Cultural Christians in the Early Church

Cultural Christians in the Early Church

Taught by Nadya Williams

Cultural Christians in the Early Church online course considers the challenge of culture to the earliest converts to Christianity as they struggled to live on mission in the Greco-Roman cultural milieu of the Roman Empire, and argues that cultural Christians were the rule, rather than the exception, in the early church.

Course Details

  • 11 Units

  • Self-paced

  • 5 hours of video

  • Beginner

  • Cultural Christians in the Early Church

12 Month Access
$179.99 USD

Already Enrolled? Sign in

Course Description

Christians today tend to see the earliest followers of Jesus as zealous converts who were much more counter-culturally devoted to their faith than typical churchgoers today. Cultural Christianity might seem like a modern concept, one most likely to occur in areas where Christianity is the majority culture, such as the American Bible Belt. The story that this course presents refutes both of these faulty assumptions. Aiming to be both historical and practical, Cultural Christians in the Early Church argues that in the early church cultural Christians were the rule rather than the exception. Using categories of sin as an organizing principle, classicist Nadya Williams considers the challenge of culture to the earliest converts to Christianity, as they struggled to live on mission in the Greco-Roman cultural milieu of the Roman Empire. Recognizing that cultural sins were always a part of the story of the church and its people is a message that is both a source of comfort and a call to action in our pursuit of sanctification today.

By completing this course, you’ll gain:

  • a richer understanding of the early church and early Christians
  • foundational knowledge about common sins affecting the early church in the ancient world
  • a grasp on the complex cultural assumptions that can affect sin
  • insight into challenges Christians continue to face today and how we might avoid them
  • confidence in your growing knowledge through personalized review sessions, unit assessments, and award-winning memory building tools

Meet Your Instructors

Nadya Williams

PhD, Princeton University

Nadya Williams is a military historian of the Greco-Roman world and the coeditor of Civilians and Warfare in World History. She is book review editor at Current, where she also edits The Arena blog. She is a regular contributor to the Anxious Bench and has also written for Plough, Front Porch Republic, Church Life Journal, History Today Magazine, History News Network, and The Conversation.

Course Outline

  • Introduction

  • More for Me, Less for Thee: The Curious Case of Sharing without Caring in the Early Church

  • BBQ and Wine: When Food Leads to Sin

  • (Un)Holy Bodies, (Un)Holy Minds: Resisting the Cultural Views of Sexuality

  • Trouble in Bithynia: How Cultural Sins Lead to Apostasy


  • Unexpected Martyrs: Women’s Challenge to Cultural Christianity in the Third-Century Church

  • When Sharing and Caring Disappear: The Problem of Self-Care in the Age of Crisis

  • “Are You Washed in the Blood?”: Sectarian Violence among Cultural Christians

  • The Altar and the Cross: Christian Nationalism in the Twilight of Empire

  • The Siren Call of the Desert: Why Running Away from the Church Cannot Solve the Problem of Cultural Sin

  • Conclusion


BibleMesh is now offering an integrated reading experience for our new book-based courses. As before, students will be guided through their reading with book excerpts embedded within the course. This allows for an improved reading experience within the course. Students will also be able to pop out the book reader into a full-screen, fully-featured web-based reading platform where they will be able to see the wider context of each excerpt and access the complete book.

Retain what you learn with Cerego's award-winning learning engine

High-quality video lectures and interactive reading materials are further enhanced by Cerego. Cerego’s team is comprised of experts in memory science, technology and education committed to advancing the personalized learning movement. Their next generation learning engine applies adaptive learning and memory science to enhance how you learn, study, and remember.

  • Learn Faster

    All of your lessons are taught by scholars, designed by educators, and enhanced by Cerego. Cerego's technology is built on proven memory science that helps students learn faster and remember longer.

  • Remember Longer

    Your study plan is 100% personalized for your brain and based on the latest in cognitive science to help you retain what you learn.

  • Track Your Progress

    Your dashboard updates every time you study, so you can see what you've learned—and what to review next on your path to mastery.