Close Your Church for Good, Chap. 1, Sec. 7. In the previous section, we reviewed the history of the church in which it accepted riches, fame, glory, authority, and power.
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The rationale and justification for why the church did this is easy to understand. The conversion of Emperor Constantine caused persecution to cease and brought in tens of thousands of additional converts. Leaders wanted to protect these new believers from heresy or from other religions. Gaining money, power, and buildings made the training and education of the masses more manageable. Also, being the official religion opened the way for the rapid spread of the Gospel.
And so began what many call the “Golden Age of Christianity.” With the money and power it had gained, it had the resources to provide for its own needs. It became powerful as the official religion of the Empire. It gained authority and glory in the eyes of the people. Its clergy became scholars and philosophers, great men of learning and education. Buildings were constructed and great public works were performed. Laws were written, rulings were made, and control was gained. All of this resulted in the spread of Christianity, and with it, better government, improved education, and increased morality.
What could be wrong with all this? Only one thing. Somewhere along the way, the very things that Jesus had rejected to accomplish His mission—self-reliance, power, authority, glory, riches, recognition by men, and control—these things were adopted in full force by the church. The Golden Age was filled with Fool’s Gold. The very things that Jesus refused, the church accepted.