Today in Christian History
(or the 23rd) Death of Peter Damian, in Faenza, Italy. A reforming monk of the Benedictine order, he will be remembered chiefly for De divina omnipotentia which questioned the limits of the omnipotence of God (e.g.: can God change the past?) and will be declared a doctor of the church in the nineteenth century.
Zuni Indians kill Father Francisco de Letrado and dance with his scalp on a pole. He had been among Spanish missionaries attempting to impose a Christian regime on the Pueblo Indians.
The Westminster Assembly adjourns, having held one thousand one hundred and sixty three sessions over a period of five years, six months, and twenty-two days. They were known for their solemn fasts and long hours of prayer.
General Codrington bequeaths two plantations in Barbados for medical mission work to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, on condition that professors and scholars be maintained there to study and practice medicine, surgery, and divinity in order to "endear themselves to the people and have the better opportunities of doing good to men's souls whilst they are taking care of their bodies."
Death in London of Rev. Sydney Smith, wit and literary critic, author of The Letters of Peter Plymley. He had once tied some antlers to donkeys to pretend they were deer when an aristocratic lady was visiting. His daughter wrote, “My father died in peace with himself and with all the world; anxious to the last to promote the comfort and happiness of others. He sent messages of kindness and forgiveness to the few he thought had injured him. Almost his last act was bestowing a small living of £120 per annum on a poor, worthy, and friendless clergyman, who had lived a long life of struggle with poverty on £40 per annum.”
Missionary James Gilmour sails from Liverpool to work in China and Mongolia. Made chaplain of the ship on which he is sailing, he shares the gospel with every member of the crew during the night watches.
Black evangelist William J. Seymour first arrived in Los Angeles and began holding revival meetings. The "Azusa Street Revival" later broke out under Seymour's leadership, in the Apostolic Faith Mission located at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles. It was one of the pioneering events in the history of 20th century American Pentecostalism.
Death in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of Frances E. W. Harper, an African-American woman who had labored in the anti-slavery cause alongside workers such as Julia Ward Howe and Frederick Douglas. She had published a volume of poems when twenty-one years of age.
English apologist C.S. Lewis wrote in a letter: 'Heaven enters wherever Christ enters, even in this life.'
The first "Voice of Tangier" program airs over a 2,500-watt transmitter. Programming is broadcast in Spanish and English. Within two years, the station will be broadcasting in more than twenty languages.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"