Large-Scale Backsliding In The Roman Empire 300’s To 500’s A.D.

Sometime after Emperor Constantine officially recognized Christianity as a legal religion in the Western Roman Empire and in the Eastern Roman Empire in 324A.D. when Constantine become master of the East as well, there was a large-scale backsliding in many or most of the churches in the Roman Empire. This great deterioration in the moral standards and practices in the churches continued in the 400’s and 500’s A.D.

 

Very low standards in the ‘Christianized’ Roman Empire in the 360’s and 370’s

 

            In a section entitled “The Vices of Roman Society” (A.D. 369-72) in his writing, “The Later Roman Empire,” the ancient Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (330-approx 391 A.D.) wrote about , “…the prevailing gluttony and gross immorality…” [1] of the times. Note that this occurred in the 360’s and 370’s A.D. when the Roman Empire was supposedly ‘Christianized’ to some extent and had been ruled since 324 A.D. by emperors who claimed to be Christians. These were Emperor Constantine I, Constantine II, Constans, Constantius, Jovian, Valentinian I, Valens, Gratian and Valentinian II. The only pagan emperor ruling the Western and/or Eastern Roman Empire from 324 to 379 A.D. was Julian (reigned 360-363 A.D.).

            Brown records that even after the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine in 312 A.D. and the following supposed ‘Christianization’ of the Roman Empire, sports girls were permitted to perform nude in public. This shows how paganized were the morals of many Romans even during this period. [2]

 

The banning and later reinstitution of gladiatorial fighting

 

          In 325 A.D., Emperor Constantine banned gladiator fighting.[3] But note the ancient Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (330-391 A.D.) recorded that in A.D. 354, the Roman Caesar Gallus permitted and enjoyed gladiator shows and boxers killing each other; “Another plain and obvious indication of his cruel nature was the pleasure which he took in gladiatorial shows; he sometimes watched as many as six or seven fights with fascinated attention, and was as happy at the sight of boxers killing one another in bloody combat as if he had made a great financial coup.”[4] The senior Roman Emperor at the time was Constantius who was a son of Emperor Constantine I. Constantius had appointed his cousin Gallus as his junior co-ruling Caesar in 351 A.D. Later in 354 A.D. Constantius had Gallus arrested and beheaded. Even after the Roman Empire and emperors became supposedly ‘Christianized’ in the 300’s A.D. wicked gladiator fights still continued to occur.

            In his “Confessions”, the early Church leader Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) records how a young man named Alypius from Carthage in North Africa, was forced by pagan friends to go to the gladiator fights in the city of Rome in the 380’s A.D.: “He, not relinquishing that worldly way which his parents had bewitched him to pursue, had gone before me to Rome, to study law, and there he was carried away in an extraordinary manner with an incredible eagerness after the gladiatorial shows. For, being utterly opposed to and detesting such spectacles, he was one day met by chance by divers of his acquaintances and fellow-students returning from dinner, and they with a friendly violence drew him, vehemently objecting and resisting, into the amphitheater, on a day of these cruel and deadly shows, he thus protesting: ‘Though you drag my body to that place, and there place me, can you force me to give my mind and lend my eyes to these shows? Thus shall I be absent while present, and so shall overcome both you and them.’ They hearing this, dragged him on nevertheless, desirous, perchance, to see whether he could do as he said. When they had arrived thither, and had taken their places as they could, the whole place became excited with the inhuman sports. But he, shutting up the doors of his eyes, forbade his mind to roam abroad after such naughtiness; and would that he had shut his ears also! For, upon the fall of one in the fight, a mighty cry from the whole audience stirring him strongly, he, overcome by curiosity, and prepared as it were to despise and rise superior to it, no matter what it were, opened his eyes, and was struck with a deeper wound in his soul that the other, whom he desired to see, was in his body; and he fell more miserably than he on whose fall that might clamor was raised, which entered through his ears, and unlocked his eyes, to make way for the striking and beating down of his soul, which was bold rather than valiant hitherto; and so much the weaker in that it presumed on itself, which ought to have depended on Thee. For, directly he saw that blood, he therewith imbibed a sort of savageness; nor did he turn away, but fixed his eye, drinking in madness unconsciously, and was delighted with the guilty contest, and drunken with the bloody pastime. Nor was he now the same he came in, but was one of the throng he came unto, and a true companion of those who had brought him thither. Why need I say more? He looked, shouted, was excited, carried away with him the madness which would stimulate him to return, not only with those who first enticed him, but also before them, yea, and to draw in others. And from all this dist Thou, with a most powerful and mist merciful hand, pluck him, and taughest him not to repose confidence in himself, but in Thee – but not till long after.” [5]

