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Today in Christian History
When they discover that Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria intends to open the Council of Ephesus without waiting for the arrival of Patriarch John of Antioch, who is supposed to be its president (John has been delayed by flooding), bishops of the East sign a formal act demanding delay. Cyril will ignore them and condemn Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople because of his christology and order John to break communion with him.
Francis Fletcher, chaplain to Sir Francis Drake, reads from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer somewhere in California on "the first Sunday after Trinity" - the first time the English prayer book is known to have been used in the New World. A number of Indians gather to watch. Captain Drake's rough sailors, who have just plundered their way up the Spanish coast, lift their hands to heaven and pray God to open the eyes of the Indian idolaters "to the knowledge of him and of Jesus Christ the salvation of the Gentiles."
Birth of Increase Mather, early American theologian. He published nearly 100 books, and is credited with helping end executions for witchcraft in colonial America.
The men of Groton, Massachusetts, vote to make Samuel Willard their pastor "for as long as he lives." Several years later an Indian raid will destroy the town and Willard will move to Boston where he will rise in prominence.
John Flavel, a godly pastor in Dartmouth, England, preaches his last sermon, taking as his text 1 Corinthians 10: 12 "Wherefore let him that stands take heed lest he fall," urging those who are careless of their Christian profession to show a deeper concern for their souls. He had written books urging full committment to Christ and was known for his passion in prayer. For instance, once learning that a sea battle was in progress and knowing that many Dartmouth boys were in the navy, he led his people in prayer and fasting. Not one of Dartmouth's many sailors died.
The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church was formally constituted in New York City. Nineteen clergymen were present, representing six African-American churches from New York City; Philadelphia; New Haven, CT and Newark, NJ.
Death of Isaac McCoy, a missionary to American Indians. McCoy and his family had endured great privation and hardship in their pioneer life. He had been criticized for urging the transfer of Indians from their ancestral lands, but his writings show he was concerned they were being corrupted by contact with whites.
In Rome, Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini was elected Pope Paul VI, the 261st pontiff of the Catholic Church.
Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth wrote in a letter: 'Faith in God's revelation has nothing to do with an ideology which glorifies the status quo.'
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"