Today in Christian History

February 28

February 28, 1551: German Reformer Martin Bucer dies in England at age 60. One of the first Protestant ministers to take the radical step of marrying, he attempted to mediate between Martin Luther and Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli, but Luther would have none of it. "It is better for you to have your enemies than to set up a fictitious fellowship," Luther said (see issue 39: Luther's Later Years).

February 28, 1807: Robert Morrison sails from Britain to become the first Protestant missionary to China. By the time he died 27 years later, he had baptized only 10 Chinese, but his pioneering work (including a six-volume dictionary and a translation of the Bible) helped missionaries who came after him (see issue 52: Hudson Taylor).

February 28, 1944: Nazi soldiers arrest Dutch Christian Corrie ten Boom and her family for harboring Jews. The Jews hiding in her house escaped. Corrie was the only member of her family who survived internment in concentration camps.

February 28, 1638: The castle of Hara, on the Japanese island of Amakusa, held by 30,000 Christian troops under Masada Shiro, is captured. The defenders set fire to the castle, and all perished in the flames or by the sword. From then until 1873 (235 years later), Christianity was banned in Japan under penalty of death.

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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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