Church History

Lesson 5476 A.D. - 1517 A.D.

This week we’ll once again resume our study of Church history and the development of theology and doctrine. As you’ll recall we studied the growth of the Church from its birth at Pentecost through the leadership of the Apostles, then under the leadership of those the Apostle’s mentored, then under their mentorship – called the early church fathers, through the great period of persecution ended by Constantine early in the fourth century, creation of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, several councils and Constantine’s death all brought a split in the Church and created the Eastern Orthodox Church. Thus ending the period referred to as The Ancient Church in approximately 476 A.D.


This week we’ll look at the beginning of the period referred to as Medieval Church which covers 476 AD through 1517AD. Specifically this week we’ll look at the beginning of the period in secular history called “The Dark Ages”, a period of time begun when the Barbarians began invading the Roman Empire.

So grab your Church History books and Internet Search Engines and see if you can answer the following questions:

  1. Who were the Teutonic Tribes?
  2. What do you suppose is meant by the statement “Secularization and the voice of the State in the affairs of the Church caused institutional development and doctrine to be adversely affected”?
  3. What were some of the disadvantages of having the head of the Government also be the head of the State Church?
  4. What edicts did Theodosius I issue in 380 and 381 that impacted the Church?
  5. What influence did Justinian (483-565) have on the Church and its doctrine?
  6. What was the purpose of the Monasteries during the early days of the Dark Ages?
  7. What role did the missionary Monks play during this period?
  8. Who are the Armenians? Why are they significant during this period?
  9. From last week, what is Arianism?
  10. What would the Armenians, the Ethiopians, the British Isles, the Celts, the Scots, the Burgundians, The Goths, and The Franks all have in common during this period called the Dark Ages?
  11. Near the end of this period Monasteries in Ireland and Scotland and the Roman Christians focused on England where Christianity had been all but eliminated. What was the working relationship like between the Roman Christians and the Celtic Christians?

And so we see that once freed by the Roman Empire the Church became encumbered by the Government that freed it. Over the course of several hundred years the invading tribes were won to Christ, but at a doctrinal and institutional cost. Today we can still see the effect of those wars and tribal “conversions” as well as the benefits of the work of the Church fathers, Monks and Monasteries during that period.

Next week we’ll look at the impact of this history on the formation of doctrine, theology and the development of Christian thought during the Dark Ages. I pray that as we continue this study you will come to gain a deeper appreciation of the roots of our Christian heritage, the controversies that have developed over the centuries and a better understanding of how the “Church” of today has developed over time.

May God richly bless you as you continue to study with us.

In Christ,


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