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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Saturday, August 20

1153
Death of Bernard of Clairvaux, French theologian, monastic reformer, and hymn writer.
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.'
1745
Birth of Francis Asbury, English Methodist missionary and circuit-riding bishop of the American colonies. During 42 years of labor, Asbury traveled 300,000 miles by horseback, ministering up and down the Eastern seaboard.
1884
Birth of Rudolf Bultmann, German New Testament scholar. He pioneered Form Criticism with his History of the Synoptic Tradition (1921), whereby he sought to identify the devices of Hebrew speech in order to make the central Gospel message meaningful to moderns.
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.
1913
Death in Winnipeg of Robert McDonald, who had been an Anglican missionary and gifted linguist, evangelizing among First Nation peoples of Canada, particularly in the northwest Arctic.
1935
Kenneth Pike crosses into Mexico for the first time as a missionary. Later he will become a trail-blazing linguist and a founder of the Summer Institute of Linguistics.
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.

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