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Christian History

Today in Christian History

December 8

December 8, 1691: English Puritan minister Richard Baxter dies in London. One of England's most renowned preachers and author of nearly 200 works (including several hymns), he was known as a peacemaker who sought unity among Protestants.

December 8, 1934: American missionaries John and Betty Stam are beheaded by Chinese communists. The couple had met while attending Moody Bible Institute and married just the year before their death. Publication of their biography prompted hundreds to volunteer for missionary service (see issue 52: Hudson Taylor).

December 8, 2016: American United Methodist minister and theologian Thomas C. Oden dies. Oden was a leading proponent of the Social Gospel movement in the mid 20th century until study of the writings of the church fathers, especially Anthanasius, Augustine, and Aquinas, convinced him of the need to return to classical Christian orthodoxy. This return to traditional theology, which he dubbed “paleo-orthodoxy,” became his main focus for latter half of his life and he became a leading voice in conservative evangelical theology.

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February 8, 356: For the third time since the Council of Nicea in 325, Athanasius goes into exile. The defender of orthodoxy was out of favor as Arianism, a heresy condemned at the council, ran rampant throughout the Empire. He would be exiled twice more before he died (see issue 51: Heresy in the Early Church).

February 8, 1587: Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded. Attempting to restore Catholicism to England, she began persecuting Protestants. But, largely thanks to the work of John Knox, her attempts ...

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