Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2018/2019

HIST 382: *Christianity In The Modern World

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  Course Description

Development of Christian thought from the late Medieval Ages to the present. Emphasis is on the confrontation of Christian theology with modernity.  Specific subjects are: the Reformation, Counter-Reformation, the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, Liberal Theology, the Theology of Crisis, etc. Cross-listed as HIST 382 and RELI 382.

Prerequisite: HIST 102

Proctored Exams: Final



  • Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. Harper Collins, 2010.  
    • ISBN-978-0-06-185588-7
  • Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume 2: The Reformation to the Present Day. Harper Collins, 2010.  
    • ISBN-978-0-06-185589-4
  • McGrath, Alister. Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution. Harper Collins, 2007.  
    • ISBN-978-0-06-143686-4
  • Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. 8th ed. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2015.  
    • ISBN-978-1-4576-9088-4

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

Welcome to Christianity in the Modern World. Material in this course is presented from both a scholarly and historical perspective so that the student will develop an understanding of the history of the Christian Church from seventh century to the present day.  The student should, upon course completion, be able to explain how the Christian church has developed over the last 1300 years, how it has both shaped and been shaped by forces both inside and outside of its principle concerns. This course will demonstrate how Christian history continues to affect the lives of the people of our world. 

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the medieval Church and its theological foundations in the thought of St. Augustine through St. Thomas Aquinas.
  2. Outline medieval theology and high scholasticism.
  3. Explain various challenges to doctrine arising from medieval mysticism and the Renaissance.
  4. Explain the struggle between the rising nation state and the Church.
  5. Describe the causes, persons, and events of the Protestant Reformation.
  6. Explain the growth and development of Protestant theology from Luther to Calvin.
  7. Describe and analyze the challenges of modernity to Christianity.
  8. Summarize the various encounters between science and Christianity.
  9. Explain the rise of modern fundamentalism.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (9) 250 25%
Midterm Exam 200 20%
Biographical Research Paper 250 25%
Final Exam 300 30%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 2 30

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 30 Friday/Sunday
Proctor Information N/A Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 30 Friday/Sunday
Research Paper Topic - Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 30 Friday/Sunday
Midterm Exam 200 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 30 Friday/Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 30 Friday/Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 30 Friday/Sunday
Biographical Research Paper 250 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 30 Friday/Saturday
Final Exam 300 Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


All readings should be completed before submitting assignments for the week. Some of the assigned readings include full chapters; others only portions of a particular chapter: therefore please pay close attention to the assigned readings and the corresponding page numbers. Be sure to see the assigned readings listed in the Content area under each week’s Assignments and in the Course Schedule listed below.

It is recommended that you utilize the following reading plan. First, read the weekly Overview found in the Content Area. Second, read the Gonzalez assigned readings. Third, read the McGrath assigned readings. On some occasions McGrath will provide additional insights on material covered by Gonzalez; on other occasions you will find ‘new’ material not covered in the Gonzalez readings. Fourth, watch the assigned videos. Although this reading plan is purely a suggestion, your instructor believes this plan will offer the essential material relevant for your weekly topics and discussions.

As noted, there will also be videos during the week to watch that will assist you with comprehending some of the topics and concepts we will be discussing in class.

Each week in the Content area of the course you will find additional resources such as flow charts, timelines, charts, and additional readings. These additional resources will be listed as Instructive Supplements. Most of these supplements will augment your discussions and/or exams. 


It is imperative you learn to summarize the key fundamentals of the discussion for the week. Although there is no word limit per se, you should try to write posts that are complete yet concise. Writing history is an exercise in discernment and will be practiced in this course. Do not attach files to be opened as part of your main post. Do not cut and paste from outside sources. All posts should be written in your own words! If outside sources are used they should be cited.

Full participation includes: providing your main post in which you completely answer the question(s) posed, responding to at least three (3) of your classmates’ posts, and reading the majority of your classmates’ posts. Student interaction is an important part of the class, and will be considered in evaluation.

Begin posting early in the week, even if it is not your main post. Check in often and see what other students are saying. Your main post must be posted by Friday, 11:59 pm Central Time (CT). The Discussions Rubric may be found in the Content area of the course.

Biographical Research Paper

By the end of Week 7, you will be required to submit a Biographical Research Paper. As you are aware, history is shaped by many factors (e.g., places, events, culture, politics, and people). For your Biographical Research Paper, you will select one individual and, using at least three (3) primary sources and three (3) secondary sources, describe the individual, the context, and the reasons this person should be considered noteworthy. You are free to choose any individual you desire as long as your choice is relevant to the course time-frame and is approved by your instructor. The individual you choose must be submitted to the Biographical Research Paper Topic Dropbox for instructor approval.

