December 8, 1691: English Puritan minister Richard Baxter dies in London. One of England's most renowned preachers and author of nearly 200 works (including several hymns), he was known as a peacemaker who sought unity among Protestants.
December 8, 1934: American missionaries John and Betty Stam are beheaded by Chinese communists. The couple had met while attending Moody Bible Institute and married just the year before their death. Publication of their biography prompted hundreds to volunteer for missionary service (see issue 52: Hudson Taylor).
December 8, 2016: American United Methodist minister and theologian Thomas C. Oden dies. Oden was a leading proponent of the Social Gospel movement in the mid 20th century until study of the writings of the church fathers, especially Anthanasius, Augustine, and Aquinas, convinced him of the need to return to classical Christian orthodoxy. This return to traditional theology, which he dubbed “paleo-orthodoxy,” became his main focus for latter half of his life and he became a leading voice in conservative evangelical theology.
February 29, 1528: Patrick Hamilton, a follower of Martin Luther who had returned to his native Scotland to preach the Reformation, is burned at the stake on orders from Cardinal David Beaton. In retaliation, Protestant nobles assassinated the cardinal. This event effectively began the Scottish Reformation (see issue 46: John Knox).
February 29, 1692: The Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts begin when Tituba, the female Indian servant of Reverend Samuel Parris, and Sarah Good are accused ...