Today in Christian History
The first Lutheran martyrs of the Reformation are burned alive this day in Brussels. Johann Esch (Johann van den Esschen) and Heinrich Voes (Hendrick Voss), young Augustinians at Antwerp, followers of Luther, had been forced to choose between recantation or death.
Nineteen-year-old Chevalier de la Barre is decapitated and burned at Abbeville, France, for mutilating a figure of Christ that stood on the bridge of that town, an offence regarded as blasphemy. On the scaffold de la Barre remarks calmly, "I did not believe they could have taken the life of a young man for so small a matter."
Baptism of Mary Webb, a Bostonian. She had been reluctant to take this public step of faith because of a physical deformity which bound her to a wheelchair. She will become a leading mission organizer.
Robert Murray McCheyne is licensed to preach at the Presbytery of Annam, where he will become a famous pastor and revivalist.
Death of Catherine Winkworth, who had made masterful translations of German hymns into English.
Death of abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe. A Christian author, she had averaged nearly a book a year at the peak of her production, but Uncle Tom's Cabin will remain her most famous.
Beheading of missionary Horace Tracy Pitkin during the Boxer Uprising in China.
Two of Yin Renxian's children, recently converted to Christianity through his witness, are blown up by a bomb while traveling on a train. At their funeral, Yin will speak to the assembled Chinese about the power of Christ to save from sin. He and his wife Suyun, after years of tepid Christianity, had recently devoted themselves wholeheartedly to Christ with the result that a house church has formed around them. Yin will eventually become a Christian educator until the Communists shut down his activities.
Birth of Andrae Crouch, African-American sacred music artist. His most enduring gospel songs have been 'Soon and Very Soon,' 'My Tribute' and 'Through It All.'
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public school teachers may not enter parochial school classrooms, to provide remedial or enrichment instruction.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"