Today in Christian History

December 28

December 28, 1714: George Whitefield, called "the marvel of his age" for the way his preaching could move an audience, is born in Gloucester, England. His message kicked off America's first "Great Awakening" (see issue 38: George Whitefield).

December 28, 1797: American theologian Charles Hodge, whose three-volume Systematic Theology has influenced seminarians for over 100 years, is born.

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February 23, 155 (traditional date): Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, is martyred. Reportedly a disciple of the Apostle John, at age 86 he was taken to be burned at the stake. "You try to frighten me with fire that burns for an hour and forget the fire of hell that never burns out," he said. The flames, legend says, would not touch him, and when he was run through with a sword, his blood put the fire out (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

February 23, 303: Diocletian begins ...

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