            The above historical account means that during their reigns, some so-called Christian Roman Emperors permitted the wicked practice of gladiator fighting in Rome. During the 300’s A.D., the Roman Empire was split in two parts – the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. During this time, the Western Roman Empire was ruled by an Emperor and a junior assisting co-emperor. The same occurred in the Eastern Roman Empire.

            During the 380’s A.D., the following were the Roman Emperors and co-emperors:

 

a)        Gratian who reigned from 367 to 383 A.D. in the Western Roman Empire. [6] Gratian was supposedly a devoted Christian.[7] He was nine years old when he began ruling as co-emperor to this father Emperor Valentinian I in 367 A.D.[8]

b)        Theodosius I who reigned 379 to 395 A.D. firstly in the Eastern Roman Empire and then in both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires.[9] Commenting on Theodosius, historians Sinnigen and Boak state: “A convinced orthodox Christian, he conceived it his duty to unite the Empire in this Creed and so he took drastic steps to stamp out both paganism and Christian heresies…” [10]

c)        Valentinian II who was Emperor Gratian’s younger brother and who reigned from 375 to 392 A.D. in the Western Roman Empire. Valentinian II was only four years old when be became co-emperor. [11] So his mother and a Frankish general named Merobaudes ruled for him as his regents. [12]

 

In 383 A.D., the commander of the Roman troops in Britain, Magnus Maximus rebelled against Emperor Gratian. Gratian’s army surrendered Gratian to Maximus who had him executed. Maximus[13]took control of Britain, Gaul and Spain. This left Italy and Illyricum under the rule of Emperor Valentinian II and his co-regents – his mother and Merobaudes. In 387 A.D., Maximus took control of Italy also. But in 388 A.D., Eastern Emperor Theodosius I’s troops defeated Maximus’ forces. Then Theodosius moved to Milan in Italy, sent Valentinian II to rule in Gaul and left his son Arcadius to rule in the East from Constantinople. Theodosius was the senior Roman Emperor in both the Eastern and Western parts of the Empire until his death in 395 A.D. [14]

The father of Emperors Gratian and Valentinian II was Emperor Valentinian I. Valentinian I was supposedly an orthodox Christian but he adopted a policy of religious toleration of most pagan practices except for a few pagan magical rites. [15]

The Western Roman Emperor Honorius (reigned 395-423 A.D.) banned gladiator fights during his reign. [16]

 

Jerome about the state of his country in 374 A.D.

 

            Jerome (347-419 A.D.) was an early Christian theologian. He was born in the little town of Strido near the border of Italy and Dalmatia.[17] In 374 A.D., Jerome wrote about the very lax backslidden state of Christianity in his country and said that their Christian bishop had similar wicked attitudes: “The fact is that my native land is a prey to barbarism, that in it men’s only God is their belly, that they live only for the present, and that the richer a man is the holier he is held to be. Moreover, to use a well-worn proverb, the dish has a cover worthy of it; for Lupicinus is their priest.”  [18]

 

Jerome on backsliding in the late 300’s and early 400’s A.D.

 

          In 384 A.D., Jerome also wrote about another sign of the great backsliding and liberalising which was occurring in the Church in the Roman Empire in the late 300’s and 400’s A.D. He wrote about the practices of many churchgoing young and older widows; You may see many women widows before wedded, who try to conceal their miserable fall by a lying garb. Unless they are betrayed by swelling wombs or by the crying of their infants, they walk abroad with tripping feet and heads in the air. Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder. Yet it is these who say: “’Unto the pure all things are pure’, my conscience is sufficient guide for me. A pure heart is what God looks for. Why should I abstain from meats which God has created to be received with thanksgiving?’”. And when they wish to appear agreeable and entertaining they first drench themselves with wine, and then joining the grossest profanity to intoxication, they say: “Far be it from me to abstain from the blood of Christ.” And when they see another pale or sad they call her “wretch” or “manichaean;” quite logically, indeed, for on their principles fasting involves heresy. When they go out they do their best to attract notice, and with nods and winks encourage troops of young fellows to follow them.” [19]

           

Christianity in Carthage in the 400’s A.D.

