Today in Christian History

January 30

January 30, 1536: Catholic priest Menno Simons leaves the Roman Catholic church over his doubts about transubstantiation and converts to the Anabaptist movement, which he would soon lead (see issue 5: Anabaptists).

January 30, 1877: Responding to Henry Stanley's plea for "some pious, practical missionary" to follow up David Livingstone's missionary foray into Uganda, three members of Alexander Mackay's Church Missionary Society team arrive at King Mutesa's court. Though missions saw few immediate results, the Ugandan church quickly strengthened and grew after the missionaries' deaths (see issue 56: David Livingstone).

January 30, 1912: Evangelical missionary, philosopher, author, and lecturer Francis Schaeffer is born in Philadelphia. A leading figure in the resurgence of evangelicalism during the 1960s and 1970s, he blamed the rise of relativism for the decline of Western culture.

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February 23, 155 (traditional date): Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, is martyred. Reportedly a disciple of the Apostle John, at age 86 he was taken to be burned at the stake. "You try to frighten me with fire that burns for an hour and forget the fire of hell that never burns out," he said. The flames, legend says, would not touch him, and when he was run through with a sword, his blood put the fire out (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

February 23, 303: Diocletian begins ...

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