Products>Mobile Ed: CH101 Introducing Church History I: Obscurity to Christendom (6 hour course - audio)

Mobile Ed: CH101 Introducing Church History I: Obscurity to Christendom (6 hour course - audio)

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Beginning with the aftermath of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, CH101 covers the story of Christianity up to the 15th century. Dr. James unravels the distinct thought and persecution of the early Christians, as well as the key historical turning points that would result in the formation of doctrines such as the doctrine of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity. Discover the important work of Augustine, who responded to the Donatists and Pelagius in a way that would have lasting marks on the church. Dr. James traces the historical context of the rise of the papacy; the violence of the first Crusades and their lingering effects; and the rise of medieval scholasticism, particularly in the work of Thomas Aquinas. This course concludes with an explanation of the Great Schism of the 14th century and the early reform attempts by John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, which paved the way for the Protestant Reformation.

This is the audio only version of CH101: Introducing Church History I: Obscurity to Christendom. To purchase the full course, click here.

Course Outline


  • Introducing the Speaker and the Course

Unit 1: Contours of the Early Church

  • Expansion of the Early Church
  • Explanations for Christian Expansion
  • Using Lists and Search Operators to See God’s Heart for the Vulnerable
  • Structure of the Early Church
  • Worship in the Early Church
  • Apostolic Fathers

Unit 2: Persecution in the Early Church

  • Historical Context and Pagan Perceptions of Christians
  • Parameters of Persecution
  • Roman Persecution before AD 250
  • Martyrdoms of Polycarp, Blandina, and Ponticus
  • Empire-Wide Persecution Begins (AD 250)
  • Identifying Times of Persecution Using the Timeline
  • Establishment of the Tetrarchy
  • The Great Persecution
  • The Tetrarchy Undone
  • Constantine and the Triumph of Christianity

Unit 3: Theological Diversions in the Early Church

  • Judaizing Christians
  • Gnosticism
  • Gnostic Anthropology

Unit 4: Canon and Trinity

  • Formation of the New Testament Canon: Part 1
  • Formation of the New Testament Canon: Part 2
  • The Trinity: Monarchianism
  • The Trinity: Arian Controversy Unfolds
  • The Council of Nicaea Decides
  • The Resurgence and Eventual Defeat of Arianism
  • Emperor Theodosius and the Council of Constantinople

Unit 5: Christology

  • Apollinaris
  • Nestorius
  • Cyril versus Nestorius
  • Eutyches
  • The Council of Chalcedon

Unit 6: Aurelius Augustine

  • Gateway to the Medieval Church
  • The Life and Times of Augustine
  • Creating Character Biography Reports with Factbook and Wikipedia
  • Donatism
  • Pelagianism
  • Augustinianism

Unit 7: The Rise of the Papacy

  • Leo I
  • Gregory the Great and the Crowning of Charlemagne
  • Papal Forgeries
  • Pope Innocent III

Unit 8: The Crusades

  • The First Crusades
  • The Failure of the Crusades

Unit 9: Medieval Scholasticism

  • The Rise of Scholasticism
  • Thomas Aquinas and High Scholasticism
  • Late Medieval Scholasticism: Ockham

Unit 10: Late Medieval Maelstrom

  • European Crises and the Babylonian Captivity
  • The Great Schism
  • Attempts at Reform: Wycliffe
  • Building a Custom Layout to Compare English Bible Translations
  • Attempts at Reform: Hus


  • “Saints” and Sinners

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Frank James

Dr. Frank James is President of Biblical Theological Seminary in the Philadelphia suburb of Hatfield, PA. Prior to taking his current post in 2013, he taught and served as president at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL, and served as provost and taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA. Additionally, he has been on the teaching faculties of Villanova University and Westmont College, and was Visiting Professor at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University.

Dr. James has focused particularly in two academic areas­—the Reformation and Contemporary American Evangelicalism—and has taught and written widely in both areas. He has written or edited nine books and published over 60 articles in popular and academic journals. His latest book is Church History: Reformation to the Present (Zondervan, 2013). Previous works include (as coeditor and contributor) The Glory of the Atonement: In Biblical, Theological and Historical Perspective (InterVarsity Press, 2004); Peter Martyr Vermigli and Predestination: The Augustinian Inheritance of an Italian Reformer (Oxford University Press, 1998); and (as coeditor and contributor) Companion to Peter Martyr Vermigli (Brill, 2009). Dr. James has also has given lectures at distinguished universities and research institutes around the globe, including Oxford University, the University of Zurich, and the University of Padua, Italy.

A Texas native, Dr. James has two doctorates: a DPhil in History from Oxford and a PhD in Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is married to fellow author Carolyn Custis James.


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  1. Robert



    This is a remarkable course. The narration is spectacular, the info provided is clear and the point. I enjoyed it so much I purchased CH102 audio and listened to that right away continuing where CH101 left off. Outstanding course, one of the best I've listened to yet. Very well written.
  2. Alessandro