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Christian History

Today in Christian History

August 29

August 29, 29: Since the fifth century, tradition has this as the date for the beheading of John the Baptist.

August 29, 70: Romans burn the gates, enter the Temple courtyards of Jerusalem, and destroy the temple by fire. Within three years, Jewish resistance ends in a seige of the Herodian fortress of Massada. Rather than be captured or executed, the zealots committed suicide when it became clear that the Romans would soon breach the walls.

August 29, 1632: John Locke, English philosopher and author of The Reasonableness of Christianity, is born. He emphasized reason over the supernatural and argued that the essence of Christianity acknowledges Christ as the Messiah who came to our world primarily to spread the true knowledge of God (see issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).

August 29, 1792: Charles Grandison Finney, the father of modern revivalism, is born in Warren, Connecticut. The Old School Presbyterians resented Finney's modifications to Calvinist theology. The revivalistic Congregationalists, led by Lyman Beecher, feared that Finney was opening the door to fanaticism by allowing too much expression of human emotion. Others criticized his "scare tactics." Nevertheless, Finney paved the way for later mass-evangelists like Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham (see issue 20: Charles Grandison Finney).

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April 22, 1418: The Council of Constance ends, having finally ended the Great Western Schism. When the schism began nearly 40 years earlier, three men had reasonable claims to the papacy. The council deposed all three and elected Martin V. (Martin then turned around and rejected further councils' right to depose a pope.) Though that part of the council is regarded as a triumph, the council also hastily condemned Jan Hus, a Bohemian preacher and forerunner of Protestantism, and sentenced him to execution ...

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