Products>Mobile Ed: CH241 The History of Christianity in the United States (10 hour course - audio)

Mobile Ed: CH241 The History of Christianity in the United States (10 hour course - audio)



In The History of Christianity in the United States, Chris Armstrong provides an introduction to the major movements, ideas, figures, and events in American church history, from colonization to recent decades. See how transplanted European churches took root, and American originals sprang up, over the course of five centuries of challenges and opportunities: early settlements, the expansion of the frontier, wars of independence and unification, slavery, immigration, intellectual challenges to the faith, and the new political and social realities of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Learn how the church reinvented and reaffirmed its central identity in the face of these social changes, and discover the implications of American church history for Christian life and ministry in today’s culture.

This is the audio only version of The History of Christianity in the United States. To purchase the full course, click here.


  • Introducing the Speaker and the Course

Unit 1 European and Reformation Backgrounds

  • European Roots
  • Convictions of Early Protestants
  • The Word and the Reformed Tradition
  • Key Elements of the Reformed Tradition
  • The Purity of the Church

Unit 2 The English Reformation and the Roots of Puritanism

  • Introduction to the English Reformation
  • Two Queens
  • Church Order in the Anglican and Presbyterian Traditions
  • Church Order in the Congregational Tradition
  • The Formation of Puritanism
  • The Failure of Puritanism in England
  • Introduction to American Puritanism
  • The Puritan Trajectory

Unit 3 Puritanism in America

  • The Puritan Dream
  • Key Themes in Puritan Thought
  • The Puritans’ Application of Covenant Theology
  • Reasons for the Puritan Decline
  • The Salem Witch Trials and the Halfway Covenant
  • The Puritan Legacy

Unit 4 The First Great Awakening

  • An Introduction
  • Traits of Evangelicals
  • The Progress of the Awakening
  • Heart Religion
  • Misunderstanding the Movement
  • The Evangelical Impulse for Social Reform
  • George Whitefield
  • Results of the Awakening

Unit 5 The Revolutionary Period

  • Religious Factors in the Revolution
  • Thomas Paine and the Language of Revolution
  • Involvement in the Revolution: Puritans, Anglicans
  • Involvement in the Revolution: Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians
  • Involvement in the Revolution: Catholics, Pacifists

Unit 6 Deism

  • An Enlightenment Worldview
  • Deism and the Founding Fathers: Thomas Paine
  • Deism and the Founding Fathers: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson
  • Deism and the Founding Fathers: Conclusion

Unit 7 Catholicism

  • American Catholic History
  • Navigating a Protestant Context
  • Special Issues of an Immigrant Catholic Church
  • A History of Anti-Catholicism
  • Reasons for Anti-Catholicism
  • An Introduction to Americanism
  • The Irish Position on Americanism
  • The German Position on Americanism
  • Evaluating the Irish and German Positions on Americanism

Unit 8 The Church in the Early Republic

  • The Disestablishment of State Churches
  • The Rise of Religious Freedom
  • The First Amendment and the Public Role of Religion
  • Evangelicalism as a Radical Force
  • A Profile of Frontier Religious Groups
  • A Crisis of Authority
  • New Methods for a New Age

Unit 9 Social Reform

  • Charles Finney and the Birth of the Benevolent Empire
  • Aspects of Benevolent Reform
  • Other Benevolent Causes
  • The Benevolent Empire through the Civil War
  • Social Issues in the New Industrial Economy
  • Examples of Christian Social Action
  • Key Social Gospel Figures
  • Theological Dimensions of the Social Gospel
  • Twentieth Century Developments
  • Assessing the Influence of the Social Gospel

Unit 10 Gender in 19th Century Christianity

  • Introduction
  • Protestant Women and Ordination
  • The Changing Fortunes of Women Ministers
  • Roles of Women in the Church, 1860-1920
  • The Paradox of Conservative Feminism
  • Conclusion

Unit 11 African-American Christianity

  • Black Christianity in America
  • Geographic Contexts of Slavery
  • The Apostolic Age of Black Christianity
  • The Slave Mission Period through Emancipation
  • Black Worship in the Time of Slavery
  • Black and White Spiritual Mutuality
  • Resources for Spiritual Mutuality
  • Post-Emancipation and Historiographical Issues
  • Conclusion

Unit 12 Holiness and Pentecostalism

  • Those Embarrassing Emotionalists
  • Pentecostalism’s Role in the History of American Evangelicalism
  • The History of the White Holiness Movement
  • The Map of Expected Spiritual Experiences
  • The Postbellum Holiness Movement
  • Black Holiness Groups
  • The Roots of Pentecostalism
  • The Development of Pentecostalism
  • Restorationism and the Pentecostal Hermeneutic

Unit 13 Fundamentalism

  • Introduction to Fundamentalism
  • Fundamentalist Roots in Protestant Orthodoxy
  • The Princeton Seminary Dynasty
  • The Early Decades of Fundamentalism
  • The Scopes Monkey Trial
  • Common Features of Fundamentalist Theology
  • Unit 14 From World War II to the 21st Century
  • Introduction to Post World War II Christianity
  • The Map of Post-War Religious Normalcy
  • Seekers
  • Ethnic Religious Communities
  • Religion in the Public Square
  • Final Reflections and Questions in American Church History


  • The History of Christianity in America
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Chris Armstrong

Dr. Chris Armstrong is the founding director of Opus: The Art of Work, a new institute at Wheaton College dedicated to understanding God’s call for work in the world. Prior to taking this post in 2014, he was director of Bethel Seminary’s Work with Purpose initiative while serving as a professor at Bethel. His training is in the field of American church history, and his areas of interest include religion and emotion; Christianity and literature; the holiness, Pentecostal, and charismatic movements; the Christ-and-culture conversation; and the “ancient–future” and “new monastic” movements within evangelicalism. He received his BA from St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia (Canada), his MA from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his PhD from Duke University, where his research focused on the 19th-century holiness movement.

Dr. Armstrong wrote over 70 articles as the former managing editor of Christian History & Biography magazine, and he continues to contribute to Christian History & Biography and other publications, including Christianity Today and Leadership Journal. He has contributed chapters to Singing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land (edited by Mark A. Noll and Edith L. Blumhofer) and Portraits of a Generation: Early Pentecostal Leaders (edited by James R. Goff Jr. and Grant Wacker). Dr. Armstrong’s book, Patron Saints for Postmoderns, was published in 2009 by InterVarsity Press, and his forthcoming book, Getting Medieval: An Exploration with C. S. Lewis, will be published by Baker Academic.



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