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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, April 20

1441
During the Council of Florence (1438-45), Eugenius IV issued the bull "Etsi non dubitemus," which asserted the superiority of the pope over the Councils.
1529
At the Second Diet of Speyer, the term "Protestant" is first applied to participants of the Reformation. The term was taken from the Protestatio, a statement by the reformers challenging the imperial stance on religion.
1534
Execution of Elizabeth Barton, the "Nun of Kent" who had prophecied against King Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn. She said Henry would die shortly thereafter. (He lived fifteen more years.) A staunch Roman Catholic with a reputation for holiness, she urged pilgrimmages and prayer to Mary and strongly opposed the Lutheran Reformation.
1558
Death of Johannes Bugenhagen, a leading Lutheran reformer, a professor at the University of Wittenberg, and the pastor of the city church there. Bugenhagen had helped Luther with his German Bible translation as well as translating the Bible into Low German himself.
1826
Birth of Erastus Johnson, American hymnwriter. A lifelong student of the Bible, Johnson, at age 47, penned the hymn, "O Sometimes the Shadows are Deep" (a.k.a. "The Rock That Is Higher Than I").
1884
Leo XIII issues his encyclical Humanum genus against the Masonic order which, in Europe, is atheistical and anti-religious in tenor.
1943
In Poland, Germans Nazi troops massacred the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.
1962
Theologian Karl Barth is featured on the cover of Time magazine.
1987
In Columbus, OH, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was organized, making it the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. It represented the merger of three smaller Lutheran bodies, and was officially born on Jan 1, 1988.
2001
A Peruvian Air Force aircraft shoots down a private airplane carrying missionaries, killing Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter, Charity.

Copyright Statement
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"