and Historical Theology

Pak Wah is our Principal and Lecturer of Church History and Historical Theology, he obtained his PhD from Durham University, UK. He is the author of The Dao of Healing: Christian Perspective of Chinese Medicine. Pak Wah was previously a full-time lecturer at the School of Business, Singapore Polytechnic, and engaged in investment promotion work with the Singapore Economic Development Board. He worships at Mt Carmel Bible Presbyterian Church where he serves as Elder overseeing the Hybrid Church Initiative. Pak Wah enjoys engaging in Tai Ji and Wing Chun martial arts as a form of spiritual formation practice.

Course Curriculum

  • 1


  • 2

    Topic 1

    • Introduction

    • Historiography Lecture Slides

    • Whirlwind Tour of Church History: An Overview

    • Whirlwind Tour of Church History Lecture Slides

  • 3

    Topic 2

    • Patristic Christianity I

    • Background to Early Christanity Lecture Slides

    • Scripture and Canon Lecture Slides

    • Article: Introduction to Church History Bradley and Mueller

    • How to Write Historical Paper Lecture Slides

    • CH101 How to write Historical-Theological Papers

    • Epistle to Diogentus

    • Reading: The Didache

  • 4

    Topic 3

    • Patristic Christianity II - online

    • Doctrine of Salvation : From OT to NT Lecture Slides

    • Pre Nicene Doctrine of salvation Lecture Slides

    • Post Nicene Doctrine of Salvation Lecture text

    • Post Nicene Doctrine of Salvation Lecture Slides

  • 5

    Topic 4

    • Patristic Christianity III

    • Christian Martyrdom Lecture Slides

    • Christian Monasticism Lecture Slides

    • Augustine and his legacy Lecture Slides

    • Reading the Martyrdom of Polycarp

  • 6

    Topic 6

    • 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

    • Origins of Byzantium Lecture Slides

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 4.1

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 4.2

  • 7

    Topic 7

    • Byzantine Christianity II

    • The Iconoclastic Controversy Lecture Slides

    • The Flourish and Decline of Byzantium Lecture Slides

    • Reading : against those who Attack the holy images - John Damacuscus

  • 8

    Topic 8

    • Christianities in Asia I

    • Historical Overview Lecture Slides

    • Monophytsites Lecture Slides

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 5.1

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 5.2

  • 9

    Topic 9

    • Christianities in Asia II

    • Nestorians in Persia Lecture Slides

    • Nestorians in China Lecture Slides

    • Reading: Chinese Nestorian Texts

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 6

  • 10

    Topic 10

    • Medieval Christianity in the West I

    • The Rise and conversion of the west Lecture Slides

    • Papal-Frankish Alliance / Carolingian Renaissance / Church in Disarray Lecture SlidesFile

    • Reading: Ecclesiastical History - Bede

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 7

  • 11

    Topic 11

    • Medieval Christianity in the West II

    • Monastic and Papal Reforms / Crusades Lecture Slides

    • The New Religious Orders Lecture Slides

    • Reading: Crusade Texts

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 8

  • 12

    Topic 12

    • Medieval Christianity in the West III

    • Black Death Avignon Popes and Papal Schism Lecture Slides

    • Medieval Scholasticism / The Renaissance / Medieval Church Lecture Slides

    • Reading: On Humility and Pride - Bernard of Clairvaux