A webpage critical of the Should You Believe in the Trinity(©WTB&TS)brochures' quoting of The Early Church by Henry Chadwick on Constantine begins by stating:
"Misleads the reader to a conclusion opposite to what source is saying." The page was composed by Steve Rudd.
It then quotes The Early Church as it appears in the brochure:
"Constantine, like his father, worshipped the Unconquered Sun; . . . his conversion should not be interpreted as an inward experience of grace . . . It was a military matter. His comprehension of Christian doctrine was never very clear, but he was sure that victory in battle lay in the gift of the God of the Christians." (The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, quoted in, Should you believe the Trinity?, Watchtower publication)"
Rudd then quotes Chadwick with his own ellipses:
"When he [Constantius] died at York on 25 July 305 the soldiers proclaimed his son Constantine as emperor. Constantine, like his father, worshipped the Unconquered Sun; But there was Christian influence in his houselhold since he had a half-sister named Anastasia (anastasis = resurrection). At the crisis of his career in the war of 312 to gain sole power in the West, Constantine invoked the might aid of the Christian God and was not disappointed. His rise to power in 306 AD made it certain that persecution would not affect provinces under his control. [page 122]... "The conversion of Constantine marks a turning-point in the history of the Church and of Europe." ... "But if his conversion should not be interpreted as an inward experience of grace, neither was it a cynical act of Machiavellian cunning. It was a military matter. His comprehension of Christian doctrine was never very clear, but he was sure that victory in battle lay in the gift of the God of the Christians....He was not baptized until he lay dying in 337, but this implies no doubt about his Christian belief. It was common at this time (and continued so until about A.D. 400) to postpone baptism to the end of one's life, especially if one's duty as an official included torture and execution of criminals. Part of the reason for postponement lay in the seriousness with which the responsibilities of baptism were taken. Constantine favoured Christianity among the many religions of his subjects, but did not make it the official or 'established' religion of the empire." (The Early Church, Chadwick, Henry. p 122, 125, 127)"
From this the writer makes 4 comments. We will reproduce each comment with a comment of our own. Ours will be in green.
1)The Watchtower deliberately misrepresents Chadwick. They make it appear that Constantine worshipped the sun in 325 AD during the Nicean council. The truth is that Constantine gave up paganism in 312 AD!
Not so! The brochure does not "deliberately misrepresent" Chadwick! Chadwick states quite clearly that Constantine's "conversion" was not because of an "inward experience of grace." If his "conversion" was on any grounds other than one of an "inward experience of grace" then he had not truly, personally, with a change of heart embraced the faith in the Son of God! Yes, it was a "military matter" that made Constantine 'turn' to the Christian religion. Chadwick is quite clear on this and the Trinity brochure brings these important points regarding Constantine's "conversion" out from Chadwick's The Early Church . It hardly "misrepresents" Chadwick for that is what Chadwick stated was the case! And if Constantine had not had an inner conversion did he still cling to worship of the "Unconquered Sun"? The truth is that Constantine had not given up paganism in 312 C.E or any time afterwards. We will show that this is so below.
2)The Watchtower deceives you by not telling you that 3 pages lapse between ellipses (...) and they leave out the fact that he worshipped the sun BEFORE his conversion.
But what Rudd leaves out is this from page 126 of Chadwick's The Early Church:
"In other words, Constantine was not aware of any mutual exclusiveness between Christianity and his faith in the Unconquered Sun."
And on the same page states:
"How easy it was for Christianity and solar religion to become entangled at the popular level is strikingly illuminated by a mid-fifth century sermon of Pope Leo the Great, rebuking his over-cautious flock for paying reverence to the Sun on the steps of St Peter's before turning their back on it to worship inside the westward-facing basilica."
Yes, even though Constantine had 'embraced' the Christian religion he still had not abandoned the worship of the Sun! This is why, as a footnote on page 127 in The Early Church notes, it was very easy for 'christians' to revert back to paganism. Why? Because they had not removed paganism from their minds and hearts when they 'converted' to Christianity and even their holy dates and religious practices co-incided and emulated those of the pagan religions they had supposed to have left! The fact is that so-called 'christians', like Constantine, had really not had an "inward experience of grace" in the first place. What the Trinity brochure leaves out by way of ellipses does not diminish in any way what Chadwick had written about Constantine's 'christian' faith. It was really a 'cloak' for his continued worship of the Sun! He syncretised the pagan worship of the Unconquered Sun with that of the Son of God. Rudd would like to think that "The Watchtower decieves" its readers but it is quite the opposite and it is Rudd who is being the deceptive one as the above futher quote from Chadwick's The Early Church shows.
