May 4: Today in Christian History

May 4: Today in Christian History

May 4, 1256

Pope Alexander IV establishes the Roman Catholic religious order of Augustines by the bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae. The order will extend the influence of the church, propagate the faith, and advance learning.

May 4, 1493

Pope Alexander VI issues a line of demarcation dividing the New World between Portugal and Spain.

May 4, 1521

Traveling home from the Diet of Worms, Martin Luther is taken into protective custody by order of German ruler Frederick the Wise and held at Wartburg, where he will translate the Bible into German.

May 4, 1535

Three Carthusian monks and two other priests are hanged, drawn, and quartered in London for refusing to submit to Henry VIII as head of the church. The Carthusians are John Houghton, Robert Lawrence, and Augustine Webster. Richard Reynolds is a learned Bridgettine monk. The fifth martyr is John Haile, vicar of Thistleworth.

May 4, 1627

Dutch missionary George Candidius lands in Formosa where he will zealously begin to learn the language and preach.

May 4, 1677

Death of Isaac Barrow, an eminent English divine, educator, mathematician, and classics scholar, whose sermons will be reprinted for two hundred years. He will, however, be most remembered by later generations for his influence on Isaac Newton.

May 4, 1689

Death in Bavaria of Christian Knorr von Rosenroth, a hymnwriter and Christian student of the Kabbalah, which he had begun translating into Latin. His most notable hymns were “Jesus, Sun of Righteousness” and “Dayspring of Eternity.”

May 4, 1730

Anna Nitschmann of the Moravians enters into a covenant before God which will later be observed as an annual Choir Festival, in which Moravian Sisters remember Nitschmann’s original covenant, renew it for themselves, and initiate new members into the Choir.

May 4, 1814

Death of Methodist superintendant Thomas Coke while leading a group of missionaries to India.

May 4, 1856

A committee at Mount Vernon Church, Boston, reluctantly accepts Dwight L. Moody into church membership, having already rejected him once because of his complete ignorance of Christian truth. Moody will develop into an evangelist of international fame.

May 4, 1876

Death in San Francisco of Lutheran frontier evangelist and pastor Friedrich Konrad Dietrich Wyneken, who had worked primarily around Fort Wayne, Indiana. He had been instrumental in attracting many Lutheran pastors from Germany to America and in setting the evangelical tone of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church.

May 4, 1888

Rufus Wilder Miller, of the Reformed Church, organizes a Bible study and prayer group called the Brotherhood of Andrew and Philip at Reading, Pennsylvania. Loosely based on a Scottish organization that had inspired Miller, it soon will multiply chapters across denominational lines, becoming a trailblazer in such interdenominational activity.

May 4, 1898

Many people gather to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Michael Augustine Corrigan’s episcopal consecration. Laymen, priests, and prominent Catholics will testify to the virtues of this Archbishop of New York.

May 4, 1923

Death at Hampstead of W. Robertson Nicoll, editor of the British journal The Expositor and author/editor of the fifty-volume Expositor’s Bible (to which twenty-eight other scholars contributed).

May 4, 1938

Under arduous wartime conditions, Mei Yiqi, a Christian educator, becomes president of a makeshift university at Kunming, organized in exile out of three refugee universities’ faculties.

May 4, 1945

Bandits torture and murder Vasily Martysz, a Polish Orthodox priest. After serving as a priest in Alaska and Pennsylvania, he had returned to Poland, where following World War I he organized a chaplaincy for the Polish army and labored to make the Polish Orthodox Church self-ruling. He had retired by the time of his death.

May 4, 1970

The United States Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of a New York statute exempting church-owned property from taxation.

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