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The Imperial Church: The Impact of the New Order, Part 3

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Daniel Whyte III

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The History of Christianity #89

Our History of Christianity Scripture verse today is Luke 3:16 which reads: "John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Ron Sider. He said: "For the early believers koinonia was not the frilly ‘fellowship’ of church-sponsored bi-weekly outings. It was not tea, biscuits and sophisticated small talk in the Fellowship Hall after the sermon. It was an unconditional sharing of their lives with the other members of Christ’s body."

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at "The Imperial Church - The Impact of the New Order" (Part 3) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez's fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1). 

The churches built in the time of Constantine and his successors contrasted with the simplicity of churches such as that of Dura-Europos. Constantine himself ordered that the Church of Saint Irene, Holy Peace - be built in Constantinople. Helena, his mother, built in the Holy Land The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and another one on the Mount of Olives. Similar churches were built in the major cities of the empire, sometimes by imperial command, and sometimes simply following the example of the new capital. On occasion, local residents were ordered to contribute to the building of churches with labor and materials. This policy continued under Constantine's successors, most of whom sought to perpetuate their memory by building great churches. Although most of the churches built by Constantine and his first successors have been destroyed, there is enough evidence to offer a general idea of their basic plan -- which in any case was copied in a number of subsequent churches that still stand.

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