New Evidence: Early Christian Soldiers?
The Rain Soldiers
The quote (taken out of its context, by the way), says:
The Epistle of Marcus Aurelius to the Roman Senate reads:
“Having then examined my own position, and my host, with respect to the vast mass of barbarians and of the enemy, I quickly betook myself to prayer to the gods of my country. But being disregarded by them, I summoned those who among us go by the name of Christians. And having made inquiry, I discovered a great number and vast host of them, and raged against them, which was by no means becoming; for afterwards I learned their power. Wherefore they began the battle, not by preparing weapons, nor arms, nor bugles; for such preparation is hateful to them, on account of the God they bear about in their conscience. Therefore it is probable that those whom we suppose to be atheists, have God as their ruling power entrenched in their conscience. For having cast themselves on the ground, they prayed not only for me, but also for the whole army as it stood, that they might be delivered from the present thirst and famine. For during five days we had got no water, because there was none; for we were in the heart of Germany, and in the enemy’s territory. And simultaneously with their casting themselves on the ground, and praying to God (a God of whom I am ignorant), water poured from heaven, upon us most refreshingly cool, but upon the enemies of Rome a withering hail. And immediately we recognized the presence of God following on the prayer —a God unconquerable and indestructible.”
“Of course, if faith comes later, and finds any preoccupied with military service….when a man [already in the military] has become a believer, and faith has been sealed, there must be either an immediate abandonment of it (military service), which has been the course with many, or all sorts of quibbling will have to be resorted to in order to avoid offending God, and that is not allowed even outside of military service;”
So, in spite of so-called “evidence” that appears to contradict the claim that the early Church was peaceful and non-violent, the truth is still evident: The followers of Jesus did not approve of warfare nor engage in violence until the time of Constantine in the mid third century.