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Is Christian Nationalism Faithfulness? 4 Lessons from the Constantine Years

Photo of Daniel McCoyDaniel McCoy | Bio

Daniel McCoy

Daniel is happily married to Susanna, and they have 3 daughters and 2 sons. He is the editorial director for Renew.org as well as an online adjunct instructor for Ozark Christian College. He has a bachelor’s in theology (Ozark Christian College), master of arts in apologetics (Veritas International University), and PhD in theology (North-West University, South Africa). His books include the Popular Handbook of World Religions (general editor), Real Life Theology: Fuel for Effective and Faithful Disciple Making (co-general editor), Mirage: 5 Things People Want From God That Don't Exist, and The Atheist's Fatal Flaw (co-authored with Norman Geisler).

What is Christian nationalism, and is it a current problem? A healthy patriotism becomes American Christian nationalism when it draws an essential connection between the US and Christianity and then uses that connection as a primary means for moving the kingdom of God forward. We can learn much about Christian nationalism’s allure from the Constantine years.

So, Christian nationalism: is it real or imagined? Are people who warn about it being alarmist—or prophetic? These kinds of conversations can be shark-infested waters unless we be very clear what we’re talking about. (Even then, shark attacks aren’t unheard of.)

Before we delve into what Christian nationalism is, would you take a moment to consider a couple scenarios? These scenarios will help clarify why we need to be cautious and clear before we start attaching labels.

Scenario #1

Imagine being a church leader who watched the video of George Floyd’s killing and then decided to host some conversations at church around issues of racial injustice. Then imagine having half your church respond to those conversations by crying, “CRT!” and then leaving.

Wait…what?

Just because a conversation about race includes statements like “My skin color alone can invoke fear in some people” and lamentations about the “silence about racial matters in the church” doesn’t mean that somebody’s gone woke or is promoting CRT from the pulpit. Those quotes come directly from the most fruitful conversation about race I’ve ever had, immediately following George Floyd’s death, in which I learned a ton from a wise brother in Christ for whom the hurt was real and reopened. Cries against racism or “a particular vitriol that exists within our country toward black men” don’t make somebody a leftist.

They might mean simply that a Christian hasn’t closed his eyes to present hurt.

Scenario #2

The opposite error is just as easy to make. Imagine being a church leader concerned about cultural trends coming on as fast as a terrain-transforming tsunami. Gender is something we construct based on feelings? Masculinity equals toxicity? Whiteness equals racism? When it comes to marriage, my church’s position on marriage is homophobic? Our position on church leadership is misogynistic? Our position on Christian missions is imperialistic?

Sheesh, you think. Our nation has done precisely what Soviet dissident Solzhenitsyn warned us about. We’ve forgotten God. So, you craft a series of sermons exploring how Western culture has drifted from God and talking through how we can return to a Judeo-Christian worldview before it’s too late.

You’re being careful not to get too political in your sermons; you’re just trying to invite people to consider how far culture has drifted away from God—which makes it jolting when you start hearing ugly accusations: “Aha! We knew it!” you hear from the younger people in your church. “You’re preaching Christian nationalism!”


“Aha! We knew it!” you hear from the younger people in your church. “You’re preaching Christian nationalism!”


Does a pastor’s concern about a nation’s post-Christian trajectory really equal Christian nationalism?

It might simply mean that a Christian hasn’t closed his eyes to future hurt.

As we talk about Christian nationalism, let’s not be hasty to throw around labels and say “Aha!” If we’re not listening well and extending grace, we’ll find ourselves recklessly calling basically anything on our left “radical leftist” and anything to the right of us “Christian nationalism.” I believe that, just as there are dangerous leftist extremes which are corrosive to a person’s Christian faith, there are also nationalist impulses on the right which are corrosive but in different ways. That said, let’s still proceed with precision so we don’t end up falsely accusing fellow Christians.

What is Christian nationalism, and is it a problem?

So, what is Christian nationalism? And how is it to be distinguished from patriotism, which almost everybody agrees isn’t a bad thing? Patriotism is basically a love of and devotion to one’s country. And it’s good to love your country. It’s good to seek the good of your country. I would hope that Brazilian Christians would love Brazil and work for its good, that Sudanese Christians would love Sudan and seek its prosperity. I would hope that they would celebrate their nation’s high points, grieve the lows, and feel respect and gratitude for their nation. Patriotism so defined seems to go along with being good neighbors, something Christians ought to be known for.

