Today in Christian History

February 13

February 13, 1633: Called to trial by the Inquisition, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome ready to explain his belief that the earth revolves around the sun. He was compelled to recant the view, and was placed under house arrest until his death in 1642 (see issue 76: Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution).

February 13, 1826: The American Temperance Society (later renamed the American Temperance Union) is founded in Boston to promote total (but voluntary) abstinence from distilled liquor. Among the 16 founders were Protestant clergymen.

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July 24, 1725: John Newton, author of "Amazing Grace" and other hymns, is born in London. Converted to Christianity while working on a slave ship, he hoped as a Christian to restrain the worst excesses of the slave trade, "promoting the life of God in the soul" of both his crew and his African cargo. In 1764 he became an Anglican minister and each week wrote a hymn to be sung to a familiar tune. In 1787 Newton wrote Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade to help William Wilberforce's campaign to ...

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