History of the Church in the Modern Era

This unit is an overview of Christian history in the modern era. The term ‘Church’ can be understood as one or more Christian traditions. It takes note of the impact of the Enlightenment, the diversity of renewal movements, ecumenism, increased secularisation, and the shift in the strength of Christianity from the northern to the southern hemisphere. It includes Post-Reformation European Christianity, Catholic missionary expansion in the New World, religiously-based settler communities, the Impact of the Enlightenment in an Age of Revolutions, transatlantic Evangelical Awakenings, the Churches during the World Wars, churches under totalitarian regimes in the twentieth century. Also included are the Ecumenical Movement and the World Council of Churches, the Impact of the Second Vatican Council, Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements and the Church in an Age of Religious Pluralism.

Study Level



Humanities in the Christian Tradition

Sub Discipline

Church History

Credit Points





Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to

  1. describe the Church’s role within the broader social, cultural and political setting of the modern era
  2. articulate the changing place of religious authority as a result of the Enlightenment
  3. identify major shifts in theological emphasis during his period and the impact these shifts had on the Church’s mission
  4. describe the change in the global spread and representation of Christianity as a result of the age of imperial expansion and the subsequent emergence of a post-colonial world
  5. exercise critical skills in the interpretation of primary sources
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