Role of Emperor Constantine in Christianity MLA sample

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Role of Emperor Constantine in Christianity
Roman emperor, Constantine I was very instrumental in the development of the early
church. He was the Roman Empire in a period at which Christians were persecuted and killed
by other religions because of their beliefs. Prior to his conversion, Constantine was a pagan
and believed in worshipping other gods and idols until he decided to worship one Supreme
God who would make him conquer his battles against his enemies in the empire. His
conversion shaped the doctrines and formed the foundation of Christians’ beliefs today. As
the most powerful person in the entire empire, his conversion enabled Christians in the
Roman Empire to enjoy their freedom, and the persecution ceased. Before Constantine, other
emperors believed that Christians were only respectful and obeyed their God only as opposed
to their leaders. They believed that Christian teachings opposed their superiority and placed
God as the controller of everything ion the universe which led to their persecution. Emperor
Constantine was however of a different view, and he converted to Christianity which was a
major breakthrough for Christians all over the world. Christians were considered as atheists,
incestuous, and cannibals by the Roman Empires, and their religion was outlawed.
Constantine I changed everything and provided a platform through which the early Christian
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church could grow and develop without any intimidation to its followers or persecution.
Before Constantine conversion, the church endured lots of suffering for three centuries, and
the followers were able to persevere in all the persecution making the church to grow and
spread. With his conversion, it gave more power to the believers as they were able to spread
the gospel without fear making many people embrace Christianity (Everett, 90).
Constantine choice of Christianity over other religions
Maxentius was the Roman emperor before Constantine took over from him.
Constantine observed that Maxentius worshipped many gods and believed in magical
enchantments throughout his rule in Rome. With all the magicians and many gods, Maxentius
Empire failed which implies that the magicians and pagan gods were not powerful enough to
protect his empire. He also observed that those emperors who had believed and put all their
faith in pagan gods and offered those offerings and sacrifices all suffered the same fate. They
were all deceived by the prophets and oracles given by their seers. They were later destroyed
leading to the fall of their empire even without warning. They were flattered that their empire
would prosper forever only to be subdued by their enemies. With that in mind, Constantine
decided to seek power and guidance from a more powerful God who could protect him and
shield his empire from his enemies. He needed a powerful God who could even protect him in
the absence of his military soldiers. He settled on ChristiansSupreme God and declared that
he was more powerful than any other god. He believed that Supreme God would fight his
battles as he was all powerful, unshakable and invincible.
He converted to Christianity which gave an affirmation to other people that
Christianity was the way to go for him and his empire. Constantine’s father was a Christian,
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and he had believed and worshipped one Supreme God in his entire life. He noted that it was
his father who had protected and saved his empire from possible collapse. He deduced that it
was the God of his father that was responsible for the protection of his empire and he thus
decided to worship that God in his ruling. Many people converted to Christianity to show
their honor to their emperor which led to the growth of the church and Christianity at large.
His decision to worship God alone made other people in his empire to follow his idea and
embrace Christianity (Leithart, 126).
Emperor Constantine Vision and dream
The emperor was a prayerful person, and he requested God to reveal himself to him.
He prayed to God to help him to lead his empire and intervene in the difficulties he was
facing as an emperor. It is claimed that God showed him the sign of the cross in heaven
during his prayers. It was revealed to him that through the power of the cross, he would
conquer all his enemies and solve his difficulties. His army was present during the vision and
they all witnessed by themselves. Through that vision, many people believed that there is
indeed one Supreme God in heaven and it is through him that they would be able to overcome
all their suffering. The vision enabled many people to convert to Christianity and upheld
Christianity. The conversion led to the growth and development of the church in Rome and all
over the world.
The emperor pondered about the meaning and significance of the cross in heaven for
the whole day. As night came, he saw Jesus Christ, Son of God, who appeared to him with the
same sign he had seen in heaven. He was commanded to use the sign of the cross to defeat all
his enemies. Through the dream, the church foundation and doctrine were grounded and
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affirmed. Christian’s beliefs and the assertion that Christ of God resurrected was reassured.
