Was the Emperor Constantine TRULY a Christian?

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Philip
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Re: Was the Emperor Constantine TRULY a Christian?

Postby Philip » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:55 pm

ES, I didn't mean for this to turn into a Catholic vs. Protestant thing. I am your Christian brother, even if I do not agree with key Catholic dogma. It's not a matter of "my way or the highway," but that Scriptures have a specific meaning and aren't meant to be viewed in the light of church doctrines - no matter which church we're talking of. Tradition can be a good thing, but it can also be skewed and blended with Scripture so as to give an incorrect understanding. Sometimes, church teachings can directly conflict/even contradict Scripture. Most denominations have done this is some manner. Protestants have, most definitely, as well. Guess that's where will have to leave the Mary and Pete stuff. I really didn't intend to get into this issue.

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Re: Was the Emperor Constantine TRULY a Christian?

Postby EssentialSacrifice » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:13 pm

there's my brother in Christ :D you and i will always be able to agree to disagree philip. i simply have too much respect
for you not too ... and i now appreciate our thinking as more aligned.

that's where will have to leave the Mary and Pete stuff. I really didn't intend to get into this issue. :amen: for now :ewink:
Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence. -St Augustine

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Re: Was the Emperor Constantine TRULY a Christian?

Postby DBowling » Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:19 am

From Eusebius The Church History by Paul L. Maier

"Constantine himself, the first fully attested Christian emperor, had a complex personality that included some negative traits not cited by Eusebius. These would be enlarged upon by detractors in later generations, beginning with his nephew Julian the Apostate...
Most historians, however, conclude that Constantine's conversion was genuine. As for the negative evidence cited, Constantine felt that he had to be emperor for all Roman citizens, including the pagan majority, and he put no stock in his role as high priest. Pagan emblems on his coinage ceased after several years. ... That Constantine's personal and domestic life did not always reflect Christian ideals is obvious, but not more so than we might expect from a ruler involved in a transition from paganism to Christianity. And delaying one's baptism until the end of life in order to purge all previous sins was a convention at the time...
Once he became emperor, Constantine's favors in behalf of Christianity are too numerous for listing here beyond several highlights... Constantine gave Christian clergy dramatic legal advantages, immunities, and exemptions in the Roman state... He not only restored property confiscated from the churches, but he also built or rebuilt Christian basilicas in both West and East... He supported Christian charities, prescribed Sunday as a holy day, and strengthened the institution of marriage, while condemning pagan divination, crucifixion, and gladiatorial combat. Above all, he remained an active lay Christian for the rest of his life, as his correspondence and activities more than demonstrate. He called the Council of Aries into being to settle the Donatist controversy in 314 and even presided at the celebrated Council of Nicea in 325, which dealt with the Arian heresy and formulated the Nicene Creed.
He warned colleague emperors not to persecute Christians and claimed that his campaigns against these emperors was as a champion of the church to stop persecution, which was more than pretext. He consecrated his new city on the Bosporus, Nova Roma, to "the God of the Martyrs" and erected splendid churches there. Even his foreign policy on the northern and eastern frontiers of the empire reflected Christian principles ...
Timothy D. Barnes summarizes Constantine's Career:
After 312 Constantine considered that his main duty as emperor was to inculcate virtue in his subjects and to persuade them to worship God ... With all his faults and despite an intense ambition for personal power, he nevertheless believed sincerely that God had given him a special mission to convert the Roman Empire to Christianity.

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Re: Was the Emperor Constantine TRULY a Christian?

Postby thatkidakayoungguy » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:18 pm

I want to be optimistic and say he was, but if he was, he was a rather young Christian-spiritually-since he kept up paganism as you describe. It does seem likely it was for political reasons.

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Re: Was the Emperor Constantine TRULY a Christian?

Postby JButler » Wed May 24, 2017 8:13 pm

Constantine was not blind or deaf, he knew there were a good number of Christians in the officer ranks of the Legions. This is borne out by archeology of Roman forts as far north as Hadrian's Wall. Any Roman general wanting to be emperor absolutely needed all the support of the Legions he could get. If Constantine had to lie, pretend, camouflage his real motives, etc, then he did it since he wanted the top spot so bad.

But the evidence points to pagan faking being a Christian for political expediency. When I was in Rome in 2011 I wish I'd known more about this to take good detailed photos of his arch.

Titus made sure his arch credited the deities for his conquest of Jerusalem and the temple.

Very similar situation happened in Scandinavia when Vikings converted to Christianity. Again archeology is showing many did not truly convert as evidenced by pagan and Christian icons in their graves.
If the truth hurts, maybe it should.

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Re: Was the Emperor Constantine TRULY a Christian?

Postby Philip » Thu May 25, 2017 7:28 am

Very interesting statements by John Ankerberg on Constantine possible conversion - don't know if any of you noticed this from my recent posts on whether God gives modern day people prophetic gifts. I greatly respect Ankerberg - and he's well thought of by many important evangelical leaders - Norman Geisler being a very prominent one.

Here's Ankerberg on Constantine's vision and whether he became a Christian or not - it's got me wondering:

Godly Visions

So how do we tell a godly vision from an ungodly one? A godly vision fits the characteristics of godly visions: The vision itself contains nothing opposed to biblical teaching and the results of the vision glorify God. (As we will see below, natural and demonic visions do the opposite.)

Consider the case of Constantine as an example of a godly vision. First, it led to Constantine’s conversion from paganism.
Second, prior to the time of Constantine, the church had experienced severe persecutions. In fact, some were horrendous. And even the best arguments of the early apologists were unsuccessful, or not completely successful, in turning away the hostility of the Roman government. As one result of his vision, Constantine established the Edict or Constitution of Milan in 313 A.D. which required an expression of toler­ance for Christianity. (It was not Constantine, but Justinian who actually made the church a state church and turned heresy into a criminal action against the state.) Third, Constantine himself convened the Council of Nicaea which played a key role in the history of the church relative to the formulation of the doctrine of the deity of Christ and also by extension, later, the doctrine of the Trinity at the Coun­cil of Constantinople in 381 A.D.

In other words, as a pagan, it would be highly unlikely that Constantine would invent the story of a vision that supported a religion he had no interest in and was probably opposed to. The devil would certainly not give him such a vision. If the vision did not come from the mind of Constantine or from the devil, it had to come from God. Consider again its outcome. It helped convert Constantine to Christian faith. The vision resulted in the ceasing of persecution of the church, which permitted the church to grow dramatically.[3] Indirectly, it led to one of the most important doctrinal creeds in the history of the Christian church. Indeed, given the fact that the church had experienced nine major persecutions prior to this vision, one would think the devil would have done all in his power to prevent such a vision.


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