Advanced Historical Theology - The Apostolic Church? - by C. Matthew McMahonHistorical Theology Articles
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The general affect of Constantine on the history of Christianity and the apostolic succession both in authority and doctrine must bring weight into the question as to whether the church followed the apostles or not. How much of the affect of Constantine in bringing political ramifications upon the authority of the church causes the church to apostasize or not?
It is the opinion of this writer that Constantine’s affect had damaging ramifications on the church. Not only did the authority of the church have a larger umbrella by which to function, but political ramifications causes the emperor to control the church to a great affect. This does not mean that the church became apostate. The governmental control changed from Presbyterian to Episcopalian under the political duress of the empire. This is tragic and led ultimately to the demise of the Roman See in substantiating the true nature of church government and authority.
Though these problems did arise, the doctrine of the apostles, in total, did not so change or fabricate into something wholly other that one could say the church ceased to be because politics stood in its way. Instead, it was slowly corrupted from the middle ages until the time of the Reformation which regained the lost ground and reinstituted the authority in the Church to Christ first, and then the Presbytery under a solidified church government.
Doctrinally the church worked through a number of important issues and dealt well with establishing right doctrine as a whole. Both in the Trinitarian doctrine and in Christology the classic formulation has stood the test of time and have weeded out the problems that arose because of poor exegesis.