By Billy Graham
When Rome was at the height of her glory and power, there appeared a disturbing sect called Christians. Because of a fire that burned within them, these people dared to be different.
In an era when immorality, lavishness and luxury were stylish, Christians refused to be defiled by the sensual practices of a disintegrating civilization. In a period when human life was cheap, they put a high value upon human beings, their souls and their destinies.
These Christians refused to be absorbed into the godless society of Rome. They had not heard of the rule that we hear today: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” The Roman high tribunal initiated a drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of pagan unity.
The Romans had a false notion that a person’s conscience could be controlled by law, so they made it illegal to be different. All had to bow to Caesar. All had to conform to pagan custom. All had to behave like true Romans.
Nonconformists were threatened with death, and many chose death rather than to conform to Rome and to compromise their consciences.