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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January 21, 1525: Conrad Grebel (Ulrich Zwingli's former protege) rebaptizes George Blaurock, a former monk, in a secret, illegal meeting of six men in Zurich. This meeting is now considered the birth of the Anabaptist movement (see issue 5: Anabaptists).

January 21, 1549: In the first of four Acts of Uniformity, the English Parliament requires all Anglican public services to exclusively use of The Book of Common Prayer.

January 21, 1621: Pilgrims leave the Mayflower and gather on shore at Plymouth, ...

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