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Issues in the Early Church Part 2

A discussion on Constantine, Impact of the Fall of Rome on the Church & Islam

 

Introduction

Constantine was the first Roman Empire to convert to Christianity although his conversion reasons are often debated this essay will detail this experience and prove he was indeed a true believer. The fall of Rome helped shaped the Catholic Church into what it today and left a dramatic impact on history. Finally Islam the rise was influenced by heresies in the Christian Church and is a distant cousin to the Jewish and Christian worldview it developed from.

constantineThe Conversion of Constantine

The conversion of Constantine took place in 312 A.D. Three accounts of the conversion experience have Jesus Christ appearing to the emperor and promising military victory over Maxentius if a Christian Symbol is painted on the Shield of his ofrces. In one such account Eusebius also states Christ appears during the campaign in the clouds to Constantine to protect his forces and ensure military victory. During his reign although the emperor considered himself a Christian it was not until near his death he chose to be baptized out of fear he could not live up to the demands of the rigors of a Christian lifestyle (Keresztes 2014). However it is evident by his actions such as the return of property to the individuals and the church, the outlawing of public and private assembly of known heretic sects such as the Marconians, Valerians and Paulians, his work to ensure unity between the eastern and western church and most importantly as his role in the Nicaean Council that he was truly a devote believer. His other great achievements were the unification of the state wide religion which paved the way for the future of Catholicism in centuries to come and the peace brought about by his tolerance of the pagans within his empire.

Fall of RomeImpact of the Fall of Rome On Christianity

The fall of Rome in A.D. 476 had a dramatic role in shaping the history of the church and the world to come. First, The Remaining Roman Empire was relocated to Constantinople but the Bishop of Rome remained and became a leading political figure as well as educator to the barbarians who now occupied the region. A misunderstanding is that all the barbarian tribes were pagans in actuality many were Arians and thus Christianity did exist. It was the church of the west role to educate these tribes on theology and as many of these people were illiterate the monasteries that sprung up served as schools and university during the Middle Ages. Another key role that developed out of the fall of Rome was the recognitions of the Frank kings by the bishops of Rome.  Unfortunately, one of the negative side effects of the sacking of the empire is some of the Christian literature of the former Roman Republic and classical ages were destroyed. Another was a schism between the eastern and western church.  A final result of the fall of Rome was the appearance of evangelist such as Saint Patrick in Ireland and Willibord in the Netherlands (Arnold 1999). Despite the troubles of the dark ages the church was able to prosper and Catholicism as we know it today came to be as a result of the fall of Rome.

MuhammadIslam

On the 17th night of the month of Ramadan in 610 A.D the Angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad on Mount Hira. Here the religion of Islam has its origins. The religious book the Quran is said to be the revelation of Gabriel to Muhammad but some scholars debate this point. Muslim hold fast to fife pillars of faith the first being there is no other God but Allah, however this is the same God as the Judeo- Christian God and Jesus Christ although not seen as the son of God is seen as aprophet and warrior in the coming apocalypse. The next is the call to prayer five times a day. The third is the giving of charity to the needy and the fourth is fasting and abstain from sex during Ramadan from Sunup to Sunset. The final is a mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca once in one’s lifetime (Melton and Baumann 2010).

In regards to how Christian Heresy influenced the rise of Islam the Arians of North Africa and conflicts of the Vandals weakened the position of the Church in North Africa and parts of Europe allowing for some to easily be converted to Islam. Also of mention Islam has a Biblical basis if one remembers the story of Jacob and Esau. Esau was granted territory in the east and reign over his own people by God in return for his forfeiture of his inheritance To Jacob. These people are the Islamic people (Moabites of the bible) and thus are really distant cousin of the Jews, a point often forgotten with the ongoing hatred and prejudice on both sides by both factions in today society.

 

Word Count# 918

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Arnold, Jack L. “Church History: The Fall of Rome Early Church History part 16.” III Magazine Online 1 (1999).

Keresztes, Paul. “Patristic and Historical Evidence for Constantine’s Christianity.” Societe d’Etudes Latines de Bruxelles2014, 2014: 85-94.

Melton, Gordon J, and Martin Baumann. REligions of The World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Brleifs and Practices. Vol. 4. Santa Barbara: Gale Group, 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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