September 6, 2012 by mattfradd
Here is a pithy yet substantial answer from a co-worker of mine, Jimmy Akin:
No, the Lord Jesus did! He founded the Church on the faith of the Apostles, left Saint Peter in charge of confirming his brethren in the faith (the role of the Holy Father, the Pope) and promised that not even the power of the Enemy would destroy Her. I get a laugh at our fundamentalist brethren who come to me speaking about their great faith in an all powerful Lord who, for all of His might, glory and power, according to them, did NOT keep His word and let the Church He founded be destroyed very early on! That is how they justify the spiritual Church that anyone can belong to as opposed to a real, corporate entity governed by the successors of the Apostles.
Constantine made Christianity legal.
There is no doubt that the conversion of Constantine in 312 greatly assisted the spread of Christianity, as the persecutions stopped, it became legal and people could worship openly without fear of persecution. This marked a dramatic change in the treatment of Christians, after a previous Emperor (Decius I think?) basically declared open warfare on Christians in 250AD.He also assisted greatly by building magnificent infrastructure eg churches, assist in the collection of relics etc. So being supported by the government of the day would have been a great help. Having said all of that, Christianity had already spread quite rapidly through Europe, and the first Christians already had a well organised hierarchy. No doubt the Holy Spirit played a HUGE role!
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