måndag 20 mars 2017

If Constantine had Founded the Catholic Church ...

Great Bishop of Geneva! : 1) Makarios · 2) Once Saved, Always Saved - True for Church, Not True for All Christians Individually · 3) Protestants - Not - Getting Around Matthew 28 Last Three Verses: John Calvin's Attempt · 4) Barnes NOT getting around Matthew 28:20 ... · 5) Since St Francis of Sales had Real Objections to Calvinism ... 6) Contra Sproul 7) Barnes on Jewish Tradition 8) If Constantine had Founded the Catholic Church ... 9) Salvation and Schrödinger's Cat Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : 10) ... on Apostolic Succession, both as to Reasons and Answering an Objection or Two (quora)

Where did the Christian Church go?

Here is a scenario some believe in:

  • Christ founded His Church;

  • it was persecuted for 280 years to 313, when it was legalised;

  • in 325, after a twelve years' pause, the heir of the Persecutors changed the Church by the Council of Nicaea;

  • and the result of that change is the Catholic Church.

What happened to the Christian Church, if that is so, after 325?

There are some distinct possibilities:

  • "It lived on beside the Catholic one, openly, only unlike it continued to be persecuted like those 280 years previous to the twelve years pause, and it lives on to this day."

    Right, where is it?

    • Arians who were immediately condemned at Nicaea are out for two reasons:

      • a) the last Arians ceased to exist when Visigoths became Catholics in Spain, and if any few stragglers lived on after that, they became Muslims and helped open the door to the Muslim invasion of Visigothic and so recently finally also Catholic Spain;

      • b) Arians had lived as persecutors of the Catholic (occasionally disestablished) Church twice:

        • i) between Constantine and Julian the Apostate;

        • ij) as Goth lords (sorry, can't resist the pun!) Visigoths in Southern France and in Spain (provoking the conquest by Clovis of Southern Gaul through persecution of Catholics there), occasionally Burgundians, Ostrogoths if not en masse at least were diffident of a Catholic intellectual, Theoderic the Great killed Manlius Boëthius on the suspicion of betraying his state of "religious tolerance". Vandals, but not sure if they were Arians, Idolaters or without any kind of Religious affiliation.

    • Ethiopian Church, which seems to be popular with some anti-Constantinians, since they keep the book of Henoch, are out for another reason with some historic instances:

      • they participated in Nicaea and condemned Arius;

      • they participated in Constantinople and condemned Macedonius;

      • they participated in Ephesus (or Ephesus I) and condemned Nestorius, insisting very clearly that the Blessed Virgin is indeed the Mother of God;

      • they were only themselves the condemned party as late as Chalcedon, which I just checked was held from October 8 to November 1, AD 451. They have some difference from Armenians, also refusing Chalcedon : Ethiopian and Egyptian Copts, a k a Jacobites, defend Eutyches, who was condemned at Chalcedon, while Armenians condemn him and say there is a position neither Eutychian nor Chalcedonian (and obviously not Nestorian either).

  • "It lived on beside the Catholic one, but as a secret society."

    No. The Church of Christ cannot be a secret society. Not after Christ came.

    John 3: [16] For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. [18] He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. [20] For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. [21] But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.

    Note, the last verse excludes the Protestant reading of 3:16.

    Challoner says: He that doth truth: that is, he that acteth according to truth, which here signifies the Law of God. Thy law is truth. Psa. 118. 142.

    But all verses from 19 to 21 show that Christ cannot have meant His Church to exist in the shape of a secret society (after His arrival). See also prologue of St John, where precisely Incarnation is seen as posing the limit between when secret societies were licit (as "insider parts" of Jewish Church) and when it is no longer so.

  • "It lived on in Waldensian and Irish margins."

    • Irish Christianity, like Ethiopian, very clearly is "Constantinian", if Catholic Church is so. St Patrick trained for his work as missionary bishop in a monastery in Gaul, under a Roman administration, or even two:

      • Marmoutier near Tours, founded in 372, by St Martin, 47 years after Nicaea, and

      • Lérins Abbey, founded in 410 and which had achieved greatness by 427, 102 years after Nicaea.

