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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Saturday, June 1

597
Ethelbert, an Anglo-Saxon king, is baptized, having converted to Christianity weeks earlier.
1453
George "Gennadius" Scholarios becomes the first ecumenical patriarch of the Orthodox Church to serve under a Muslim conqueror when Mohammed II invests him with the crosier and mantle.
1735
Joseph Hawley, spiritually depressed, commits suicide in Northampton, Massachusetts, causing the collapse of a revival led by Jonathan Edwards.
1826
Death of John F. Oberlin, a missionary to the Vosges Mountains on the French/German border. In addition to teaching Bible principles, he had showed his people how to make their way out of crushing poverty.
1846
Death of Gregory XVI, a compromise selection for pope, who had governed papal estates with autocratic rigor, rejecting attempts at representative government and resisting the introduction of modern innovations such as gas lighting and railroads. Among his actions he had also issued an encyclical against slavery.
1886
The executive board of the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention (African American) learns that W.W. Colley, their respected African-American missionary to Liberia, has shot and killed an African boy. Appalled, they order him to turn over the mission to another man. However, he is already on his way home because of illness. It turns out that the killing was accidental. He had fired a gun to frighten off a mentally ill man who had entered the property and had struck the boy without knowing it until later. An African court had already cleared him.
1922
Birth of Ray Knighton, who in 1954 founded the Medical Assistance Program (MAP International) in Chicago.
1924
A timid Ji Wang is baptized secretly in Taiwan. Eventually a Presbyterian missionary will convince her to get religious training in order to evangelize the tribe among whom she lives. She agrees. By her death in 1946, five thousand head hunters will have been baptized because of her ministry.
1971
Death in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, of Reinhold Niebuhr, a prominent neo-orthodox and realist theologian. Deeply concerned with the conditions of working people, he had rejected the Social Gospel, liberal utopianism, and naive biblical literalism. He was an anti-communist who helped found Americans for Democratic Action. Niebuhr taught at Union Theological Seminary for thirty years and wrote many influential books. Christians who know nothing else about him may still have recited some form of his popular Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
1978
The Evangelical Free Baptist Church was incorporated in DuPage County, Illinois, having withdrawn from the Southern Baptist Convention following a doctrinal dispute.

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