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Christians Don’t Need Government Backing To Succeed In Public Or Private Life

3 46 0
13.09.2019

The recent debate at the Catholic University of America between Sohrab Ahmari and David French made it clear their earlier disagreement is far from settled, and there is a stark divide within the conservative movement. Most Christian conservatives agree the nation is suffering from a degree of moral and cultural decline. The pertinent question is what to do about it?

Should Christian conservatives attempt to leverage government power to reorder society to the highest good, or should they place their hopes elsewhere? A look at both ancient and recent history can help illuminate the way forward.

Amid the immense persecution endured in its first 300 years, Christianity bloomed. Research from Baylor University professor Rodney Stark places the Christian population at 40,000 in A.D. 150, rising to 218,000 in A.D. 200, and 1.17 million by A.D. 250. At the time of Roman Emperor Constantine’s legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313, followers of Jesus numbered 5-7.5 million strong.

The astounding expansion of Christianity took place not only without any government support but despite terrible oppression and persecution from governments wherever Christians evangelized. From A.D. 40 to 313, more than 3,500 Christians died for their faith.

Back in A.D. 30, many who were drawn to rumors of the long-awaited Messiah expected a fiery political leader who would expel the Romans and lead the Jews to a new era of sovereignty and independence. A disappointment to radical Zealots, Jesus did not bring the sword. He brought something far greater: the transformative gospel and salvation for all who would freely believe and accept it.

In A.D. 313, Christianity was certainly emboldened by Constantine’s Edict of Milan proclamation, which granted freedom of religion to the practitioners of all faiths. Although Christianity would not become the official religion of the Roman Empire until A.D. 380, the decree began a benevolent stance toward Christians after centuries of mistreatment.

In the preceding 280 years, Christians evangelized under life-and-death conditions. They endured government persecution across the Mediterranean and Asia Minor to bring Christianity to where it could affect Constantine personally. Constantine wouldn’t have been in the position to issue the Edict of Milan........

© The Federalist