3)Immediately after quoting Chadwick, the next statement is: "What role did this unbaptized emperor play at the Council of Nicea?" But of course they fail to tell you what Chadwick said about this! "It was common at this time (and continued so until about A.D. 400) to postpone baptism to the end of one's life"
Yes, it is true that Constantine delayed his baptism till near his death and this was not unusual at that time. But as this is not what the Christian Scriptures teach followers of God's Son to do to gain God's acceptance of their repentance(a turning away from a bad course to one that is righteous) so as to gain God's forgiveness and a good standing toward God then this shows that Constantine was not a Christian! A person who wished to be a christian had to be baptised, not at the end of his life's natural course but at the very time he dedicates his life to God so to have a personal relationship with God and His Son, seeks to imitate the Christ and obeys God's will. Certainly, as Chadwick himself accurately reports, Constantines actions of "torture and execution of criminals," and other wholly unchristian actions(he killed his eldest son, Crispus, and his own wife, Fausta) belie the claim that he was a christian! (The adage that "'actions speak louder than words" comes to mind). The following excerpt from The Watchtower of March 15th, page 29, 1998 is illuminating in regard to Constantine's baptism and other matters related to it:
notes: "Constantine never abandoned sun-worship and kept the
sun on his coins." The Catholic Encyclopedia
observes: "Constantine showed equal favour to both religions.
As pontifex maximus he watched over the heathen worship and
protected its rights." "Constantine never became a
Christian," states the encyclopedia Hidria, adding:
"Eusebius of Caesarea, who wrote his biography, says that he
became a Christian in the last moments of his life. This doesn't
hold water, as the day before, [Constantine] had made a sacrifice
to Zeus because he also had the title Pontifex Maximus."
"Down to the day of his death in 337 C.E., Constantine bore the pagan title of Pontifex Maximus, the supreme head of religious matters. Regarding his baptism, it is reasonable to ask, Was it preceded by genuine repentance and a turning around, as required in the Scriptures? (Acts 2:38, 40, 41) Was it a complete water immersion as a symbol of Constantine's dedication to Jehovah God? -Compare Acts 8:36-39"
We would ask our readers to look up these scriptures and see for themselves whether Constantine had a "genuine repentence" as required by the Scriptures. We believe that even Rudd would see that Constantine could not be considered a christian from 312 C.E or from any other date he might choose!
4)The Encyclopedia Britannica proves beyond question that Constantine was indeed a fully dedicated, spiritually minded man, that challenges Chadwicks view of Constantines "military motivated conversion"
"Proves beyond question"? In response to this we will quote the following which agrees with Chadwick completely. It speaks for itself without any accompanying comments from us:
A History of the Early Church by Norbert Brox:
"Even now, different
assessments are made of Constantine, and in particular these
events at the beginning of his career are disputed. The
Christians, who experienced a rapid improvement in their
fortunes, were convinced that the pagan ruler had been converted
from idols to the Christian God by divine providence and that he
was now serving to establish the truth of the gospel in the world
and in history, putting an end to all repressions of Christianity.
However, historically things look rather different. Constantine
did not experience any conversion; there are no signs of a change
of faith in him. He never said of himself that he had turned to
another god, Rather, long before his decision for Christianity,
in his religious attitude the emperor had quite clearly and
increasingly been tending towards henotheism, which he
practised in the cult of a god described with very abstract
attributes. At the time when he turned to Christianity, for
him this was Sol Invictus(the victorious sun god)in the
guise of whom he had himself depicted on coins. And according to
Eusebius(Vita Constantini I, 28), in his vision the sun(the sun
god)was combined with the cross.
