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The Current Week in 2015:
June 28, 195: Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (France) and one of the most important Christian writers of the second century, dies. He argued that tradition is key in sustaining orthodoxy, and he was instrumental in raising the authority of the Roman bishop. He was also the first to add the four Gospels to a list of apostolic writings, calling them "Scripture" with the Old Testament. Many consider him the first theologian of the Christian church, since others were more apologists than theologians.
June 28, 1245: Innocent IV convenes the Council of Lyons to deal with the "five wounds of the Church:" corruption of the clergy and faithful, the danger of the Saracens, the Greek Schism, the invasion of Hungary by the Tatars, and the rupture between the church and Emperor Frederick II.
June 28, 1491: Henry VIII, the "Defender of the faith" who broke with Rome when the pope would not grant him a divorce, is born in Greenwich, England (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).
June 28, 1577: Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, who sympathized with the Jesuit movement and the Counter Reformation, is born. Among his most famous works are Raising of the Cross (1610) and Descent from the Cross (1611).
June 29, 1810: After resolute petitioning of college students from Williams College and Andover Seminary, the Congregationalists of Massachusetts organize the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, America's first foreign missions society.
June 30, 1315 (traditional date): Lay missionary, mystic, and philosopher Ramon Lull, who was persuaded by a vision to seek the conversion of the Muslims, is reportedly stoned to death in Bougie, North Africa (see issue 74: Christians & Muslims).
June 30, 1881: Presbyterian preacher and African-American abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet is appointed minister to Liberia. The former slave shocked the abolitionist community in 1843 by calling for violent rebellion. "Rather die free-men than live to be slaves," he preached (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).
July 1, 1643: The Westminster Assembly convenes for the first time in the Henry VII Chapel of Westminster Abbey. Five years later it published the Westminster longer and shorter catechisms, which the Anglican church rejected, but the Presbyterians accepted.
July 1, 1824: The Presbyterian church ordains Charles Grandison Finney, the father of modern revivalism (see issue 20: Charles Grandison Finney). July 1, 1896
July 1, 1899: Three traveling businessmen meet in a YMCA building and decide to form an organization to distribute Bibles. The Christian Commercial Men's Association of America, later renamed the Gideons, placed their first Bibles in a hotel nine years later.
July 1, 1896: Abolitionist writer Harriet Beecher Stowe dies. She averaged nearly a book a year, but Uncle Tom's Cabin remains her legacy. Even one of her harshest critics acknowledged that it was "perhaps the most influential novel ever published . . . a verbal earthquake, an ink-and-paper tidal wave" (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).
July 2, 1489: English reformer Thomas Cranmer is born at Aslockton, Nottinghamshire. The archbishop of Canterbury wrote the Book of Common Prayer and was burned at the stake in 1556 (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).
July 2, 1505: A rain storm in Germany helps launch the Protestant Reformation. While returning from a trip to visit his parents, Martin Luther (then a law student) was caught in a violent thunderstorm near Stotternheim. Fearing for his life, he cried, "Help me, St. Anne! I will become a monk!" Within two weeks, he made good on his promise (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).
July 2, 1752: The first English Bible published in America rolls off presses in Boston.
July 3, 529: The Synod of Orange convenes in southern France. Led by a forcefulAugustinian, Caesarius of Arles, the synod upheldAugustine's doctrines of grace and free will while condemning the views of Semi-Pelagians (including John Cassian and Faustus of Riez), who believed the human will and God's grace work together (see issue 67:Augustine).
July 4, 973: Ulrich, bishop ofAugsburg from 923, dies. Twenty years later he would become the first person canonized by a pope.
July 4, 1187: Saladin, leader of the united Muslim forces, defeats the armies of the Third Crusade at Tiberius, Syria (see issue 40: The Crusades).
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