Today in Christian History

December 3

December 3, 1552: Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier, one of the founding members of his order (the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits) and one of the greatest missionaries ever, dies awaiting admission to China. Before that, he had converted 700,000 people in Portugal, India, Indonesia, Japan, and elsewhere.

December 3, 1833: Ohio's Oberlin College, the first coeducational college in the United States and one of the first to offer education to blacks, opens. Its unique character was formed as a result of the revival movement of Charles Finney, who later served as president of the school (see issue 20: Charles Finney).

December 3, 1846: Presbyterian widow Leslie Prentice leads a pro-life rally outside the home of New York City's foremost abortionist, Anna Lohman, a.k.a. Madame Restell.

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December 8, 1691: English Puritan minister Richard Baxter dies in London. One of England's most renowned preachers and author of nearly 200 works (including several hymns), he was known as a peacemaker who sought unity among Protestants.

December 8, 1934: American missionaries John and Betty Stam are beheaded by Chinese communists. The couple had met while attending Moody Bible Institute and married just the year before their death. Publication of their biography prompted hundreds to volunteer for ...

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