Since we’re trying to distinguish it from nationalism, perhaps we get the most helpful biblical snapshot of non-nationalistic patriotism when the Jewish people are sent into exile. God describes how they are to love the new place well, even if they won’t feel the love anywhere near the way an American vet hears the song “God Bless the USA.”


“In exile under the government which had killed their countrymen and decimated their temple, they were nonetheless meant to seek Babylon’s good.”


In exile under the government which had killed their countrymen and decimated their temple, they were nonetheless meant to seek Babylon’s good and to love it in the following ways:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jer. 29:4-7)


“At what point does patriotism cross the line and become nationalism?”


So, at what point does patriotism cross the line and become nationalism, specifically Christian nationalism in America? Here, Paul D. Miller of Georgetown University is helpful as he explains that nationalism goes beyond loving your nation to tying your nation to a particular cultural or ethnic group. Building on this basic definition of nationalism, Christian nationalists “assert that America is and must remain a ‘Christian nation’—not merely as an observation about American history, but as a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future.” Miller goes on to flesh out common prescriptions of Christian nationalists:

Christian nationalists want to define America as a Christian nation and they want the government to promote a specific cultural template as the official culture of the country. Some have advocated for an amendment to the Constitution to recognize America’s Christian heritage, others to reinstitute prayer in public schools. Some work to enshrine a Christian nationalist interpretation of American history in school curricula, including that America has a special relationship with God or has been “chosen” by him to carry out a special mission on earth. Others advocate for immigration restrictions specifically to prevent a change to American religious and ethnic demographics or a change to American culture.


“They want the government to promote a specific cultural template as the official culture of the country.”


Theologian Michael Horton uses a similar term (“Christian Americanism”) and describes it as “the narrative that God specially called the United States into being as an extraordinary—verging on miraculous providence. Passages from the election of Israel in the old covenant are lifted out of context and applied to America.”

A common thread is the essential connecting of the United States with Christianity—not as a way of describing the United States’ historic demographics or the worldview of many of its founders, but as a way of defining what it means to be an American. One upshot of defining America this way is that makes it all too easy for Americans to identify as Christians (thus “expanding” the kingdom of God in an inflated, hollow way), even where there are no distinctive markers of Christian faith. A healthy patriotism becomes American Christian nationalism when it draws an essential connection between the US and Christianity and then uses that connection as a primary means for moving the kingdom of God forward.


A Definition of Christian Nationalism: “A healthy patriotism becomes American Christian nationalism when it draws an essential connection between the US and Christianity and then uses that connection as a primary means for moving the kingdom of God forward.”


It’s easy for people who love America to get romantic about America’s history. It’s also easy for people who love Christianity and want it to advance to get fuzzy about what all goes into becoming a Christian. When people combine a romanticized view of America with a fuzzy view of what it means to be a Christian, it can be natural to assume that, if politicians would only return our nation to its roots, revival would result. Yet, any church that thinks that’s what it takes to bring revival has been spending way more time attending political rallies than reading the Bible. Any shortcut that relieves the church of having to make disciples of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit resembles the temptations the Devil presented to Jesus in the wilderness. Having Christianization offered up on a silver platter should make us very suspicious.

And it’s a sad reality that, yes, Christian nationalism is an ideology that’s found a home in some Christian circles (if you’re not sure it’s a thing, I encourage you to check out this religious-political rally), just not necessarily in mainstream evangelicalism.

How do I know if I’m falling for Christian nationalism?

Does this mean that I’m a Christian nationalist if I ardently hope that my nation returns to a Judeo-Christian perspective on things?

No.

In fact, at face value, all this means is that I’m a Christian, as someone who naturally wants God’s kingdom to spread and its principles to bring blessings to where I live. There is a crucial point of delineation: it is between promoting Christian principles by what I say and do versus feeling entitled to political power as the platform by which those principles ought to advance. The nationalist puts too much weight where Jesus and the New Testament do not. This has been described by others as the difference between imposing our beliefs and merely proposing them. As Miller points out, “Normal Christian political engagement is humble, loving, and sacrificial; it rejects the idea that Christians are entitled to primacy of place in the public square or that Christians have a presumptive right to continue their historical predominance in American culture.”


“Feeling entitled, imposing wills, and wielding political power are all ugly phrases, ones no one wants to claim.”


