On this date, July 6, 1415, Jan Hus, a reformer from the Czech Republic, was burned at the stake in Constance, Germany for “heresy.” He had been outspoken in his calls for church reform. The church didn’t care for this and responded by burning him at the stake.
On this date, July 5, 1903, theologian William Burt Pope died. Dr. Pope was an English Methodist pastor and theologian and writer. His three volume systematic theology, called the “Compendium of Christian Theology” is considered a classic in the Wesleyan tradition.
On this date, July 3, 1897, what has become known as the national hymn, “America” was first sung in public at a children’s celebration of Independence Day. The words were written by Rev. Samuel F. Smith and are sung to the tune of “God Save the King.”
On this date, July 3, 1897, David Brown died. David was an author and an educator. He is mostly known for being one of the coauthors of the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. He was responsible for the sections on the Gospels, Acts, and Romans.
On this date, July 2, 1865, William Booth preached the first sermon in a heavily used tent that he put on an unused Quaker graveyard. This was the start of a new organization called the East London Christian Mission. It was the beginning of a new ministry that would lead to the Salvation Army.
On this date, July 1, 1523, Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes were the first martyrs (Lutheran) of the Reformation. Sadly, they were burned alive in Brussels. They were given the ultimatum by the authorities to choose between recanting their supposed errors or death. They chose death, rather than to recant what they believed was truth.
On this date, June 30, 1531 Margarethe Luther, the mother of Martin Luther died. She lived during the troubled times before and after the beginnings of the Reformation that he son was right in the middle of. I have often wondered what she thought of her son while all of this change was happening in the world that she lived in.
This date, June 29, 67, is the traditional date (though still debated) that a Roman soldier beheaded the apostle Paul. Paul has an incredible story. After conversion, he was filled with evangelistic zeal to spread the Gospel. Paul endured beatings, floggings, stonings, and shipwrecks. Many of Paul’s letters were written while he was in prison. And he penned the bulk of our New Testament.
On this date, June 28, 1734, a religious group called the Schwenkfelders left Rotterdam headed to America. Originally they called themselves Confessors of the Glory of Christ. The were called this because of Casper Schweknfelders book Great Confession on the Glory of Christ. They later were known simply as Schwenkfelders. These individuals suffered prison in Europe. So in 1734, they left Europe and headed to America on what proved to be a hard voyage.
On this date, June 27, 1933, James Mountain died. Born in Leeds England, Mountain was an evangelist and writer of hymn tunes. His most famous pieces had been the tunes to which we sing Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting and Like a River Glorious.