Explores different aspects of the development of the early church in the context of Roman society in order to analyze and shed light on the forces that propelled Christianity from a marginal and persecuted religious group to the center of Roman political and religious structures. It takes into consideration both the pre-Constantinian period, when Christianity is an illegal religion, as well as the post-Constantinian period and the legal, political, religious and social changes in light of the Christianization of the empire.
In an era when we are seeing the collapse of Christendom it is essential for the student to understand how Western culture was Christianized to begin with. That centuries long process has shaped most of what we consider western culture, the western church, and the political and social relations between the West and the rest of the world. Any student seeking to understand and engage the world, both secular and religious, must understand the Christendom as it began with the Roman Empire.
Western civilization and culture is grounded in both the pagan Greek and Roman empires and in the subsequent Christianization of Rome. No student can understand church or global dynamics without a grasp of that history.
The couirse will force every human effort at Christianization to be compared to a Biblical understanding of the Christian life.
Students will be invited to explore the relationship between Biblical Christianity and imposed Christianization efforts that may hamper missions and a missional lifestyle.
The entire course will deal with the issue of how to contextualize the gospel in any cultural setting.
Students from any and every culture will be exploring and evaluating their own contexts for gospel-culture syncretism.
Students will leave the course will the ability to interpret cultures in light of Biblical Christianity.
The course will engage each student in the hard work of self and cultural examination and evaluation.