Early Church

For the purpose of our study modules, we define the early church as the first six hundred years of church history. This section covers topics such as the Didache, Constantine’s conversion, the Council at Nicea, and the teachings of Augustine.

These thirteen modules, consisting of excerpts from documents in church history, were chosen and introduced by church historian Stephen Tomkins. They are intended for self study or as a quarterly introduction to church history for a weekly Sunday school class or other study group.

Module 101: The Didache

An early church manual instructs in Christian behavior.

Module 102: Pliny’s Letter to Trajan

A pagan official asks the emperor how Christians are to be handled.

Module 103: Polycarp’s Martyrdom

How a faithful Christian bishop died in flame.

Module 104: Tertullian’s Defense

The first theologian of the western church speaks out.

Module 105: Cyprian on Church Unity

North African bishop writes on the unity of the church.

Module 106: Antony of Egypt

A biography of the first notable Christian monk.

Module 107: Constantine’s vision

Constantine’s conversion had a mighty impact.

Module 108: Athanasius on Christ

Implications of Christ becoming a man.

Module 109: Council of Nicea

The battle over Christ’s Divinity.

Module 110: Augustine’s Love Sermon

A sermon on love–but will you agree with his definition?

Module 111: Leo Claims Special Role

Leo I claims that the bishop of Rome is above all other bishops.

Module 112: Patrick’s Own Tale

St. Patrick’s “confession,” a short autobiography.

Module 113: Gregory I and England

How Gregory sent Augustine to convert the English

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