"Constantine did not forsake this god Sol. The spectacular shift consisted in the fact that he changed the cult(the form of worship)of this god and that he choose Christianity for this cult. For him, the God of the Christians was identical with the god he himself worshipped. From Constantine's perspective the state needed a religion which was strictly monarchial in its view of God and the world, and which was represented and continued on earth in the political monarchy of the absolute emperor. In this picture of the religious and political order a single(supreme)God ruled the world. The instrument of his rule on earth was the one and only emperor(Constantine would go on to establish himself in this role in the face of his rivals), who ruled the (Roman) world empire. Constantine made his choice in accordance with these criteria when he gave preference to Christianity with its exclusively sole God over the old religions of the many gods. The alternative so often posed, whether Constantine 'became a Christian' through calculating political or honest religious motives, is thus a false one, since in Roman terms it was impossible to separate reasons of state and religion. Constantine saw Christianity through Roman eyes as a cult religion(only later did he come to understand the significance of the creed in Christianity)with recognizable structures(a heirarchal organization, an ideal unity throughout the empire, universalism, a capacity to establish itself in history)which was admirably suited to contribute to the task of the state."- pages 48, 49, SCM Press, translated by John Bowden, 1994, from the 4th edition of the German Kirchengeschichte des Alterums, published 1992 by Patmos Verlag, Dusseldorf. (words in italics ours, italicised words underlined authors.)
And we would like here to partly reproduce an article that appeared in The Watchtower, January 15th, page 7, 1990:
"THE claimed conversion of Roman emperor Constantine has long interested students of religion. According to his own account, on the eve of a battle in 312 C.E., which he won, the pagan Constantine saw a vision of a cross with the motto: "In this [sign] conquer." He was "converted" shortly thereafter (in 313 C.E.) and brought an end to the persecution of Christians in the Roman empire. Constantine encouraged the then current form of Christianity as a State religion, and even intervened in internal church disputes. However, he also committed acts that called into question the genuineness of his conversion and was not baptized until just before his death some 24 years later.
"In an article in Bible Review, numismatist and doctoral student of theology Stanley A. Hudson revealed how the coinage struck during Constantine's reign contributes some fascinating information on this subject. Up until Constantine's time, it was common for Roman coins to depict the popular Roman deities. But Hudson reported that after Constantine's conversion, pagan themes appeared less and less-with one exception. Coins depicting Sol, the sun god-formerly Constantine's favorite-were minted profusely. Why?
"Hudson suggested two possibilities. First, Constantine's conversion may have been very gradual-despite his dramatic vision. Or Constantine may actually have confused Sol with Jesus. Syncretism (combination of different forms of belief) is not unusual even today. For example, in Latin America, the pre-Columbian goddesses Pacha-Mama and Tonantzin are still worshiped under the name of the Virgin Mary. In the same way, Constantine may have worshiped Sol under the name of Jesus.
"Such syncretism would explain why December 25th, 'the birthday of the unconquered sun,' was chosen as the day to commemorate the birth of Jesus. It would also help us to see why on a coin minted to commemorate Constantine's death there is an inscription "DV Constantinus" ("Divine Constantine"). This shows that, despite his conversion and eventual baptism, Constantine was viewed as a god after his death, just like the pagan emperors before him."
9/8/2003. After notifying Rudd of this page he has been forced to make a total review of his. We note however that he continues to misrepresent Chadwick but not only that offers a 'red herring' re the baptism of Constantine which he "delayed" until just before his death and the baptism of modern day Jehovah's Witnesses! He makes no mention of the author Brox nor Johnson (both well known and respected historians)which we quoted. He alleges that the Jehovah's Witnesses are being "deceptive." But in doing so he convicts these authors, and others, as being "deceptive" also! His page now reads as follows and our interjections will be in green.
1)The Watchtower deliberately misrepresents Chadwick. They make it appear that Constantine worshipped the sun in 325 AD during the Nicean council. The truth is that Constantine gave up paganism in 311-12 AD! In fact Chadwick specifically says that Constantine worshipped the Sun in 306 AD, a full 5 years BEFORE he converted to Christianity! Chadwick IS NOT saying Constantine worshipped the sun after his conversion but the Watchtower's satanic quoting practices are cleverly deceitful!
