Nuggets from "Whatever Happened to Heaven?" by Dave Hunt
Contrary to the arguments of those who would persuade us to devote ourselves to the Christianization of today's world as part of the Great Commission, the Christianization of the Roman Empire was not followed by political/economic prosperity but by progressive deterioration. As the empire broke up it was never again ruled by a central government located in Rome. It was ruled instead by vassals and demi-emperors who retained control over parts of the disintegrating power structure. Unlike the civil and military authorities that survived only by breaking into pieces and dispersing, the ecclesiastical authority—the Roman Catholic Church and its pope—retained its central location and power, which it continued to wield from the original headquarters of the empire in Rome.