 

          Evidence of how hypocritical and morally corrupt most Christians in the 400’s A.D. became in at least some and possibly many parts of the Roman Empire can be seen in the words of the ancient Christian writer Salvian, the Bishop of Marseilles. Marseilles was in what is today France. He records that while the Vandal armies were fighting against so-called “Christian” Roman soldiers outside the North African city of Carthage which was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire at the time, many of the so-called “Christians” were having sex outside marriage and committing other vices within Carthage itself: “The arms of barbarian people were resounding against the walls of Cirta and of Carthage; and yet the Christian population was going wild in the circuses and enjoying itself in the theaters. Some were having their throats cut outside the walls; others were fornicating inside the walls. Some of the people were captives of the enemy outside the walls; others were captives of their own vices inside the walls… As I have said, there was a sound of battle outside the walls and of games within the walls; the cries of dying were intermingled with the shouting of the revelers; the cries of the people falling in the fighting could scarcely be distinguished from the uproar of the people shouting in the Circus.” [20]

            God permitted the Arian Vandals to conquer large parts of so-called “Christian” North Africa.

            Bishop Salvian was born towards the end of the 300’s A.D. and lived until just after A.D. 470. This was the period in which the moral standards of many so-called Christians dropped dramatically in the Eastern and Western parts of the Roman Empire.

 

Church leaders having mistresses in the 300’s and 400’s A.D.

 

          In 384 A.D., the early Church leader Jerome write about an immoral custom which had become prevalent in the Church in the Roman Empire. This was the custom of numerous unmarried church leaders having women live in their houses with them as supposed spiritual sisters but actually usually as mistresses. These women were called “agapetae” meaning “beloved ones.” Jerome wrote; “I blush to speak of it, it is so shocking; yet though sad, it is true. How comes this plague of the agapetae to be in the church? Whence come these unwedded wives, these novel concubines, these harlots, so I will call them, though they cling to a single partner? One house holds them and one chamber. They often occupy the same bed, and yet they call us suspicious if we fancy anything amiss. A brother leaves his virgin sister; a virgin, slighting her unmarried brother, seeks a brother in a stranger. Both alike profess to have but one object, to find spiritual consolation from those not of their kin; but their real aim is to indulge in sexual intercourse. It is on such that Solomon in the book of proverbs heaps his scorn. “Can a man take fire in his bosom,” he says, “and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals and his feet not be burned?” [21]

            The modern Editors added a footnote to Jerome’s words saying that “agapetae” were: “Beloved ones; viz, women who lived with the unmarried clergy professedly as spiritual sisters, but really (in too many cases) as mistresses. The evil custom was widely prevalent and called forth many protests. The councils of Elvira, Ancyra, and Nicaea passed cannons against it.” [22]

            In 314 A.D. a Church Council of bishops was held at Ancyra, the capital of Galatia. Canon 19 at the Council of Ancyra stated: “…And, moreover, we prohibit women who are virgins from living with men as sisters.” [23]

            This decree was directed at those males in the Church who were having unmarried virgin females live together in the same house as their supposed spiritual sisters as a cover for sexual immorality.