A practical problem here though is that feeling entitled, imposing wills, and wielding political power are all ugly phrases, ones no one wants to claim. For that matter, does anyone actually claim to be a Christian nationalist? All the while, it’s easy for any Christian with some cultural awareness to say things like, “Jesus is the answer, not politics” and “My hope isn’t in a particular political party.”

We all know the right things to say if we want to distance ourselves from the charge of being Christian nationalists. Here are some of the things most anybody could say:

  • None of us are rushing the steps of the Capitol with a cross, trying to stop the counting of votes.
  • None of us are calling this or that politician our nation’s savior.
  • None of us are seeking to impose censorship of those who oppose our views.

And yet, how do I know when I’ve started crossing the line from a healthy patriotism to Christian nationalism? How can I tell when I’ve gone from engaged Christian, seeing this as God’s world to enjoy, to entitled Christian, seeing this as our country to control?


Christian Nationalism: “When you’re grasping at the wrong kind of power, you can notice it by several things you will lose in the process.”


I want to suggest that when you’re grasping at the wrong kind of power, you can notice it by several things you will lose in the process. We’ll be describing what it means to cross the line from a healthy patriotism into an un-Christlike Christian nationalism by exploring these four losses as a sort of self-checklist.

Christian nationalism can feel like biblical faithfulness—until you read some of the awful events that resulted from state-and-church power alliances. Inquisitions. Pogroms. Crusader violence. Expulsion of Jews from entire countries. You read about some of those, and it makes you rethink the logic of Christians trying to advance Christianity through political alliances.


Christian Nationalism: “The awful events that resulted from state-and-church power alliances…make you rethink the logic of Christians trying to advance Christianity through political alliances.”


The backdrop of the four losses we’re going to read about is the story of how Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and began to convert the empire to Christianity. If you haven’t read the story, I highly recommend that you check it out. You can find the story (as well as the equally fascinating story of his son Constantius’s dealings with the church) here. What you’ll read below is a warning against any tendency of Christians to trust politics to give Christians what God alone can give and to do for the church what God alone can do (Matt. 7:6). Just as we shouldn’t cast our pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6), the church should never entrust the gospel to the safekeeping of politicians, even well-meaning ones.

#1 – Losing our kinship with marginalization is a clue that we’ve fallen for Christian nationalism. 

Christianity was born into a world that didn’t know what to do with it. It was sort of Jewish (Jesus was a Jew, after all), but it was often met by persecution from Jewish religious leaders who wanted nothing to do with it. It was also somewhat of a Gentile thing because Jesus set the church up to bring together Jews and Gentiles. Yet early Christians found themselves persecuted by Gentile leaders too, notably Roman emperors such as Nero, Domitian, and Diocletian. Christians found themselves often marginalized in multiple contexts.

And then, a massive shift of cultural winds shocked everybody in the 300s. Although not a Christian prior to this event, Roman Emperor Constantine credited Jesus with helping him win the decisive battle that made him emperor. This was in the year AD 312, and the next year, Constantine signed the Edict of Milan, granting religious freedom to Christians.


“Church leaders were grateful to finally have an emperor sympathetic to their faith.”


Church leaders were grateful to finally have an emperor sympathetic to their faith, and so, when the emperor called a meeting of church leaders to help settle a dispute over doctrine (the Arian heresy, according to which Jesus was a created being and not quite God), they met at what is now known as the Council of Nicea. Oddly, after Constantine, his son Constantius came to power and was favorable to Arianism. He tried to force Arianism on the church, and though this effort eventually failed (again, read the whole story here), it made at least some thoughtful church leaders realize something potentially frightening: In getting too trusting of a Christian-friendly empire, they were opening themselves up to having their faith co-opted by people in power.

Yet many church leaders rushed headlong into the new arrangement, seeing their newfound imperial favor as an obvious gift from God. Now, let’s be clear: There’s a sense in which the arrangement was an obvious gift to the empire. As we note in our article on Constantine, “How can we be anything but grateful for the care that society’s throwaways finally began to receive as hospitals and orphanages, nursing homes and mental asylums began springing up throughout the Empire in the AD 300s and 400s?” Yet the arrangement would prove to be a mixed blessing for the church, as its apparent gains were balanced by some serious losses.


“The arrangement would prove to be a mixed blessing for the church, as its apparent gains were balanced by some serious losses.”


The first loss we’ll explore is when many Christians lost their connection to marginalized people. This loss became especially possible after AD 380, when Christianity was made the official religion of the empire.

