Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, July 16

1338
German princes and the electors of the Holy Roman Empire rally around Ludwig IV of Bavaria at Rense, declaring that an emperor's authority comes directly from God, is awarded by the electors' votes, and doesn't need papal approval. Pope John XXII, warring against Ludwig through proxies, has claimed the right to approve whoever is chosen Holy Roman Emperor. Wishing to eliminate German influence over Italy, the pope has ordered Ludwig to resign and when he doesn't, excommunicates him. Leading churchmen and scholars take Ludwig's side, including William of Ockham, Marsilius of Padua, and John of Jandun. Later Ludwig will conquer Rome and establish a pope more to his liking.
1410
Archbishop Zbynek of Prague has works of Wycliffe burned in Bohemia because they had been condemned by antipope Alexander V, whom Zbynek had recently accepted as the legitimate pope during the Papal Schism.
1546
Anne Askew, a staunch Protestant, is burned for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation after weeks of being questioned and racked.
1686
Death in Chester, England, of John Pearson, bishop of Chester, a careful scholar and systematic theologian with great knowledge of ancient writers. His most famous work was Exposition of the Creed.
1769
Father Junipero Serra celebrates High Mass before a hewn wooden cross at San Diego, where he opens the first of nine missions in California. Other Spanish priests from his mission will open twelve more.
1814
Baptism of twenty-seven-year old Cai Gao by missionary Robert Morrison at a remote spot in the hills along the shore of Macao. Cai Goa will go on to destroy his idols and to assist with Chinese publications before his death of lung disease less than three years later.
1915
Death of Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and an advocate of healthy diet. Claiming hundreds of visions, she was widely viewed as a prophetess. She helped found Battle Creek College (now Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan) and a school in Australia, the precursor of Avondale College.
1931
Death of C. T. Studd, 69, pioneer English missionary. He was one of the 'CambridgeSeven,' and worked on the mission field in China, India and Central Africa.
1944
German Lutheran theologian and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a letterfrom prison: 'One has to live for some time in a community to understand how Christ is"formed" in it (Gal 4:19).'
1974
Paul Wei Han, physician, scientist, and educator, the first president of the Yang Ming Medical College, represents Taiwan's Christians at the Lausanne Conference (July 16-25).

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