            At the First Ecumenical Church Council of Nice in 325 A.D., the bishops there voted to prohibit any woman from living in a house alone with a church leader to whom they were not married. The only exceptions to this were mothers, sisters, aunts or women who would definitely not be having a sexual relationship with the leaders. Canon 3 of the First Nicean Church Council stated: “The great Synod has stringently forbidden any bishop, presbyter, deacon, or any one of the clergy whatever, to have a subintroducta dwelling with him, except only a mother, or sister, or aunt, or such persons only as are beyond all suspicion.”  [24]

 

Wicked compromise about masters having sex with slave girls

 

          In Canon 49 of his Letter 199, “Canonica Secunda,” the early church leader, Bishop Basil of Caesarea wrote about the fact that in the late 300’s A.D. in the supposedly “Christianized” Roman Empire, some or many masters were still forcing their Christian slave girls to have sex with them. This is despite the fact the masters were not married to these girls. Basil wrote in 375 A.D.: “Suffering violation should not be a cause of condemnation. So the slave girl, if she has been forced by her own master, is free from blame.” [25]Basil wrote these words at a time when supposedly Christian Emperors Valentinian I (ruled 364-375 A.D.), Valens (ruled 364-378 A.D.) and Gratian (ruled 367-383 A.D.) had been ruling the Western and Eastern Roman Empires.

In 399 A.D., Jerome recorded that in the supposedly “Christianized” Roman Empire in the late 300’s, the Roman Emperors permitted Romans of high rank to use their slave girls for sexually immoral purposes: “The laws of Caesar are different, it is true, from the laws of Christ: Papinianus[26] commands one thing; our own Paul another. Earthly laws give a free rein to the unchastity of men, merely condemning seduction and adultery; lust is allowed to range unrestrained among brothels and slave girls as if the guilt were constituted by the rank of the person assailed and not by the purpose of the assailant. But with us Christians what is unlawful for women is equally unlawful for men, and as both serve the same God both are bound by the same obligations.” [27] Jerome wrote these words at a time just after supposedly Christian Emperor Theodosius I (reigned 379-395 A.D.) had finished ruling the Roman Empire and during the time his supposedly Christian sons Arcadius (reigned 383-408 A.D.) and Honorius (reigned 393-423 A.D.) ruled the Roman Empire.

            Laws like the above typify the compromise and watering down which occurred in the 300’s and 400’s A.D. of previously high Christian moral standards.

 

Bishop John Chrysostom challenged evil and compromise

 

John Chrysostom became Patriarch of Constantinople in 398 A.D.[28] Gallatin states that Chrysostom, “labored to reform the laxness of the clergy and the corrupt life of the city. Soon powerful enemies, including Eudoxia, the emperor’s wife, and several bishops conspired against him. With the help of the jealous Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria they tried more than one to dispose John.” [29]

            Chrysostom had rebuked the court of the Eastern Roman Emperor Arcadius (reigned 392-408 A.D.) for their extravagance and poor morals.[30] In particularly, Chrysostom censured the Empress Eudoxia,[31] who was a daughter of a chief of the Franks from Europe.[32]

            What happened to Chrysostom is evidence of the increasing moral corruption of the so-called Christian Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire from the late 300’s onwards.

 

Compromisers with sin hated John Chrysostom

 

            Prior to the time John Chrysostom was made Bishop and Patriarch of Constantinople in 398, Nectarius was the Patriarch. [33] Nectarius has permitted very liberal lax church discipline during his time as Patriarch.[34] He had allowed unmarried male clergy to have younger unmarried women to live in their houses.[35]

            But after John Chrysostom became Patriarch, he forbade any of the male clergy from having unmarried women living in their houses.[36] This obviously upset some of the clergy and women involved in such practices.

            John Chrysostom also upset many of the upper classes in the Eastern Roman Empire.[37] He did this by attacking their extravagant living and their sins such as going to plays which involved much filth and sexual indecency.[38] Upper class ladies at the Emperor’s court turned the Empress Eudoxia against Chrysostom by saying his rebuking of sins was directed at her.[39]

            In 401, John presided over a church synod at Ephesus which deposed six bishops for having committed simony. [40] Theophilus, the Patriarch of the church at Alexandria was jealous to preserve his own power and influence. [41] So he organised the Synod of the Oak which comprised 29 Egyptian bishops under Theophilus’ control, some of the bishops John had deposed at Ephesus plus Bishop Severion of Galaba. [42] Severian desired to be Patriarch of Constantinople himself, so he was continually working to depose John. [43] The Synod deposed John as Patriarch of Constantinople. [44] The Emperor Arcadius ratified this decision to depose John. [45]

            John’s enemies in the church and upper classes also succeeded in having Emperor Arcadius exile John in June 404. [46] For three years, John remained at a frontier outpost in Armenia. [47] The Emperor then exiled him to a more remote place. [48] On the way, John’s guards forced him to walk bare headed in sun and rain [49]. As a result, he died of weakness and fever. The last words he uttered were, “Glory to God for all things.” [50]

            John Chrysostom had some unbiblical ascetic attitudes and some pagan Greek attitudes to women. But despite this, he did challenge much of the liberalising and backsliding occurring in the Eastern Church in the late 300’s A.D.  

