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Constantinianism refers to policies enacted, encouraged, or favored by Constantine the Great.


  • Walter Hollenweger states that “intercultural theology is that scientific, theological discipline that operates in the context of a given culture without absolutizing it.” This programmatic statement provides us with a rule for demarcating between missionary and nonmissionary theologies. A nonmissionary theology—that is, one that does not think interculturally—absolutizes its given cultural context. Such a theology engages in what we can call constantinianism. Theologies that engage in this form of God-talk we can then identify as exercises in Volkstheologie. The negative task of a missionary or intercultural theology is therefore to articulate an understanding of the kerygma that precludes, or at least resists, the absolutizing of one’s given culture.
  • A central task of Christian theology is to interrogate the relationship between kerygma and culture, between what is reflectively normative for Christian faith and practice and what is prereflectively normative for one’s historical situation. We will identify those forms of Christian self-understanding that conflate these two norms as modes of constantinianism.
  • My use of laughter is my attempt to practice theology in a manner that refuses the attempt to manage the world. In short, my use of laughter is “an appropriate theological antidote to the Constantinian desire for control.”
  • The most pertinent fact about the new state of things after Constantine and Augustine is not that Christians were no longer persecuted and began to be privileged, nor that emperors built churches and presided over ecumenical deliberations about the Trinity; what matters is that the two visible realities, church and world, were fused. There is no longer anything to call "world"; state, economy, art, rhetoric, superstition, and war have all been baptized.
    • John Howard Yoder, "The Otherness of the Church" (1961) in A Reader in Ecclesiology (2012), p. 200

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