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Christian History

Today in Christian History

April 5

April 5, 1524: Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli marries Anna Reinhart for the second time—this time in public. In 1522, Zwingli (and 10 other priests) appealed to the bishop of Constance for permission to marry. When the bishop refused the petition, Zwingli married secretly and, later that year, resigned from the priesthood (see issue 4: Ulrich Zwingli).

April 5, 1649: John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts Bay, dies. Profoundly religious, Winthrop, who left England because of its persecution of Puritans, believed New England to be "a city upon a hill" for the world to see and emulate (see issue 41: The American Puritans).

April 5, 1811: Robert Raikes, founder of English Sunday schools in 1780, dies. Raikes built his Sunday schools not for respectable and well-mannered children of believers, but for (in one woman's description) "multitudes of wretches who, released on that day from employment, spend their day in noise and riot." In 4 years, 250,000 students were attending the schools, by Raikes's death, 500,000, and by 1831, 1.25 million(see issue 53: William Wilberforce).

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July 9, 386: Nestorius, the first patriarch of Constantinople, is born in what is now Maras, Turkey. Nestorius is famous for his opposition to Mary being described as “theotokos” or God-bearer, preferring the term “Christotokos” or Christ-bearer. Other theologians, such as Cyril of Alexandrian were concerned that this implied that Christ had two natures and two persons (rather than two natures in one person). The Council of Ephesus in 431 condemned this view as heresy and ...

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