Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, August 7

44
[possible date] Death in Caesarea of Herod Agrippa, persecutor of the Apostles, who had executed James, the brother of John.
117
Death of Marcus Trajan, 65, Roman emperor from A.D. 98-117. His attitude toward Christianity gradually changed from toleration to persecution. It was during Trajan's rule that Apostolic Father Ignatius of Antioch was martyred.
1409
The Council of Pisa closes. Convened to end the Great Schism (1378-1417) caused by two rival popes, the Council had in fact worsened the situation, by electing a third pope, Alexander V (afterwards regarded as an antipope).
1560
Ratification of the Scots Confession by the Scottish Parliament marked the triumph of the Reformation in Scotland, under the leadership of John Knox. (In 1647, the Scots Confession was superseded by the Westminster Confession.)
1737
Twenty-year-old Benjamin Beddome hears a visiting preacher speak on the text "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent," and is deeply moved. Within two years he will be studying for the pastorate. Under his preaching a revival will break forth in Gloucestershire in 1741, during which forty people will be saved. In 1743 he will accept a different pastorate and will write new hymns for the close of each service.
1771
Francis Asbury volunteers to go to America for the purpose of expanding its small, struggling Methodist Church.
1847
Death in Economy, Pennsylvania, of Johann Georg Rapp, a German emigrant who had founded a Pietist community. After his death, the colony will soon fail because it practices rigorous celibacy and cannot find enough new members to sustain itself.
1852
Birth of Franklin L. Sheppard, Presbyterian organist and hymnbook editor. It was Sheppard who composed the hymn tune TERRA PATRIS, to which we sing "This is My Father's World."
1865
Repose (death) of Anthony of Optina, a notable monastic leader in the Russian Orthodox Church who had labored to uplift the spiritual tone of the monks under his care until he became too ill to work.
2012
A Deeper Life Bible Church in Okene, Nigeria, is attacked by three unidentified gunmen, who open fire on a Bible study group with Kalashnikov assault rifles, killing nineteen.

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