Today in Christian History

November 7

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).

November 7, 1918: Evangelist William ("Billy") Franklin Graham, Jr., is born in Charlotte, North Carolina (see issue 65: The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century).

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December 15, 1418: English pre-Reformer John Oldcastle is burned alive for his efforts to preserve and promote the cause of the Lollards (preachers who spread John Wycliffe's views). Shakespeare reportedly based his character Falstaff on Oldcastle (see issue 3: John Wycliffe).

December 15, 1900: Count Leo Tolstoy writes to the tsar asking him to end religious persecution in Russia.

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