Constantine and the Catholic Church

Q. Didn’t the Catholic Church become paganized when Constantine forced everyone to become Christian?

A. If it did, then a Pagan Catholic Church canonized the Bible. So how could we possibly trust a Bible canonized by pagans?

The truth lies elsewhere. The idea that the Catholic Church became corrupted once Constantine legalized Christianity in the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. is a plausible idea grasped at and promulgated by anti-Catholics. The problem with this is that it does not hold up under scrutiny.

First and foremost, for Protestants and the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, is that the Bible they use to formulate their doctrines and all of Salvation History, was canonized by the Catholic Church (Pope Innocent 405 A.D.) long after Constantine legalized Christianity. So, if the Christian Church was sound only until Constantine, then the Bible was canonized by pagans. For more information about the process of canonizaton see my posts on the Old Testament, who decided which books would be in the Bible and Martin Luther’s view.

Secondly, if the Catholic Church had become pagan after the Edict of Milan, then there would have been absolutely no reason for Emperor Julian, the Apostate, to launch a major persecution of the Church in an attempt to restore paganism in 361 A.D.

And finally, the theory by many Anti-Catholics, is that during the first 300 years of Christian history the true Christian faith was alive and well but became corrupted with weird Catholic/pagan beliefs after Constantine, falls apart when one reads the early Christian writings of the first three centuries.

It is a warm thought for many non Catholics to imagine that the early church worship and beliefs were very much like present day Baptist, Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, or My Church etc. It is thought that the early church did not look anything like or believe anything like what the Catholic Church believes and practices today.

Quite the opposite is true. All of the beliefs of the Catholic Church were present in the very earliest writings of the Church Fathers. So, the unique Catholic beliefs in the perpetual virginity of Mary, her assumption, her immaculate conception, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, purgatory, hell, oral confession to a priest, sacramental baptism, Pope etc. were all believed by the Catholic Church long before she canonized the Bible.

How does one, with integrity, accept the Bible canonized by a Church one deems to be pagan or corrupt and then 1000 years after it is canonized remove seven books out of the Old Testament? On this theory it would be safe to accept the Book of Mormon as sacred but reject the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

On the other hand, if the earliest Christian Church had Catholic beliefs and practices how can a Martin Luther safely throw them out 1500 years later?


7 Responses to Constantine and the Catholic Church

  1. ultraguy says:

    The following is not an original thought, but one analogy I heard recently is of Christianity being a flower that has opened up over time. The first century forms we read about in Acts being the ‘bud’ and the current form being different to look at but still very much of the same character and DNA.

    We could get into all kinds of related fruit and vegetable analogies (the apologist I was listening to also used a cabbage(!) to illustrate his points… layers and layers), but that misses the larger point — one that (hopefully) both protestants and Catholics can agree on: that Jesus said he’s the vine and we are the branches.

    Jesus did not say “I am the strawberry plant” (sends out shoots that end up becoming separate and the “seed will yield plants unlike the plant it came from”).

    Nor did Jesus say “I am the giant Pando-form Quaking Aspen” (though that one is a bit more tantalizing to contemplate).

    In my work with big organizations on strategy and structure, it always comes back to this: absent divine help and a solid, eternal rock on which to stand, creating something great out of flawed people is always a transient exercise. But using something other than flawed people is never an option. I may be wading into another discussion on papal infallibility here, but it strikes me (as I may have read here in another post!) that Jesus chose to establish his church on volatile and inconstant Peter (rather than, say, John) for a very good reason: so Christ and Christ alone would remain the head.

    So did Constantine over-step? Maybe, but it’s impossible to answer that question without a reference point (over-step what? according to whose opinion, authority and standards?) The better question, IMHO, is whether the organization of which Constantine was a part was (and remains) structured and chartered in such a way as to recover and become even more like it is meant to be in the process.

