Today in Christian History

March 8

March 8, 1698: British missionary Thomas Bray and four laymen found the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K.) "to advance the honor of God and the good of mankind by promoting Christian knowledge both at home and in the other parts of the world by the best methods that should offer.

March 8, 1715: France's Louis XIV announces he has finally put an end to all Protestant practices in his country (see issue 71: Huguenots and the Wars of Religion).

March 8, 1782: Ninety-six Native Americans, who had converted to Christianity and were living peacefully in the Moravian Brethren town of Gnadenhutten (near New Philadelphia), Ohio, are killed by militiamen in "retaliation" for Indian raids made elsewhere in the Ohio territory.

March 8, 1887: Congregational minister Henry Ward Beecher, an impassioned abolitionist and the most famous American preacher of his day, dies at age 73 (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).

March 8, 1948: The U.S. Supreme Court finds religious education in the public schools in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

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March 17, 461 (traditional date): Patrick, missionary to Ireland and that country's patron saint, dies. Irish raiders captured Patrick, a Romanized Briton, and enslaved him as a youth. He escaped to Gaul (modern France) but returned to Ireland after experiencing a vision calling him back to preach. Patrick enjoyed great success there as a missionary, and only the far south remained predominantly pagan when he died (see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).

March 17, 1780: Thomas Chalmers, pastor, ...

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