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Placable37

The Great Error Of Constantine

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Posted (edited)

Constantine, Roman Emperor from July 25th 306AD. to October 22nd 337AD., left a legacy of politicised institutional "christianity" which in some respects constituted an unhealthy partnership between the so-called church and the state.

 

This great error is a legacy which can be traced in its first instance to an act of Constantine whereby he forbade anyone outside the established church to meet for religious purposes, and enforced this with what were the first confiscations of the property of those who did.

 

According to the writings of Eusebius Pamphilius of Caesaria, an advisor to Constantine, the emperor waited until just before his death to be baptised so as not to risk sinning afterward and as a consequence losing his salvation, such was his belief that baptism was the seal of salvation by which immortality was conferred.

 

Constantine and Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, met in Milan 313 AD to form an agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire, and the ensuing Edict of Milan gave Christianity a legal status, thereby laying the groundwork for the politicised institutional "christianity" that came of age on 27 February 380AD., when a later Roman Emperor, Theodosius, succeeded in making "Nicean Christianity" the State religion.

 

The so-called "Edict of Thessalonica" declared the Nicene Trinitarian Christianity to be the only legitimate imperial religion and the only one entitled to call itself Catholic. Theodosius described other Christians as "foolish madmen" and ended official state support for the traditional polytheist religions and customs. Once again all meetings other than those of "Catholic Christians", in officially sanctioned places, were banned.

 

Of this "state of affairs" historian William Jones writes in his book, "The History Of The Christian Church",  that the Scriptures were now no longer the standard of the Christian faith but the decisions of councils and fathers; religion was propagated not by the apostolic methods of persuasion accompanied with the meekness and gentleness of Christ, but by imperial edicts and decrees; nor were gainsayers to be brought to conviction by reason and Scripture but to be persecuted and destroyed.

 

With the blueprint in place for state enforced sanctions against perceived enemies of the church, the legacy of politicised institutional "christianity" ironically served the Reformation well, a claim upheld by R.K.McGregor Wright, who states in his book, "No Place For Sovereignty...", that "the entire process of the Reformation took place in the context of state churches, with secular power supporting the Reformers and protecting their gains."

 

Edited by Placable37

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3 hours ago, Placable37 said:

Of this "state of affairs" historian William Jones writes in his book, "The History Of The Christian Church",  that the Scriptures were now no longer the standard of the Christian faith but the decisions of councils and fathers; religion was propagated not by the apostolic methods of persuasion accompanied with the meekness and gentleness of Christ, but by imperial edicts and decrees; nor were gainsayers to be brought to conviction by reason and Scripture but to be persecuted and destroyed.

Are you suggesting that the Protestant Reformation had not basis in its restoration of the principle which is known today as Sola Scriptura? 

 

For example, do you think that the Nicene Creed was founded on church Tradition or Sola Scriptura? In other words was the Council of Trent consistent with the early church or did it contradict the early church?

 

3 hours ago, Placable37 said:

With the blueprint in place for state enforced sanctions against perceived enemies of the church, the legacy of politicised institutional "christianity" ironically served the Reformation well, a claim upheld by R.K.McGregor Wright, who states in his book, "No Place For Sovereignty...", that "the entire process of the Reformation took place in the context of state churches, with secular power supporting the Reformers and protecting their gains."

 

And what about the Roman Catholic church?

 

Are you Catholic Placable37?

 

Lastly, can you name one thing that's unbiblical about the Nicene Creed?

 

God bless,

William

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, William said:

Are you suggesting that the Protestant Reformation had not basis in its restoration of the principle which is known today as Sola Scriptura? 

For example, do you think that the Nicene Creed was founded on church Tradition or Sola Scriptura? In other words was the Council of Trent consistent with the early church or did it contradict the early church?

And what about the Roman Catholic church?

Are you Catholic Placable37?

Lastly, can you name one thing that's unbiblical about the Nicene Creed?

 

God bless,

William

Thanks for your reply, William.

I believe the Protestant Reformation did have as its basis a growing desire for Sola Scripture to be restored.

I believe the Nicene Creed matches Scripture. 

I believe the need for a creed has political overtones.

I believe there is a place for traditions in the body of Christ if they uphold Scripture, glorify God, and edify believers in Christ.

I believe the Council Of Trent had as its primary purpose the condemnation and refutation of the beliefs of the Protestants, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, and also to make the set of beliefs in Catholicism even clearer, particularly that the justice received is preserved and also increased before God through good works.

I believe the so-called Roman Catholic Church is symbolised in the first beast of Revelation 13, whose 7 heads historically represent Imperial Control, in order:

1. Egypt (fallen)

2. Assyria (fallen)

3. Babylon (fallen)

4. Medo-Persia (fallen)

5. Greece (fallen)

6. Political Rome (literally fallen since Rev17:10 but figuratively now symbolic of all human government, i.e a wounded head that heals Rev 13:3)

7. Papal Rome (active)

I believe the 8th mountain-head-king morphology of Rev 17:11 is PERDITIOUS ROME, the accummulation of wicked human desire to control, deceive, and exploit.

 

I guess that makes me anti-catholic, but at least I'm Placable.

 

Edited by Placable37

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39 minutes ago, Placable37 said:

I believe the Nicene Creed matches Scripture.

In the historical context of the Nicene Creed I do agree that there were political motivations. However, what man might of meant for evil God has meant for good. Heresies most always demand a response from the church which is issued in the form of a creed and or confession. As you know, Arianism or modern day JWs reject Trinitarian doctrine. The Nicene Creed in large responds to that heretical distortion of who God is.

