CH202 – The Church from 1550 to Modern Times


a) To introduce candidates to the major developments in church history until the present day;
b) To introduce candidates to aspects of Christian history which have affected the church in their own cultural experience as well as the experience of others;
c) To give candidates an historical framework in which the better to understand their theological studies.


CH201 is an academic unit taught online throughout the semester. It requires 7 hours of study per week, which includes:

  • Listening to the specially developed audio material
  • Reading the course notes and set readings
  • Interacting with online tutors and fellow students through the online forums
  • Reflecting on what you have learned
  • Completing written assessment tasks
  • Studying and preparing for the exam

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, for the period from 1550 to modern times, students will:

A. Know and understand

  1. The major phases and developments in the history of Christianity identified in the unit content
  2. The life and thought of selected key figures in the history of Christianity

B. Be able to

  1. Describe the impact of the social, political and cultural context on Christian beliefs, practices and movements
  2. Use primary and secondary sources
  3. Present an evidence-based perspective or narrative

C. Be in a position to

  1. Apply historical perspectives from this period to their theological studies and in ministry contexts


Section A: Reform and Revolution

1 Reformation: England and Scotland (1533-1588) Thomas Cranmer OR John Knox

2 Puritanism in England and America (1563-1662) Oliver Cromwell OR Richard Baxter OR John Winthrop OR Roger Williams

3 Revolutionary Learning & Radical Politics

3.1 Deism and the Enlightenment
3.2 Jansenism
3.3 The Church in the French Revolution John Locke OR Blaise Pascal
• Lecturers must focus on at least 2 of the topics

Section B: Change & Renewal

4 Renewal:

4.1 Pietism,
4.2 the Evangelical Revival in Britain
4.3 the Great Awakening in America
4.4 The Oxford Movement John Wesley OR George Whitefield OR Jonathan Edwards OR John Henry Newman
• Lecturers must focus on at least 2 of the topics

5 Responding to the changing Social Order:

5.1 Frontier Religion in America
5.2 The abolition of slavery
5.3 Christian Socialism
5.4 Salvation Army
5.5 Women in the Church Francis Asbury OR William Wilberforce OR F.D. Maurice OR William & Catherine Booth
• Lecturers must focus on at least 2 of the topics

6 Responding to challenges to Faith

6.1 The Rise of Biblical Criticism
6.2 Science and Religion
6.3 The First Vatican Council
6.4 Fundamentalism Friedrich Schleiermacher OR Charles Darwin OR Pius IX OR John Gresham Machen
• Lecturers must focus on at least 2 of the topics

Section C: The Church Universal

7 The church in a global context:

7.1 The birth of modern missions,
7.2 Christian missions in India OR China OR the Pacific OR Africa (nineteenth century)
7.3 Christian missions & the rise of nationalism (twentieth century)
7.4 Ecumenical movements
7.5 Vatican II
7.6 The History of Pentecostalism William Carey OR David Livingstone OR Hudson Taylor OR J. R. Mott OR John XXIII
7.7 Christians in a Totalitarian State: the church in Germany (1931-1950) OR The Soviet Union (1917-1990) Dietrich Bonhoeffer OR Alexander Solzhenitsyn
• Lecturers must focus on at least 3 of the topics

8 A history of the church in Australia:

8.1 Building a Christian Country 1788-1901
8.2 The Church in Secular Australia 1901 to the present
8.3 Ministry to Indigenous communities
• Lecturers must focus on at least 1 of the topics


(a) Students are expected to cover all nine areas covered in the syllabus outline. But there are considerable options within all sections, and lecturers should take full advantage of this flexibility to design a coherent program which best addresses the needs of students and the philosophy of the college offering the unit.

(b) Students taking this unit will be expected to engage seriously with primary sources. The names of prominent figures in Christian history, named above in italics, are to encourage lecturers to set documents for study written by or about those people.