The First 600 Years

My husband, who is a pastor (retired now) and a church history buff will be teaching a new class through the Shepherd University Lifelong Learning program. In case you’re interested, here is a brief description of the course, which focuses on the early church:

Christianity grew from a few dozen people to be the state religion of the Roman Empire in less than 300 years. It was also preached and planted everywhere from Africa to India to western China to the cold winters of Russia before 600 CE. But, like all growth, pain is involved and there was much of that during the same period of growth. This class will explore those 600 years, looking into the growth, the crises, the debates and the people whose faith and work changed the world in their time.

This will be a six-week course, beginning on Wednesday, March 15th from 10:00-11:30 AM. It will be available via ZOOM, as well as on the Shepherd campus. There is a small fee ($60) for those who are not Gold Members of the continuing education program. (The teachers are all volunteers and are not paid).

If you would be interested in this class, you can visit:

or contact:

There will be a course preview of all the classes on Tuesday, March 1st from 5-7 PM.

For more about ways to continue learning see:

Learning Sound Theology

Book Learning, Again

Learning from Everyday Saints

Tertullian on Christian Unity

Look at what Tertullian (a church scholar who lived in North Africa c. 160-225AD) had to say as he described the young Christian believers:

“We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This strong exertion God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation.”

Image result for images of tertullian

Church History

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”  Acts 2: 46-47

I recently finished writing and editing a Bible study on the book of Acts for our denomination’s national women’s group (click on WMF on our header to learn more about them).  If you want to learn more about the early history of the Church, Acts is the place to start.

Acts is an accurate historical record;  even hostile critics have been unable to disprove the detailed political, geographical and cultural information given by Luke as he describes the spread of the Christianity.

It’s exciting reading.  The book includes not only history but travelogues, inspiring sermons and speeches, miracles and even a shipwreck. It falls into a literary genre common to the time:  a record of the great deeds of certain people or cities.  In Acts you will learn about more than 100 people who along with many others in the early church “turned the world upside down.”(Acts 17:6).

I encourage you to read through Acts this month as we think about the church.  What can we learn from the early followers of Christ?  How did they respond to and resolve the problems they encountered?  The daily lives of Christians and basic principles of ministry are set out in Acts and are still relevant to us today.

Let us know what you learn from these original believers.  We want to hear from you.