Tuesday
Jul262011

From Where I Stand: When Rome Ruled 

When Rome Ruled is a series of documentaries airing on the National Geographic cable channel, that might be of interest to Bible students for the background, occasionally speculative and disputable, that it provides on the era of the early church. Of special significance is the episode on the Rise of Christianity, which describes the conditions and events that allowed an executed rebel from a minor province to become the founder of the world’s greatest religion. The historians’ perspective is decidedly agnostic and influenced by certain myths of the Roman church, but remains mostly respectful of what early believers courageously accomplished. In this portrayal, the church of Christ thrives under persecution and underground, appealing to the poor and downtrodden, but accepting the rich and powerful, male and female, all the same. Emperor Constantine’s dubious conversion validated the claims of Christ at the expense of centuries of Roman polytheism, but the resultant political influence upon the apostate church and its Pope widened the gap between Scripture and practice.