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Today in Christian History
Death of St. Lioba (or Leoba), who had overseen the nuns of St. Boniface's mission to Northern Europe.
Murder of King Wenceslas by his brother. A Christian, Wenceslas sought peace with surrounding nations, reformed the judicial system, and showed particular concern for his country's poor. However his coercive Christianity alienated many of his subjects.
Pope Pius IV commands Jeanne D'Albret, the Huguenot Queen of Navarre, to appear for examination for heresy on pain of losing her lands. Since these are French territories, the French government, although Catholic, defends the Protestant queen, not wishing to establish a precedent by which a pope could alienate French territory.
A statute was enacted by the colony of Maryland, giving ministers the right to impose divorce on "unholy couples."
Death of Jean Baptiste Massillon, an eloquent French preacher who became bishop of Clermont where he devoted himself to improving discipline, morals, and education. In a famous sermon he asked: "If Jesus should appear in this temple . . . to be our judge, to make the terrible separation between the sheep and the goats, do you believe that the greater number of us would be set on his right hand? . . . do you believe there would be found here only ten righteous, which the Lord was not able to find formerly in five entire cities?"
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'We are always equally in danger in ourselves and always equally safe under the shadow of His wings.'
Andover Theological Seminary, Massachusetts, a Congregational school, opens.
Death of Lemuel Haynes, the first African-American bishop to shepherd a Caucasian flock (Congregationalists in Vermont) and the first African-American awarded an advanced degree. He argued strongly against slavery.
At a convention in Atlanta, three Baptist groups merged to form the National Baptist Convention. It is today the largest African-American denomination in America and the world.
The first issue of "The Sword of the Lord" was published. Founded by Baptist evangelist John R. Rice, 39, it became the largest independent Christian weekly for years, and was recognized by liberals as the "voice of fundamentalism."
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"