      So, St Patrick, Irish monks, and these were the famous Culdees, Catholic Monks, though not same rule as that of St Benedict, all go back to the Church which was legalised by Constantine and which assembled in Nicaea.

    • Even if you can somewhat doubtfully trace Waldensians back to Claude of Turin, you cannot trace Claude of Turin back to St Ambrose, as some have proposed, you can rather trace him to contemporary Iconoclasts : who were a sect of heretics having the fullest support of certain Byzantine Emperors, which is why Byzantine overlordship over the West decayed, being replaced by Pope crowning Charlemagne.

  • "It lived in within the Catholic Church, and people who considered themselves as Catholic also truly belonged to it in an invisible way".

    • This is actually the solution of the Reformers, who were not so radical as certain later Protestants.

      Certain Protestants, such as Lutherans and Anglicans say that you must even adher to councils I to IV (Nicaea I, Constantinople I, Ephesus (I), Chalcedon) or even to Christological definitions a bit further on (Constantinople II and Constantinople III).

      I think the "six councils stand" is the more classical one, the "four councils stand" a reduction of it (popular among modernists who like to avoid Constantinople II and its condemnation of Origenism), while it also exists in an extended version among "High Church" : they also include Nicaea II, the Council which condemned Iconoclasm.

      I was basically High Church Lutheran before deciding to convert to the Catholic Church.

    • But this position also is problematic.

      • It makes the Church "invisible" both as to authority and as to what its teachings are, which contradicts Luke 10:16 (along with its parallel Ecclesiasticus 24:30), Luke 11:33 as well as Matthew 5:14 (note as per first words, the Sermon in St Matthew was spoken to the disciples, after they had withdrawn up into the mountain away from the crowd, it was only a bit later that He went down to the crowd and adressed them with the words in St Luke : the twelve apostles are therefore, with successors, the light of the world), 1 Timothy 3:15.

      • It poses the question of how to know when it became compulsory to leave the Catholic Church because it dogmatises "unbiblical positions" : how can we know that one could be Catholic and Christian in 1500 but not in 1600, because in between Catholicism had dogmatised "justification by works" (actually by faith and works, see James).

      • It makes even the personal adhesion to Christ's Church or to Christ doubtful : if St Bernhard belonged to the Church of Christ (as Luther thought) how is that notsmudged by his believing he belonged to the Catholic Church? If St Bernhard belonged to the Church of Christ by seeking salvation from Christ alone, without any obligation to adher to a Church, how is that not smudged by his believing that to adher to Christ involves adhering to His Church and getting salvation from Christ involves getting it by intermediary of the Sacraments of Christ's Church?

        Or, if nothing in St Bernhard's position can be shown to be opposed to the kind of non-Church adhesion to Christ (have you heard "Christianity, not Churchianity"?) which some say is required to be saved, why would today a Catholic NOT be saved by sharing the exact thoughts of St Bernhard on the matter?

      • Some have therefore admitted (quotation marks here for approximate quotes from memory, paraphrases) "the Catholic Church is the Mother Church, you could be saved as a Catholic before the Reformation, and can be saved as a Catholic even today", as Beza is claimed to have admitted to the patron of this blog, St Francis of Sales.

      Not unreasonably, St Francis of Sales replied "if so, why be Protestant, when we say it damns you, why not be Catholic, when you yourselves admit it doesn't damn you?"

Note, not just that that was obvious to me while I decided to convert, but by then I had long since left behind the idea of Constantine founding the Catholic Church as unhistorical. I was a history buff before I was a Catholic convert.

Also, I disliked the idea, as if being persecuted were the main duty of the Church through all centuries. As if being a state Church were some kind of unforgivable sin (the state Churches of Protestantism were sins as in being "one-state Churches" bound to monarch or city council rather than to Rome, not as in being established ones).

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Monday after
III Lord's Day in Lent
which was also St Joseph

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