Today in Christian History

August 19

August 19, 1099: Three years after setting out, the First Crusade armies defeat the Saracens at the Battle of Ascalon, a Palestinian city. For more than a century afterwards, Christians controlled the Holy Land (see issue 40: The Crusades).

August 19, 1662: Blaise Pascal, French scientist, polemicist, and Christian apologist, dies at the age of 39 after an extended illness. In 1654, he experienced his "definitive conversion" where he discovered the "God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and not of the philosophers and men of science" (see issue 76: Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution).

August 19, 1843: C.I. Scofield, dispensationalist creator of the Scofield Reference Bible, is born near Clinton, Michigan (see issue 61: The End of the World).

August 19, 1886: Richard G. Spurling, a Baptist minister, founds the Christian Union in Tennessee. In 1923 the organization took the name the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee, a Pentecostal denomination that now has hundreds of thousands of members.

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February 24, 1208: Francis of Assisi experiences a vision in the church of Portunicula, Italy. Though not his first vision, it convinced him to begin a mission of preaching repentance, singing, caring for lepers, and aiding the peasants. Most notably, he and his followers renounced wealth and followed absolute poverty (see issue 42: Francis of Assisi).

February 24, 1582: Gregory XIII issues a bull requiring all Catholic countries to follow October 4 with October 15 and replace the Julian calendar ...

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