Friday, January 16, 2009

Podcast Review

History of Christianity

This is a series of classes conducted by Dr. Maxie Burch, under the auspices of a Baptist church in Arizona. At this point, they have 3 classes available on iTunes, for a total of 31 separate lectures, each running about 60-90 minutes.

There are 9 episodes (about 11 hours) in the Early Christian History series, covering roughly the time period from the apostles to the 8th Century. I would judge the level of the lectures to be an advanced adult Sunday School class, or perhaps a freshman level college class. Topics covered in this class include the age of martyrs, Constantine's reforms, early heresies, the canonization of the New Testament, the early councils and creeds, hermits and monasteries, and Celtic Christianity. I learned a lot in these lectures, and found nothing that either contradicted what I already knew, or that seemed "off the track." It struck me as a balanced and well-informed review of that period of church history.

I have not gotten far in the second class yet, Medieval and Reformation Christianity, which runs 11 episodes (about 17 hours). I have found it so far to be as solid and interesting as the first class. The topics surrounding the Reformation tend to create fissures in the Christian community, but I continue to trust that the class will remain well-balanced and fair as it discusses those theological controversies.

The third class, which I expect to get to later in the year, is an 11-episode (about 17 hours) class called Introduction to Historical Theology, and looks like it covers a range of theological topics, such as the Trinity, Sin and Sanctification, Sacraments, the Church, and Last Things. It looks fascinating.

I heartily recommend this podcast to anyone who wants to fill up some gaps in their knowledge relating to the history of the church.

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