April 8: Today in Christian History



April 8, 1378

Bartolomeo Prignano is elected Pope Urban VI. His harsh words to the cardinals as soon as he assumes office leads to rumors that he is insane. His electors will leave Rome and name a rival pope (Clement VII), starting the Great Western Schism.

April 8, 1530

A Diet summoned by Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire meets at Augsburg to deal with religious dissention in Germany.

April 8, 1546

The Council of Trent adopts Jerome’s eleven-hundred-year-old Latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate) as the only authentic Latin text of the Scriptures although reformers have long complained that Jerome’s Latin translation is faulty. 

April 8, 1586

Death in Braunschweig of theologian Martin Chemnitz, known as “The Second Martin” (after Luther) for his efforts to defend conservative Lutheran positions.

April 8, 1669

Turkish Muslims on the island of Kos burn to death John Naukliros, accusing him of recanting from Islam. He responds, “I believe with all my soul and heart in my Lord Jesus Christ and I confess him as true God Who will judge all the world, both the living and the dead.” He tells his persecutors that he despises Islam and is prepared even to endure torture for the love of Christ.

April 8, 1807

Thomas Campbell sails from Ireland for Philadelphia. In America he will become a leader in a movement back to Bible essentials.

April 8, 1812

Ordination and installation of Nathaniel Taylor as pastor of New Haven’s Center Church. He will oversee a growth of four hundred members during several revivals and will also become a prominent New England theologian.

April 8, 1839

James Thomson, agent for the Montreal auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society and eleven other Protestants form the French Canadian Missionary Society whose “exclusive object” is “to provide means for preaching and otherwise disseminating the Gospel of Christ among the inhabitants of Canada using the French language.”

April 8, 1857

A small group of Dutch immigrants meet in Zeeland, Michigan, to organize the first Christian Reformed Church.

April 8, 1868

Ordination of George Matheson, blind hymnwriter and pastor of Clydesdale parish of Innellan in Argyllshire, Scotland. He will write “O Love that Will not Let Me Go.”

April 8, 1883

Newly arrived to America, deaconness Elizabeth Fedde begins a diary. “I came here to New York and was received by my brother-in-law, with whom I have lived for three weeks. During that time I have gone around to become a bit acquainted and have made some house visits and sick calls (ten in all).”

April 8, 1901

James Chalmers and his associates are clubbed to death and eaten while visiting the Fly River in New Guinea.

April 8, 1929

Religious associations in Russia are forbidden to help members financially or enter into mutual aid agreements. All previous anti-religion laws are summarized into one “Law Concerning Religion.”

April 8, 1974

Death of Baptist leader and educator George Morling in Sydney, Australia. Morling College will be named for him.

April 8, 2002

Muslims in Kano state, Nigeria, demolish the first of eleven church buildings they will destroy this month to ensure that Christianity does not retain a foothold in the state.

April 8, 2012

On Easter morning in Kaduna, Nigeria, a car bomb, apparently targeting All Nations Christian Assembly Church, kills dozens of Nigerians in the street outside the place of worship.

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