No Catholic Church until Constantine


Anyone have historical references which I can use to disprove the following opinion …

Do we have a comprehension problem here? There was no “universal” Church or Roman Catholic Church until Constantine. The entire canon of the bible had been established and cataloged by that time. To claim every catalog or even one of the 15 or so significant catalogs as Catholic is pure ignorance or intellectual dishonesty. Duplicity is the word for the RCC actions in promoting the mind freeze you have toward elementary history.

ETA: The Roman Catholic Church claims responsibility for the decision as to which books should be included in the Bible canon, and reference is made to the Council of Carthage (397 C.E.), where a catalog of books was formulated. To reiterate, the opposite is true, however, because the canon, including the list of books making up the Christian Greek Scriptures, was already settled by then, that is, not by the decree of any council, but by the direction of God’s holy spirit—the same spirit that inspired the writing of those books in the first place. The testimony of later non-inspired catalogers is valuable only as an acknowledgment of the Bible canon, which God’s spirit had authorized.

The church was not what the Roman Catholic Church promotes. Because one does not understand “the gathering of called out ones” is not validation of a Hierarchal Organization. To promote that the “universal ecclesia” in the form of the Hierarchy translates to the Roman Catholic Church is a two-fold deception. Repeating here; there was no Roman Catholic Church until Constantine and any of the ‘chosen and called’ fought an uphill battle to maintain truth in the congregations. In the end the Church of the Roman Catholic’s was defiled to the very core of every doctrine it promoted.


These quotes by St Cyprian of Carthage in c250 should do the trick:

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). … On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was *, but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

“Cyprian to [Pope] Cornelius, his brother. Greeting. . . . We decided to send and are sending a letter to you from all throughout the province [where I am] so that all our colleagues might give their decided approval and support to you and to your communion, that is, to both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church” (Letters 48:1, 3 [A.D. 253]).

“Cyprian to Antonian, his brother. Greeting … You wrote … that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church” (ibid., 55[52]:1).

“Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men … when the place of Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside [the Church]. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church” (ibid., 55[52]:8).

“With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source” (ibid., 59:14).

Though if you get asked for something earlier there’s this by St Ireaneus of Lyon:

“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

There are earlier quotes but they are less obvious, but these are all before Constantine. Hope that helps.*


You know what I’d say to the person whom the OP quoted. I’d say, “Can you debate without being so rude???”


First of all, why are you even talking with this person? Is this a personal friend or relative? Because if it’s just an internet stranger, you don’t have to take this rude name-calling nonsense. There’s such a thing as throwing your pearls before swine.

Second, no history book contains the proposition that “Constantine founded the Catholic Church.” Ask your opponent (and they’re not just an adversary, they’re an opponent in this case) for any source supporting this claim. “Can you direct me to any published book written by a historian which contains this claim that Constantine founded the Catholic Church? Because no history book I’ve ever read contains that claim.”

He claims it’s “elementary history,” so let’s see him cite a published history book as a source. He can’t do it.


I agree with the use of the ECFs… Just take some of the ECF quotes prior to Constantine and show how they are in union with what the current Catholic Church believes. Certainly there were things defined after that by the Church but that doesn’t mean it isn’t/wasn’t the same Church. Not sure what the objector’s denomination is but I’m sure it cannot hold up to what the ECFs taught… Good luck

  1. The bible was compiled in 382, you will find no cannon matching that in 382 prior to this for the most part. Especially not before 325.

  2. The council of Nicea was used to determine what Christians believe BY Christians. In a very very simple nutshell nut shell, you have two opposing types of beliefs. Arianism, and Creedism. To fulfill scripture that says hell shall not prevail, and that he will not leave his flock, One of the two has to be right.

Arianism died soon after this meeting.

  1. Ask them if they follow they Nicean Creed. If they think it is an invention, inform them that their view was supported by NEITHER side. Therefore, their belief did not exist, and is a new man made teaching. Why is it man made? because if no Christians followed it at this pivotal point in history, then it cannot be true because there were only 2 type of Christian beliefs. Arian, and Creed. If you don’t match either one, you cannot be true

Constantine nor the Pope weren’t even there.

History is replete with conspiracies, This one is no different. Whats better, its a new one relatively speaking…

This person only shows either ignorance, or Contempt.

IN Christ


Thank you everyone for your replies. I’m sure that they will prove most helpful and I will return if I have further questions.