Rudd still alleges, falsely, that the Trinity brochure "deliberately misrepresents" Chadwick. Did the brochure imply that Chadwick made out that Constantine worshipped the Sun in 325 C.E. at the Nicean council? Well, if as Chadwick states that Constantine's conversion was "not an inward experience of grace" but it was a "military matter" then no real conversion with him took place and he must then have continued to be a worshhiper of the Unconquered Sun. Indeed, Chadwick informs us on page 127 that Constantine decided to build a 'New Rome' at the strategic site of Byzantium and that he "...also placed in the forum a statue of the Sun-god of the mother-goddess Cybele." A footnote Chadwick supplies for this notes that she was "represented, however, in an attitude of prayer which provoked pagan wrath." Yes, as Chadwick himself informs us, Constantine was syncretising the pagan religion of the Sun-god with that of the christian religion. And that is because, as Chadwick wrote beforehand, that the conversion of Constantine was "a military matter." Yes, he had not really, truly, converted to Christianity nor had he even by then "given up paganism"! He worshipped the Sun both before and after 312 C.E. So, in fact, it is Rudd who deliberately misrepresents the implications of Chadwick's comments on Constantine's 'conversion'. Rather than the Trinity brochure being "satanic" it is rather the case that Rudd is!
2)The Watchtower deceives you by not telling you that 3 pages lapse between ellipses (...) and they leave out the fact that all Chadwick is really saying is that he worshipped the sun BEFORE his conversion. The Watchtower quote, leaves the false impression that Chadwick is saying Constantine worshipped the sun as a pagan, at Nicea in 325 AD, even up to the end of his life. In other words, Jehovah's Witnesses are deceived by their own "god directed organization" into thinking Chadwick is saying Constantine died as a pagan who worshipped the Sun! This Chadwick never says, in fact he says the opposite! Read it for yourself below!
As the Trinity brochures' intent was to show that Constantine continued to be a pagan after 312 C.E why would it be necessary for it to show that he worshipped the Sun before this 'conversion' in 312 C.E? That would be obvious! It was only necessary to show that the 'conversion' of Constantine was......not a true 'conversion' to the Christian faith and in this Chadwick shows this to be the case with Constantine. Yes, Chadwick does not say that Constantine became a christian. One would look in vain for such a statement. On the contrary, anyone who reads pages 125 to 132 which forms the Chapter "Constantine and the Council of Nicea" in Chadwick's The Early Church can see this. For instance, on page 128 Chadwick reports: "A law of Constantine of 321 closed the law courts 'on the venerable day of the sun' except for the pious purpose of freeing slaves, and deprecated Sunday labour except where necessary on farms. An inscription found near Zagreb records that Constantine changed the old custom of working for seven days and holding their market-day every eighth, directing farmers to hold their market-day each Sunday. This is the earliest evidence for the process by which Sunday became not merely the day on which Christians met for worship but also a day of rest, and this is noteworthy that in both law and inscription Constantines stated motive for introducing this custom is respect for the sun." Yes, Constantine did this because of "respect for the sun." Constantine was a pagan and continued to be a pagan before, during and after the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E. Chadwick says as much. Once again, Rudd is the one who errs. But not only that he has to resort to ad hominem attacks on the Witness faith. Clearly Rudd cannot be trusted.
3)Immediately after quoting Chadwick, the next Watchtower statement is: "What role did this unbaptized emperor play at the Council of Nicea?" But of course they fail to tell you what Chadwick said about this! "It was common at this time (and continued so until about A.D. 400) to postpone baptism to the end of one's life" More importantly Chadwick said of Constantine's delay of baptism: "this implies no doubt about his Christian belief" So again the Watchtower misleads the reader into a conclusion OPPOSITE to what Chadwick wrote. But it is interesting that the Watchtower thinks Constantine's delay of baptism is significant, when all Jehovah's Witnesses delay their baptism until the yearly annual "baptismal service". The Bible teaches that you get your sins washed away at water baptism: Acts 2:38; 22:16 and that water baptism "saves you" Mk 16:16; 1 Pe 3:21. But most importantly Christians never delayed their baptisms at all! In Acts 16:25,33, the Jailer was baptized around midnight! You see, the Watchtower highlighting Constantine's delay of water baptism is as hypocritical as it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black! Both Constantine (who delayed many years) and Jehovah's Witnesses (who delay for up to a year) are wrong in delaying their baptism's for even a moment! One year, many years... both are wrong! ......."
