The Peace Testimony [1 of 4]

On the 12th of March 295 in Thevesta, North Africa a man called Maximilainus stood before a Roman proconsul for refusing to be a conscript in the army. He was ordered to be put under the foot rule as he was in fact fit for service in the army. However, he boldly proclaimed that because of his faith in Christ he could not be a soldier. After continued efforts by the proconsul to make him reconsider he was warned that the punishment for not joining up was death. His response to this displeased the proconsul as he proclaimed that they could behead him if they liked, but he would never choose to be a soldier of this world for he was a soldier of the Christ. The proconsul even attempted to get the young man’s father to convince him of his duty to take up arms, but his father pointed out that he was old enough to make his own decisions. Even after the proconsul pointed out that others who claimed to follow Jesus had joined the army, the young man stood firm on his convictions. After threats of a cruel death he pointed out that as a follower of Christ he would not truly die but go to be with Christ the Lord. Finally he was ordered to be led away to die by the sword at which he said ‘God be praised!’

The above story is one of the first ever recorded accounts of a conscientious objector being martyred from the Christian tradition. Throughout the long history of Christianity there has always been a Peace Testimony, the testimony of those who have denounced war and embraced non – violence.