The Popular Church

One of the most interesting things I discovered while studying for my church history class is that popularity (or lack of persecution) was what truly destroyed it.

During the persecuted church age only true Believers would take a stand for Christ because of the suffering it brought (you can read more about the persecuted church here). Later when the persecution died down, false doctrine began to creep in during the passive church age.

But it wasn’t till Constantine made Christianity “popular” that the door was opened for the Catholic Church’s false doctrine

The story goes that Constantine was fighting his brother for control of Rome. The night before the battle he claims to have seen a vision of a cross, and a voice saying “by this sign conquer.” He immediately puts a cross on everyones shield.

The next day in battle Constantine forces his brother’s army onto a temporary bridge so the bridge collapses, and they all drown.

That day Constantine entered Rome as a victorious general, and claimed God had given him the victory. He became a “Christian Emperor” but only viewed the Lord as a sort of good luck charm.

The greatest effect of Constantines change is the churches now had beautiful new buildings to worship in, and bishops (pastors) now receive large amounts of financial help from the Government. It’s not surprising that pastors were now chosen based on their leadership ability instead of their character!

During class, I emphasized the popular church teaches us a very important lesson…..

Christianity is not supposed to be easy!

The Christian life is filled with sacrifice, temptations, and trials. Like Christian in pilgrims’ progress, we can be tempted to leave God’s road and take the comfortable one (in Christian’s case by-path-meadow). But like him we will find ourselves taken captive by Satan.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t any joy in the Christian life of course because there is!

The popular church should be a warning to all of us that the comfortable road Satan offers to us always ends in destruction.

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