Well, Constantine was unbaptized when the Council of Nicea took place in 325! That's 13 yrs after his supposed 'conversion.' Rudd correctly points out, again, that it was quite usual for one's baptism to be "delayed" during these times. But this still means that Constantine was "unbaptised"! So, how could it be the case that the Trinity brochure "misleads" its readers if it simply stated this fact? Now comes the 'red herring' we mentioned Rudd makes. He compares the "delayed" baptism of Constantine with that of the baptism practice of modern day Jehovah's Witnesses! The fact is that Rudd now "misleads" his readers! How so? Because although those who wish to become dedicated servants of Jehovah and His Son do not get baptised immediately the Witnesses contact them(!), they do not "delay" their baptism at all! When they begin to study the Bible and come to an accurate knowledge of God and His Son it takes time for these ones to change their lives so that they can say they have repented of any past life's actions or course that is contrary to God's will and determine that their future life course will be one dedicated to Jehovah.When they come to this point they do not hesitate to get baptised at the earliest moment. There is no such thing as Rudd alleges as a "yearly baptism." This is a lie and should be called as such.(A person who wishes to get baptised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses can do so at any time but there are 4 times in year when Witnesses get together in large groups and baptisms take place then). The practice of modern day Jehovah's Witnesses is completely different from what Constantine did. (And anyone familiar with the Witnesses and the history of the 'Christian' church of the 4th century would acknowledge this.) Constantine did not "delay" his baptism for 24 years for these reasons but because if he so delayed it he could continue to practice un-christian acts as his role as Emperor and commit cruel and barbarous deeds both in un-christian wars and political office. This means he was not a christian in 325 CE when he played his part in the Council of Nicea. And here also Rudd makes a mistake. According to he "The Bible teaches that you get your sins washed away at water baptism: Acts 2:38; 22:16 and that water baptism "saves you" Mk 16:16; 1 Pe 3:21. But most importantly Christians never delayed their baptisms at all!" So according to Rudd Constantine could not have had his "sins washed away" when he resided over the bishops that met in Nicea in 325 C.E.! Exactly! Constantine was not a true Christian at that time if ever he was. Rudd has unknowly agreed that this is so! He even says it was "wrong" for Constantine to delay his baptism. We agree. But he also delayed it for the reasons we give.
Rudd writes: "But it is interesting that the Watchtower thinks Constantine's delay of baptism is significant" in that comment above. What escapes Rudd though is that Constantine whilst un-baptised presided over a 'Christian' council. Does Rudd think that un-baptised persons today 'preside' over the meetings held by the "Watchtower"? So, that "significance" in the case of the un-baptised Constantine that the Trinity Brochure informs its readers is an important relevant fact. Once again we see that Rudd is misleading his readers, or at least those who are not carefully following his 'reasoning' which 'reasoning' is wholly illusory!
(Rudd then attempts to show that in the NT those who wished to be baptised did so immediately and he gives an example of the jailor mentioned at Acts 16:25, 33. But note v.32. "They spoke the word of Jehovah to him together with all those in his household." This would take time. And this is exactly what the Witnesses to today. They "speak the word of Jehovah" to interested persons whom also ask what the jailor did, "Sirs, what must I do to get saved."-v.31. One has then to "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved..."-v.32. The jailor could do so immediately but that is not necessary the case today. The jailor, as was all persons at that time, very religious and might even knowledge about what the Hebrew Scriptures taught about the "Christ" the "Messiah". If he had he would not be too far 'removed' from the primitive Christian faith at that time. Indeed, the Jews were expecting the Messiah as Luke reports at 3:15 of his gospel. The jailor also was likely quite knowledable already with the teachings of the Christ Jesus Himself because Jesus was very well known and may himself been a "seeker of salvation"(The Acts of the Apostles, R. B. Rackham, Methuen & Co Ltd, London,12 ed., 1939, p.290). So, he could have taken in what was then needed for him to make a decision that night and get baptised with no "delay." We should not forget also what effect the earthquake would have on this kind of man. He would have taken it as an act of a God delivering his servants from this prison. This would have terrified him and made him consider that the God of these prisoners, Paul and Silas was the true God. But is all this, including the earthquake(!), the case with each and everyone today? Of course not. Obviously, Rudd has not thought this through properly. And of course he creates a false dilemma with the practice of the Witnesses today and with what was the case with Constantine!)
4) Chadwick comes right out and says that letters written by Constantine are powerful evidence of the genuine faith that resided within, "his letters from 313 onwards leave no doubt that he regarded himself as a Christian". That his delay of water baptism, "implies no doubt about his Christian belief". That his conversion was not "a cynical act of Machiavellian cunning" as the Watchtower tries to portray it!
