Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, August 20

1384
Death of Gerhard Groot, founder of the Brethren of the Common Life. This movement invited laymen to a life of spirituality and simplicity.
1527
Diet of Odense allows Lutherans in Denmark.
1553
Protestant reformer John Calvin wrote in a letter: 'Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.'
1580
Death of Jerome Osorio, a Portuguese prelate and author, respected for his piety and charity and famed for his elegant Latin.
1740
Martyrdom of Theocharis of Neopolis, an Orthodox Christian. The governor of Nevsehir in the Ottoman Empire had offered him his daughter in marriage on condition he convert to Islam. Offended by Theocharis' refusal, he tortures and executes him.
1745
Birth of Francis Asbury, English Methodist missionary and circuit-riding bishop of the American colonies. During 42 years of labor, Asbury traveled 300,000 miles by horseback, ministering up and down the Eastern seaboard.
1804
Death of Pitambara Singha from an asthmatic complaint. He had first read about salvation in a Baptist tract printed at Serampore and had immediately visited the mission there, becoming a faithful convert, Christian author, and evangelist.
1886
Birth of Paul Tillich, German philosophical theologian. Tillich advocated "myth" as a signpost, participating in the reality to which it points. Evangelicals generally criticize Tillich today for his pantheistic views of God.
1902
Althea Brown, African-American, sails for Africa as a missionary where she will die of malaria and sleeping sickness after years of useful work which will include study of African languages.
1952
Death in Jacksonville, Florida, of J. Frank Norris, a controversial fundamentalist Baptist pastor, radio speaker, and editor, who at various times had been charged with arson, perjury, libel, and murder - the last for killing an opponent in his church office, claiming self defense.

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