Today in Christian History

February 15

February 15, 1386: Jagiello, king of the Lithuanians, is baptized. His conversion, the condition of an alliance with Poland, marks the end of established paganism in Europe.

February 15, 1631: John Donne, the greatest love poet of the English language and dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, preaches his last sermon titled "Death's Duel." "We celebrate our own funeral with cries, even at our birth," preached the poet, who was seemingly obsessed with the subject for his entire life (32 of his 54 songs and sonnets are about death).

February 15, 1860: Wheaton College (formerly Illinois Institute), one of evangelicalism's top institutions of higher education, is chartered in Illinois.

February 15, 1905: Christian author Lew Wallace dies at age 77. Wallace famous Ben Hur (1880) conceived on a train ride while arguing about Christ's divinity with famous agnostic Robert Ingersoll. It sold more than 300,000 copies in a decade, making him one of the best-selling religious authors of the 1800s.

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January 20, 1541: A town meeting in Geneva ratifies John Calvin's plan to set up a church court that would meet weekly to judge offenders and maintain discipline (see issue 12: Calvin).

January 20, 1569: Miles Coverdale, publisher of the first printed English Bible and the man who completed William Tyndale's translation of the Old Testament, dies at 81 (see issue 43: How We Got Our Bible and issue 16: William Tyndale).

January 20, 1918: Following the Bolshevik Revolution, all church property in Russia ...

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