Today in Christian History

January 31

January 31, 1561: Anabaptist leader Menno Simons, for whom Mennonites are named, dies in Wustenfeld, Germany (see issue 5: Anabaptists).

January 31, 1686: King Louis XIV of France, having already revoked the Protestant-tolerating Edict of Nantes, orders all Waldensian churches burned. The Waldensians, members of a pre-Reformation tradition that stressed love of Christ and his word and a life of poverty, were soon devastated: 2,000 killed, 2,000 "converted" to Catholicism, and 8,000 imprisoned (see issue 22: Waldensians).

January 31, 1737: Jacob Duche, Episcopal clergyman and chaplain to the Continental Congress, is born in Philadelphia. He later had a change of heart about the war and asked George Washington to have Congress recall the Declaration of Independence (see issue 50: The American Revolution).

January 31, 1892: Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon, one of the greatest public speakers of his day, dies at Mentone, France (see issue 29: Charles Spurgeon).

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August 18, 1688: John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress preaches his last sermon, in London (see issue 11: John Bunyan).

August 18, 1732: In an emotional farewell service, Moravian Christians at Herrnhut sing 100 hymns and commission Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann as missionaries to slaves in the West Indies. Herrnhut, a community of only 600 members sent more than 70 missionaries between 1732 and 1742 (see issue 1: Nicolaus Zinzendorf).

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