Today in Christian History

December 29

December 29, 1809: William Gladstone, four-time British prime minister, is born in Liverpool, England. One scholar has called him "the epitome of all that the evangelicals and the English public asked for in their politicians" (see issue 53: William Wilberforce and the Century of Reform).

December 29, 1849: The carol "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," by pastor Edmund H. Sears, appears for the first time in The Christian Register.

December 29, 1851: The first Y.M.C.A. in the United States is organized in Boston.

December 29, 1876: Hymnwriter Philip P. Bliss and his wife fall to their deaths when a bridge collapses under the train they were riding. Bliss's compositions include "Man of Sorrows—What a Name!"; "Jesus Loves Even Me"; "Almost Persuaded"; the music to "It Is Well with My Soul"; and one hymn discovered in his trunk, which was on a different train that night: "I Will Sing of My Redeemer.

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November 24, 1531: Johannes Oecolampadius, a leader in the Swiss Reformation, dies at 49. He sided with Ulrich Zwingli in disputing Martin Luther on the Lord's Supper and also helped Erasmus edit the New Testament in Greek (see issue 4: Ulrich Zwingli).

November 24, 1572: Scottish reformer John Knox dies in Edinburgh (see issue 46: John Knox)

November 24, 1713: Junipero Serra, "the Apostle of California," is born. The Spanish missionary established nine of the first 21 Franciscan missions in "New ...

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