 

Martin Luther famously said, "Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason--I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other--my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen."

 

Of course contradicting means going against a former or later position. All Creeds which are set by an individual, council etc should profess or convey truth from Scripture. There were councils which held to Sola Scriptura in the early church:

 

 "Pelagianism was condemned. Six years after the council of Carthage a general council of African Churches reaffirmed the anathemas of 412 AD. Zosimus sided with Pelagius in 412, he wrote a letter condemning the anathema of Carthage. Of course having the support of Scripture, the leaders of the Carthagian Council disregarded the Bishop and his letter. Philip Schaff noted church historian observes, "This temporary favor of the bishop of Rome towards the Pelagian heresy is a significant presage of the indulgence of later popes for pelagianizing tendencies". It was these later "pelagianizing tendencies" that lead to the works-righteousness advocated by the bishop of Rome that later led to the Roman Catholic belief system. This was a pivotal moment in church history. Cornelius Otto Jansen like Martin Luther believed the early Church of Rome departed from its position that all of life was by the grace of God. And like Augustine Jansen taught that man's spirit was dead in sin, and therefore needed to be regenerated. Jansen understood that this was something that happened to man by God's grace and not something man made happen by his faith. In 1713 Pope Clement the XI issued a Papal Bull denouncing over 100 statements, many of which were actual quotes of Augustine. A Church that once sided with Augustine now sided with Pelagius."

 

Today many denominations have a fence sitting position or one that refuses to emphasize any doctrine for fear of causing a division in the body of Christ. This was the fall the Presbyterian Church USA and now an issue knocking on the door of the Presbyterian Church of America. The Reformed church, however, historically stomps out any controversial or heretical movement as precedent at the Synod of Dort when Arminianism reaffirmed/conveyed Catholic doctrine in the 5 points of Arminianism. I am merely emphasizing the need for Creeds which reaffirm the truths of Scripture as professed by believers when congregations may lean away from Scripture depending on which way the culture sways in time.

  • 1 Corinthians 11:18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,
  • 1 Corinthians 11:19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

Doctrine divides, therefore, there's such reason for taking a stand against heresies.

 

God bless,

William

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Good points, all, and while there has for sometime been a growing move away from institutional adherence, in the form of simple home fellowships, there are still the same doctrinal issues to address.

 

Key to that is how do you address the doctrinal issues, hence the OP. 

 

If you are the C of E by Legislation of course: 

"Over the course of English parliamentary history there were a number of Acts of Uniformity. All had the basic object of establishing some sort of religious orthodoxy within the English church.

The Act of Uniformity 1549 (2 & 3 Edw. 6, c. 1), also called Act of Equality, which established the Book of Common Prayer as the only legal form of worship.

The Act of Uniformity 1552 (5 & 6 Edw. 6, c. 1) required the use of the Book of Common Prayer of 1552.

The Act of Uniformity 1559 (1 Eliz., c. 2) was adopted on the accession of Elizabeth I. See Elizabethan Religious Settlement

The Act of Uniformity 1662 (13 & 14 Ch. 2, c. 4) was enacted after the restoration of the monarchy. It required the use of all the rites and ceremonies in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 in church services.

The Act of Uniformity (Explanation) Act 1663 (15 Car 2 c 6)" [Copied from Wikipedia]

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Here's an interesting way of looking at it:

 

you correctly state that the Church became an Institution. I point out it didn't start out that way. It started as a Body of believers. I don't see how it could have advanced beyond that before Constantine.

 

I question whether Constantine ever really heard the Gospel, since he waited til his deathbed to get Baptized. I think we've all pondered that same decision, if we took our Baptism seriously. We decided to get Baptized for reasons I expect we all have at least partly in common.

 

So the Church decided to make Constantine a Saint because all of a sudden they weren't all getting killed, and they started enjoying some benefits from their Christianity in the social realm too. I can't blame them for being happy about the change, or for failing to have the foresight to recognize the problem they were setting up that we know from history as "the holy Roman empire." (Gack, what a complete misnomer)

 

In Europe the Church became a culture. In the US, it became a business. Our challenge is to be the Church: a Body of believers, like the way it started.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, RazeontheRock said:

I don't see how it could have advanced beyond that before Constantine.

Amazing that a unified Christianity would eventually destroy the Roman Empire.

 

The church, Roman or otherwise had no authority to call together the entire universal catholic church. Only the Emperor had that authority throughout the Empire, nobody until then or immediately after took note of the shift of (claimed) power to the Roman Catholic church.

 

Someone feel free to correct me if wrong!

 

God bless,

William

 

 

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5 minutes ago, William said:

, nobody until then or immediately after took note of the shift of (claimed) power to the Roman Catholic church.

 

 

 

I've been reading up on early Church history and I think you are exactly correct. Further, the other large influential churches and their spheres of influence were adamant about not "developing doctrine" unless all were in agreement. That sounds reasonable to me.

 

Rome is the only one that ignored that, and developed doctrine all by herself. Look at the mess that got them in! While I've learned to love the Brethren in the RCC, when they start claiming "teaching authority" I have a hard time being respectful, and suddenly gain new appreciation for the 30 Years War, lol.

 

Also, while history teaches the great schism of 1054, it began WAY before then; maybe in the 300's? I don't find surviving documentation for just how wide the gap was in Constantine's day. I think the irrepairable schism was deeply entrenched centuries before, and only formalized in 1054.

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