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I have been following this podcast for several years now. I am backlogged because of homework, and thus try to listen to podcast at my leisure. That being said, I wanted to say that I used the analysis of Rome versus Carthage (gleaned primarily from this podcast) in a Church History class at my seminary. As you mentioned in this podcast, Decius' assault on Christianity led to many Christians renouncing their faith. Later, some of these Christians were reinstated. However, this drew the ire of the Christians primarily around the city of Carthage. They formed a schism called Novantism, so named after Antipope Novatian, who held a view that no one who renounced the faith should be readmitted into the church. The church in Rome held that under its authority and discernment people could be reinstated. However, I argued in class and still do, that this belief has more to do with regionalism and the interesting dynamic of congregational polity versus episcopate polity. (Congregational polity puts individual congregations at the forefront of the larger church, whereas the episcopate polite is focused on the church structure rather than the individual churches.) I believe the Carthaginians used Christianity as a lightning rod against the abuses they felt they suffered under Rome. Though not a clear link, one can see how congregationalist churches often seek to have a much harder stance towards their faith. We need only look at the Southern Baptist polity versus say Episcopal Church's polity. I believe Novantism grew from a major discontent with Rome's bossing around the provinces and, in its own way, was a third front during this trying time in the empire. While Novantism would disappear, its Christian polity lives on to this day. It also was a foretaste of the radical freedom being put forth by this sect which appeared to divide the empire at the sake of individual dignity.
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2010 on 110- A Gothic Horror at The History of Rome
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Nov 10, 2010