 

 

 

 

Churchgoers regularly visiting theatres promoting sexual immorality

 

            John Chrysostom recorded that many churchgoers in his era used to go regularly to the Roman theatres even through the theatres at the time promoted all types of filthy unbiblical attitudes to sex outside marriage: “For when we clean people out, as they come here from the theatres with their filthiness thither they go again, and take in a larger stock of filthiness, as if they lived for the purpose of only giving us trouble, and then come back to us, laden with ordure, in their manners, in their movements, in their words, in their laughter, in their idleness. Then once more we begin shoveling it out afresh, as if we had to do this only on purpose that, having sent them away clean, we may again see them clogging themselves with filth.”

            Nowhere in the Bible does it specifically command Christians not to attend theatres. But in Ephesians 5:3-7, God commanded believers to have nothing to do with sexual immorality, sexual uncleanness, filthiness and dirty coarse jokes: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.”

            This is similar to the fact that the Bible does not specifically condemn gladiator fights at the arena. But the Bible does condemn murder (see Romans 13:9). Gladiator fighting is a form of murder.

 

The Eastern Roman Empire in the mid-500’s

 

          The ancient Roman historian Procopius (approx 500-565 A.D.) was the private secretary and legal advisor of Belisarius, the leading general of the Eastern Roman Empire at the time. In his book, ‘The Secret History’, Procopius wrote the following about Theodora who was Emperor Justinian I’s (ruled 527-565 A.D.) mistress and then wife: “When the children were old enough, they were at once put on the stage there by their mother, as their appearance was very attractive; not all at the same time, however, but as each one seemed to her to be mature enough for this profession. The eldest one, Comito, was already one of the most popular harlots of the day. Theodora, who came next, clad in a little tunic with long sleeves, the usual dress of a slave girl, used to assist her in various ways, following her about and invariably carrying on her shoulders the bench on which her sister habitually sat at public meetings. For the time being Theodora was still too undeveloped to be capable of sharing a man’s bed or having intercourse like a woman; but she acted as a sort of male prostitute the satisfy customers of the lowest type and slaves at that, who when accompanying their owners to the theatre seized their opportunity to divert themselves in this revolting manner; and for some considerable time she remained in a brothel, given up to this unnatural bodily commerce. But as soon as she was old enough and fully developed, she joined the women on the stage and promptly became a courtesan, of the type our ancestors called ‘the dregs of the army’. For she was not a flautist or harpist; she was not even qualified to join the corps of dancers; but she merely sold her attractions to anyone who came along, putting her whole body at his disposal.

            Later she joined the actors in all the business of the theatre and played a regular part in their stage performances, making herself the butt of their ribald buffoonery. She was extremely clever and had a biting wit, and quickly became popular as a result. There was not a particle of modesty in the little hussy, and no one ever saw her taken aback: she complied with the most outrageous demands without the slightest hesitation, and she was the sort of girl who if somebody walloped her or boxed her ears would make a jest of it and roar with laughter; and she would throw off her clothes and exhibit naked to all and sundry those regions, both in front and behind, which the rules of decency require to be kept veiled and hidden from masculine eyes.

            She used to tease her lovers by keeping them waiting, and by constantly playing about with novel methods of intercourse she could always bring the lascivious to her feet; so far from waiting to be invited by anyone she encountered, she herself by cracking dirty jokes and wiggling her hips suggestively would invite all who came her way, especially if they were still in their teens. Never was anyone so completely given up to unlimited self-indulgence. Often she would go to a bring-your-own-food dinner-party with ten young men or more, all at the peak of their physical powers and with fornication as their chief object in life, and would lie with all her fellow diners in turn the whole night long: when she had reduced them all to a state of exhaustion she would go to their menials, as many as thirty on occasions and copulate with every one of them: but not even so could she satisfy her lust.

