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Christian History

Today in Christian History

October 5

October 5, 869: The Fourth Constantinople Council opens. During its six sessions, the council condemned iconoclasm and anathematized Constantinople Patriarch Photius. (It's a story too complicated to go into here, but basically, there was a strong disagreement over who was the "real" patriarch, and whether Holy Spirit proceeded from the Son as well as the Father). It was the last ecumenical council held in the East, but Eastern Orthodox Christians don't consider it a true ecumenical council (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

October 5, 1703: American evangelical preacher and Congregational theologian Jonathan Edwards is born in East Windsor, Connecticut. The leading theologian of his day, he is known most commonly for his Great Awakening sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which he delivered in a quiet monotone. In fact, the content of the sermon is rather atypical for Edwards (see issue 8: Jonathan Edwards and issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).

October 5, 1744: David Brainerd, kicked out of Yale for criticizing a tutor and attending a forbidden revival meeting, begins missionary work with Native Americans along New Jersey's Susquehannah River. Jonathan Edwards's biography of Brainerd was key in promoting Christian missions and was counted by William Carey as one of his most influential reads (see issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).

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January 26, 1564: Pope Pius IV accepts and confirms the decrees of the Council of Trent by the bull Benedictus Deus. The product of the Counter Reformation, it improved church organization, strengthened the papacy, and blocked any reconciliation with Protestants (see issue 28: The 100 Most Important Events in Church History).

January 26, 1859: Millionaire inventor of the reaper, Cyrus McCormick, marries Nettie Fowler, a devoted Christian. Following Cyrus's death in 1884, Nettie used her enormous ...

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