Early Christians were called “heretics” and “atheists” when they denied the gods of Rome, in particular the divinity of the emperor and the statism he embodied in his personality cult.
These Christians knew that Jesus Christ, not the state, was their Lord and that this faith required a different kind of relationship to the state than the state demanded.
Because Jesus Christ was their acknowledged Sovereign, they consciously denied such esteem to all other claimants. Today the church must take a similar stand before the modern state.
Chalcedon Foundation, (n.d.) The “Atheism” of the Early Church. Available http://chalcedon.edu/store/item/the-atheism-of-the-early-church/. Last accessed 30th Aug 2015.