Discover100+ Significant Moments in Church History
100+ Significant Moments in Church History
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100+ Significant Moments in Church History

Author: Mike Woodruff

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Our current culture seems more interested in the last two minutes than the last two thousand years. This is unfortunate. It’s also avoidable. Join Mike Woodruff each week as he break down some of the most significant people, events, and ideas in church history. Gain insight. Avoid mistakes. Take ground. Mike Woodruff is a pastor at Christ Church, a multisite ministry with four campuses in the north suburbs of Chicago.Learn more about Christ Church at
39 Episodes
Intro to 100+

Intro to 100+


Welcome to the pilot episode of 100 +, a series about the 100 most significant people, events and Ideas of the last 2,000 years as It relates to Christianity and the Church. Why do we study church history? Listen to this episode and find out. 
In this episode, Mike Woodruff looks at the burning of Rome which happened In 64 AD, during the time covered by the book of Acts In the Bible. This led to the spread of the Christian faith.
Today we consider the fall of Jerusalem, which happened in 70AD. It’s an event of great importance to both Jews and Christians. 
Today we move into the 2nd century – the era of the Church Fathers (also called the Patristic Period). Our focus is on a Samaritan philosopher named Justin Martyr, who is famous for a number of things, principally for writing the First Apology - i.e., the first defense of the faith. (He is also famous for being killed for his faith. “Martyr” was not his last name. As you will learn, he was martyred).Quotes from Justin Martyr:  We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.By examining the tongue of the patient, physicians find out the diseases of the body, and philosophers the diseases of the mind.The First Apology: Click here for a link to The First Apology.
We remain in the second century today as we consider the life – and death – of Polycarp, an early church leader. Bishop Polycarp was from Smyrna and was discipled by the Apostle John himself. He was considered one of the 3 most significant early church fathers. We can learn much about courage from Polycarp. 
Today’s episode finishes our overview of the Ante-Nicaean Fathers – the group of church leaders who bridged the gap between the Apostles and the Council of Nicaea. We began our focus on this 225 year period back in week three, with a look at the apologist Justin Martyr. Last week I mentioned Bishop Polycarp. In today’s episode we look at four leaders and four challenges. 
The Apostle’s Creed was not written by the Apostles nor is it found in the Bible, but it is a work of monumental importance. It is the elevator speech of the Christian faith, and every week, hundreds of millions of people recite it – most of whom have memorized it. Perhaps you have as well.  In today’s episode, I look a bit at the history behind the Apostles’ Creed, and also make a few other observations about it. Here is the Creed: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in: the Holy Spirit,the holy Christian church,the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins,the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Episode 7: Constantine

Episode 7: Constantine


Today we consider the life of the Roman Emperor Constantine, whose influence was enormous.  
Last week we considered three ways Constantine the Great shaped the world. Today we look at a fourth – he convened The Council of Nicaea, which was the first of the seven major church councils. The council – which unfolds a bit more like a Chicago political conference than you might expect, and which also includes a cameo appearance by Santa Claus (you’ll have to listen to understand) – is remarkable for many reasons. One of the most remarkable is the way it displays the hand of God. Below you will find three things. The first is the Creed of Nicaea. As I will explain, this is not the same thing as the Nicene Creed, but I thought you might like to see it all the same. The second is a 16th century painting of the gathering. The third is a painting that shows Arius defeated and under the feet of Constantine. The Creed of NicaeaWe believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of his Father, of the substance. God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance[i] with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and on the third day he rose again and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And we believe in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence from the Father or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that to say, the catholic[ii] and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.
Today we consider a brave and tireless worker named Athanasius. He was born in the last third century, attended the Council of Nicaea, was elected Bishop of Alexandria when he was still quite young and wrote several important books. But what he is most noted for, was tirelessly fighting to defend the Creed of Nicaea (which was drafted to declare the full deity of Jesus) from decades of attacks.   If you have heard the statement, Athanasius Contra Mundum, it is all about this man.
Today we step back and consider the formation of the New Testament. Perhaps you have not thought much about how they determined which books and letters became part of the Bible. But it is an important question, and the hero of last week’s podcast plays a part.
Episode 11: Augustine

Episode 11: Augustine


Today we look at Augustine, who is the most important figure to date – A post-Nicaean Father, A doctor of the Church. A philosopher, a writer, a pastor, a bishop and someone who is so big that in some ways he bridges the divide between antiquity and theMiddle Ages.As a theologian, writer, thinker and church leader, he has shaped your thinking whether you know it or not.
Episode 12: Jerome

Episode 12: Jerome


The man we study in today’s episode was a cranky curmudgeon that few could get along with, but he was a thoughtful scholar and a man determined to chase after God. And in the end, God used him in very important ways.  His name is Jerome, and among the many works he produced was a translation of the Bible that shaped the west for more than 1,000 years.
Welcome to One Hundred Plus – episode number 13, in which Mike Woodruff will focus on the fall of Rome and also provide a brief overview of the development of Western Civilization.
In the last episode, Mike discussed the fall of Rome and offered a quick summary of the arch of Western Civilization.  In today’s podcast we pick up 125 years after Nicaea. The barbarians now control growing sections of the West – which hopes that the East will come to their rescue. But they do not, in part because the emperor there – a man named Theodosius - is trying to stay on top of a religious dispute. One that deals yet again with our understanding of Christ, and one that will be addressed in the topic today, the Council of Chalcedon.
Today, we continue our slide into the Middle Ages with a look at Monasticism in general and St. Benedict in particular. Not that long ago, monks were viewed as odd and quirky. Today, they are often celebrated for their wines and cheeses, and their monasteries have gained quite a bit of cultural cache as exactly the kind of place to go to detox from this crazy world.  Neither view is particularly accurate, so in this episode, Mike will be exploring the origins of monasticism as well as tracing its development, paying particular attention to the Father of Monasticism himself, Saint Benedict. 
On today’s episode we look at Gregory the Great, a remarkable figure who shaped the church and impacted the world at a fragile moment in Western History.  It is hard to imagine how different our lives would be without this man. Mike is going to give you an overview of his life, talk about how he changed the trajectory of the West and suggest that we all look to raise our game in light of his example. 
At this moment, about one-third of the world’s population makes some sort of claim to be a follower of Christ.  That means that the group Jesus launched with just a few, has spread and grown more dynamically than any other movement in history. How did this happen? In Episode 18 of One Hundred Plus, Mike is going to leverage the impact of Saint Columba, a 6th century Irish missionary, to provide an overview of the history of mission.  He will back up to show Jesus commissioning his simple and unimpressive followers to launch the church, and then trace how it grows to become, what is now, the oldest, largest, longest-lasting, most geographically-dispersed and ethnically-diverse organization in history.  
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