March 8: Today in Christian History

March 8: Today in Christian History

March 8, 1550

Death in Grenada of John of God on his fifty-fifth birthday, having contracted pneumonia through plunging into an icy stream to rescue a youth. Impulsive and tenderhearted he had operated a hospital for the homeless and insane which he supported through hard work and begging.

March 8, 1551

Genevan authorities admonish Hierosme Hermes Bolsec for meddling in theology, but Bolsec now and later argues that men are not saved because they are elected but are elected because they have faith. Eventually he is expelled from Geneva and writes unflattering biographies of Reformation leaders Calvin and Beza.

March 8, 1740

In Nottingham, Pennsylvania, colonial evangelist Gilbert Tennent preaches his famous sermon, “The Danger of An Unconverted Ministry.” His message deplores placing men in pulpits who are not themselves converted to new life in Christ. “Is a dead man fit to bring others to life?”

March 8, 1782

Over a period of two days a group of Pennsylvania militiamen under the command of Captain David Williamson attack peaceable Indians of the Moravian mission at Gnadenhütten in retaliation for the deaths and kidnappings of several Pennsylvanians by other Indians, murdering twenty-eight men, twenty-nine women, and thirty-nine children.

March 8, 1839

Overcoming difficulties, such as two stout Hindu bodyguards set to prevent him from visiting Christians, Mahendra Lal Basak leaves his father’s home in Calcutta determined to forsake idolatry and pursue Christ. He is baptized this day and will become a Christian minister and educator, but will die of cholera within six years.

March 8, 1892

Death in England of Methodist missionary James Calvert, a pioneer in the Fiji mission.

March 8, 1921

The Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Synod and the German-Scandinavian Synod of Queensland, Australia, merge with the General Synod at Ebenezer, South Australia, forming the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia.

March 8, 1948

In McCollum v. Board of Education, Justice Hugo Black hands down a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that religious education in public schools is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The court rules that allowing children “release time,” even with parental consent, to receive religious instruction during school hours on school property is a violation of the separation of church and state.

March 8, 1960

Death of the Orthodox archbishop Vitaly Maximenko of the North American diocese. Born in Russia he had endured many hard knocks as a young orphan and obtained a reputation as a rebel. However, he so proved himself on every job he undertook that he was delegated tasks of great responsibility and  built up two major religious printing houses as well as laboring with minimal rest to evangelize and build up his church. In America he strove to reunify expatriated Orthodox groups.

March 8, 2009

Angered at Christian conversions of Hindus, Rajesh Singh tosses a bomb into a House of Prayer church in Buhar state, India, and then shoots pastor Vinod Kumar, who will survive. 

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