14. The Emergence of the
Catholic ("Universal") Church

What terrible situation was facing Christianity as it entered the 4th Century (300AD)?

In 303, deeply worried about the rising influence of the Christians in the Empire, Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered a major round of persecution against the Christians in his eastern territories.  This was the worst, most cruel of all the periods of persecution that the Christians had suffered at the hands of the Roman government.  It reached to all parts of the Empire, it reached all classes of people--even into the members of the Emperor's families and friends, many of whom were Christians.  The Diocletian persecution lasted through the rest of his reign in 305--and even continued on after him until 313.

What did Roman Emperor Constantine do in 312 AD that changed Christian history?

How did his conversion to Christianity change the position of Christianity within the Roman world? How did Unitarianism challenge the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity? What was wrong with Arias' Unitarianism? Read Romans 8:28-39. Why was the Nicene Creed so important to the Catholic or "Universal" Christian church? How did the church move from persecuted to persecutor? In what ways did this reshape Christianity's basic character? What did Augustine teach us about the faith--that helped keep the faith alive during very trying times that were arising quickly? Read Romans 9:10-33
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Miles H. Hodges - 2002