See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
1 Thessalonians 5 v 15
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender-hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing,
1 Peter 3 v 8 and 9
The principle cannot be missed! Christians should show love to all people. They should live peaceably and not resist aggressors. Human nature being what it is they do not always manage to live up to this principle. But that should not stop them trying. As we look at how the church has developed, we should bear in mind that this principle was taught by the founders of Christianity.
Jesus Christ said that his followers should:
- Show love to all
- Live as peacefully as is possible
- Not resist aggressors
Political influences on Christianity
The book World History mentions the political influences on early Christianity. It tells us about the Roman Emperor Constantine who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire around AD 324:
… Constantine accepted the new Faith. Emperor worship may now have ceased, but even a Christian emperor could not shed the concept that he was the fountain of religion. He declared himself to be the thirteenth apostle and sat as chairman of the Council of Nicea, which established Christian doctrine. This set a precedent for the control of the church by the state.
Talking of the church as it developed at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, the book tells us:
The arch of Constantine in Rome
The emperor maintained Constantine’s position at the head of the church. Patriarchs, bishops and priests lay under his power. Emperors decided doctrine and mercilessly persecuted many of their subjects who held ‘heretical’ beliefs.
The book The Medieval Church – a brief history tells us that the church has been involved in politics from the fourth century. It makes two interesting statements: