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History. This article is about the academic discipline. For an overview of church history , see History of Christianity. Church history is an academic discipline that studies the history of Christianit y, and the way the Christian Church has developed since its inception. Henry Melvill Gwatkin defined church history as "the spiritual side of the histo ry of civilized people ever since our Master's coming." A. M. Renwick, howeve r, defines it as an account of the Church's success and failure in carrying out Christ's Great Commission. Renwich suggests a fourfold division of church his tory into missionary activity, church organization, doctrine and "the effect on human life". Church history is often, but not always, studied from a Christian perspective. W riters from different Christian traditions will often highlight people and event s particularly relevant to their own denominational history. Catholic and Orthod ox writers often highlight the achievements of the ecumenical councils, while ev angelical historians will focus on the Protestant Reformation and the Great Awak enings.