This course deals with the history of Christianity from the first century to the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation. Focus is on the growth and development of Christianity during the early centuries in the Mediterranean World as well as its expansion into Europe and the East. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate understanding of major events, movements, and theological trends from the first century to the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation.


This course will survey the development of Christianity in Western Europe and its continued expansion from the first to the sixteenth centuries. The focus is on some of the institutions which came out of this movement and how such institutions contributed to shaping of the religious, political, economic and social landscapes of their day.

There are no Prerequisites or Corequisites for this course.

Frank, Jr., Kenneth L.

Registrar and Director of Admissions
Full Time
B.A. (1973), Ambassador University; M.A. (2014), Grand Canyon University.
Subject Matter: 

Mr. Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA where he attended Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) for one year, majoring in history and government. Following that, he attended the three campuses of Ambassador College (later Ambassador University) in Big Sandy, Texas, USA; Bricket Wood, England; and Pasadena, California, USA.

In the summer of 1971 he participated in an archaeological project jointly sponsored by Ambassador College and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Upon graduation from Ambassador College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology, he trained for the ministry in Canada and was ordained an elder in 1975. He pastored Canadian congregations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario for twenty-six years before returning to the United States where he served as a Living Church of God pastor in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. He is married, father of four children (one of whom is Living University faculty member, Annette Triplett) and grandfather of seven. In 2014, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Christian Studies with an emphasis in Pastoral Ministry at Grand Canyon University. Presently, he serves at the Living University campus as instructor, Registrar and Director of Admissions. 

Course Credit: 
Three (3) semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

On successful completion of this course, a student should be able to:

  1. Define basic terms and develop basic research skills in the field of Christian history;
  2. Demonstrate the development of traditional Christianity through Greco-Roman Christianity and the Protestant Reformation;
  3. Relate the history of Christians not a part oftraditional orthodox bodies;
  4. Describe the cultural milieu in which the Christianity evolved;
  5. Describe the general story lines of Christian history and the development of the major doctrines and creeds;
  6. Identify and understand the significance of the major figures, themes, and events in the Christian church from its early period to the eve of the sixteenth-century Reformation; and
  7. Understand the contributions of significant early theologians, and their relationship to their social context and their influence upon the Christian tradition.
Required Texts: 

Required textbook for this course is:

  • González, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. Vol. 1. Revised and Updated. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2010. ISBN 9780061855887.

The books you are to critique in this course are:

  • Hurlbut, Jesse Lyman. The Story of the Christian Church. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970. ISBN 9780310265108.
  • Stark, Rodney. The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997. ISBN 9780060677015.
  • Wilkinson, Benjamin George. Truth Triumphant. (PDF copy provided in course)

Students may order textbooks through the University Bookstore.


Additional Readings: 

The following are some books you will hear referred to in the course lectures. They are suggested optional books for your reference.

  • Bokenkotter, Thomas. A Concise History of the Catholic Church. Rev. ed. Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1979. ISBN 9780385130158.
  • Qualben, Lars P. A History of the Christian Church. Rev. ed. New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1942. ISBN 9781606081679.
  • Shelley, Bruce L. Church History in Plain Language. 3rd ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. ISBN 9780718025533.
  • Walton, Robert C. Chronological and Background Charts of Church History. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1986. ISBN 9780310362814.

The textbooks used in this course are commercial publications. They represent the views and ideas of their authors, editors, and publishers. Living University does not endorse these texts nor vouch for their accuracy. We simply employ them in helping you master the content of the course. 


This course includes several lectures by Mr. Frank and Dr. Germano. Links to lectures are in the lessons.

