• Gregory, Missions & Islam Media Resource by

    Around 600, as Gregory I labored in Rome for the growth and development of Christianity in Western Europe, an Arabian trader named Muhammad began to wrestle with religious questions and arrive at answers that were very different from the teachings of the Christian church. Though neither knew it, each man’s influence would extend far beyond his lifetime: Gregory’s, through the missionary efforts that would bring all of Europe under Christian influence; and Muhammad’s, through the zeal of his followers who would establish Islam as a major religion. As the sixth century transitioned into the seventh, events were being set in … View Resource

  • Introduction to the Middle Ages Media Resource by

    Our word “medieval” comes from the Latin terms medium and aevum, which mean “middle age.” Neglected by some and romanticized by others, the period of the Middle Ages is important for understanding the triumphs and struggles of Christians in Europe and the Mediterranean world during the thousand-year period between the decline of the Roman Empire and the emergence of modern Europe. In this lecture, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey will offer insight into the historical complexities of the Middle Ages and will explain the approach that this series will take as we explore this important era in church history. View Resource

  • Justinian & Gregory Media Resource by

    Emperor Justinian I and Pope Gregory I stand out as two of the most significant figures in the centuries of transition that marked the early Middle Ages. As the vestiges of Roman culture and institutions continued to fade or be reinvented, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean world looked for leaders who could offer them a sense of continuity with the past and direction for the future. In the midst of this uncertain climate, Justinian and Gregory contributed to the development of the state and the church in ways that would influence medieval life and culture for generations to come. View Resource

  • Paths to God: Theologies Media Resource by

    The early centuries of church history stand out as a time of striking unity. It is unrealistic to look upon this time as a golden age of Christianity due to the many challenges it faced from both within and without. Yet, for several hundred years the church in the Roman world managed to maintain a united stance and respond to challenges with one voice. As time passed, certain cultural, theological, and organizational differences began to test the bonds between east and west. Torn apart by the effects of new controversies and old rivalries, the medieval church eventually found itself to … View Resource

  • Worship & Sacraments Media Resource by

    As this study has shown, the ancient church was not perfect. It committed errors, did not always provide theological specificity where it might be desired, and laid the foundation for serious ecclesiastical misunderstandings. Nonetheless, it accomplished an amazing amount for the people of God by staying close to His Word and continually struggling to interpret life and faith through the lens of Scripture. This should encourage the church today, for although the church is a hospital for sinners and not a museum of saints, Jesus has sent His Spirit, and His promise never to leave or forsake His church will … View Resource

  • Augustine Media Resource by

    As Augustine wrestled with Christianity and whether or not to embrace it, he struggled with sexual immorality. Possessing a long-time concubine, through whom he fathered a son, Augustine refused to end this affair. Even after his amazing conversion, which, at least in Augustine’s mind, only occurred after targeting this vice, Augustine still struggled in this area. Perhaps this “thorn in the flesh” contributed to Augustine’s eventual realization concerning the burden of sin and the need for grace: if not for the work of God through His Spirit in the heart of man, he would go on sinning out of a … View Resource

  • The Bishop Media Resource by

    Although the understanding of the office of bishop eventually became perverted and corrupted in the ancient church, the office as defined in Scripture possesses biblical support and apostolic precedent. The church needs leaders, but these leaders, like Christ before them, must serve with wisdom and humility. Sadly, the promise of power and improper hierarchical thinking swayed the early church into an improper perspective on this position, but this should not demean or change the necessity of the office of overseers. Theirs is a high calling, and it is their responsibility to lead God’s people in righteousness, through times of trial … View Resource

  • Constantine & the Church Media Resource by

    Emperor Constantine the Great has received much attention throughout the history of the church—and rightfully so. His conversion to Christianity and the sweeping changes it brought to the church and the empire instituted a new era in history, one that would change the church forever. Whether for good or for ill, the combination of church and state has created a lasting impact on the people of God, and this lesson explores the beginning of the transition and illuminates the motives and historical context behind this monumental shift in Western history. View Resource

  • Developing Theology Media Resource by

    Protestants often times scoff at the hierarchical nature of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the concept that a special class of saints wields greater influence over Jesus than others. Yet, before we point the finger too quickly, we should evaluate our own hearts and rid ourselves of our own proclivity to find ways to garner favor from our Lord Jesus that are not advocated in Scripture. As this lesson shows, it is not a long leap from well-meaning activity to self-promoting ritual, and history shows us that our enemy finds no small amount of ways to prey on this human … View Resource

  • The East and the West Media Resource by

    The multitude of denominations within the Christian church today leads many to view the church as schismatic and contentious. A large contingent of these people calls for a reunification of Christianity, resembling the church of ancient times. While unity should always be a primary goal amongst the people of God, it must be a unity in and for the glory of Christ. As this lesson demonstrates, different emphases, historical circumstances, and other factors played a large role in the widening gap between the church of the East and West, but they still remained united on key elements, particularly the supremacy … View Resource

  • Jesus as God Media Resource by

    The fourth century witnessed some of the most critical Christological controversies in the history of the church. Despite the solid, Biblical determination that originated from these debates, heresies continued to abound about the person and nature of Jesus Christ, and many of these heresies still exist today in different shapes and forms. This should not surprise Christ’s church, because He and His apostles warned us against this very situation and constantly called God’s people to seek His truth in His revelation. This lesson demonstrates the importance of this fact, but it also shows that Jesus persists with His church through … View Resource

  • Jesus as Man Media Resource by

    As members of the Reformed faith, it is easy to slip into a position of arrogance and superiority on account of our rich tradition of learning and study. Sadly, as today’s lesson demonstrates through the example of Cyril and his interaction with Nestorius, the presentation of right theology can cause serious harm when done in a disrespectful manner or with motives intent on personal gain and aggrandizement. Let us always remember the model of our Lord, Jesus. He, more than anyone else, possessed the right to reprimand and rebuke, but He persevered with His people in patience and grace, preferring … View Resource

  • Defending the Faith Media Resource by

    Heresies, in a real way, are just repetitions of similar sinful, rebellious worldviews presented earlier in time. As the author of Ecclesiastes says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). Nonetheless, the historical contexts into which heresies enter change, and each new generation of God’s people must deal with these accordingly. View Resource

  • Expansion of the Church Media Resource by

    Unbeknownst to many Christians in the twenty-first century, people around the Greco-Roman world of the first century viewed Christianity as nothing more than an offshoot of Judaism, with some going as far as believing the two possessed no inherent difference. Surprisingly, even many within Judaism and the early church agreed with this assertion. This predicament might seem unbelievable today, but the current church faces a similar dilemma. As relativism, the belief that there is no absolute value but only subjective preference (consequently attributing equal value to all beliefs), expands in modern culture, more and more people view Judaism, Christianity, and … View Resource

  • Introduction Media Resource by

    Matthew 16:18

    This study will examine the first 500 years of the church in order to illuminate the impact of the early church so that the church today might know itself and its God better. This particular study lays the historical context for the most dynamic moment in the history of the church and the world: the incarnation of the Son of God. View Resource