Today in Christian History
Beginning date in the Coptic Church's Calendar of the Martyrs, a date chosen in commemoration of those who died for their faith during the rule of Diocletian the Roman Emperor.
Oliver Cromwell's government issues an ordinance appointing lay commissioners in all the counties of England and Wales with power to eject "scandalous, ignorant and insufficient [incompetent] ministers and schoolmasters." Each County Committee consists of fifteen to thirty laymen, with eight to ten divines as assessors.
John Dick, a Scotsman who is a fugitive for his Covenanter faith under King Charles II's administration, is captured and brought before the committee of public affairs. Although Dick manages to escape, he will be recaptured a few months later and hanged.
Rev. Devereux Jarratt, a minister of the English Church, settles in a parish in Virginia where he will be instrumental in stirring up revival among a largely apathetic and profane people, working in tandem with Methodist evangelists.
The Latter Day Saints first published their doctrine of "celestial marriage," popularly known as polygamy. The Mormon Church maintained this teaching until the Manifest of 1890 (and later Congressional legislation) outlawed the practice.
The Social Brethren were officially organized in Illinois. Today, there are about 1,000 total members of this small, evangelistic denomination, with most churches located in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. Church doctrine is a blend of Methodist and Baptist polity.
All of the bishops of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (later known as the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church) meet in the First Methodist Church of Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss the educational needs of their denomination. They form a board of trustees, promise aid to one college already opened, and establish the Payne Institute.
Death of Lewis H. Redner, 78, American Episcopal organist. Maintaining a keen interest in music all his life, Redner composed ST. LOUIS, the tune to which today is most commonly sung Phillips Brooks' Christmas hymn, "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
Death of Ernest W. Shurtleff, 55, American Congregational clergyman and author of the hymn, "Lead On, O King Eternal." Shurtleff died during World War I, while doing relief work along with his wife.
W. A. Criswell is ordained in the Southern Baptist Church. He will become known for his excellent expository preaching and will pastor a large Dallas church whose congregration will triple under his ministry. Among its members for a time will be numbered evangelist Billy Graham.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"