Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hauerwas on the Constantinian shift...

"Before Constantine, one knew as a fact of everyday experience that there was a church, but one had to have faith that God was governing history. After Constantine, people assumed as a fact that God was governing history through the emperor, but one had to take it on faith that within this nominally Christian mass there was a community of true believers... The nature of the church vanished into the invisible realm. But in this way the New Testament message was fundamentally misunderstood, inner-worldliness became a principle."

(Stanley Hauerwas, from Performing the Faith)

1 comment:

Rob said...

Hauerwas here cleverly juxtaposes "fact" and "faith." I'm not very comfortable with this, especially when using the dichotomy to analyze what Christians "knew" in antiquity. Obviously the points about the emperor only apply to the Roman church. Perhaps he discusses these things in the book - which I obviously have not read! : )

By "inner-worldliness" does he mean a sort of privatized religion without economic or political import?