Christian History Home > This Week in Christian History > April 9
April 9, 1626: English philosopher of science Sir Francis Bacon dies. After a dizzying rise to political power (he was named lord chancellor in 1618) and a bribery scandal, Bacon retired to writing. He introduced the essay form to the English language and wrote The New Atlantis, which mixed his scientific approach and his Christian beliefs. "Knowledge is the rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator and the relief of man's estate," he wrote. "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion" (see issue 76: Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution).
April 9, 1761: English devotional writer William Law dies. His writings, such as A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, greatly influenced George Whitefield and John Wesley though they later distanced themselves when Law wrote of the indwelling of Christ in the soul.
April 9, 1816: Richard Allen and others organize the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. The next day he was named the denomination's first bishop, thereby becoming the first black bishop in the United States. A few years earlier, Allen and his colleagues had left the Methodist Episcopal Church when it removed blacks from "white" seats during prayer (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).
April 9, 1906: In Los Angeles, Holiness minister William Seymour and several associates experience what they called the "baptism of the Spirit," marked by speaking in tongues. This launched the three-year "Azusa Street Revival," considered the first major public event of Pentecostalism (see issue 58: Pentecostalism and issue 65: The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century).
April 9, 1945: The Gestapo hangs German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, after discovering his plot to kill Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer's last recorded words were, "This is the end—for me, the beginning of life" (see issue 32: Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
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