|IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 1, Number 26, August 23 to August 29, 1999|
“The Edict of Milan marks the victory of the church over heathenism. This victory of the church is one of the most marvelous things in all history. The church had had its beginning as a very small organization only three hundred years before. It was composed of people who belonged to the small and despised Jewish nation. The members of this organization were poor people without education or prestige. The message which the church brought was to many who heard it either a stumbling block or foolishness. Arrayed against the church were overwhelming numbers, money, learning, culture, social prestige, political and military power: the whole world of that time, Jews and Gentiles, the mighty Roman Empire. Not infrequently the Church was disgraced by serious moral lapses of some of its members. It was rent asunder over questions of church discipline. It was harrassed from without by strange doctrines and deadly heresies. It was harrassed from within by heated and bitter controveries over questions touching the very heart of its message. In the midst of these unfavorable conditions, which could have stopped all growth, for three hundred years, the church was subject to fierce and bloody persecutions.
“How was it possible for the church to emerge victorius from all these conflicts? Many things can be mentioned in explanation. One thing is that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. It has always been true that the more martyr blood there is shed, the more the church grows and flourishes. But there is only one complete, all-comprehensive answer, and that is Christ and his supernatural care for his church. The existence of the church is indeed a marvel” (Kuiper, The Church in History, pp. 26-27).