Yes, Chadwick rightly shows that Constantine "regarded himself as a Christian"! But regarding one self as a christian a christian does not make! (Many 'great' men over history have done likewise so Constantine is no different there!)Yes, his "delay" in his baptism did not, as Chadwick notes, imply "no doubt about his Christian belief" but that delay meant he had not taken the necessary steps that that belief would dictate he should, namely, repentence and a baptism that symbolises that repentence. Constantine did not take these steps, as there is no evidence he repented of the cruel and murderous deeds of his past, indeed he continued to be so, and he only got baptised close to his own death. And so he never did become a Christian!
5)It is important to note that Chadwick is contrasting two competing "east vs. west" views of Constantine's conversion. The "eastern view" of his conversion leans more towards, "an inward experience of grace" while the "Western view" of his conversion leans towards, "a cynical act of Machiavellian cunning." Chadwick, actually rejects both views saying, "It was a military matter." Our criticism of the Watchtower, is that they mislead the reader into the very conclusion Chadwick himself rejects. Chadwick is saying that both views are wrong and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Thus it is beyond question that the Watchtower clearly misrepresents what Chadwick is really saying he personally believes about Constantine's conversion!
True! Chadwick stated that Constantines "conversion" was based upon "military matters" and not on "an inward experience of grace." Chadwick is quite clear here and he shows that Constantine's conversion was not a 'true' one. How could it be that the Trinity brochure misleads its readers to accept a "conclusion" Chadwick "rejects" when it quotes exactly the grounds Chadwick gives for Constantines 'conversion'? Chadwick tells us that it was a conversion based upon "military matters" and not as "an inward experience of grace." And that is exactly what the Trinity brochure informs us Chadwick wrote. We feel now that Rudd is just grasping at straws in an attempt to stick with his "misleading" allegations on the part of the Trinity brochure. But we feel that anyone with a modicum of honesty and intelligence can see through Rudd at this place.
6)Some quote Chadwick on page 126, as proof that Chadwick believed Constantine never gave up pagan sun worship: "In other words, Constantine was not aware of any mutual exclusiveness between Christianity and his faith in the Unconquered Sun. The transition from solar monotheism (the most popular form of contemporary paganism) to Christianity was not difficult. In Old Testament prophecy Christ was entitled `the sun of righteousness'." (The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, p 125-6) But if you read the full quote below, Chadwick is only commenting what he thought was going on in the mind of Constantine in at the time of his conversion in 311-312 AD.
The fact is that is what Chadwick is alleging. Still, we must not forget that this page is defending the Trinity brohcure's quoting where it did of Chadwick and so we will ask: Does the Trinity brochure quote page 126 of Chadwick's The Early Church? No. It seems here that Rudd is directly referring to the NWT Defense site. It is true that Chadwick was only writing what he thought was going on in Constantines mind but this only goes to show that Chadwick himself writes in a way that shows he did not think that Constantines 'conversion' was anything but a "military matter" and that what Constantine was accomplishing was a syncretising of the pagan worship of the "Unconquered Sun" with that of the Christian worship of God's Son. Exactly! As Brox put it: "Constantine did not forsake this god Sol. The spectacular shift consisted in the fact that he changed the cult(the form of worship)of this god and that he choose Christianity for this cult. For him, the God of the Christians was identical with the god he himself worshipped." Yes, Constantine was a pagan and continued as such right up to his death.....despite the "delayed baptism."!
7)So Chadwick's personal view of Constantine a the time of his conversion in 311 AD is clear: Constantine knew the one true God was Jesus Christ, and knew that trust in Jesus would bring about military victory. Constantine clearly viewed Jesus as the deity in which military victory was guaranteed! Although at the time of his conversion, Constantine did not have a clear understanding of the all the differences between "Sun Worship" and "Christ worship", he later grew to a clear understanding, as is seen in his many letters and actions.
Yes, Chadwick is clear about Constantine's "conversion." It was not a 'true' one. It was not based upon repentance and a desire to obey God's will and to imitate God's Son but one based on political and military grounds and Constantine, though apparently sincere as to what and why he was doing what he did(as we can see from his "many letters and acts[towards the 'Church']" was 'using' the Christian religion to unify his endangered empire and he never really stopped his devotion to the unconquered sun despite his allegiance to the Christian God. If he did ever attain a "clear understanding" of the christian faith later in his life then one has the question why he "delayed" his baptism? Still, he was unbaptised when he resided over the bishops that met at Nicea in 325 C.E. Yes, he was not a christian at that time(there is no such thing as an 'unbaptized christian'), and this is exactly what the Trinity brochure accurately states Chadwick reports was the case.
