Chris Armstrong at Grateful to the Dead takes up Peter Leithart’s book, Defending Constantine, and gets a few questions from an Anabaptist. Read the entire response for a glimpse of how an Anabaptist’s view of Constantine might vary from that of, say, a theologian’s. But for fun, here’s a clip:
As for the dreaded “Constantinianism,” I don’t buy that it existed, at least in the form I understand has been described by Yoder. Leithart acknowledges that Yoder “provided the most sophisticated and systematic treatment” of this concept (that after Constantine came “a heretical mindset and set of habits that have distorted Christian faith since (at least) the fourth century”). But there was, I join Leithart in believing, no fourth-century “fall” of the church attributable to Constantine.
As Leithart puts it, “Far from representing a fall for the church, Constantine provides in many respects a model for Christian political practice. At the very least, his reign provides rich material for reflection on a whole series of perennial political-theological questions: about religious toleration and coercion, about the legitimacy of Christian involvement in political life, about a Christian ruler’s relationship to the church, about how Christianity should influence civil law, about the propriety of violent coercion, about the legitimacy of empire.”