PS: If anybody wants to join in with me in this debate, it is my understanding that board rules forbid me from posting the link publicly and but I can provided it via PM.

Scripture also has it that we should be ready, willing and able to defend our faith.


opponent << There was no “universal” Church or Roman Catholic Church until Constantine. >>

OK, here are my two favorite quotes. One from an Anglican canon A.J. Mason, another from a non-Catholic historian Will Durant:

“The society was well known and unmistakable. Its doctrine was everywhere the same; its worship, with rich diversity of forms, centered around one Eucharistic memorial. It had an organized hierarchy for worship and for the pastorate of souls. This hierarchy maintained union between the local branches, and did so in the name and by the authority of Christ. However far back the history is traced, no date can be assigned, however roughly, for the appearance of Catholicism in the Church. The Church was Catholic from the outset.” (A.J. Mason, cited in The Church and Infallibility [1954] by BC Butler, page 37-38)

This was cited by Karl Keating in his last debate (1994) with Dave Hunt, as part of his opening statement.

“If art is the organization of materials, the Roman Catholic Church is among the most imposing masterpieces of history. Through nineteen centuries, each heavy with crisis, she has held her faithful together, following them with her ministrations to the ends of the earth, forming their minds, molding their morals, encouraging their fertility, solemnizing their marriages, consoling their bereavements, lifting their momentary lives into eternal drama, harvesting their gifts, surviving every heresy and revolt, and patiently building again every broken support of her power.” (Durant, Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith [volume 4, 1950], page 44)

That puts the Roman Catholic Church in the first century. Too early to be corrupted by paganism or anything else. :stuck_out_tongue:

Phil P


Challenged give and answered …

In 1971 this information was published in discussion of “How Some Jesuits View Their Church”

“The younger Jesuits, mostly thirty or under, are not the only ones now viewing their Church with a critical eye. Some of the older Jesuits are too, including those in their sixties.

One of these is Karl Rahner, sixty-five, considered by some Jesuits to be “the greatest theologian of our time.” This German theologian keeps making statements with which many conservative Roman Catholic clergymen disagree. With a sense of humor he defends his criticisms of his Church by observing: “You can’t forever keep sharpening a knife, you’ve got to cut something once in a while.”

Rahner holds that Catholic “theologians should reflect a lot more than they do on the fact that in the church and in its theology there has been considerable error, and certainly still is today. These facts cannot be dismissed. This erring . . . touches many sides of life; and vitally it touches the concrete life of Christians. And this erring, much more than one thinks, is also linked with truth and dogmas of the church.”

Jesuit Rahner has even been accused of calling Jesus Christ Lord and Savior but refusing to call him God, as does official Church doctrine. He has also challenged the practice of celebrating the Mass so frequently, as well as charging varying rates for low, high and solemn Mass. He further has stated that the Roman Catholic positions on marriage and divorce, on infant baptism and on clerical celibacy should be discussed.

Jesuit’s Appraisal of Papacy

Interesting too is what sixty-one-year-old Jesuit John L. McKenzie, professor of theology at Notre Dame, says about his church. He begins by confessing that “Roman Catholicism stands at what may be the most critical point of its entire history,” and that it “is passing into a crisis of authority and a crisis of faith.”

Contrary to official Church doctrine, Jesuit McKenzie states that Roman Catholicism began in the fourth century “with the conversion of Constantine.” He states that “in the strict sense, the apostles left no successor,” and that “historical evidence does not exist for the entire chain of succession of church authority.” He notes that the authority of the pope cannot be defended by any reference to Peter’s position in the Bible.
Coming down to the tenth century of Roman Catholic history, McKenzie states that the Roman See experienced one of the most severe moral collapses of its history. He states: “The corruption of the papal court under unworthy men approaches the incredible [unbelievable]. . . . the adventurers and bandits who were elected to the papacy had no interest in affirming spiritual leadership of any kind.”

After noting blunders of other popes, he describes the papacy and compares the Curia to the cabinet of a political government. However, there is no office of the treasury. McKenzie reports that “this part of the pontifical administrative structure is well concealed. . . . Neither the source of the funds [which he describes as “enormous”] nor their disbursements are known.” Why not? Because the “Pope is responsible to no human authority,” either in spiritual or temporal affairs.

