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.

  • Location

    Online via Zoom

  • Dates

    Aug: 15, 29
    Sep: 12
    Oct: 10, 31
    Nov: 7, 14

  • Time



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

  • 1


  • 2

    Session 1/ Topic 1

    • 01a Historiography Ch101 2022

    • Historiography

    • 01b whirlwind tour of history CH101 2022

    • Whirlwind Tour of Church History: An Overview

    • AY2022 Class-Introduction & Historiography

  • 3

    Session 2/ Topic 2.1

    • 1P01 Background to Early Christianity CH101 2022

    • Patristic Christianity I

    • CH101-Session 2 P01 and P02

    • 1P02 Scripture _ Canon CH101 2022

    • Article: Introduction to Church History Bradley and Mueller (For Reflection 1)

    • How to Write Historical Paper Lecture Slides (2022)

    • Epistle to Diogentus

    • Reading: The Didache

    • How to write historical essays

  • 4

    Sessions 3-4/ Topic 2.2

    • Patristic Christianity II - online

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

    • 1P05 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

    • Session 4 Lecture

    • Reading the Martyrdom of Polycarp

  • 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

    • Supplementary Reading: Epistle to Diogentus

  • 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

    • Article: Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Reflection 2)

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 4.1

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

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 4.2

    • Topic 3 Byzantine Christianity Session

  • 7

    Sessions 7-8/ Topic 4

    • Christianities in Asia I

    • Christianities in Asia II

    • Christianities in Asia Lectures 1-4 Slides

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 5.1

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 5.2

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 6

    • Article: Prologue to the Rule of Benedict (Reflection 3)

    • Reading: Chinese Nestorian Texts-Jesu the Messiah

    • Supplementary Readings on Chinese Nestorians

    • Session-Asian Christianities

  • 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 Questions 7

    • Lecture MCQ Questions 8

    • Articles: Readings on Benedictine Spirituality in Business (Reflection 4)

    • Readings for Crusades Presentation

    • Session 9-10 Tutorial Video

  • 9

    Sessions 11-12/ Topic 5.2

    • Course Evaluation Form

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

    • Article: On Humility and Pride - Bernard of Clairvaux (Reflection 4)

    • Readings for Anti-semitism Presentation

    • Medieval West II Lecture Slides 5.8-12

    • Session 12 Lecture

  • 10

    Assignment Submission

    • Book Review

    • Essay

    • Reflection Paper

    • Introduction to Writing Assignments

    • How to Format an Academic Paper

    • How to Write an Academic Paper