            One night she went into the house of a distinguished citizens during the drinking, and it was said, before the eyes of all the guests she stood up on the end of the couch need their feet, pulled up her dress in the most disgusting manner as she stood there, and brazenly displayed her lasciviousness…

            … Naturally she was frequently pregnant, but by using pretty well all the tricks of the trade she was able to induce immediate abortion.

                Often in the theatre too, in full view of all the people she would throw off her clothes and stand naked in their midst, having only a girdle about her private parts and her groins – not, however, because she was ashamed to expose these also to the public, but because no one is allowed to appear there absolutely naked; a girdle round the groins is compulsory. With this minimum covering she would spread herself out and lie face upwards on the floor. Servants on whom this task had been imposed would sprinkle barley grains over her private parts, and geese trained for the purpose used to pick them off one by one with their bills and swallow them. Theodora, so far from blushing when she stood up again, actually seemed to be proud of this performance. For she was not only shameless herself, but did more than anyone else to encourage shamelessness.

            Many times she threw off her clothes and stood in the middle of the actors on the stage, leaning over backwards or pushing out her behind to invite both those who had already enjoyed her and those who had not been intimate as yet, parading her own special brand of gymnastics.[51]

            Theodora put on pornographic shows, engaged in group sex with many men and aborted her babies.

            Procopius records that Theodora also had a sexual relationship with the Roman governor of Pentapolis and then became the Emperor Justinian’s mistress: “Later she accompanied Hecebolus, a Tyrian who had taken over the government of Pentapolis, in order to serve him in the most revolting capacity, but she got into bad odour with him and was shot out without more ado: as a result she found herself without even the necessities of life, which from then on she provided in her customary fashion by making her body the tool of her lawless trade. First she came to Alexandria; then after making a tour round the whole East she returned to Byzantium, in every city following an occupation which a man had better not name, I think, if he hopes  ever to enjoy the favour of God. It was as if the unseen powers could not allow any spot on earth to be unaware of Theodora’s depravity.

            Such, then, was the birth and upbringing of this woman, the subject of common talk among women of the streets and among people of every kind. But when she arrived back in Byzantium Justinian conceived an overpowering passion for her. At first he consorted with her only as a mistress through he did promote her to Patrician rank. This at once enabled Theodora to possess herself of immense influence and of very considerable wealth. For as so often happens to men consumed with passion, it seemed in Justinian’s eyes the most delightful thing in the world to lavish all his favours and all his wealth upon the object of his passion. And the whole State became fuel for his passion.” [52]

            Emperor Justinian and his governors of Roman provinces claimed to be Christians. The World Book Encyclopedia states: “Justinian was an orthodox Christian, and tried to unify his empire under one Christian faith. He persecuted Christian heretics (those who opposed church teachings), Jews, and pagans (non-Christians). In 529, he closed the schools of philosophy in Athens, Greece, because he felt the schools taught paganism”. [53] Justinian prohibited pagan worship in private and even instituted the death sentence for this. [54]

            Despite being a supposed Christian and a strong opponent of paganism, Emperor Justinian permitted pornographic shows to occur at theatres and took an unrepentant pornographic actress as his mistress and then wife. He typifies many of the Christians at the time – right about many major Bible teachings but hypocritically deliberately continually living wicked lives.

            Procopius also recorded that by the 500’s A.D., almost all supposedly Christian women in the Eastern Roman Empire had become morally corrupt or depraved: At the period almost all women has become morally depraved. For the could play false to their husbands with complete impunity, since such behaviour involved them in no danger or harm. Wives proved guilty of adultery were exempt from penalty, as they had only to go straight to the Empress and turn the tables by bringing a countersuit against their husbands, who had not been charged with any offence, and dragging them into court. All that was left to the husbands, against whom nothing had been proved, was to pay twice the amount of the dowry they had received and as a rule to be scourged and led away to prison and then once more to watch their faithless partners showing off and inviting the attentions of their paramours more brazenly than before. Many of the paramours actually gained promotion by rendering this service. Small wonder that from then on most husbands, however shocking their wives’ behaviour might be, were only too glad to keep their mouths shut and avoid being scourged, conceding every licence to their wives by letting them believe that they had not been found out.” [55]

