Today in Christian History

February 16

February 16, 1497: German scholar and reformer Philipp Melanchthon is born in Bretten, Baden. He and Luther were at times allies (he defended Luther against Johann van Eck and Emperor Charles V) and at other times enemies (Luther thrashed him for his views on the Sacrament, but apologized on his deathbed). Melanchthon's argument for justification by faith alone, known as theAugsburg Confession, is now the basic statement of Lutheran doctrine (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).

February 16, 1801: The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church receives its charter. Five years earlier, black members of New York City's John's Street Methodist Episcopal Zion Church left the church over racist limitations imposed on them. They had not been allowed to preach or vote until Bishop Francis Asbury allowed them to hold their own meetings apart from the John's Street church (see issue 62: Bound For Canaan).

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March 19, 1229: Having negotiated a treaty with Muslims for Christian access to Jerusalem, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (a reluctant participant in the sixth crusade) enters the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and crowns himself king. But his peace treaty was denounced by members of both faiths, and the same day the Catholic patriarch of Jerusalem pronounced an interdict on the city. Frederick was later excommunicated for making peace instead of war (see issue 40: The Crusades).

March 19, 1684: Jean ...

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