Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology


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By Andrew Dickson White

Constantine would become the first Christian emperor. By , under the reign of Theodosius I , Christianity had become the state religion. Constantine I, the first emperor to embrace Christianity, was also the first emperor to openly promote the newly legalized religion.

Christian eschatology - Wikipedia

There is scholarly controversy, however, as to whether Constantine adopted his mother's humble Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Christian sources record that Constantine experienced a dramatic event in at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, after which Constantine would claim the emperorship in the West.

Under this banner they were victorious. The Roman coins minted up to eight years subsequent to the battle still bore the images of Roman gods.

Christian theology - Wikipedia

Nonetheless, the accession of Constantine was a turning point for the Christian Church. After his victory, Constantine supported the Church financially, built various basilicas , granted privileges e. In accordance with the prevailing customs, Constantine was baptized on his deathbed. Constantine also played an active role in the leadership of the Church. In , he issued the Edict of Milan, legalizing Christian worship. In , he acted as a judge in a North African dispute concerning the Donatist controversy. More significantly, in he summoned the Council of Nicaea , effectively the first Ecumenical Council unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified , to deal with the Arian controversy.

The Council would become more famous for their issue of the Nicene Creed , which, among other things, professed a belief in One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, the start of Christendom. The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the Christian Emperor in the Church. Emperors considered themselves responsible to God for the spiritual health of their subjects, and thus they had a duty of maintain orthodoxy.

This precedent would continue until certain emperors of the fifth and six centuries sought to alter doctrine by imperial edict without recourse to councils, though Constantine's precedent generally remained the norm.

Albert Mohler - Apologetics Series: "Heaven and Hell Are Real"

The reign of Constantine did not represent a complete acceptance for Christianity in the empire, nor an end of persecution. His successor in the East, Constantius II, kept Arian bishops at his court and installed them in various sees, expelling the orthodox bishops.

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Constantius's successor, Julian , known in the Christian world as Julian the Apostate, was a philosopher who upon becoming emperor renounced Christianity and embraced a Neo-platonic and mystical form of paganism , shocking the Christian establishment. Intent on re-establishing the prestige of the old pagan beliefs, he modified them to resemble Christian traditions such as the episcopal structure and public charity hitherto unknown in Roman paganism. Julian eliminated most of the privileges and prestige previously afforded to the Christian Church as the official state religion.

His reforms attempted to create a form of religious heterogeneity by, among other things, reopening pagan temples, accepting Christian bishops previously exiled as heretics, promoting Judaism , and returning Church lands to their original owners. However, Julian's short reign ended when he died while campaigning in the East. Christianity came to dominance during the reign of Julian's successors, Jovian, Valentinian I, and Valens.

On Feb. After legalization, the Church adopted the same organizational boundaries as the Empire: geographical provinces, called dioceses, corresponding to imperial governmental territorial division. The bishops, who were located in major urban centers as per the pre-legalization tradition, oversaw each diocese. The bishop's location was his "seat," or "see"; among the sees, five held special eminence: Rome , Constantinople , Jerusalem , Antioch, and Alexandria.

HISTORY OF THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE WITH THEOLOGY IN CHRISTENDOM

The prestige of these sees depended in part on their apostolic founders, from whom the bishops were thus considered spiritual successors, e. Mark as founder of the See of Alexandria, St. Peter of the See of Rome, etc. There were other significant reasons for their priority. Jerusalem was the location of Christ's death and resurrection and the site of a first century council, among other things.

Antioch was where Jesus' followers were first called Christians. Rome was where Saints Peter and Paul were martyred. Constantinople was the "New Rome" where Constantine had moved his capital c. In addition, all these cities had important relics. The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and the office is the "papacy.

The papacy, however, also carries the notion of primacy: that the See of Rome is preeminent amongst all other sees. The origins of this concept are historically obscure; theologically, it is based on three ancient Christian traditions: 1 that the apostle Peter was preeminent among the apostles, see Primacy of Simon Peter, 2 that Peter ordained his successors for the Roman See, and 3 that the bishops are the successors of the apostles Apostolic Succession.

As long as the Papal See also happened to be the capital of the Western Empire, the prestige of the Bishop of Rome could be taken for granted without the need of sophisticated theological argumentation beyond these points; after its shift to Milan and then Ravenna, however, more detailed arguments were developed based on Matthew —19 etc.

Though the appellate jurisdiction of the Pope, and the position of Constantinople, would require further doctrinal clarification, by the close of Antiquity the primacy of Rome and the sophisticated theological arguments supporting it were fully developed. Just what exactly was entailed in this primacy, and its being exercised, would become a matter of controversy at certain later times. During this era, several Ecumenical Councils were convened.

