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Christian History

Today in Christian History

May 5

May 5, 553: The Second Council of Constantinople convenes under the presidency of Eutychius, the city's new patriarch. The council, loaded with bishops from the Eastern church, attacked Nestorianism (a "heresy"—many have questioned that anathema—that overemphasizes Christ's dual nature as God and man). Nestorian Christians exist to this Day (see issue 51: Heresy in the Early Church).

May 5, 1525: Frederick III, the elector of Saxony also called "Frederick the Wise," dies. An avid collector of relics and a supporter of modern scholarship (he founded the University of Wittenberg), Frederick protected Martin Luther after the Diet of Worms condemned the reformer (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).

May 5, 1813: Christian existentialist Soren Kierkegaard is born in Copenhagen. The Danish philosopher believed no philosophical system could explain the human condition; the experience of reality was what mattered, not the "idea" of it. His most famous and his first book, Either/Or, sought in part to explain why he suddenly broke off his engagement.

May 5, 1816: The American Bible Society (ABS) organizes in New York to distribute the Bible throughout the world. The organization has distributed hundreds of millions of Bibles in thousands of languages worldwide.

May 5, 1925: Dayton, Tennessee, teacher John Scopes is arrested for teaching evolution in his classroom. (He volunteered to admit violating a recent statute prohibiting such teaching so that the law could be tested in court.) The resulting trial—the first "trial of the century"—led to public mockery of fundamentalist Christians, driving them into a more self-contained subculture (see issue 55: The Monkey Trial and the Rise of Fundamentalism).

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April 12, 1204: The Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople, an allied city. The attack virtually destroyed the Byzantine Empire and ruined any hope of reunifying eastern and western Christians (see issue 40: The Crusades).

April 12, 1850: Adoniram Judson, pioneer Baptist missionary to India and Burma, and Bible translator, dies during a sea voyage. He and his wife, Ann, were the foremost American missionary heroes of their day.

April 12, 1914: A convention in Hot Springs, Arkansas, having founded the ...

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