February 23: Today in Christian History

February 23: Today in Christian History

February 23, 1680

Death of Thomas Goodwin (probably in London), a notable English Congregational Nonconformist preacher. He had been a member of the Westminster Assembly of 1650, and author of many biblical and theological works. His last words were: “Ah, is this dying? How I have dreaded as an enemy this smiling friend.”

February 23, 1719

Death in Tranquebar, India, of thirty-six-year-old Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, missionary to India, who has established a seminary, translated the New Testament into Tamil, converted and baptized over two hundred Indians, and constructed a church building. At one point he had been imprisoned by the Dutch who feared his preaching would antagonize the Hindus they administered.

February 23, 1758

Jonathan Edwards receives a smallpox vaccination from which he contracts the disease. He will die in March.

February 23, 1819

A new church at Friedensthal on St. Croix Island is consecrated to the worship of the living God by Moravians and their converts. The congregation is so numerous not a third part can get inside the doors.

February 23, 1846

Following the outrage raised by his publication of “Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles,” in which he has tried to reconcile Church of England teaching with Roman positions, and his migration to the Roman Catholic church, John Henry Newman leaves Oxford for good.

February 23, 1855

John Bright, a Quaker-born Christian parliamentarian in England, makes an eloquent speech against the Crimean War. Its most famous line is, the “Angel of Death has Been Abroad.”

February 23, 1918

The body of the Orthodox priest George Porgachevsky is found about a mile and a quarter from the village of Ivanovskoye, Amur region. His head is crushed and he has two bayonet wounds in his stomach. The Soviets had arrested him thirteen days earlier.

February 23, 1925

Death in Alexandria, Virginia, of Kate Waller Barrett, an American physician, who, as a single mother and member of the Episcopal Church, co-founded the National Florence Crittenton Mission financed by wealthy Charles Nelson Crittenton. She had secured for the mission the first-ever federal charter for a charitable organization.

February 23, 1927

The Cristeros (Catholics and peasants who reject actions and laws of Mexico’s anti-Catholic federal government) defeat federal troops at San Francisco del Rincón, Guanajuato, Mexico. After one more victory they will be defeated and scattered, turning to guerrilla operations until peace is brokered by the United States in 1929.

February 23, 1929

Lindel Tsen is consecrated as Assistant Bishop of Honan, the first Chinese bishop in an established Anglican diocese. He will become the principal leader of Chinese Anglicanism in the mid-20th century and suffer persecution at the hands of the government.

February 23, 1934

Death in Baltimore, Maryland, of Peter Ainslie, a Disciples of Christ minister, ecumenical leader, and author of The Scandal of Christianity, a sharp rebuke of divisions among Christians.

February 23, 1951

Death of Zhang Boling (Chang Po-ling), a prominent Chinese Protestant layman and educator. He had been affiliated with the YMCA, founded Nankai University, accepted women for education, and promoted athletic activities. Because of the school’s patriotism the Japanese had bombed and burned it and succeeding political changes made him unwelcome.



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