Course Calendar: 
Topics Reading
Lesson 1 The Early Church CE 31─306
Topic 1 Introduction González 1-12
Topic 2 The Fullness of Time González 13-24
Topic 3 The Church in Jerusalem González 25-30
Topic 4 Mission to the Gentiles González 31-40
Topic 5 First Conflicts with the State González 41-48
Topic 6 Persecution in the Second Century González 49-58
Topic 7 The Defense of the Faith González 59-68
Topic 8 The Deposit of the Faith González 69-82
Topic 9 The Teachers of the Church González 83-96
Topic 10 Persecution of the Third Century González 97-104
Topic 11 Christian Life González 105-118
Topic 12 The Great Persecution and the Final Victory González 119-128
Lesson 2 The Imperial Church CE 306─411
Topic 1 Constantine González 129-148
Topic 2 Official Theology: Eusebius of Caesarea González 149-156
Topic 3 The Monastic Reaction González 157-172
Topic 4 The Schismatic Reaction: Donatism González 173-180
Topic 5 The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicaea G González 181-192
Topic 6 The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate González 193-198
Topic 7 Athanasius of Alexandria González 199-208
Topic 8 The Great Cappadocians González 209-218
Topic 9 Ambrose of Milan González 219-224
Topic 10 John Chrysostom González 225-232
Topic 11 Jerome González 233-240
Topic 12 Augustine of Hippo González 241-252
Topic 13 Beyond the Borders of the Empire González 253-258
Topic 14 The End of an Era González 259-262
Lesson 3 Medieval Christianity CE 411─1492
Topic 1 The New Order González 263-294
Topic 2 Eastern Christianity González 295-314
Topic 3 Imperial Restoration and Continuing Decay González 315-326
Topic 4 Movements of Renewal González 327-344
Topic 5 The Offensive Against Islam González 345-356
Topic 6 The Golden Age of Medieval Christianity González 357-386
Topic 7 The Collapse González 387-406
Topic 8 In Quest of Reformation González 407-432
Topic 9 Renaissance and Humanism González 433-446
Lesson 4 The Beginnings of Colonial Christianity CE 1492-1521
Topic 1 Spain and the New World González 447-472
Topic 2 The Portuguese Enterprise González 473-486
Topic 3 The New World and the Old González 487-490
Course Evaluation
Exam 2 (Final Exam)
Course Requirements: 

Due dates and extensions                      
Submit assignments on or before the due date. No late or make-up assignments will be allowed except for extreme circumstances (permission of the instructor is necessary). Students must complete the course by the last offical day of instruction as set forth in the academic calendar.

Icebreaker Assignment
To officially begin this course you must complete an icebreaker assignment by which you introduce yourself to your classmates through posting a short autobiography on the course Discussion Forum. A student can earn 30 bonus points by posting the autobiography on time. These points could make the difference between an A or a B, or passing or not passing.

  • The icebreaker assignment must be submitted not later than the eighth day of the semester.
  • Post your biography as a reply to the "Icebreaker" topic on the lesson “Welcome and Overview” Discussion Forum.
  • Please read and comment on at least two other bios by the due date in order to get credit.
  • Full credit for this assignment will only be given if all three of the above requirements are met.

Do NOT create a NEW discussion. Simply tell the class about yourself and your goals. This is not the place for a profession of faith, or the details your conversion experience, or problems you have had with previous fellowships, as that information is more of a private nature. Here you inform your classmates what you would like them to know about you. As we have people from all over the world enrolled in this course each autobiography will help us know, understand and appreciate each other. 

Refer to “Course Calendar” section for reading assignments.

Writing Assignments
All writing assignments in this course should follow the MLA 8 format, common to many universities. Documents and links to learn this format are provided in the course. Please cite your sources and use quotation marks where needed. To submit your work, select the appropriate assignment from the Assignments tab to go to the Assignment Submission page. Use the Attach a File feature below the text box to upload your WORD document. Please do not use the text box to "post" your assignment: the text box is used for student/instructor communication only, pertaining to the assignment.

Critical book reviews
Students will read and write critical book reviews throughout the course on three (3) selected works assigned by the instructor. Reviews should include an introduction, thesis statement, body, and conclusion. Assertions should be supported with internal citations using the Bible and other sources, employing quotation marks where appropriate, and including a Works Cited page. Each review should be 4-5 in length (not counting the Works Cited page) and written in MLA 8 format.

Distance learning emphasizes self-motivation. The instructor functions as a facilitator with the student as the driving force in mastering course content. Students are encouraged not to put off completing their readings and assignments. While there are many different learning styles, the following strategy should serve the needs of most students.

  • Look over assigned readings.
  • Read the assigned readings making notes before viewing the assigned lecture.
  • Define any terms in the assignment. The exams will specifically test basic terminology. Students should develop their biblical and theology vocabulary as they proceed assignment by assignment.
  • As students view lectures, they should complete their notes.
  • Complete the answers for the writing assignment.
  • Each week students should review notes, geographical terms and locations, and the words they defined.
  • If a student has a question, ask. Questions should arise in the teaching-learning process. By bringing questions to our attention, students not only acquire assistance but they also maintain the interaction necessary in higher education. To submit a question just click on the instructor’s name on the “Course Info” page and send your question by email through the Populi system.

