Master of Christian History
By Michael Barth
This course of Christian History was a very fascinating course to take. This class starts at the very beginning and goes up to the Great Schism of 1054. The topic that caught my eye was the persecution that the early Christians had to face during the early years. The persecution was not easy to overcome. The early Christians faced many different types of punishment that included everything up to death.
I also felt that during the class that the Christians also persecuted the Muslims when Islam started to spread in the East. This was surprising to me since Jesus Christ taught lover, peace, and tolerance. Early Christianity did suffer through dwindling numbers as Islam grew but I could sense through this course that there was tension between Islam and Christianity.
The early Christians overcame the persecution of the early years when Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. While the seriousness of this conversion is in question, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in A.D. 313 which allowed Christians and other religions the freedom to worship any religion the people chose to worship. With this edict, Christians did not have to worry about state interference and were allowed to worship without worrying about facing punishment.
With the Edict of Milan, Christians started to come together to come up with a standard of theology for Christianity. What I consider the first major meeting was held in 325 A. D. under Constantine at Nicaea. This helped Christianity spread because this informed people what Christianity believed and stood for. There was still a division between the East and the West though which was based on how the Bible was to be interpreted.
In 1054 A. D., the Great Schism happened between the Eastern and Western Churches. Each church excommunicated the other over differences in how to practice Christianity. What is interesting about the Great Schism is that the Roman Bishop, Leo IX, had been dead for 3 months so he could not have seen or signed the excommunication for the Eastern Church. Both churches had been in talks about the differences which led to the Great Schism.
This class was full of information about Christian History. I would recommend it to any ULC minister. This course helped me realize how the early church developed and the hardships that it faced in the very early years. This course was well written and was presented in an organized and chronological fashion. The author of this course was very knowledgeable about Christian History.
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