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KATA_LOUKAN
Nov 28th 2007, 12:40 PM
Hello all,

I was just thinking about how Christianity was changed (or not changed) during the period of Constantine (274-337). This was a time when the church supposedly became corrupted, and all sorts of crazy ideas entered the church. But after reading several articles about it, it became apparent to me that the charges were misleading.

Is there anyone out ther who can explain how we are to view constantine's role in early christianity? What are some of the views on this guy?

Teke
Nov 28th 2007, 01:55 PM
Perhaps the most significant feature of Constantine’s effort to enforce orthodoxy among Christians is the Council of Nicaea, recognized as the First Ecumenical Council in Christianity. Constantine called the council to deal with the heresy of Arianism. Here the Nicene Creed was created and mandated for all Christians. Unity of the church was important.:)

Constantine built many beautiful churches which still stand today. Such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre) in Jerusalem.

jeffreys
Nov 30th 2007, 02:52 PM
Hello all,

I was just thinking about how Christianity was changed (or not changed) during the period of Constantine (274-337). This was a time when the church supposedly became corrupted, and all sorts of crazy ideas entered the church. But after reading several articles about it, it became apparent to me that the charges were misleading.

Is there anyone out ther who can explain how we are to view constantine's role in early christianity? What are some of the views on this guy?

First of all, we can't change history. What happened has happened.

I'd have to fall in the camp that says Constantine's influence on Christianity was not good. Any time you wed religion and civic authority, both are corrupted. Constantine's decision to make Christianity the "official religion of Rome" led to incredible corruption, evil and even the Great Crusades.

Would the Church of Jesus the Christ have survived without Constantine? Yes, absolutely! And it might have even been better off.

Teke
Nov 30th 2007, 04:40 PM
First of all, we can't change history. What happened has happened.

I'd have to fall in the camp that says Constantine's influence on Christianity was not good. Any time you wed religion and civic authority, both are corrupted. Constantine's decision to make Christianity the "official religion of Rome" led to incredible corruption, evil and even the Great Crusades.

Would the Church of Jesus the Christ have survived without Constantine? Yes, absolutely! And it might have even been better off.

Is this to say that political theology is wrong?

jeffreys
Nov 30th 2007, 04:45 PM
Is this to say that political theology is wrong?

Nope.

But let's be honest. Theocracies do not work.

When church & state wed, it inevitably leads to all manner of evil. History is replete with examples of this.

Ayala
Nov 30th 2007, 04:46 PM
Theocracy in the hands of men, does not bear good things. Only corruption and piousness.

Teke
Nov 30th 2007, 05:56 PM
Nope.

But let's be honest. Theocracies do not work.

When church & state wed, it inevitably leads to all manner of evil. History is replete with examples of this.

Then what is the Kingdom of Heaven to you? And why does scripture teach you that all government is governed or allowed, by God, and therefore Christians are to be obedient to such authorities as God appoints?

jeffreys
Nov 30th 2007, 06:10 PM
Then what is the Kingdom of Heaven to you? And why does scripture teach you that all government is governed or allowed, by God, and therefore Christians are to be obedient to such authorities as God appoints?
All government is allowed by God, yes. Even evil theocracies are, for whatever reason, allowed by God.

I think you may be confused as to what I'm referring to when I say theocracy.

KATA_LOUKAN
Nov 30th 2007, 07:12 PM
Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first Christian Roman Emperor. His reign was a turning point for the Christian Church. In 313 Constantine announced toleration of Christianity in the Edict of Milan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Milan), which removed penalties for professing Christianity (under which many had been martyred in previous persecutions of Christians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians)) and returned confiscated Church (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church) property. Though a similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galerius), then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrarchy),[20] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-16) Constantine's lengthy rule, conversion, and patronage of the Church redefined the status of Christianity in the empire.
Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_of_Constantinople)'s Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life.[21] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-17) Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian.[22] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-18) Writing to Christians, Constantine made clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone.[23] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-19) Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built various basilicas, granted privileges (e.g. exemption from certain taxes) to clergy, promoted Christians to high ranking offices, and returned property confiscated during the Great Persecution of Diocletian.[24] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-20) His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre) and Old Saint Peter's Basilica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Saint_Peter%27s_Basilica).
The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the Christian Emperor in the Church; Constantine considered himself responsible to God for the spiritual health of his subjects, and thus he had a duty to maintain orthodoxy.[25] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-21) For Constantine, the emperor did not decide doctrine - that was the responsibility of the bishops - rather his role was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity.[26] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-22) The emperor ensured that God was properly worshipped in his empire; what proper worship consisted of was for the Church to determine.[27] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-23)
In 316, Constantine acted as a judge in a North African dispute concerning the heresy of Donatism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatism). More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea), effectively the first Ecumenical Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenical_Council) (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified), to deal mostly with the heresy of Arianism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianism).
Constantine also enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea) against celebrating Easter on the day before the Jewish Passover (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover) (14 Nisan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisan)) (see Quartodecimanism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartodecimanism) and Easter controversy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_controversy)).[28] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I#_note-24)


What parts of this are "evil"?

