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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Sunday, August 20

1384
Death of Gerhard Groot, founder of the Brethren of the Common Life. This movement invited laymen to a life of spirituality and simplicity.
1527
Diet of Odense allows Lutherans in Denmark.
1553
Protestant reformer John Calvin wrote in a letter: 'Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.'
1740
Martyrdom of Theocharis of Neopolis, an Orthodox Christian. The governor of Nevsehir in the Ottoman Empire had offered him his daughter in marriage on condition he convert to Islam. Offended by Theocharis' refusal, he tortures and executes him.
1804
Death of Pitambara Singha from an asthmatic complaint. He had first read about salvation in a Baptist tract printed at Serampore and had immediately visited the mission there, becoming a faithful convert, Christian author, and evangelist.
1843
Death from cholera of Ganga Narayan Sil, a learned convert from Hinduism, who had become a street preacher to Hindus and Muslims.
1886
Birth of Paul Tillich, German philosophical theologian. Tillich advocated "myth" as a signpost, participating in the reality to which it points. Evangelicals generally criticize Tillich today for his pantheistic views of God.
1902
Althea Brown, African-American, sails for Africa as a missionary where she will die of malaria and sleeping sickness after years of useful work which will include study of African languages.
1958
A pentecostal sect, formed by Grady R. Kent out of the Church of God of Prophecy, formally adopted as its name "The Church of God of All Nations." The denomination is headquartered today in Cleveland, Tennessee.
1965
Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a theological student in the Episcopal Church, is killed by a shotgun blast. Released from jail just that morning (he had been locked up for participation in a march against segregation), he died while shielding an African-American woman from the gunman.

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