This is a very true account of what happened to a soldier named Marcellus. This excerpt from the book “They Loved Their Enemies, True Stories Of African Christians”, by Marian Hostetler, will give you some insight into the position of the biblical Christian.
“About thirty years after the death of Cyprian, the whole Roman Empire was celebrating the emperors birthday. In Tangier (in what is now Morocco) a certain Marcellus was not celebrating.
Now Marcellus was a centurion in the Roman army. (A centurion was an officer over 100 men.) He had become a Christian, a soldier of Jesus Christ. How could he keep his oath and serve the Roman emperor? How could he earn his living by killing others? He therefore decided he could no longer be a soldier for the Roman emperor.
So instead of celebrating, Marcellus carried out the decision he had made. He stood in front of his hundred men, took off his soldiers belt and the badge showing his rank, and spoke to them.
‘I am a Christian. I can no longer serve the emperor.’
In July of the year 289, Marcellus was brought before Fortunatus, the governor of the province. Fortunatus wanted to hush up the affair, but since Marcellus had publicly proclaimed his faith and his resolve to quit the army, he had no choice. He had Marcellus arrested. The last of October, Marcellus was brought to trial before Judge Agricola.
‘Are you guilty of this deed you are accused of?’ demanded Agricola.
‘Yes answered Marcellus.’
‘What madness has made you break your oath as an officer and has led you to believe this Christian foolishness?’
‘It is not foolishness to fear God’
‘But you have laid down your weapons!’
‘Yes, because it is not good for a Christian who serves Christ to serve other powers as well’ Marcellus answered.
The judge sentenced him to death by beheading.
Before leaving for his execution, Marcellus said one more thing to the judge. ‘May God bless you Agricola’.”
[They Loved Their Enemies, True Stories Of African Christians by Marian Hostetler, Herald Press, 1988, pages 19-20]