Details for History of Christianity

This introductory paper covers key turning points in Christian history from Christ to the contemporary era, with a view to providing a basis for future historical and theological studies. 

Quick Info

  • Currently offered by Alphacrucis: Yes
  • Unit code: HIS101
  • Credit points: 15
  • Total workload hours per week: 9
  • Number of timetabled hours per week: 5 *

* Note: Units with reduced contact hours (such as those taught in Intensive format) will have an increased assessment component.


No pre-requisites

Awards offering History of Christianity

This unit is offered as a part of the following awards:

Unit Content

Curriculum Objective

TThis introductory paper covers key turning points in Christian history from Christ to the contemporary era, with a view to providing a basis for future historical and theological studies. 


Students should be able to:

  1. Display clear knowledge of the methods and skills used by historians, including those used to study primary documents, movements, issues and time periods
  2. Describe the sweep of the Christian tradition from both a historical and global perspective
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the interaction of the church with wider society over time
  4. Recognise the role of identity formations (e.g. gender and racial diversity, nationalisms and transnationalisms) in the Christian story as it has been lived out in cross cultural contexts
  5. Identify the importance of past foundations and future directions of the church 

Subject Content

  A survey of major themes in Christian church history.
  1.  The first six centuries of growth, struggles, controversies, relations with the state, developing  patterns and major personalities.
  2.  Medieval themes include the Christianisation of Western Europe, the supremacy of the papacy, Crusades, monastic reforms, scholasticism, heresies, Renaissance.
  3.  Modern church history including the Reformation and the great missionary wave of the 19th  century.
  4.  Revivalism through several expressions including Pietism and Puritanism.
  5.  Early church history in New Zealand

This course may be offered in the following formats

Lectures, discussion, tutorials

Please consult your course prospectus or enquire about how and when this course will be offered next at Alphacrucis College.

Assessment Methods

Book Review (25%, 1000 words); Major Essay (50%, 2000 words); Exam (25% )

Prescribed Text

Bruce L. Shelley, Church History in Plain Language.

Representative References

Chidester, David. Christianity: A Global History. San Francisco: Harper, 2000.

           Davidson, Allan K. Christianity in Aotearoa: A History of Church and Society in New Zealand. Wellington: Education for  Ministry, 2004.

Available as Ebook

Dowley, Tim. Ed. Introduction to the History of Christianity. 2nd Ed. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013.

Falloon, Malcolm, To Plough or to Preach: Mission Strategies in New Zealand during the 1820s. The Latimer Trust, 2010.

Fergusson, David. Church, State and Civil Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Freeman, C. A New History of Early Christianity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Vol 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation, 2nd ed. New York: HarperOne, 2010.

_____The Story of Christianity, Vol 2: The Reformation to the Present Day, 2nd ed. New York HarperOne, 2010

Heinze, Rudolph. Reform and Conflict: from the Medieval World to the Wars of Religion, A.D. 1350-1648. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005.

Hillerbrand, Hans J. The Protestant Reformation, rev edition. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008.

Hutchinson, Mark and John Wolffe. A Short History of Global Evangelicalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. (e-book).

Judge, E. A. The First Christians in the Roman World: Augustan and New Testament Essays. James R. Harrison ed. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008.

Kalu, Ogbu U. ed. African Christianity: An African Story. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2007.

Kidd, Thomas S. The Great Awakening: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.

Knowles, Brett, Transforming Pentecostalism: The changing Face of New Zealand Pentecostalism, 1920-2010. Lexington, KY: Emeth Press, 2014.

Lange, Stuart M. A Rising Tide: Evangelical Christianity in New Zealand 1930-65. Otago University Press, 2013.

 MacCullough, Diarmaid. A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. London: Penguin, 2010.

McLeod, H. World Christianities- c. 1914-c. 2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Morrison, Hugh and Lachy Paterson et al. Mana Maori and Christianity. Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2012.

Noble, T. F. X., Smith, J. M. H. and Baranowski, R.A. (eds.). Early Medieval Christianities: c. 600-c. 1100. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Noll, M.A. The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009.

Orange, Claudia. An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2004.

Peters, Greg. The Story of Monasticism: Retrieving an Ancient Tradition for Contemporary Spirituality. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2015.

Sanneh, L.O. Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity, Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Troughton, Geoffrey and Hugh Morrison, eds. The Spirit of the Past; Essays on Christianity in New Zealand History. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2013.

Woodward, Ernest L. Christianity and Nationalism in the Later Roman Empire.  Brooklyn, NY: Ams Press, 2005.


Church History

Christian History and Biography

Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Journal of Religious History


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