The rest of his page cites an edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica and while we will not reproduce it here we will cite it so that anyone can research what it says. He cites the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1979, Constantine the Great, Vol. 5, p.71. We wonder though if all and any later editions would necessarily agree with this edition? If they differ then 'we takes our pick'! Still, if one does look at the above source which Rudd claims proves that Constantine did become a 'christian' around the years 312/313 then perhaps this link to a page written by a fellow Jehovah's Witness will also be of help in judging its worth. See Was Constantine the Great a Pagan or a Christian?
He writes that the Trinity brochure is proven by the above to be misleading. If that is the case then does he believe that Brox whom we have quoted and whom writes that "Constantine did not forsake this god Sol. The spectacular shift consisted in the fact that he changed the cult(the form of worship)of this god and that he choose Christianity for this cult. For him, the God of the Christians was identical with the god he himself worshipped" is also "misleading"? (We wonder if Rudd will quote on his page that of Brox's The History of the Early Church? We think he will not!) Could we not say that Brox "proves beyond question that Constantine was not a fully dedicated, spiritually minded man which agrees with Chadwicks view of Constantines "military motivated conversion"? Rudd ended comment "8" with "He certainly was not a pagan sun worshipper in Nicea as Jehovah's Witnesses will deceive you into believing!" Does this mean then that Norbett Brox is a Jehovah's Witness who deceives you? Of course he is not and nor does he! Once more Rudd shows that he has an agenda and that agenda has nothing to do with being impartial or objective both. And of course Rudd here thinks that Chadwick should be "challenged" and this because of what Chadwick alleges as to the reasons for Constantines conversion. He can disagree with what Chadwick alleges, this we will allow him, but on doing so he seems to agree that the Trinity brochure if it wanted to quote a scholar for the reasons for Constantines conversion then he, Chadwick, would be one that they could quote to show that his conversion was not a true conversion to the chistian faith. Right! So why is Rudd alleging what he has with how the brochure quoted Chadwick in the first place we ask? Has Rudd got this far only to confuse himself and accept that the Trinity brochure used a source, namely Chadwick, that did allege that Constantine's conversion was not a true one? It seems so!
Included in Rudd's 'comment 8' is this: "In typical Watchtower deception, some Jehovah's Witnesses bring up the fact that Constantine executed his eldest son and wife as "actions unbefitting a Christian". The logic goes something like this: Since Constantine killed his wife and son, he could not be a Christian. At worst, it represents the sin of great men of faith, like David's adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband."
By "some Jehovah's Witnesses" Rudd is really responding to this page when it was first up-loaded and we alerted him to its presence. So we will reply with a quote from A History of Christianity by Paul Johnson who wrote: "Certainly it was not piety that which made [Constantine] a Christian. ...there were early reports of his violent temper and cruelty in anger. He was much critizised for condemning prisoners of war in mortal combat with wild beasts at Trier and Colmar and wholesale massacres in north Africa. He had no respect for human life, and as emperor he executed his eldest son, his own second wife, his favourite sister's husband and 'many others' on doubtful charges....He grew fat, was known as 'the bull-neck'; ......also overbearing, egotistical, self-righteous and ruthless. ...He showed increasing regard for flattery, fancy uniforms, personal display and elaborate titles. ...Vain and superstitious, Constantine may have embraced Christianity because it suited his personal interests, and his growing megalomania....His own role[in the Church] was not wholly removed from that of the pagan God-emperor- as witness the colossal heads and statues of himself with which he littered his empire...."- Penguin Books, 1976, reprint of 1990, pages 68, 69.
So, is it really the case that Constantine can be compared with the likes of King David who wrote Psalm 51 as Rudd proposes? Hardly! Is it the case that the historian Paul Johnson is in cahoots with Jehovahs Witnesses and so like the Witnesses ["Watchtower"] is guilty of "typical deception" as Rudd asserts? Hardly! We feel that the above quotation puts the lie to Rudd's un-warranted allegations which really amount to nothing but ad hominem's against a religion he disagrees with. Can anyone trust what Rudd has written here with Constantine? Can anyone trust what he has written elsewhere? We think not and we feel that we have shown that others should be very wary when reading anything written by Steve Rudd.