    I.e., is it truly resilient? — the flowering process continuing even when it may appear, for a time, to be backtracking (e.g., because of cold, rain or night). Does it become more like God meant it to be through the process of stumbling and recovering (as Peter did) or does it go into fatal fibrillation when in crisis?

    The answer seems plain from here.

  2. Mike says:

    Constantine bought his Bible from scholars at Alexandria Egypt’s University about 100 or so years after Christ’s death. It was the Jewish Old Testament which they believed, and what New Testament parts they had, which they did not fully believe,.. ( Jesus was God in the flesh, sinless, come to be a final sacrifice for sin) They put together their own Bible along with other writings and philosophies which were stuck into the middle of that manuscript, like Bell and the Dragon, etc… This is the “Bible” Constantine used to form his new “church state”. The Catholic church uses this “Bible” to this day. The Donatists-Christians who were the REAL martyrs, believed Christ was God in the flesh from the get-go and kept an “un-scholarized” text alive with thier blood despite the “Holy Church’s” attempts to wipe it from the face of the earth through ANY means, ANY ( see Fox’s Book of Martyrs, if you can find one not confiscated by the “Holy Church State”). Despite the LIES ongoing which attempt to switch Cath history as “Christian”, and hijack the Apostles of Christ as the Johny come lately “Saints” of the Cath Church State, the actual Donatist-Christians are responsible for keeping the one true “pure” text alive….The Textus Receptus ! There is only one Bible in existance in English which was born from THIS text, The King James 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible. The one used to transform England, and responsible for the formation of a free Christian United States and her original laws. All other Bibles were written from the Alexandrian Text, the scholar’s text that God himself NEVER Authorized. For it was written by men that thought Jesus Christ, the very subject of the whole Bible, was just a “good man”. This is why word “Catholic” is never mentioned in it, the Scholars at Alexandria had no idea it would end up being the Text used by the pegan conglomeration of religions, the “Catholic” church- or “All In One” church. It is a fancinating study, contrary to all the lies you hear from a church state worried only about power and weath, willing to deceive the very Angles themselves if they could. Grab a King James 1611 and read the opening statements that the translators wrote to King James, these are TRUE Christians not worried about power or compensation, just TRUTH. There is NO copy write in a King James 1611, it wasn’t about money and power, it is to a true Chistian, “God’s Word” preserved. No need for religion, or a church state to interpet it, just you and God is all one needs.

  3. Mike says:

    A little of the true “Christian” philosophy got to one the Catholics own Martin Luther who realized all of the slavery to a Church State was unneeded, though he did not fully halt all the rituals of her. So now you have the true “Christians”, the Catholics-Statists, and the new “Protest-ants”, a sort of watered down Catholic movement holding both Cath tradition, and Christian philosophies. At least the Protestants understood the true importance of Jesus Christ or God on earth’s blood sacrifice to end the JEWIWH LAW (Old Testament)as salvation and bring in GRACE (New Testament)alone as salvation through Jesus’ shed blood..(Remember, I refer to the “True Text” here, the Textus Receptus, written before your “church state” was in existance). They couldn’t fully let go of the long established “hoops for cash” invented by a Cath religious conglomeration of many pegan religions which included some Jewish-Christian sprinklings of truth, small but admitedly, there in the mix, somewhere.

  4. Nan says:

    Balderdash! Martin Luther translated the Greek New Testament of Erasmus into German, excising chapters with which he disagreed. Erasmus relied on 12th century Catholic texts of the New Testament chapters.

  5. Mark says:

    Interesting. If one of the very poorly educated and/or read anti-Catholics above would even pick up a Catholic Catechism or even go to a library and do some real research they would find these poor little theories balderdash. But as one famous writer has said “to be deep in history is to cease to be prostestant”.

  6. loyaltothemagisterium says:

    David, love is the key to the Sacred heart. Lets show our adherence to Christs doctrine by Our Love for one another. Not I claim to be any more loving than you of course. <3

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