By This Sign / AD 250 to AD 350 / From the Decian Persecution to Constantine Era / Volume Three of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years History Series
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Volume 3: A.D. 250 to 350
From the Decian Persecution to the Constantine era
Rome’s bloody anti-Christian persecutions now reached their worst stage ever, first under Decius and then Diocletian. Then a new and very different emperor emerged. Before the key battle that brought him to power, Constantine had seen the sign of a cross in the sky, and received the message “By this sign, conquer.” He imposed peace and religious tolerance across the empire. No longer subversives, Christians suddenly became the new establishment. This opened very different and dangerous challenges for the church. The first was an influx of opportunistic converts seeking not salvation but worldly power. Even worse was a growing controversy over whether Jesus is God, and if so, in what sense? It came to a head, but not to resolution, at the great Council of Nicea.