Can you provide any clear, concrete examples of how the church was corrupted?

jeffreys
Nov 30th 2007, 07:35 PM
What parts of this are "evil"?

Can you provide any clear, concrete examples of how the church was corrupted?

It wasn't necessarily Constantine who was corrupt.

But what he did - by making Christianity the official religion of Rome - was set the stage for the horrors that followed.

Teke
Nov 30th 2007, 09:02 PM
But what he did - by making Christianity the official religion of Rome - was set the stage for the horrors that followed.

:confused:confused

The rulers usually did decide the "official religion". Russia's first king decided that Christianity would be their "official religion". The Eastern Orthodox Christians have been firmly established there since then. Many Russians can tell you stories of how Christianity survived through communist rule there. And had it not been for communist rule with it's restrictions, the "official religion" of the US may have been Orthodox as well, as they were the first Christian missions here. Had they not been stifled, the western RC branches (which include Protestants) may not have grown so great in the US.

So maybe because of the Russian king, later in history when the country would suffer greatly, it would also survive because of the Christian faith.
Something to consider.:saint:

jeffreys
Nov 30th 2007, 09:27 PM
:confused:confused

The rulers usually did decide the "official religion". Russia's first king decided that Christianity would be their "official religion". The Eastern Orthodox Christians have been firmly established there since then. Many Russians can tell you stories of how Christianity survived through communist rule there. And had it not been for communist rule with it's restrictions, the "official religion" of the US may have been Orthodox as well, as they were the first Christian missions here. Had they not been stifled, the western RC branches (which include Protestants) may not have grown so great in the US.

So maybe because of the Russian king, later in history when the country would suffer greatly, it would also survive because of the Christian faith.
Something to consider.:saint:

Do you know what a Theocracy is? :hmm: A theocracy is where church & state are one in the same.

It is not possible for there to be a theocracy in, say, the former USSR - where the government is an atheistic entity.

KATA_LOUKAN
Nov 30th 2007, 09:49 PM
But what he did - by making Christianity the official religion of Rome

Constantine didnt make the religion official, he just relaxed the persecution of christians. Theodosius made it offical.

What i am looking for is specific problem constantine caused or a doctrine he invented. Relaxing persecution was not a bad thing (although I have heard it argued otherwise).



Digression/Side Note

If it is wrong to have a theocracy, what is the "correct" form of government? Could it not be argued that your deistic, rationalistic founding fathers who were the product of the enlightenment were responsible for the decay we see in the US today?

Teke
Nov 30th 2007, 09:52 PM
Do you know what a Theocracy is? :hmm: A theocracy is where church & state are one in the same.

It is not possible for there to be a theocracy in, say, the former USSR - where the government is an atheistic entity.

Well here is Websters def. of theocracy.

theocracy

Pronunciation:
\thē-ˈä-krə-sē\
Function:
noun
Inflected Form(s):
plural the·oc·ra·cies
Etymology:
Greek theokratia, from the- + -kratia -cracy
Date:
1622

1 : government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided 2 : a state governed by a theocracy

jeffreys
Nov 30th 2007, 09:57 PM
1 : government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided 2 : a state governed by a theocracy

That's exactly what I've been saying.

And I've been saying that no theocracy has ever worked.

GothicAngel
Dec 1st 2007, 02:59 AM
Constantine wanted unity in his empire, not theological correctness. He could have cared less if the offical decision had been in favor of the Arians or of the orthodox Christians, he just wanted peace.

Steven3
Dec 1st 2007, 06:58 AM
Hi Kata Loukan
Is there anyone out ther who can explain how we are to view constantine's role in early christianity? What are some of the views on this guy?Well some say he's the Son of Perdition, but doctrinally the rot set in long before.

1Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

2 Tim4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.


Constantine wanted unity in his empire, not theological correctness. He could have cared less if the offical decision had been in favor of the Arians or of the orthodox Christians, he just wanted peace.Richard Rubinstein does offer a few suggestions why he might have seen political advantage in the result, but on the whole that seems to be the case. As far as I can see the main thing Constantine gave Christendom was the license to go out and convert by the sword ~ as the muslims later learnt from us.
God bless
Steven

Joyfilled
Dec 5th 2007, 07:12 AM
Hello all,

I was just thinking about how Christianity was changed (or not changed) during the period of Constantine (274-337). This was a time when the church supposedly became corrupted, and all sorts of crazy ideas entered the church. But after reading several articles about it, it became apparent to me that the charges were misleading.

Is there anyone out ther who can explain how we are to view constantine's role in early christianity? What are some of the views on this guy?

There is no authority except that which is established by God. My feeling about Constantine is that he mixed politics and religion and that's what corrupted Christianity. But God used Constantine to spread Christianity.