Church in Mission Through History


The purpose of this survey course is to introduce the study of Christian Heritage and Mission at Palmer Seminary in such a way that church history is understood in light of God’s mission (missio dei) and God’s mission is understood in light of church history.  The theoretical scope of this course is tremendous; it covers 2000 years of human history on six continents.  It will be made more manageable through learning-centered teaching methods and by focusing on a limited set of themes, geographical regions, and time periods which were most influential for subsequent developments in the church’s mission or which provide fruitful examples for thinking about the relationship between the Gospel and culture.  Students will also be exposed to a variety of historical writings such as biographies, historical theology, social history, and even historical fiction.  Its purpose is to introduce students to a broad area of study so that they can choose subsequent courses to take in the area of Christian Heritage and Mission at Palmer.  A deliberate effort will be made in the assignments for this course to help students see the connections between contemporary church life and the history of Christian mission in earlier eras.


Martin E. Marty, The Christian World: A Global History, New York: Random House, 2008.  (main course text.)

Louis Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

John F. Sensbach, Rebecca’s Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.

Students must choose ONE of the following two historical fictions to read

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory, New York: Penguin Classics, 2003.  (any edition of this classic novel is acceptable.  The book should be easily obtained from most public libraries.  If you have read it previously and would like a suggested alternate book of a similar nature please see the instructor.)


Shusako Endo, Silence, Taplinger Publishing, 1980.

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