About Cardinals and Bishops

Regarding the college of cardinals, which might be likened to a senate, McKenzie observes: “The history of the College shows that it has been open to political influences of the most pernicious kind.” Some of their elections for a new pope have resulted in judgments which “cannot be explained.”

This Jesuit also notes that over half of the cardinals in the Church are Italian, but “Italy is not half the Roman Church.” This suggests that appointments of cardinals are not really made on the basis of spiritual qualifications. On what then? He replies: “Normally the appointment signifies that the cardinal has personal friends and influences in high places in Rome. More often than not it signifies personal friendship with the Pope.”

Of particular interest to knowledgeable Bible students is McKenzie’s statement that **“bishops, as the church has historically known them, do not appear in the New Testament. . . . Churches do not appear with the supreme local authority vested in a single person.” **This has led to ambitious men using unscrupulous tactics to attain such authority. The Jesuit says: “It should be said candidly that clerical ambition has long been and is one of the major problems of Roman Catholicism.” Awake 1971, 11/22 Pages 11-12

[/list] … any additional help would be appreciated.


There is a lot of red herring in that source. Only the red part, and really only the first sentence there, alludes to the idea of Constantine as the founder. There is no historical backup other than the assertion that it is so; with the entire rest of the article attempting to attack the Church from various other angles. Any of those other red herrings can be competently discredited on their own, but for this argument I would keep the focus clearly on Constantine. One thing I realize, which may be a source of confusion, or a convenient way to deceive, is the use of the term “ROMAN Catholicism”. Roman Catholicsm is just one rite in the Catholic Church. “Roman Catholicsm” is simply not synonamous with “Catholicism”, which has existed since the beginning, with various rites evolving **within **the Church (most notable the Roman, or Latin, rite) in the fourth century. The argument should be on the origins of the Catholic church, not on the various rites in communion with it. Of course, Iranaeus uses the term “Catholic Church” way back in the second century.

I am no scholar, and certainly no historian, but those are the avenues I imagine you would want to take. For more specificity on the rites, you might look at the “liturgy” article at (that’s what I just did :slight_smile: )

Good luck,


Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus

commonly known as Constantine I,and Constantine the Great, was born around the 27 February ca. 272 and died on the22nd of May 337 AD

*]St. Peter (32-67)
*]St. Linus (67-76)
*]St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
*]St. Clement I (88-97)
*]St. Evaristus (97-105)
*]St. Alexander I (105-115)
*]St. Sixtus I (115-125) – also called Xystus I
*]St. Telesphorus (125-136)
*]St. Hyginus (136-140)
*]St. Pius I (140-155)
*]St. Anicetus (155-166)
*]St. Soter (166-175)
*]St. Eleutherius (175-189)
*]St. Victor I (189-199)
*]St. Zephyrinus (199-217)
*]St. Callistus I (217-22)
*]St. Urban I (222-30)
*]St. Pontain (230-35)
*]St. Anterus (235-36)
*]St. Fabian (236-50)
*]St. Cornelius (251-53)
*]St. Lucius I (253-54)
*]St. Stephen I (254-257)
*]St. Sixtus II (257-258)
*]St. Dionysius (260-268)
*]St. Felix I (269-274) -----------------------> **********Constantine is born *********
*]St. Eutychian (275-283)
*]St. Caius (283-296) – also called Gaius
*]St. Marcellinus (296-304)
*]St. Marcellus I (308-309)
*]St. Eusebius (309 or 310)
*]St. Miltiades (311-14)
*]St. Sylvester I (314-35)
*]St. Marcus (336)
*]St. Julius I (337-52) ------------------------->*Constantine dies
*]Liberius (352-66)
*]St. Damasus I (366-83)
*]St. Siricius (384-99)
*]St. Anastasius I (399-401)
*]St. Innocent I (401-17)

total amount-----266!

Please make a note of how many popes we had by the time Constantine was born. 26!

Great readings

The Apostolic Fathers

Fathers of the Church


List of popes

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans

around 107ad.-110ad.

**Chapter 8. **
Let nothing be done without the bishop.

See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God.
Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop.
Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.
It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

Early Church Fathers


Wow, it’s utterly amazing how often the Church is attacked. Catholicism is the only “form” of Christianity that makes sense and is believable, except for maybe Eastern Orthodoxy. If not for the Catholic Church I wouldn’t even believe in Christianity. Every other form to me, especially Protestantism brings nothing but childish fairytales regarding the theology.


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