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Today in Christian History
The first Lutheran martyrs of the Reformation are burned alive this day in Brussels. Johann Esch (Johann van den Esschen) and Heinrich Voes (Hendrick Voss), young Augustinians at Antwerp, followers of Luther, had been forced to choose between recantation or death.
Gentle John Bradford is burned to death as a heretic during the reign of Mary Tudor. As he is led to his death, crowds line the way, weeping and praying for him. In the Tower of London, he had ministered to criminals.
Nineteen-year-old Chevalier de la Barre is decapitated and burned at Abbeville, France, for mutilating a figure of Christ that stood on the bridge of that town, an offence regarded as blasphemy. On the scaffold de la Barre remarks calmly, "I did not believe they could have taken the life of a young man for so small a matter."
Baptism of Mary Webb, a Bostonian. She had been reluctant to take this public step of faith because of a physical deformity which bound her to a wheelchair. She will become a leading mission organizer.
The earliest recorded Methodist camp meeting in America was held in Logan County Kentucky, near the Gaspar River Church.
Death of abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe. A Christian author, she had averaged nearly a book a year at the peak of her production, but Uncle Tom's Cabin will remain her most famous.
In Wisconsin, the Gideons were founded by three traveling businessmen. They placed their first Bibles in 1908 at the Superior Hotel in Iron Mountain, Montana.
Beheading of missionary Horace Tracy Pitkin during the Boxer Uprising in China.
Hungarian-born Father Arcadius Garyaev is officiating an Orthodox wedding when a band of Red Army soldiers burst into his church and drag him out in his priestly vestments. They take him into the woods, kill him, and throw his body into a ravine where it will be found eleven days later.
Two of Yin Renxian's children, recently converted to Christianity through his witness, are blown up by a bomb while traveling on a train. At their funeral, Yin will speak to the assembled Chinese about the power of Christ to save from sin. He and his wife Suyun, after years of tepid Christianity, had recently devoted themselves wholeheartedly to Christ with the result that a house church has formed around them. Yin will eventually become a Christian educator until the Communists shut down his activities.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"