           

Almost continuous compromise for about 1700 years

 

            Over the last 1700 years since the Roman Emperor Constantine I legalised Christianity in the Roman Empire, millions of churchgoers have compromised about various moral issues by approving of attitudes and practices which are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Examples of these attitudes and practices are:

 

         abortion in the first few weeks of pregnancy or later.

         nudity, semi-nudity and immodesty.

         pagan attitudes to sex, ranging from ascetic attitudes, involving believing even sex in marriage was either sinful or less holy than celibacy, or liberal attitudes to sex outside of marriage and in recent times to homosexuality.

         believing women are inferior to men, should not be highly educated and should not become lawyers or doctors.

         and astrology, occult, sorcery and various pagan superstitions.


 

[1] Ammianus Marcellinus, “The Later Roman Empire,” Book 28,4.

[2] P. Brown, “The Body and Society,” Columbia University Press, New York, 1988, page 24.

[3] Eusebius of Caesarea, “Life of Constantine the Great,” Book 4, Chapter 25.

[4] Ammianus Marcellinus, “The Later Roman Empire,” Book 14, 7.

[5] Augustine, “Confessions”, 6:8.

[6] William Sinnigen and Arthur Boak, “A History of Rome to A.D. 565”, Collier MacMillan, London, 1977, page 519.

[7] Ibid, page 428.

[8] Ibid, page 425.

[9] Ibid, pages 519 and 427-429.

[10] Ibid, page 430

[11] Ibid, page 427.

[12] Ibid

[13] Ibid, page 428.

[14] Ibid, pages 427-430.

[15] Ibid, pages 426- 427.

[16] “The New Encyclopedia Britannica”, Volume 5, Encyclopedia Britannica, Chicago, 2002, pages 291-292.

[17] Walter Elwell (editor), “Evangelical Dictionary of Theology”, Baker, Grand Rapids, 1984, page 578.

[18] Jerome, Letter 7 “To Chromatius, Jovinus and Eusebius”, point 5.

[19] Jerome, Letter 22 “To Eustochium”, Point 13.

Sadly, Jerome himself went to the opposite extreme and sanctioned the unbiblical ascetic idea that being unmarried was a superior state to being married. (Ibid, pages 28-29, points 18-24).

[20] Salvian, “De Gubernatione Dei” 6.12:69-71 quoted in Morris Rosenblum, “Luxorius – A Latin Poet Among the Vandals”, Columbia University Press, New York, 1961, page 20.

[21] Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Editors), “A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church”, Volume 6 – “St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works”, Letter 22, Point 14, Wm B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, page 27.

[22] Ibid, footnote 1.

[23] Ibid, page 11.

[24] Philip Schaff and Henry Wade (Editors), “A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church”, Volume 14, “The Seven Ecumenical Councils”, W. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, page 11.

[25] Philip Schaff and Henry Wade (Editors), “A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church”, Volume 8, “St Basil, Letters and Select Works”, W. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, page 240.

[26] Papinianus was an expert in Roman law who held a high legal position under Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Serverus in the early 200’s A.D. Jerome uses Papinianus as a symbol of the laws of Roman Emperors and the Apostle Paul as a symbol of God’s commands.

[27] Jerome, Letter 77, “To Oceanus”, Point 3.

[28] Walter Elwell (Editor), “Evangelical Dictionary of Theology”, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, page 228.

[29] Ibid.

[30] William Sinnigen and Arthur Boak, “A History of Rome to A.D. 565”, Collier McMillan, London, 1977, page 461.

[31] Ibid

[32] Ibid, page 460.

[33]New Catholic Encyclopedia”, Volume 7, page 1041.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid, page 1042.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid, page 1043.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Procopius, “The Secret History,” 9.

[52] Ibid.

[53] “The World Book Encyclopedia”, Volume 11, World Book Inc., Chicago, 1988, page 202.

[54] Geoffrey Bromiley (General Editor), “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia”, William E. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1988, page 220.

[55] Ibid, 17.

 

 


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