September 13: Today in Christian History

September 13: Today in Christian History

September 13, 1541

John Calvin returned to Geneva, where he spent the rest of his life trying to establish a theocratic society at the request of city authorities who banished him three years earlier (see issue 12: John Calvin).

September 13, 1635

The Massachusetts General Court banishes Roger Williams, 32, for, among other things, his outspoken advocacy of a separation of church and state. Williams went on to found Rhode Island and the first Baptist church in the American colonies (see issue 41: The American Puritans).

September 13, 1865

On this day, Thomas Robert Jermain landed on Paik Yon Island off the coast of southern Korea and began to distribute Bibles. He was a Missionary to China and Bible distributer in hostile Korea, and later became the first Protestant martyr in Korea.

Thomas began preaching at age 15. He graduated from New College, London University in 1863 and was ordained, was married, and sailed to China the same year. Within three months, his wife, Caroline (Godfrey), died. A year later he resigned from the LMS, feeling that unreached fields should be given priority over already occupied Shanghai, but he soon asked to return and to be sent to Mongolia.

While he was waiting for reinstatement, a chance meeting with two Korean traders, secret Catholics, led him to negotiate a trip to that forbidden country to distribute Bibles for the National Bible Society of Scotland. He spent two and a half months there in 1865 and learned some of the language. Against advice he returned to Korea in 1866 as interpreter on an armed American trading ship, arriving at a time when uninvited foreign trade was still forbidden and a raging persecution of secret Catholic believers was resulting in the execution of thousands. The ship was attacked near Pyongyang and no one survived. Thomas was reportedly beheaded giving a Bible to his executioner. He was the first Protestant martyr in Korea.

September 13, 1931

Pentecostal preacher Aimee Semple McPherson marries unknown vaudeville performer David Hutton. McPherson's third marriage, it ended in divorce in 1934 (see issue 58: Pentecostalism).

Finding of the Cross: September 13

The Church of the East celebrates the finding of the Cross on 13 September, and considers it to be a major feast. The Assyrian Church considers the Sign of the Cross to be the sacrament by which all of the other sacraments are sealed and perfected.

Forefeast of the Elevation of the Cross: September 13

The Forefeast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross is celebrated on September 13, and this celebration is only for one day. There are seven days of Afterfeast (September 15-21). The Leave-taking of the Feast falls on September 21. The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is preceded by the Saturday and Sunday before the Exaltation, and it is followed by the Sunday after the Exaltation.

September 13, 1888

Jonathan Goforth who had arrived earlier in Cheefoo, set out on an exploratory tour of the North Honan region of China. Goforth was not an easy man to work with, but he had success in planting churches and was associated with revival among Korean Christians in the early 1900s and with revival in Manchuria in 1908.

September 13, 1933

Civil rights activist and pastor Rev. Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. was born on September 13, 1933, in Birmingham, Alabama to Maggie Rosa Lee Wallace Woods, a homemaker, and Abraham Lincoln Woods, Sr., a plant worker and Baptist minister. Woods entered Parker High School at age twelve, where he discovered and developed a skill for shoe repair, and tailoring and a gift for public speaking. He graduated in 1950, with a partial scholarship to Miles College.

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