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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February 12, 1663: Congregational minister Cotton Mather is born in Boston. The most celebrated New England writer of his day, he was a scientist (whose work included early studies of inoculation), one of the founders of Yale University, and pastor of Boston's Second Church (just as his father, Increase Mather, had been). He also wrote Wonders of the Invisible World, a description of the Salem witch trials(see issue 41: American Puritans).

February 12, 1809: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president ...

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