This assignment presents an opportunity to take an in-depth look at a particular individual and develop your research and writing skills.  

Your 12 – 14 page paper should include the following:

  1. A well-constructed thesis statement.
  2. A critical investigation of primary sources. 
  3. A discerning use of secondary sources.
  4. Well-constructed paragraphs.
  5. Proper use of language, spelling, punctuation, etc.
  6. Double spaced, 12-point font, with one inch margins.
  7. An introduction, body, and conclusion.
  8. Use of the Chicago Manual of Style for documentation.
  9. Both a Title Page and a Bibliography page listing primary and secondary sources.

Please be vigilant in using internet sources. Many internet sources are not reputable sources. Many historical journals are now online. A significant number of sources are available in JSTOR through the Columbia College Stafford Library.

You must submit your paper to the appropriate Dropbox folder during Week 3.  The Biographical Research Paper Dropbox folder will not be released to you until you have submitted your topic for review.

The value of the Biographical Research Paper is two-hundred fifty (250) points and must be turned in to the Research Paper Dropbox by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT at the end of Week 7. All late papers will receive a twenty (20) percent grade reduction. The grading rubric for this paper can be found in the Content area of the course.


There will be a Midterm Exam and a Final Exam. The Midterm is worth two-hundred (200) points and the Final Exam is worth three-hundred (300) points. 

The Midterm Exam is an open book, computerized exam, and will be available through the Quizzes area of the course. Once you begin the exam you will have two (2) hours to complete the exam. The Midterm Exam will have two (2) essay questions, each worth one-hundred (100) points. The Midterm Exam must be completed no later than Sunday, 11:59 pm CT of Week 4.

The Final Exam is a closed book, computerized, and proctored exam, and will be available through the Quizzes area of the course. The Final Exam will have three (3) essay questions, each worth one-hundred (100) points. Once you begin the exam you will have two (2) hours to complete the exam. The use of books, notes, the Internet and/or flash drives during the Final Exam are not allowed. You will need to make arrangements with your proctor to complete the Final Exam no later than Saturday, 11:59 pm CT of Week 8.

The rubric for the exam essays can be found in the Content area of the course.

Study guides for both the Midterm and Final exams will be provided the Sunday prior to the exam.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Topics for the Week
  • Augustine
  • Benedictine Monasticism
  • The Rise of the Papacy
  • Charlemagne
  • The Crusades
Readings and Video
  • Gonzalez:  Vol. 1 Chapter 24 (pp. 241-252); Chapter 27 (pp. 277-289); Chapter 29 (pp. 315-325); Chapter 31 (pp. 345-356)
  • Charlemagne (Video in Content area)
Discussion 1

Introduce yourself to the class; perhaps tell us your interests and hobbies, your major, what you hope to learn from this course, etc. This Discussion will be worth ten (10) points; the remaining Discussions will be worth thirty (30) points.

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Discussion 2

You must respond to both Part A and Part B.

  1. In light of the readings, review Augustine’s ideas, writings, and significance to the development of church thought and practice. Which of his many ideas do you believe are relevant to the modern church?
  2. Describe the causes and consequences of the Crusades or detail Charlemagne’s actions which enhanced the authority of the church.

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Topics for the Week
  • The Mendicants
  • Innocent III
  • Scholasticism & Aquinas
  • The ‘Babylonian Captivity’ of the Church
Readings and Video
  • Gonzalez: Vol. 1 Chapters 32-34 (pp. 357-411)
Discussion 3

You must respond to both Part A and Part B.

  1. In light of the readings, discuss the writings, ideas, and importance of both Anselm and Aquinas. In what ways do you think each impacts the present day church?
  2. Review the history, participants, and consequences of the papacy in Avignon, the Great Western Schism, and the Conciliar Movement. Describe any ideas from these events that you determine to have present day consequences.

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Topics for the Week
  • Wycliffe & Huss
  • The Mystics
  • The Renaissance & Humanism
  • Martin Luther
Readings and Video
  • Gonzalez: Vol. 1 Chapter 35 (pp. 434-445)
  • McGrath: Chapters 1-2 (pp. 17-59)
  • Martin Luther, Part I Driven to Defiance (Video in Content area)
Discussion 4

You must respond to both Part A and Part B.