The church’s newfound opulence made it easy to ignore passages warning the wealthy. Its newfound eminence made it easy to ignore passages warning the proud. And the church’s eventual dominance made it easy to ignore people—especially the now-marginalized people outside the Christian faith. The once-persecuted were now in danger of becoming the persecutor. It was increasingly easy to forget that the roles were recently switched. Had the church forgotten how it feels? But even more puzzling than forgetting the church’s recent proximity to marginalization is forgetting its Founder’s unashamed participation in it: “And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:7).


Christian Nationalism: “Christians in power eventually kept tightening the screws on non-Christians until they had to comply.”


Yet instead of inviting outsiders into their community with grace and truth, Christians in power eventually kept tightening the screws on non-Christians until they had to comply. By the end of the fourth century, Emperor Theodosius had prohibited non-Christians from worshiping in public (their temples were destroyed anyway) or in private. In the end, everyone had to convert to Christianity, or else. Same headlines as in the days of Diocletian, just different names.

Any who balked at Theodosius’ requirement to “practice the religion which the divine Peter the Apostle transmitted to the Romans” were “demented and insane,” self-designated for “divine vengeance,” and subject to “retribution of Our own initiative.” Theodosius went on to make his own questionable assumption officially unquestionable: this state-sponsored violence “we shall assume in accordance with divine judgment.”[1]


Christian Nationalism: “These outsiders had gone from being lost sheep to political enemies.”


A much safer assumption would have been that Jesus wanted his church to love outsiders, like he said. The problem is these outsiders had gone from being lost sheep to political enemies.

#2 – Losing our courage for denunciation is a clue that we’ve fallen for Christian nationalism. 

The people of God have often been commissioned by God to speak unfashionable truth to unjust rulers. Nathan tells David, “You are the man!” (I Sam. 12:7), Micah denounces the rulers of Israel for hating good and loving evil (Mic. 3:1-2), and Stephen calls the Sanhedrin the betrayers and murderers of Jesus (Acts 7:52). It is very difficult to carry out such critique while perched atop the branch of imperial blessedness. What naturally comes out instead are compliments: Eusebius speaking of Constantine as the “blessed one” and “friend of God”[2] with “sacred head,”[3] “majestic dignity,” and “invincible strength and vigor.”[4] Somehow, neither the emperor’s vengeful temperament nor any other vice makes the cut in Eusebius’s biography of Constantine.[5]


Christian Nationalism: “Denunciations came, but primarily against the other party.”


Of course, denunciations came, but primarily against the other party. Constantine’s rival in the East was clearly the “enemy of God,” “hopelessly debased,” with “worthless character.”[6] According to Athanasius, the Arian emperor Constantius was unquestionably worse than Saul, Ahab, and Pilate and was doubtless a forerunner of the Antichrist.[7] It is very much like one were reading Fox’s take on a Democratic president or CNN’s on a Republican president.

And when governmental leaders who favored Christianity did, in fact, receive criticism from the church, it usually worked out because of the church’s increasing ability to intimidate. We may be reminded of the famous excommunication of Emperor Theodosius by Bishop Ambrose. Theodosius had slaughtered 7,000 citizens because of a grievance, and Ambrose refused him communion. Theodosius finally repented.[8]


“Truth cannot be determined through legislation, and neither can true repentance be extracted through power plays.”


The problem is, truth cannot be determined through legislation, and neither can true repentance be extracted through power plays. Ambrose won that conflict, and it’s good that the church can help speak truth to an empire. But the church’s political power would only grow from there, such that its bishops would become rulers who learned to wield tools like excommunication as weapons of coercion.

If truth is most purely accepted and righteousness most purely chosen when there is no coercion, then the church is at its most powerful when making its appeal disentangled from political power. The early church refused to be divided into the typical categories (Jew or Gentile, Roman or Greek, etc.). This refusal led a mocker of Christianity to call it the “Third Race.” As sociologist Os Guinness puts, it, the insult became an insight.[9]


“As a ‘Third Race,’ the church can offer (and receive) critique unafraid of endangering its privileged political position.”


As a “Third Race,” the church can offer (and receive) critique unafraid of endangering its privileged political position. The church should never have formally affiliated itself with the party of Constantine. Neither should the church of today subsume itself under particular parties in exchange for a voice at the table. We know what happens to that voice once it gets there: it changes but has trouble changing things.

