November 7, 739 (traditional date): Willibrord, a missionary monk who was trained in Ireland and traveled over northwestern Europe, dies. Called the "Apostle of Frisia," he was highly instrumental in the conversions of Germany and Scandinavia (see issue 63: Conversion of the Vikings).
November 7, 1637: Anne Hutchinson is convicted of spreading heresy and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Her idea that believers are so united with the Holy Spirit that human categories (like moral law) are irrelevant, and her claim of direct revelation from the Holy Spirit rather than Scripture, caused many of her supporters (including influential minister John Cotton) to back off. Hutchinson was later killed in New York in an American Indian raid (see issue 41: The American Puritans).
November 7, 1837: Presbyterian minister and abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy is murdered in Alton, Illinois. A newspaper editor whose press was destroyed by vandals three times, he was accused of inciting slaves to revolt when he defended a black man burned at the stake by a mob. When another mob tried to burn down his warehouse, Lovejoy was shot trying to save it. His death helped to galvanize the abolitionist movement (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).
August 21, 1741: George Frideric Handel shuts himself up in his home to begin writing "Messiah." He finished the composition 23 days later. "Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not," he later said.
August 21, 1874: Henry Ward Beecher, a popular Congregational clergyman from Connecticut, is accused of adultery. Sued for $100,000 by the alleged adulteress's husband, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe (and son of evangelical leader Lyman Beecher) would eventually be ...