A.D. 70-312

History represents an amazing story of the redemption of mankind in which the sovereign Lord is seen to be advancing His purposes toward His pre-ordained and pre-determined end. Having begun His work in the Garden, and having advanced His purposes through His chosen people, Israel, He is now sovereignly working in His Church to bring about nothing less than the Kingdom of God on Earth. The study of Church history is not always pretty but it is always fascinating—especially when viewed in light of the whole irresistibly advancing cause of Christ. Our study will yield a roster of men and women of spectacular courage and conviction, as well as those of cowardly and compromising character. It is at once a story of great personal sacrifice for the glory of God and of personal ambition for the sake of selfish interests. Yet, through it all, God graciously elevates common and flawed individuals to places of extraordinary influence and for purposes far in excess of what their own human abilities would justify.

We will begin with a focus on the early church, marveling at the courage of these first believers in the midst of extraordinary persecution. We will then proceed to the spread of the church as chief religion of the Roman Empire and see how they confront early heresies of the Church. The rise in power of the Catholic Church in Europe is followed by a period of great reformation and revival that eventually spreads to the new country of America. Finally, our study will examine the challenge of Liberalism in the late 1800s and the rise of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movements of the 20th century. In all, this study will give you a new appreciation for the truth of Jesus’ words, “. . . upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18)

Tommy Nelson is the pastor of Denton Bible Church and guest instructor at the Kanakuk Institute.

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