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Christian History

Today in Christian History

October 19

October 19, 1512: Martin Luther receives his Doctor of Theology degree from the University of Wittenberg (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).

October 19, 1609: Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius, founder of an anti-Calvinist Reformed theology, dies at age 49 in Leiden, Netherlands (see issue 12: John Calvin).

October 19, 1720: Quaker minister John Woolman is born in Roncocas, New Jersey. He was known for his concerns to live a simple life exemplifying "the right use of things," and to end war, slavery, and injustice toward the poor and to Native Americans. His journal, written from 1756-72, influenced nineteenth-century abolitionists and demonstrated his concern for both the oppressors and the oppressed.

October 19, 1744: English revivalist George Whitefield arrives in Maine for his third (of seven) evangelistic visit to America (see issue 38: George Whitefield).

October 19, 1779: English poet William Cowper and curate John Newton publish Olney Hymns, a classic collection of evangelical and Reformed hymns.

October 19, 1856: A Sunday evening service led by Charles Haddon Spurgeon turns tragic when someone shouts "Fire!" in London's enormous Surrey Hall. There was no fire, but the stampede left 7 people dead and 28 more hospitalized. Though the episode plunged Spurgeon into weeks of depression, it also catapulted him to overnight fame (see issue 29: Charles Haddon Spurgeon).

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May 20, 325: Emperor Constantine convenes the first Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (now Iznik), Bithynia, to discuss Arianism, a heresy arguing that Christ was subordinate to God the Father. "I entreat you," Constantine said at the opening of the Council of Nicea, "to remove the causes of dissension among you and to establish peace." The council attempted to resolve the bitter conflict by anathematizing Arius (Arianism's founder) and ordering the burning of all his books, but ...

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