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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!
Deceptive Quote : Trinitarian
Misleads the reader to a conclusion opposite to what source is saying.
Chadwick, Henry: The Early Church
"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)
"What role did this unbaptized emperor play at the Council of Nicea?" very next sentence after quoting Chadwick, Should you believe the Trinity?, Watchtower publication)
Watchtower deception exposed:
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!
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!
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! Every Jehovah's Witnesses would do well to take this on-line interactive test on what the Bible teaches about the urgency and purpose of water baptism: Click here to learn why delaying water baptism, as practiced by both Constantine and all JW's is unscriptural false doctrine!
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!
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!
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.
So Chadwick's personal view of Constantine at 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.
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. Notice what Encyclopedia Britannica says about this very act: "But Constantine's visit to the West in 326, to repeat the celebrations at Rome, brought the greatest political crisis of the reign. During his absence from the East, for reasons that remain obscure, Constantine had his eldest son, the deputy emperor Crispus, and his own wife Fausta, Crispus' stepmother, slain. Nor was the visit to Rome a success. Constantine's refusal to take part in a pagan procession offended the Romans; and when he left after a short visit, it was never to return. These events set the course of the last phase of the reign of Constantine." (Encyclopedia Britannica , 1979, Constantine the Great, Vol. 5, p.71) Notice three important things Encyclopedia Britannica says, 1. We do not know why Constantine executed these three men. For all we know, he may have executed them for treason or pagan Sun worship! 2. This happened in 326 AD, one year after Nicea. But that same year, Constantine REFUSED to take part in a Pagan Procession which offended the Romans! Today, while politicians are marching along in "Gay Pride Parades" Constantine would have nothing to do with paganism! He was a genuine Christian! 3. Abolishing paganism, "set the course" of the rest of Constantine's life! See, we told you Constantine's faith grew like a mustard seed! He certainly was not a pagan sun worshipper in Nicea as Jehovah's Witnesses will deceive you into believing!
The Encyclopedia Britannica proves beyond question that Constantine was indeed a fully dedicated, spiritually minded man, that challenges Chadwick's view of Constantine's "military motivated conversion". But again we say, nothing Chadwick writes anywhere, indicates Constantine was a "Christian by day and a pagan sun worshipper by night" at the time of the Nicene council in 325 AD, some 14 years after his conversion. Even Chadwick indicates the obvious, that Constantine's faith grew with time as seen in both words and actions.
Encyclopedia Britannica fully documents the incredible extent that Constantine went to destroy paganism and idolatry in the same spirit of many of the righteous kings of the Old Testament! Encyclopedia Britannica is a must read for anyone interested in a full discussion of the subject of Constantine's conversion. At best Chadwick, skims the surface!
"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 household 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. (The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, p 122)
"The conversion of Constantine marks a turning-point in the history of the Church and of Europe. It meant much more than the end of persecution. The sovereign autocrat was inevitably and immediately involved in the development of the church, and conversely the Church became more and more implicated in high political decisions. It is characteristic that the Western attitude towards the conversion of Constantine and its consequences has generally been more ambivalent than the Eastern. In the West there has been a sharper consciousness of the double-sidedness of his benefits to the Church. 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. (The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, p 125)
"The Christians believed the one God whom they worshipped had given Constantine victory. Lactantius, the Latin apologist who taught rhetoric at Nicomedia in Asia Minor, tells of a dream granted to Constantine directing him to put the `Chi-Rho' monogram on his shields and standards as a talisman of victory. The sign, which appears on Constantine's coins from 315, was a monogram of the name of Christ. Late fourth-century writers called it the `labarum'. Its name and shape might suggest an echo of the double-axe (labrys) which was an ancient cult-symbol of Zeus. But that its meaning was universally understood to be Christian is shown by the fact that under Julian it was abolished. Perhaps Constantine decided to make the Christian monogram his military standard even prior to 312. Before a battle against invading barbarians (he told Eusebius of Caesarea many years later) he had seen the cross athwart the midday sun inscribed with the words `By this conquer'. The occasion may have been during his campaign against the Franks near Autun in 311; a contemporary pagan orator mentions a vision of the Sun-god on the eve of his victory on this occasion. In other words, [at the time of his conversion in 311 AD] 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)
"If Constantine's coins long continued to be engraved with the symbolic representation of the Sun, his letters from 313 onwards leave no doubt that he regarded himself as a Christian whose imperial duty it was to keep a united Church. 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, Henry Chadwick, p 127)
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Written By Steve Rudd, Used by permission at: www.bible.ca
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