#3 – Losing our resistance to infiltration is a clue that we’ve fallen for Christian nationalism. 

So long as no one felt interfered with, the church of the 300s never sensed the infiltration that was taking place. Constantine and the church, after all, wanted the same things, didn’t they?

Actually, having interests that merge for a season is not the same as wanting the same things. See if you can catch, from Eusebius, what priority ranked above all other considerations for Constantine: Constantine “delighted in a general harmony of sentiment, while he regarded the unyielding wills with aversion.”[10] His intentions in working with the church were to establish “a common harmony of sentiment among all the servants of God.”[11] In his estimation, “intestine strife within the Church of God, is far more evil and dangerous than any kind of war or conflict.”[12] He told the Council he gathered, “I feel that my desires will be most completely fulfilled when I can see you all united in one judgment.”[13] In laboring for an undivided church, Constantine remarked that the “spirit of contention” creates a “general confusion which, in my judgment, is the most pernicious of all evils.”[14]


“In Constantine’s estimation, ‘intestine strife within the Church of God, is far more evil and dangerous than any kind of war or conflict.’”


Did you catch it? Constantine, above all, desired unity. And, as the sole emperor of an unstable empire glued together with fragile common interests, why shouldn’t he? The Roman emperor had always been the head of the state religion and, as such, was concerned to keep peace between the people and the gods. For a season, Constantine’s driving motivation paralleled the interests of the church. Yet it is the nature of power to extend as it is able. In the expansion, the state’s overriding priorities cannot help but pull at the church to become something else over time. No stranger to power politics, Chuck Colson, former Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon, wrote,

Governments, with rare exceptions, seek to expand their power beyond the mandate to restrain evil, preserve order, and promote justice. Most often they do this by venturing into religious or moral areas. The reason is twofold: the state needs religious legitimization for its policies and an independent church is the one structure that rivals the state’s claim for ultimate allegiance.[15]


“The relationship can start out so smoothly that the church does not even realize it is being infiltrated.”


When the church wins political power, it loses its resistance to infiltration. The relationship can start out so smoothly that the church does not even realize it is being infiltrated. But, when one side values unity over orthodoxy, then sometimes it makes sense to begin sanding down orthodoxy’s sharp edges.

After all, it is a fact that Arianism made for an easier conversion for pagans because it was closer to polytheism.[16] That statistic would not be lost on an emperor whose top priority was unity. When Constantine’s son Constantius, an Arian, began forcing Arianism on the church, they realized to their alarm that the church had been in the process of becoming a department of the state.


Christian Nationalism: “Once the church realizes it has been infiltrated by politics, it is not easy to simply back out of the relationship.”


The problem is that once the church realizes it has been infiltrated by politics, it is not easy to simply back out of the relationship. There is the branch of favorability one is comfortably perched on now. Add in that the infiltration brought in a lot of good (i.e. goodies). Plus, the infiltration can always find statistical justification: When the state endorses your religion and the news gets out, your religion’s popularity goes up, its requirements go down, and people flood in. Why not let politics do the heavy lifting? With the correct legislation, we can get people to be moral and even orthodox. And to think how hard that used to be!

#4 – Losing our uniqueness in duration is a clue that we’ve fallen for Christian nationalism. 

A church that ties itself to a regime at the summit has tied itself to a future avalanche. Rome fell. All earthly kingdoms crumble sooner or later. The bishop who decided it would be expedient to switch his affiliation to Arian and keep his job found himself not only on the wrong side of orthodoxy (all that really matters), but quite surprisingly on the wrong side of history as well. Who knew? Jesus built a kingdom that would outlast every regime.

Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. (Dan. 2:35, ESV)

And no, the rock was not Constantine. Contrary to what Eusebius and his fellow Christians believed at the time, Constantine’s empire filled only a fraction of the earth, and Rome would fall less than two hundred years later, a fraction of the church’s age.


“Constantine’s empire filled only a fraction of the earth, and Rome would fall less than two hundred years later, a fraction of the church’s age.”


If there’s a single bullseye belief that characterizes a church that endures, it’s that Jesus is the saving, risen king. This is because Jesus’ kingdom lasts on into eternity. It’s the only thing in this world “that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28). Duration is something tragic to barter away given that no earthly kingdom has anything nearly as valuable to offer in return. In exchange for Christianity’s stamp of legitimacy, earthly kingdoms offer power for the moment.