These were mostly concerned with Christological disputes. The two Councils of Nicaea , condemned Arian teachings as heresy and produced a creed see Nicene Creed. Perhaps the most significant council was the Council of Chalcedon that affirmed that Christ had two natures, fully God and fully man, distinct yet always in perfect union. This was based largely on Pope Leo the Great 's Tome. Thus, it condemned Monophysitism and would be influential in refuting Monothelitism. However, not all denominations accepted all the councils, for example Nestorianism and the Assyrian Church of the East split over the Council of Ephesus of , Oriental Orthodoxy split over the Council of Chalcedon of , Pope Sergius I rejected the Quinisext Council of , and the Fourth Council of Constantinople of and is disputed by Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Influence of Greek philosophy

The early Church Fathers have already been mentioned above; however, Late Antique Christianity produced a great many renowned Fathers who wrote volumes of theological texts, including Saints Augustine , Gregory Nazianzus , Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose of Milan , Jerome , and others. What resulted was a golden age of literary and scholarly activity unmatched since the days of Virgil and Horace.

Some of these fathers, such as John Chrysostom and Athanasius , suffered exile, persecution, or martyrdom from heretical Byzantine Emperors. Many of their writings are translated into English in the compilations of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. By the fifth century, the ecclesiastical had evolved a hierarchical "pentarchy" or system of five sees patriarchates , with a settled order of precedence, had been established.

Rome, as the ancient center and largest city of the empire, was understandably given the presidency or primacy of honor within the pentarchy into which Christendom was now divided; though it was and still held that the patriarch of Rome was the first among equals. Monasticism is a form of asceticism whereby one renounces worldly pursuits in contempu mundi and concentrates solely on heavenly and spiritual pursuits, especially by the virtues humility, poverty, and chastity. It began early in the Church as a family of similar traditions, modeled upon Scriptural examples and ideals, and with roots in certain strands of Judaism.

John the Baptist is seen as the archetypical monk , and monasticism was also inspired by the organization of the Apostolic community as recorded in Acts of the Apostles. There are two forms of monasticism: eremetic and cenobitic. Eremetic monks, or hermits, live in solitude, whereas cenobitic monks live in communities, generally in a monastery , under a rule or code of practice and are governed by an abbot. Originally, all Christian monks were hermits, following the example of Anthony the Great.

However, the need for some form of organized spiritual guidance lead Saint Pachomius in to organize his many followers in what was to become the first monastery. Soon, similar institutions were established throughout the Egyptian desert as well as the rest of the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Central figures in the development of monasticism were, in the East, St. Basil the Great , and Saint Benedict in the West, who created the famous Benedictine Rule, which would become the most common rule throughout the Middle Ages.

The cracks and fissures in Christian unity which led to the Great Schism started to become evident as early as the fourth century. Although is the date usually given for the beginning of the Great Schism , there is, in fact, no specific date on which the schism occurred.

St. Augustine of Hippo

What really happened was a complex chain of events whose climax culminated with the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in The events leading to schism were not exclusively theological in nature. Cultural , political, and linguistic differences were often mixed with the theological. Any narrative of the schism which emphasizes one at the expense of the other will be fragmentary.

Unlike the Copts or Armenians who broke from the Church in the fifth century, the eastern and western parts of the Church remained loyal to the faith and authority of the seven ecumenical councils. They were united, by virtue of their common faith and tradition, in one Church. Nonetheless, the transfer of the Roman capital to Constantinople inevitably brought mistrust, rivalry, and even jealousy to the relations of the two great sees, Rome and Constantinople. It was easy for Rome to be jealous of Constantinople at a time when it was rapidly losing its political prominence.

In fact, Rome refused to recognize the conciliar legislation which promoted Constantinople to second rank. But the estrangement was also helped along by the German invasions in the West, which effectively weakened contacts. The rise of Islam with its conquest of most of the Mediterranean coastline not to mention the arrival of the pagan Slavs in the Balkans at the same time further intensified this separation by driving a physical wedge between the two worlds.

The once homogeneous unified world of the Mediterranean was fast vanishing. Communication between the Greek East and the Latin West by the s had become dangerous and practically ceased. Two basic problems—the primacy of the bishop of Rome and the procession of the Holy Spirit—were involved. These doctrinal novelties were first openly discussed in Photius 's patriarchate.

Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology
Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology
Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology
Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology
Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology
Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology
Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology
Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology Trial of a Father and Son: A practical introduction to Apologetics and Theology

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