And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11
Rome defeated the Greeks on its way to world conquest… or did they? They won the military battles, subjugated their territory, and made slaves of the people, but they lost the war. Greek philosophy, language, and customs gradually seeped into the Roman soul until few cared to see where one stopped and the other began.
The Roman host then carried Greek influence wherever they went. A few holdovers from the old Roman Republic complained about the loss of their old traditions and values, but most Romans were indifferent about the loss. That is, until one day, a Roman emperor needed a new strategy.
Despite efforts to curb the new sect of the Jews, the number of people who called themselves Christians continued to grow. As one well-placed Roman remarked, wherever idiots, children, slaves, and women congregated—the Christian teachers showed up. Seems these newcomers would take anybody with their preaching that there existed no Jew or Gentile, male or female, bond or free in their God’s eyes.
Very subversive stuff in a world where one-third of the inhabitants were slaves and close to half women. Additionally, once they were converted, these Christians refused to be minor public servants, boycotted markets, and socially closed themselves off from the rest of society spurring a financial crisis of sorts.
The Romans detested the Christians, but they needed them and employed an old Greek trick—they surrendered to the growing cult. They not only legalized the practice of Christianity, but the Emperor himself also joined them. It was what is called today a win-win situation. Both sides gained what they felt they needed.
Constantine gained public tranquility, an enlarged workforce, and opened up new markets. Christians got peace and security.
The Emperor sat down to feast with the clergy and became an interpreter, a general sort of bishop, and a theological guide. Make no mistake where Constantine’s loyalty lay. His policy was always aimed at what benefited the State.
Church leaders, now secure, at peace, and the friends of the Emperor, were quick to point out that what benefited the State, benefited the Church. The Church and State became friends with benefits.
That is until they fell to fighting over who got custody of the world. Thankfully, they reconciled. While they remain legally divorced, they still work together “for the good of all”. Sad how little has changed.
We continue to witness mainstream Christianity in intimate relations with the State and both at the mercy of their bastard child—the media. There is no more “working inside the system” with either the Church or the State.
The best way to correct an error in calculation is to return to the point where the error was made. I heard someone comment the other day that moving to Alabama was like going back in time twenty years. Maybe, so. The unspoken question in reply is whether that’s good or bad.
Imagine the fallout should Christians return to the first century of their existence. That is the remedy. Like most medicine, it is not pleasant to the taste and the sound advice to take will go unheeded.
Come out from among them and be separate…