He ordered individuals who were working in the gold and in other precious stones to make a
standard and structure of the sign of the cross. The structure laid the background for the
conversion of many people in the empire. Many non-believers were able to convert to
Christianity because of that testimony from their emperor (Leithart, 42). Their beliefs
contributed to the spread of Christianity in Rome and all over the world which led to the
growth and development of the early church.
Constantine invitation of the church leaders
The emperor invited the church leaders who knew the doctrines of the Christian faith.
He enquired from them the meaning of his vision and the dream. The church affirmed to the
emperor that what he had seen had indeed come from Supreme God. He told them that the
sign of Jesus Christ implied about his immortality. It was supposed to show that Jesus Christ
was powerful and he was able to conquer death since he resurrected from the dead. They also
taught him about Jesus Christ birth, death, and resurrection. They also taught him about his
incarnation and birth by a virgin. The doctrine forms the basis of Christians’ faith. The
emperor was able to relate his dream and vision to what the church taught him. He noted that
he had followed the right path by believing in Christianity. To ensure the growth and
continuity of his faith, he made the priest his advisers. As the advisers, they helped the early
church to grow and spread all over Rome. Through their advice, the emperor destroyed all the
pagan gods. He banned the people from giving any offerings or any sacrifice to the pagan
gods (Smither, 20). The ban was very instrumental in shaping the spread of Christianity, and
many people embraced the Christian religion. The ban asserted the Emperor’s willingness and
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passion in converting his people towards Christianity. It also helped in the growth of the
church as the church was able to hold crusades and spread the gospel without any fear of
Building of churches and honoring God’s bishops
Emperor Constantine built many churches all over Rome which provided a platform
for the Christians to exercise their faith and worship their Supreme God. He spent lots of time
with church bishops which gave him guidance on how he was supposed to lead his empire. He
honored them and regarded them as the true ministers of the True God. Regardless of their
simple and plain dressing, the emperor allowed the church leaders on his table which sent a
strong message to non-believers all over his empire and in the world. His treatment of the
church leaders overjoyed Christians, and they were able to spread the gospel across Rome.
His treatment towards the church showed his approval of Christian teachings and doctrines
which led to the conversion of many non-Christians. He also invited the church leaders to
accompany him in all his visits which showed his respect towards the religion. To show his
commitment, he contributed lots of money from his personal savings towards the growth of
the church. It was through such contribution that Christians were able to construct many
churches all over Rome which led to the growth of the early church. The money was also used
to decorate churches and attract many non-Christians who embraced Christianity. He also
attended Bishop Conference to help the church grow. He also intervened and helped the
church in resolving their conflicts. Peaceful coexistence and running of the church enhanced
the growth of the church which led to its early development (Ferguson, 50).
Leading by example
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As the emperor, he led by example and ensured that everyone saw his Christian faith
and believes through his actions. He donated his money, clothing, and food towards the poor
whether they were Christians or non-Christians. His actions portrayed exemplarity Christian
living and many people converted to Christianity because of his generosity. He abolished
slavery and persecution of his people in his empire. He accorded everyone his freedom which
showed the doctrines that Christians taught. Many people converted due to his actions
(Smither, 40).
Constantine conversion to Christianity had far-reaching implications towards shaping
the doctrines and lives of many Christians in Rome during that period and present. His
conversion marked a great victory for good and evil in the society and victory for the spread
of Christianity in Rome and all over the world. His conversion won a great battle between
Christians and pagans and laid the foundation and doctrines of Christianity and the early
church. Christianity shaped his life and formed the foundation of his rulings. His conversion
also established new religion and doctrines for many centuries to come.
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Work cited
Ferguson Everett. Early church at work and worship: Worship, Eucharist, music, and Gregory of
Nyssa. Eugene: cascade books, 2017. Print
Ferguson Everett. The early church at work and worship. Oregon: Cascade books, 2013. Print.
Leithart Peter J. Defending Constantine: the twilight of an empire and the dawn of Christendom.
Downers Grove III: IVP academic, 2010. Print.
Smither Edward L. rethinking Constantine: History, theology, and legacy. Eugene: Pickwick
publications, 2014. Print.

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