Rudd then argues that Constantine can be compared with those righteous Kings of the Old Testament who warred against "paganism and idolatry." It seems to escape Rudd's notice that these ones were the annointed Kings of Israel, which was in a covenant relationship with God. These where not followers of the Christ Jesus because the Messiah was yet in the future. With the coming of the Christ the 'nation' that replaced fleshly Israel was the 'spiritual nation' of Christians who were "not of this world." Christians could not be the servant of "two masters" nor were their weapons "fleshly." But this is exactly the case in the 4th century. Apostate Christianity embraced a pagan emperor who warred without and against the spirit of the Christ before and after his victory at the Milvian Bridge in 312 C.E. In killing and warring how did Constantine "follow the footsteps" of the Christ "closely"? He did not because.....he was not a true christian!
Yes, the brochure Should You Believe in the Trinity accurately represents Chadwick in that Constantine never became a true christian, a true follower of Christ and always remained a pagan until his death in 337 C.E., continuing to worship the "Unconquered Sun," albeit with the label "christian" and beneath the 'umbrella' of [4th century apostate] 'Christianity', before and even from 312 C.E onwards.
Addendum 9/10/2003: Steve Rudd sent us this email informing us he had a "top ten list" of Watchtower misquotings: "When a Jehovah's Witness reads this top ten list, they either conclude the Watchtower organization engages is satanic quoting practices, or become dishonest themselves! This list is so powerful and irrefutable, that Jehovah's Witnesses have no idea how to deal with it! Their usual response is to quietly withdraw back into the shadows of anonymity form which they came."
However, this email just shows the mindset of Rudd. This page on Rudd/Chadwick/SYBTT has obviously compelled him to write more upon the quotations in the Trinity brochure in an attempt to defend himself. Has the "Watchtower organization engage[d] i[n] satanic quoting practices "? This page proves that what Rudd has written on Chadwick and the Should You Believe in the Trinity brochure cannot be trusted at all. He has been found un-able to handle properly Chadwick's chapter on Constantine and Nicea. He fails to take into consideration historians like Johnson and Brox who agree with Chadwick that Constantine never became a true christian nor ceased his devotion and worship of the "un-conquered sun". Indeed, he ignores these respected historians! Why does he do this but to mislead his readers? He make ad hominen attacks upon the Witness faith! He has also, in this latest email, made obvious his prejudices toward anything that the Jehovah's Witnesses publish. He gives two options. But if anyone has been "engaged in [deceptive]... practices" or "dishonest" is it not Rudd himself and has been both? Hence, if anyone comes across any of Rudds' pages(including his "top ten list") then please be wary of taking too seriously him or his writings. He simply cannot be trusted!
We have availed ourselves of a book entitled "The Early Church" by W. H. Frend("Knowing Christianity" series, edited by Dr. W. Neil, published by Hodder and Stoughton, first printing, 1965) which states about Constantine and his 'conversion' to 'Christianity':
"..Licinius's days as co-Emperor with Constantine were numbered. In 313 he had been equally pro-Christian, and like Constantine could claim Christian divine aid in his victory over his enemies. But from now on the path of the two Emperors diverged. Constantine never wavered from his view that Christianity was the means of worshipping Summus Deus, and that Christian clergy were his ministers. So much is clear from his correspondence in the Donatist dispute. It is less clear that he regarded Christianity as the sole means of worshipping God. His retention of the inscription Soli Invicto Comiti on the coinage in general circulation in the West, and his choice of the Dies Solis(Sunday) as a rest day throughout his dominions point to the opposite direction. The fact that some Western Christians equated Christ and the sun as is shown on an early fourth-century mosaic found in the Roman cemetery beneath St Peter's, Rome, hardly affects this issue. Constantine's first religious conversion had been to the worship of the sun-god Apollo, and though the latter was given a cross on an imperial column at Constantinople he [Apollo] was not entirely superseded." pages 150, 151. -italics Frend's, underlining and words in square brackets ours.
Yes, just as an honest reader can see from Chadwick's book of the same title so likewise from Frend's which also informs us that Constantine's conversion was nothing more that a syncretising of pagan sun worship with the worship of the Christians Son of God. Constantine remained a pagan and the 'Christianity' of the 4th century had a pagan emperor! Compare 2 Cor.6: 14-17.