They may not come cheap, but political clout, honorific titles, and administrative muscle are extraordinarily temporary. Again, these may not come cheap, yet they cheapen our witness. Such attachments cannot help but become the background music to any gospel presentation, as those watching see someone trying to make a buck or get a promotion. Evangelism comes to be seen as just another political commercial.


Christian Nationalism: “Evangelism comes to be seen as just another political commercial.”


When we change our message in accordance with the changing political winds, our insincerity becomes obvious. But even when we don’t change the message, a church’s political power can still imply that our message is meant to prop up a personally advantageous situation. We don’t need to be sending the wrong message! Jesus built his church atop trust in God, not trust in politics, politicians, or parties. One type of trust is everywhere verified, while the other is disproved constantly.

Conclusion

As we conclude, here’s a quick review of what we’ve covered: Being a Christian with rightist politics doesn’t automatically make a person a Christian nationalist. Christian nationalism is something that goes beyond loving the US, wanting your fellow Americans to become Christians, and hoping that your nation returns to a Judeo-Christian perspective on things. A healthy patriotism becomes Christian nationalism when it draws an essential connection between the US and Christianity and then uses that connection to be a primary means for moving the kingdom of God forward.

And when you’re crossing the line from a healthy patriotism to Christian nationalism, you’ll find that, whatever you think you are gaining, you’re in the process of losing four things: your kinship with marginalization, your courage for denunciation, your resistance to infiltration, and your uniqueness in duration. Those aren’t casual losses, and a body can only stand so many amputations.


“Those aren’t casual losses, and a body can only stand so many amputations.”


So, where do we go from here? How do we maintain a healthy love for our country and seek its good without militarizing that desire into Christian nationalism? Here are three takeaways, and I hope they’re helpful:

  • A church which lets political power do its heavy lifting (e.g., of making a nation “Christian” again) is cultural backlash waiting to happen. Such an arrangement fuels cynicism against the church, as it probably should. At the same time, politically active Christians can be a godsend, so long as they are campaigning for the common good and not just their own. (As a wise person put it, let’s care about justice, not just us.)
  • While crusading for a Christian nation mixes something that was largely unfortunate (the crusades) with something that’s unattainable (a truly Christian nation?), praying for our nation’s leaders, seeking its good, and hoping that it allows us to be Christians are worthwhile (1 Tim. 2:1-4).
  • While the church that wins political power thinks it has won something, it is on its way to losing the sort of things that count: its kinship with marginalization, courage for denunciation, resistance to infiltration, and uniqueness in duration. A church that covets and gains political power as the mechanism for moving the kingdom forward eventually loses, as it has tied itself to a future avalanche.


[1] Bruce L. Shelley, Church History in Plain Language, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), 96-97.

[2] Eusebius, “Chapter 52,” Life of Constantine: Book I, trans. Ernest Cushing Richardson, from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 1, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing, 1890), ed. for New Advent by Kevin Knight, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/25021.htm.

[3] Eusebius, “Chapter 1,” Life of Constantine: Book I.

[4] Eusebius, “Chapter 10,” Life of Constantine: Book III, trans. Ernest Cushing Richardson, from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 1, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing, 1890), ed. for New Advent by Kevin Knight, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/25023.htm.

[5] Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christian: the Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation, vol. 1 (New York: HarperOne, 2014), Kindle edition.

[6] Eusebius, “Chapter 52,” Life of Constantine: Book I.

[7] Richard A. Todd, “Constantine and the Christian Empire,” in Introduction to the History of Christianity, ed. Tim Dowley (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002), 146.

[8] Shelley, 98.

[9] Os Guinness, The Dust of Death (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, 1973), 368.

[10] Eusebius, “Chapter 44,” Life of Constantine: Book I.

[11] Eusebius, “Chapter 65,” Life of Constantine: Book II, trans. Ernest Cushing Richardson, from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 1, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing, 1890), ed. for New Advent by Kevin Knight, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/25022.htm.

[12] Eusebius, “Chapter 12,” Life of Constantine: Book III.

[13] Eusebius, “Chapter 12,” Life of Constantine: Book III.

[14] Eusebius, “Chapter 42,” Life of Constantine: Book IV, trans. Ernest Cushing Richardson, from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 1, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing, 1890), ed. for New Advent by Kevin Knight, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/25024.htm.

[15] Charles Colson, God and Government: an Insider’s View on the Boundaries between Faith and Politics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 128.

[16] Harold O.J. Brown, Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2000), 116.