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Christian History

Today in Christian History

March 28

March 28, 1515: Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila, founder of a reformed Carmelite order, is born. Though her contemporaries noted her practicality and administrative skills, her legacy stems from her mysticism, evidenced in her Autobiography, Way of Perfection, Book of Foundations, and Interior Castle.

March 28, 1592: Czech theologian Jan Comenius, educator of the Bohemian (or Moravian) Brethren, is born in Nivnice, Czechoslovakia. As today, the region was tormented by warfare, and Comenius believed the only way to bring peace was through education. He designed a plan for educating every province and country, which he presented in The Great Didactic(1632). Education, he believed, should be more than just learning facts and languages (as was the case in his day), it should mold Christian character and should be marked by observing the physical world. He is called "the father of modern education" (see issue 13: Jan Amos Comenius).

March 28, 1661: Scottish Parliament passes the Rescissory Act, repealing all church-state legislation created since 1633 (Charles I's reign). In essence, the act restored the Anglican episcopacy to Scotland and quashed Presbyterianism, which had been the national church since 1638. In 1690 Parliament again established the Church of Scotland as Presbyterian (see issue 46: John Knox).

March 28, 1885: The Salvation Army is officially organized in the USA. 5 years earlier Commissioner George Scott Railton and seven female Salvation Army officers arrived in New York City to begin expanding the organization in America. Though they were initially met with hostility and occasional violence, by 1883 the Army had expanded into 12 states. In 1886 the organization was endorsed by President Grover Cleveland during a visit to the White House by a Salvation Army delegation.

March 28, 1937: Billy Graham gets his first opportunity to preach when his teacher John Minder unexpectedly assigns him the Easter evening sermon. Graham tried to get out of it, saying he was unprepared, but Minder persisted. Desperately nervous, Graham raced through four memorized sermons, originally 45 minutes each, in eight minutes (see issue 65: The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century).

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June 15, 1215: King John signs the Magna Carta, which begins, "The Church of England shall be free.

June 15, 1520: In the papal encyclical "Exsurge Domine," Leo X condemns Martin Luther on 41 of counts of heresy, branding him an enemy of the Roman Catholic Church. After the encyclical, Luther's works were burned in Rome (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).

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