Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, February 1

1516
Erasmus dedicates his New Testament to Pope Leo X. His work is politically risky, so he assures the pontiff, "We do not intend to tear up the old and commonly accepted edition [the Vulgate] but amend it where it is corrupt and make it clear where it is obscure."
1656
Authorities in the New Netherlands (New York) decree that all "conventicles and meetings" held in the province, "whether public or private," are "absolutely and expressly forbidden"; and that "only the Reformed Divine service, as this is observed and enforced according to the Synod of Dortrecht," should be held.
1750
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton (author of "Amazing Grace"), 24, wedded Mary Catlett. Their marriage lasted 40 years, before her death in 1790. John lived another 17 years, and died in 1807.
1803
Anglican missionary to Persia, Henry Martyn wrote in his journal: 'Oh, that I may learn my utter helplessness without Thee, and so by deep humiliation be qualified for greater usefulness.'
1901
Pioneer American missionaries Charles (37) and Lettie (31) Cowman set sail for Japan. Later in the year they founded the Oriental Missionary Society. They labored in the foreign field until Charles' worsening health forced them to retire in 1917.
1903
Death in Cambridge of George Gabriel Stokes. A brilliant and innovative mathematician, he was also known for his faith and delivered the Gifford Lectures in 1891, taking as his theme natural theology.
1912
Bishop Walter Lambuth of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, and his friend Dr. Gilbert, risking sleeping sickness from tsetse fly bites, arrive safely at the village of Chief Wembo-Niama (in what was then called the Belgian Congo), where they will select land on which to situate a mission station.
1918
Patriarch Tikhon of the Russian Orthodox Church excommunicates "the enemies of Christ" - the atheistic rulers of Russia. He will be imprisoned for his defense of the church he leads.
1933
German Lutheran clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer gives a radio speech warning about the consequences of putting blind trust in any man (i.e. Hitler). His address is abruptly cut off at the warning.
1949
The modern state of Israel formally annexed West Jerusalem.

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