This course includes several lectures by Mr. Frank and Dr. Germano. Links to lectures are in the lessons.

Each lesson has an associated online exam of not more than 25 questions. They are open book quizzes, but under no circumstances are students to print a quiz. Please be aware that an open book quiz is not a workbook exercise. It is a test where the student can consult his or her notes and books. Students have sixty minutes to complete each quiz. Quizzes are objective tests which may include true/false, matching, multiple-choice questions covering lectures, readings, vocabulary words and any discussion topics.

There are two closed book exams of 50 objective questions each respectively. These are to be taken online. Exam 2 is to be proctored (see proctoring instructions below).

Proctored exams
The Final Exam is to be proctored in this course. A proctored exam is one that is overseen by an impartial individual (called a proctor) who monitors or supervises a student while he or she is taking an exam. The proctor ensures the security and integrity of the exam process. The proctoring process helps assure that the student who takes a proctored examination in a course is the same person who enrolled in the course and that examination results reflect the student’s own knowledge and competency.

Students should present valid government-issued photo identification to their proctor before taking an exam to confirm their identity unless the proctor presonally knows the student being tested. In order for a proctored exam grade to be recorded, a signed Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) must be sent to LU. The form is unnecessary in the case of ProctorU.

At LU students have several choices for completing proctored exams:

  • A student can come to campus for an exam. The instructor will establish a specific campus classroom, date and time for the student to come to LU and complete the exam with the instructor or his or her representative.
  • A student can utilize a Living Church of God church officer (i.e. elder, deacon or deaconess), or an appointed, minister-approved church leader. In the case of the latter, the minister should provide an email endorsing the appointed proctor.
  • A student can use ProctorU online. ProctorU is a service that LU faculty may utilize for proctoring online exams. ProctorU allows students to conveniently and securely complete assigned exams using almost any webcam. With a computer and approved webcam, a student can take online exams at home, at work, or almost anywhere they have Internet access. ProctorU connects students directly to their proctor via webcam so they both see and talk to one another. ProctorU can also monitor a student's computer while the student completes the exam. Students pay ProctorU directly for this service. LU does not reimburse students for proctoring fees incurred. To view a demo video on how this service works, or to sign up and schedule testing appointments, the Living University portal is located at For ProctorU no Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) is needed.
  • A student can use a college or university testing center. There is usually a fee for this service. LU does not reimburse students for proctoring fees incurred.
  • A student can have an approved proctor. This may be a school offical, such as a teacher or registrar, or a librarian who is not related to the student.
  • In a case of unusual hardship a student may request an alternate arrangement. To do so please contact your instructor as soon as possible.

A course grade will be determined based on the number of points a student has earned over the semester as follows:

  • Icebreaker (30 points)
  • Discussion forums (eight, each worth 30 points, for a total of 240 points)
  • Quizzes (four, each worth 50 points, for a total of 200 points)
  • Writing Assignments (one worth 75 points, for a total of 75 points)
  • Critical Book Reviews (three, each worth 75 points, for a total of 225 points)
  • Exams (three, each worth 100 points, for a total of 200 points; online, closed-book; Exam 2 is to be proctored)
  • Course evaluation (worth 30 points)
  • TOTAL 1,000 points

Grades are in the traditional American style of an A, B, C, D, or F. In distance learning, we believe that the measure of mastery of course subject matter is completion of 80% of the objectives for a course. That means that we want students to earn at least 800 points in this course. If they do not do so then they have not achieved the level of the mastery we would like them to have. We want this course to be competency-based and so it is possible for the entire class to receive an A or a B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades. Mastery of the material is what one’s goal should be.

Grades, assigned by points, are as follows:

A 900-1000 points
B 800-899 points
C 700-799 points
D 600-699 points
F Below 600 points

Academic Irregularity

Students have the responsibility for conducting themselves in such a manner as to avoid any suspicion that they are improperly giving or receiving aid on any assignment or examination. An academic irregularity not only includes cheating but also includes plagiarism (taking another's ideas and/or words and presenting them as if they were the writer's own) and the submitting of the same paper in separate courses without prior consent from the faculty members concerned. In cases of suspected academic irregularity, faculty members may refuse to grade such papers or examinations, completely or in part, and to record each of them as a failure. If an academic irregularity is sufficiently serious, the University may take one or more of, but not limited to, the following actions:

  1. Drop the student from the course with a grade of F
  2. Place the student on academic probation
  3. Dismiss the student from the University

Students With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

Technology Access
This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at

Course Evaluation
Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.