  1. Describe the central concepts of the Renaissance and Humanism. In what ways did these central concepts challenge and modify the church? Make sure to give examples.
  2. Review the main features of Luther’s religious beliefs. How and why did these beliefs trigger the Reformation?

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Midterm Study Guide

On Sunday, 12:01 am CT the Midterm Exam study guide will be available under Week 3 in the Content area.

Research Paper Topic

Your research paper topic must be submitted to the appropriate Dropbox folder by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Topics for the Week
  • Zwingli & the Anabaptists
  • Calvin & Calvinism
  • The English Reformation
  • The Catholic Response
Readings and Video
  • Gonzalez: Vol. 2 Chapter 5-8 (pp. 57-98)
  • McGrath: Chapter 3 (pp. 61-82)
Discussion 5

You must respond to both Part A and Part B.

  1. Describe some of the central Anabaptists beliefs and practices. Examine how some of the modern denominations and religious communities are linked to the Anabaptists?
  2. Detail Calvin’s principle beliefs and concepts. Describe how Calvinism is manifested in the practices, beliefs, and polity of the modern church.

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Midterm Exam

Complete and submit the Midterm Exam in the Quizzes area by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Topics for the Week
  • Descartes & Locke
  • Hume & Kant
  • Boehme & Fox
  • Spener, Zinzendorf, & Wesley
Readings and Video
  • Gonzalez: Chapters 22-24 (pp. 237—274)
Discussion 6

You must respond to both Part A and Part B.

  1. Select two of the following philosophers: Descartes, Kant, Hume, and Locke. Compare and contrast how their philosophical and religious beliefs impacted the church. 
  2. Review some of the main Pietists leaders. What are some of the fundamental ideas associated with Pietism? Provide examples regarding how they effected modern church life?

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Topics for the Week
  • Religion in the Colonies & the Great Awakening
  • The Second Great Awakening
  • Slavery & the Civil War
  • From the Civil War to World War I
Readings and Video
  • Gonzalez: Chapter 25 (pp. 275-290) & Chapter 27 (pp. 319-348)
  • McGrath: Chapter 7 (pp. 150-166)
  • God in America 1: A New Adam (Video in Content area) 
Discussion 7

You must respond to both Part A and Part B.

  1. Based on the readings, describe some of the significant concepts and movements of Christianity in America from the Civil War to World War I.  Which concept or movement do you believe to have the most impact on today’s church?
  2. Based on the readings and the video clips, discuss the Great Awakening, its significance, and compare the central participants.

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Topics for the Week
  • Schleiermacher, Hegel, & Kierkegaard
  • The Rise of the German Theologians
  • Fundamentalism in America
  • The Civil Rights Movement & the Church
  • Feminist Theology & the Rise of the Evangelicals
Readings and Video
  • Gonzalez: Chapter 31 (pp. 385-398), Chapters 35-36 (pp. 457-494)
  • McGrath: Chapter 14 (pp. 390-401)
  • God in America 4: A New Light (Video in the Content area)
Discussion 8

You must respond to both Part A and Part B.

  1. Compare and contrast how the beliefs of any two (2) of the following individuals impacted the church’s thoughts and practices:  Schleiermacher, Barth, Bonhoeffer, and Hegel.
  2. Analyze the major issues and participants involved in the ‘fundamentalist vs. liberal’ religious conflict in America.

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Biographical Research Paper

Submit your paper to the Biographical Research Paper Dropbox folder by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Final Exam SG

On Sunday, 12:01 am CT the study guide for the Final Exam will be available under Week 7 in the Content area.

Topics for the Week
  • The Immaculate Conception, the Syllabus of Errors, & Papal Infallibility
  • The Principal Popes Challenging Modernity
  • Vatican I & Vatican II
Readings and Video
  • Gonzalez: Chapter 32 (pp. 399-416) & Chapter 34 (pp. 441-456)
Discussion 9

You must respond to both Part A and Part B.

  1. Based on the readings, discuss the most significant issues associated with the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility.
  2. Compare and contrast Vatican I and Vatican II.  Describe the causes, decisions, and consequences of these events.

Your initial post is due by Friday, 11:59 pm CT.  Your responses to at least three classmates is due by Saturday, 11:59 pm CT.  

Final Exam

Complete and submit the Final Exam by Saturday, 11:59 pm CT.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

All assignments are expected to be turned in by the deadlines published for all students.  Occasionally, with instructor prior approval, an assignment may be accepted for late full credit.  Otherwise, a onetime 20% deduction will be made for Research Papers.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.