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Today in Christian History
Death in Grenada of John of God on his fifty-fifth birthday, having contracted pneumonia through plunging into an icy stream to rescue a girl. Impulsive and tenderhearted he had operated a hospital for the homeless and insane which he supported through hard work and begging.
Genevan authorities admonish Hierosme Hermes Bolsec for meddling in theology, but Bolsec now and later argues that men are not saved because they are elected but are elected because they have faith. Eventually he is expelled from Geneva and writes scurrilous biographies of Reformation leaders Calvin and Beza.
In this date's edition of "The Spectator," English essayist Joseph Addison wrote: 'To be an atheist requires an infinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny.'
In Nottingham, Pennsylvania, colonial evangelist Gilbert Tennent preaches his famous sermon, "The Danger of An Unconverted Ministry." His message deplores placing men in pulpits who are not themselves converted to new life in Christ. "Is a dead man fit to bring others to life?"
Over a period of two days a group of Pennsylvania militiamen under the command of Captain David Williamson attack peaceable Indians of the Moravian mission at Gnadenh
Overcoming difficulties, such as two stout Hindu bodyguards set to prevent him from visiting Christians, Mahendra Lal Basak leaves his father's home in Calcutta determined to forsake idolatry and pursue Christ. He is baptized this day and will become a Christian minister and educator, but will die of cholera within six years.
Death of Henry Ward Beecher, 73, American clergyman and social reformer. His last words were: 'Going out into life" that is dying.'
Death in England of Methodist missionary James Calvert, a pioneer in the Fiji mission.
In McCollum v. Board of Education, Justice Hugo Black hands down a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that religious education in public schools is a violatation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The court rules that allowing children "release time," even with parental consent, to receive religious instruction during school hours on school property is a violation of the separation of church and state.
Death of the Orthodox archbishop Vitaly Maximenko of the North American diocese. Born in Russia he had endured many hard knocks as a young orphan and obtained a reputation as a rebel. However, he so proved himself on every job he undertook that he was delegated tasks of great responsibility and built up two major religious printing houses as well as laboring with minimal rest to evangelize and build up his church. In America he strove to reunify expatriated Orthodox groups.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"