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Eleven Significant Events that Changed Christianity Since 100 AD

Earlier this year, our family went on Spring Break. All 21 of us! But, it wasn’t all vacation. I decided to begin teaching our 14 grandchildren (or at least 7 of the “olders” ages 8-15) eleven events that changed Christianity. It’s what our grandchildren call “Papa School”.

I wanted to give them a brief history of historical Christianity from the New Testament to the 60’s. I also wanted them to know the major events, people and movements that have shaped the Christian faith and the church.

My second goal was to shore up their confidence about the Bible. I wanted them to know how we got it and who determined which writings should be in our Bible. It’s been my experience if a Christian does not have confidence and conviction about the Bible, he or she will never live under its authority.

So, here are, what in my estimation, are the eleven significant events that changed Christianity since 100 A.D.

You can either read, or download each teaching.

1. The Early Church – Christianity on Fire

2. The Conversion of Constantine and the Council of Nicea (325)

3. The Books for a New Testament

4. Augustine and Systematic Theology

5. The Holy Roman Empire (500-1500 AD)

6. Forerunners of the Reformation and the Invention of the Printing Press (1440)

7. The Reformation 

8. John Calvin and Other Reformers

9. The Age of Reason and Revival (1600 – 1800)

10. John Cary and the Modern Missions Movements (1880)

11. Liberalism, Fundamentalism and the Growth of Evangelicalism 

Teaching Ideas I generally try to tackle one topic at a time when they are fresh and alert. I always hope each topic will generate lots of questions. Some do and others just land with a thud. When I can’t answer them immediately, I promise to look it up and get back to them the next day.

I always try to anticipate and answer the “so what?” question. “What difference does this make to me or us today?” Even if they never ask it, I pose the question and give them my answer.

I’ll generally review each topic, highlight the most important points, and then teach the kids from my notes. Each gets a hard copy, so they can read it for themselves as I teach. I also give a copy to their parents, so they can read it and re-enforce what I’ve taught.

Each lesson lasts about 20-40 minutes – depending on the topic and level of interest. If I sense it’s not going all that well, I stop. The founder of Young Life, Jim Rayburn wrote the book, It’s a Sin to Bore a Kid! I agree. It’s far more important that they learn, than I teach. (By the way, I’ve not yet finished this series with our grandchildren yet, but I hope to by spring.)

I’ve also used this series as a weekly study, and I’ve used them to help the men I mentor remember the faithfulness of those who’ve gone before us. If you’re not reasonably versed on church history yourself, I’d recommend you try to read all eleven in one or two sittings to get a good feel for the grand scope of Christian history before you prepare to teach individual lessons. Enjoy!

Following Jesus in Real Life

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