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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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September 27, 1540: Pope Paul III officially approves the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), founded in 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola.

September 27, 1660: Vincent de Paul (b. 1581) dies. After giving his life to serving the poor, he founded the first Confraternity of Charity in 1617, the Congregation of the Mission in 1625, and the Daughters of Charity in 1633 (the first non-monastic women's order completely given to care of the sick and poor). Canonized in 1737, he was named patron saint of all charitable ...

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