Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, April 16

304
The Christians of Saragossa, Spain, undergo severe persecution as troops of the Roman prefect Dacian kill eighteen men. Others who die around this time are Encratis, a woman who reproached Dacian to his face, for which he ordered tortures so severe that her liver was pulled part way out of her chest. During persecution that same year, all Christians are ordered out of the city. As they arrive at the city gates, Dacian's troops slaughter every one.
556
Pelagius I has a stormy ordination as pope, owing to suspicion his predecessor Vigilius died as a result of foul play and he might have been involved. Pelagius had referred to Vigilius as a turncoat for flip-flopping on the issue of the Three Chapters, which were regarded as a concession to the monophysite heresy.
1118
[date possible but not certain] Murder of Magnus of Orkney, whose cousin breaks an agreement to meet with just two boats of men by bringing his whole army. In order to prevent civil war, Magnus allows himself to be killed. The islanders will claim all sorts of miracles at his tomb and he will be declared a saint.
1521
German reformer Martin Luther, 34, arrived at the Diet of Worms, where he afterward defended his "Ninety-Five Theses," first advanced in 1517. At the Diet, Luther refused to recant his ideas 'unless overcome by Scripture.'
1772
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'I think there is a scriptural distinction between faith and feeling, grace and comfort.... The degree of the one is not often the just measure of the other.'
1904
Birth of Merrill C. Tenney, American N.T. scholar. In addition to his many scholarly writings, Tenney was dean of the Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois from 1947-71.
1944
Dorothy Ahleman feels a call to missions at an evening missions service on the campus of Olivet Nazarene College. She will go to Argentina where she will serve for thirty-seven years.
1948
Christians in Action was incorporated in Compton, CA. Founded by Rev. Lee Shelley, this interdenominational overseas mission helps establish national churches in nearly two dozen overseas countries.
1951
Assembly of God missionary Frank Isensee perishes in an accident trying to carry the Gospel to a Peruvian city.
1986
Six hundred police attack a crowd of Coptic Christians who are standing outside Saint Demiana Coptic Church, injuring some women and children. Afterward, the Egyptian government refuses to allow Copts to stand outside of the church.

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