The main cause of the hatred of early Christians in Roman society lies in their distinctive life-style, their set apart-ness. This according to Tertullian [160-225 AD] “the father of Latin Christianity” and “the founder of Western theology.”
Writing concerning the persecution of Christians in Rome he states:
The fact remained, the Christian as a Christian was legally an outlaw. “Public hatred,” says Tertullian, “asks but one thing, not the investigation of the crimes charged, but simply the confession of the Christian name.”
Dr. Bruce L. Shelley. Church History in Plain Language: Updated 2nd Edition (p. 41). Kindle Edition.
Confessing the name of Christ in 100 AD made you an outlaw. Why?
Men always view with suspicion people who are different. Conformity, not distinctiveness, is the way to a trouble-free life. So the more early Christians took their faith seriously the more they were in danger of crowd reaction. Thus, simply by living according to the teachings of Jesus, the Christian was a constant unspoken condemnation of the pagan way of life. It was not that the Christian went about criticizing and condemning and disapproving, nor was he consciously self-righteous and superior. It was simply that the Christian ethic in itself was a criticism of pagan life.
Dr. Bruce L. Shelley. Church History in Plain Language: Updated 2nd Edition (p. 39). Kindle Edition.
So what does confessing the name of Christ do for you in 2015? It seems to also make you an outlaw. Ask Barronelle Stutzman – the world will hate you. Caesar has not changed that much.
Will we be like Polycarp when threatened by fire if he did not swear to Caesar and say: “You try to frighten me with the fire that burns for an hour, and you forget the fire of hell that never goes out.”
Or like Martin Luther when it was demanded that he recant: I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen.