Today in Christian History

February 16

February 16, 1497: German scholar and reformer Philipp Melanchthon is born in Bretten, Baden. He and Luther were at times allies (he defended Luther against Johann van Eck and Emperor Charles V) and at other times enemies (Luther thrashed him for his views on the Sacrament, but apologized on his deathbed). Melanchthon's argument for justification by faith alone, known as theAugsburg Confession, is now the basic statement of Lutheran doctrine (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).

February 16, 1801: The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church receives its charter. Five years earlier, black members of New York City's John's Street Methodist Episcopal Zion Church left the church over racist limitations imposed on them. They had not been allowed to preach or vote until Bishop Francis Asbury allowed them to hold their own meetings apart from the John's Street church (see issue 62: Bound For Canaan).

Free Newsletters
More Newsletters

Read These Next

Free Newsletters
More Newsletters

March 30, 1533: Thomas Cranmer is consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, England's highest religious post. Believing himself subject to the king, Henry VIII, he granted the monarch's annulment ending his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This touched off the English Reformation, and Cranmer became its chief architect. He is also known for writing the first Book of Common Prayer(see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).

March 30, 1820: The first Protestant missionaries arrive at the Sandwich Islands, now known ...

More from March 30