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HolyGround >> Would Christianity exist without Constantine?


12/26/11 6:58 PM
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Grakman
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? Phone Post
12/27/11 5:09 PM
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reverend john
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would the church of the most high God be gone if a mortal leader of questionable character did not marry it to state power? Of course it would.

Would it be healthier? that is a good question, and I say yes it would

rev
12/27/11 11:18 PM
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Benedictus
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Christianity existed before Constantine, so I am not sure why it wouldn't without him. It grew even while under severe persecution. Phone Post
12/28/11 9:44 PM
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770mdm
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I'd be interested to hear this. The Talmud records a friendship between Marcus Aurelius and Judah the Prince.

http://www.rabbiwein.com/Marcus-AureliusbrGreat-NonJews-in-Jewish-History-P669.html

Marcus Aurelius was interested in becoming Jewish but Judah advised against it. What if he hadn't? Would Judaism now be as big as Christianity?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great_and_Judaism

Christianity may have been around before Constantine but him nationalizing Christianity did perpetuate it's ideals.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/why/legitimization.html
12/28/11 11:05 PM
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TheHawker
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Well, the talmud as an historical record is about as reliable as the Weekly World News, so I would take that story with a grain of salt.

Regarding Constantine, all he did was give Christians the same freedom that other religions had. He didn't ban other religions, and he even continued to allow pagan priests to participate in state rituals.

Subsequent Byzantine emperors did a lot more than Constantine to officially promote Christianity as the religion of the empire.
12/29/11 12:19 AM
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reverend john
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He made Christianity define itself, he made pagan temples into cathedrals, he made the Christian religion the religion of the empire

rev
12/29/11 12:28 AM
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TheHawker
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If you are referring to the Council of Nicea, he didn't "make" that happen, he convened it at the urging of the bishops. Christianity was already a dominant religion in the empire. He didn't make it the "official" religion, he just lifted state persecution.

Many of the acts he is accused of were actually carried out by later emperors.
1/2/12 11:56 AM
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Demitrius Barbito
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Edited: 01/02/12 11:58 AM
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 Actually he MADE A POWER GRAB. But it was those that came after him that fleshed out HIS and THEIR visions of Christianity (Which was taken back to biblical standards and practices in the 1500's).

The church was alive and well "all over the region" at his time. That's why we have letters written to the churches in Thesolonica, Ephesis, Collosi, Rome and others. Christ even spoke to the churches in Alexandria and Laodecia in Revelation. All written 100's of years before Constantine.

The church could never exsist or survive because of a "mans doing anything". God told us the end from the beginning...
 
1/3/12 7:53 AM
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Joe Ray
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Actually when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the empire, it was not yet the dominant religion.

The vast majority of the ruling aristocracy were still pagans.

1/3/12 10:29 AM
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reverend john
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In addition though some Bishops wanted the council of Nicea, many did not, and the idea that this council would determine a definition of what was acceptable, and later allow people to be put to death for deviating from it was far from anyones minds

You must remember that history is written by the powerful. Constantine needed a unified Christianity in order to hold together a fragmenting Rome. Though there may have been some Bishops that wanted to codify the religion, it was Constantine that was best served by this codification.

Having said this, I believe the council came up with the majority view, and agree with most of the councils affirmations, just not the practical implications of having it.

rev
1/4/12 9:10 AM
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Grakman
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I was being flippant when I created this thread and for that I apologize. It's generated some decent discussion but what I meant to ask (before I brain-farted the title) is, 'Would there be CHRISTMAS without Constantine?", a spin off of the Christmas without Chanukah thread.

Sorry :-/ Phone Post
1/5/12 11:58 PM
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yusul
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Edited: 01/06/12 10:57 AM
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this place is serious bidness.
1/12/12 11:35 PM
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OneScoup
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Interesting questions and answers, especially from the Rev. I think it would still be here but probably in a smaller more pure form.
1/14/12 2:28 PM
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TheStewedOwl
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Man of Action - Maybe catholicism wouldnt be around, but christianity would have been better of without him adding paganism into every pore. He was the evil douche who changed the sabbath from sat to sun.


Not such a big deal:

In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6)


Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)


So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. (Galatians 4:8-10)


The requirements of the Law were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We set aside a specific day to honor Him out of joy, not legalistic obligation, like tithing. Jesus is, as he said, Lord even of the Sabbath.
1/14/12 8:38 PM
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Ridgeback
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Man of Action - Maybe catholicism wouldnt be around, but christianity would have been better of without him adding paganism into every pore. He was the evil douche who changed the sabbath from sat to sun.

 The "Lord's Day" is already mentioned in scripture.  Constantine didn't change the "Sabbath."  The first Christians observed the Sabbath, but they engaged in the Lord's Day specifically the first day of the week.  The historical Church that was actually present in history gave you your Bible and most of your theology.  You might as well say that there would be no trunk while you are perched out on the branches.  I will agree that Catholicism is a schismatic and later hereterical branching from the Church, but Catholicism and every other modern form of Christianity stems directly from the Bishops and their flocks who survived persecution and were more than happy to have an emperor who made their religion legal and stopped them being murdered, tortured, and otherwise persecuted, something the critics of these people have never experienced themselves.  
1/14/12 11:47 PM
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reverend john
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I agree, don't blame them at all... but it was the biggest subversion of the church anyways

rev
1/18/12 12:24 AM
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Ridgeback
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 A lot of that comes down to how you define "church" and how you define "subversion".  If you include Protestantism in the church then the marriage of the Reformers with particular nation-states is every bit as egregious if not much more considering all the persecutions that were born out of those marriages.  It could also be argued that when the Eastern Church fell under the boot of Islam it was severely subverted as Bishops ceased to be "head slaves" and became essentially the rulers of the pockets of Christianity in Islam dominated countries, often being appointed by Muslim authorities to the positions.  Or you could argue that when Russian priests and bishops were brutally murdered in the revolutions of the 20th century and some were replaced by KGB implants by the Soviets, this represented a serious subversion of the Church.  

Honestly I think the Church as I would define it is constantly subverted by this world as individual Christians divide in their loyalties between the "Prince" of this fallen world (whose ethic is hinged upon violence and power structures) and the Kingdom of Heaven (whose ethic is agape love and peacemaking).  Citing one particular time in history as the most egregious seems to imply that either the Church was lost entire or that all the forms of subversion that have taken place since then can reasonably be regarded as "not nearly so bad as that Constantine business."  And in reality what happened with Constantine is not much compared to, say, the reign of Justinian.  

Personally if I thought all the men who held sway at the 7 Councils and who put the Bible together were hopelessly compromised then there is nothing to really trust.  After all, we take their table of contents and theology and then claim they were married to Satan.
1/18/12 8:54 AM
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Grakman
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Yeah but... what about Christmas? :-P Phone Post
1/18/12 11:32 AM
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inlikeflynn
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Maybe it would be more accurate to call it the beginning of the subversion of the church rather than the biggest, as it set the precedent for the intertwining of the church with the state?
1/18/12 1:27 PM
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reverend john
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Yes the beginning of a continuing subversion, very true, Ridges points are very well made as well

rev
1/23/12 4:58 PM
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seg
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 Somewhat of a tangent, but where would Gnosticism be today without Constantine?  Didn't the Council of Nicea sound the death knell for Gnosticism?
1/23/12 5:05 PM
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reverend john
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I think today's protestant church is very gnostic

rev
1/23/12 7:07 PM
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Demitrius Barbito
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 I think todays evangelical church is very inconvinienced...

D.

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