The roots of Christianity – Christ or Constantine? Did the Christian faith start with the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ in 33AD or with Constantine, the Roman Emperor in 325AD?

Dan Brown asserts in his novel The Da Vinci Code that

until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet … a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless.

What moment is Dan Brown talking about? He is referring to an historical meeting – the Council of Nicea in 325AD. Yes – there was such a council that year. That is truth but practically everything else Dan Brown writes about the Council of Nicea is misleading fiction.

Roman Emperor Constantine called a summit of Christian leaders from around the world in 325AD – it was called the Council of Nicea. Twelve years earlier, the Roman Emperor went on record as being a Christian, a follower of Christ. His conversion to Christianity from paganism has been doubted by some. In his zeal, he thought he could turn the Roman Empire into a ‘christian state.’ Of course we know that no country or state in the world can become ‘christian.’ Becoming a Christian is something that happens to a person, not to an organization or a government.  Individuals, one at a time, trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and become Christians. But Constantine was right in his desire to expose all his subjects in his empire to the Christian faith and a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dan Brown was wrong when he said Constantine converted to Christianity on his death bed. Historical facts prove otherwise.

Dan Brown was wrong when he said no one believed that Jesus was Deity until Constantine’s Council of Nicea in 325AD. That’s pure nonsense. Early Christians overwhelmingly worshipped Jesus Christ as their risen Saviour and Lord. The earliest writings after the Crucifixion prove otherwise. Even doubting Thomas, upon seeing the Risen Christ exclaimed:

My Lord and My God.” (John 20:28)

Yes, I am quoting from the Bible itself – even though Dan Brown (born in 1964) says the Bible can’t be trusted because it was doctored by Constantine to make Jesus Deity. Well, Mr. Brown, what about historical evidence ‘outside’ the Bible? What about early Christian correspondence among believers centuries before the Council of Nicea that refer to the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and ascribe worship to Him?

Dan Brown says the vote at the big summit meeting in 325AD was real close on the Deity of the Lord Jesus. Always remember – Dan Brown’s book is classified as a ‘novel’.  So, was it a close vote? First of all they weren’t even voting on the Deity of the Lord Jesus. Brown is wrong on that fact as well. They were voting on whether or not Jesus was co-eternal with the Father. But was the vote close? 300:2! Certainly not one of those cliffhangers!!

One more thing: did Constantine put our Bible together for us? Was he the Editor of the Bible? Did he choose which Gospels should be included in the Canon of Scripture and which ones should be excluded as Dan Brown claims? Did he exclude early writings that promoted Mary Magdalene as the leader of Christ’s church? Did he cook the books?  Nonsense.

Historical facts, confirmed by secular sources, tell us the Bible, as we know it today, was well accepted among Christians long before Constantine and the Council of Nicea. In fact, “not one of the decrees of the Council of Nicea deals with the Canon,” says Dr. Paul Maier, a professor of ancient history. (1)

There is no need to let a best-selling novel which violates the accepted norms for historical fiction, shake you or to cause you to doubt.

“…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
(Philippians 2:5-11)

I bowed my knee in an attic bedroom many years ago and acknowledged Jesus as My personal Saviour and Lord. Those who refuse to bow to Christ in this life, will bow before Him in eternity – but there will be no mercy then. No salvation for late knee-benders. But every tongue will confess that

“Jesus Christ is Lord.”

My prayer is that Dan Brown will repent and turn to Christ before he enters the eternal zone. What about you, friend? Have you bowed your heart to Christ and accepted Him as your Saviour? Have you crowned Him the King of your life?

 

1. Exploring The Da Vinci Code by Lee Strobel and Garry Poole, Zondervan, 2006